What Made You Decide to Homeschool?

I am going to forgo on the Friday Mailbag this week as we have managed to catch, yet another cold. Booo! Between that and working on Mother’s Day presents, this is the first chance that I have had to post all week. So I am going to post what I wanted to post on Monday.

Actually, this post is more of a personal post than most of my posts. I was recently reading something that caused me to reflect on why I originally decided to homeschool. My original reasons for homeschooling are not the same reasons that I homeschool today. My path towards homeschooling was a bit convoluted, for one, I had never heard of it. In fact, I came from a long line of educators and like a true public school disciple, I sneered at private schooling. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what homeschooling would be like, literally.

The first time that I heard of anything that might refer to homeschooling was my boyfriend in college had a friend that had not gone to high school. My boyfriend didn’t know why this friend didn’t go to high school or how he got in to college without going to high school. The friend was a bit of a schemer, so I figured he’d run some sort of scam and gotten in that way. It was really the only explanation that I could come up with. I know now that his friend was probably homeschooled, which is amazing given that he would have “graduated” from “high school” in the mid-eighties.

I finally heard of homeschooling from my husband, who brought it up while I was pregnant with our first child,. I thought it was the most insane idea that I had heard of. I couldn’t see how I could teach my kids everything they needed to know. In addition, I had no intention of being a stay-at-home mom, I had things to do, people to see, places to go. Plus, surely homeschooling would make my kids become social freaks (realize that I had no idea that other people actually homeschooled, much less that there were homeschool support groups and classes and that homeschoolers didn’t just stay home all day).

Then I gave birth and my world turned upside down. My son was colicky in the extreme. For the first three months, he cried inconsolably from 10 PM – 4 AM, every single night. In fact, the only way I could get him to sleep, was to lay him down with me. Thus, I began co-sleeping without knowing that such a thing existed. I tried talking to the pediatrician, I told him that my son didn’t appear to like his crib, but liked our bed. He laughed and told me that my job was to make my son like his crib. Of course, he had no suggestions about how one did this and every night, by 4 AM, I did not care what the pediatrician said, I just wanted to sleep. I did feel like a failure. Who has ever heard of a baby that didn’t sleep in a crib? It’s what babies do, right? I began researching infant sleep and in one book I was reading, stumbled on the phrase “co-sleeping” (realize that it was much harder to research these things in the dark ages before the internet was what it is today – believe it or not, the internet was all text and there was no search engine so if you didn’t know what the exact URL you needed was, you couldn’t go to a website).

Once I broke from doing things the “normal” way, everything was up for grabs. Everything that had been taken for granted as being normal in regards to childrearing, was suddenly questioned. It was at this time that homeschooling first entered my mind as a viable option. It was not until three years later, however, that I began to research the option in earnest. At that point, my son had some major issues in regards to his language and fine and gross motor skills. Yet, he was quite smart. He started reading shortly after his 3rd birthday and was doing basic arithmetic by age 4. I knew, based on my schooling in early childhood education, that he was more than ready for kindergarten academically and far from ready socially. I didn’t see how he could possibly fit into a normal classroom. it would be a couple of years later that I would learn why. When he was five years old, he was diagnosed as being autistic.

Once I started homeschooling, I never looked back. The more I learned about homeschooling, the more reasons I had to do it. I never thought twice about homeschooling the rest of my children.

My son is 18 now and attending the community college near us and doing very well. He is never going to become the big man on campus, but he has his social circle and is happy with his life. Meanwhile, I have a one-year old, who will officially start homeschooling in four years (of course homeschoolers know parents actually “homeschool” their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers – teaching them to sit, stand, walk, talk, and more).

What about you, why did you originally decide to homeschool? Is that the same reason that you homeschool today?

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff