Right now I’m getting my books together for two full days at the B.C .Christian Home Educators Convention with my homeschool homies here in Kelowna. I realize I’m now the mother of one married woman, one son about to start Uni, and another boy finishing up Grade 10 in high school, but there was a time when homeschooling was MY LIFE. For thirteen years actually. And I lived to tell the tale…
Homeschoolers (or the rather more hip ‘home educators’) fascinate me to bits. I’ve met all sorts of moms (or dads) who make the decision to educate their kids at home rather than in the regular school system, and for all sorts of reasons. Either to allow their super-bright kid to steam ahead at their own pace, to be an extra help to a struggling child, to work an educational schedule around sports or the arts, to facilitate a family’s travel, to incorporate a faith-based curriculum, to educate whilst navigating health issues, or simply because it’s something a family wants to do. Just because.
The BC CHEC convention and trade show this week is such a cool experience for me— I loved having a booth there last year selling my Christian teen novels Tears to Dancing and Tears of a Princess, so I’m back again. It’s such an encouragement to these families when they literally see hundreds of like-minded parents and children, all looking to enhance their education and have fun in the process. It’s good to know you’re not alone in a journey. And as an author, it thrills my heart to see kids getting excited about BOOKS.
I know homeschooling can be a touchy subject— some folks are all over it like a rash, and others think it’s whacko. Why would you NOT send your kids to school all day? Why would you WANT to send your kids out to school all day? I’m not here to judge or criticize or whatnot, as I’ve done both the homeschool route and the public school route, and actually both worked for me, each in their own season. Every child is as individual and incredibly unique as God created them, and there’s no magic formula for a perfect education to suit all. Kids throw us for a loop, stretch us, exasperate us, surprise, and delight us… often in the same hour. But I think we can all agree that children deserve the best education we can give them whatever that looks like, and that always includes BOOKS! Did I mention I love books?
I remember back when my daughter was four years old and we had the big decision to make with her education. Homeschooling was still a relatively weird unusual thing to do, and I had visions of me having to wear my hair in a bun and weaving my own fabric to make clothes for my family. I imagined I would have to grow my own produce and never wear jeans again. I thought maybe we would be outcasts in society and my child would forever be socially inept. Not to mention the fact that my child’s brain would be in my hands… what if I taught her everything incorrectly? She would surely be doomed.
(Fast forward to my beautiful, brilliant daughter who graduated last year from McGill Uni with double majors in Political Science and International Development Studies… allow me my proud momma moment for just a second!)
Thank you. Homeschooled from kindergarten until high school. Just sayin’.
I would obviously like to take the credit for her achievements, but I have a sneaky suspicious she succeeded academically in spite of me rather than because of me… But my point is, homeschooling is actually totally doable and totally cool. I didn’t have to weave and I still wore jeans. Is for everyone? Oh my, absolutely not. Is it a prison sentence? No way— I had a rule whereby every year I would ask myself, “Do I still enjoy homeschooling my little tribe?” And I would ask them, “Do you, my little tribe, still like being homeschooled?” And then the last one, “Am I still sane?” If the answer was affirmative to all 3 questions, then we would continue for another year.
Homeschool homies are rather essential, I believe. They become your go-to people. That fellow teacher-mom who is trying to juggle algebra, diaper changing, and a paper mache craft, and totally understands your multitasking dilemmas. The sanity-restoring field trips (play dates) with other homeschool families just to allow the munchkins to run off steam. Someone to bounce ideas off and compare curriculum flops with. Friends who get it. They are gold dust. They are your homeschool homies.
I’ll admit I loved having my children at home, and I loved actually teaching them to read, and I loved ending the academics at midday, and I loved finishing the school year in May. 🙂 But there came a time for us all when we felt our homeschool days had come to an end. Time for a change. Time for new. And that was okay, too. But I have never once regretted my days as a homeschool mom, and I look back fondly at the memories made with my homeschool homies. And we weren’t weird at all…
Looking forward to a crazy couple of days in the world of homeschooling and homies and books and all that good stuff,
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: