Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Asked...

...and I'll attempt to answer.

I have had a wonderful time reading all of the questions you ladies have posed for me this past week!* So many thoughts have been swarming through my cluttered head. I'm sorting and plotting, and can't wait to dig in. While you all asked such fabulous questions, the one that immediately struck me came from Sandy Toes. I think it is a great place to start.

Question: If someone offered to send my kids to any private school of my choice (I'm assuming that means covering their tuition), would I take them up on their offer or continue to homeschool?

Short Answer: I would continue to homeschool.

Long Answer:

Our 'Why We Homeschool' list is filled not with reasons to avoid public school (violence, drugs, peer pressure, bullying, secular influences, etc...) nor with reasons we can't afford the education we would prefer, but with reasons to be passionate about homeschooling. **

My favorite aspect of homeschooling is that it allows us to create an education perfectly tailored to each child's needs, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. I am in a position to customize their schooling, even if that means supplementing with individual school classes, hiring tutors or mentors, or participating in online venues. Homeschooling has a flexibility that only a rare school could begin to compete with (and certainly not one in our vicinity).

Might I feel differently if my children were of high school age? Possibly. Might there come a time when circumstances change and I feel a school environment would be a better fit for one or all of our children (or our family in general)? Possibly.

Ah, but what if that generous soul was willing to fund the education I thought best for each individual child? Do you have any idea the creative ways I could put that money to use? (An outstanding private school takes no small chunk of change!) Art class, science camp, math tutor, educational travel!!, books, science and computer equipment, writing and literature mentors, swim team, music lessons, missions/humanitarian trips and projects, documentaries on DVD, museum memberships, music performances, lectures, the list is endless.

We could even stretch things a bit and use additional funds to pay someone to clean the house or watch the two year-old for an hour or two, enabling me to devote more time and energy to the joy of educating my children.

On a more practical and specific level, a traditional school environment (public or private) would not work well for Levi at this time. He is at various grade levels in his subjects, which would be hard for any classroom to accommodate. I am worried that he would be bored at times, and he loves to talk. Bad combination. He is also extremely distractable. We would certainly be doing his math together at home in the evenings, as well as supplementing his lessons in other areas. It makes much more sense to do those lessons during the day and have our evenings free for activities.

Does he need to learn how to follow directions without talking and or getting distracted in a group environment? Absolutely. Which is why we've had him in Tae Kwon Do, Sunday school, piano lessons, and swimming lessons.

So, while it would be very kind and generous of someone to offer, I would continue to homeschool for the time being.

*I have to mention here that when I visited my Dad the other day, he greeted me with his mischievous smirk and asked, 'So, how DO you manage your days, Heidi.' He is getting a big kick out of the fact that you all think I have anything brilliant to say on the subject...

**Should I add a disclaimer here? I truly believe that each parent should be free to make educational decisions that are best for their children. I know that homeschooling isn't for everyone, and I applaud you if you've made a thoughtful, deliberate decision to place your children in school. I am, though, passionate about our homeschooling decision, so that is what I share here on my blog.


Shell in your Pocket said...

Wow...great answer and enjoyed reading your answer to MY question:) hee hee!
-sandy toe
come over to my blog...I have a giveaway..would love to have you!

Christi said...

Great answer, Heidi! I appreciate how well thought-out your posts are. A lot of the reasons you've listed here (and in your Why We Homeschool) are reasons we've chosen, too - but I'm not able to put it so eloquently!

Can't wait to read the rest of your answers!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. We were actually placed in this situation by my in laws who kindly offered to pay for private school and we tried to explain what you have written here(but could not explain it nearly as well as you), they were very kind but don't really understand, maybe after reading this I can explain better. I have recently found your blog and LOVE it, can't wait to read the rest of your answers! Thanks Again!

Renee said...

It just so happens that we have had a family member offer to pay for private tuition- any amount we deemed necessary. (And in a big city, the private school options are endless!) We took advantage of their offer, and still chose to homeschool! I absolutely could not shake what I believe is a calling to homeschooling! Even under the best of circumstances (a free, Charlotte Mason, Christian school with 8 kids per classroom), we walked away. So I know, literally, how you feel. I have not regretted it for a minute. But again, I say for certain, homeschooling is not for everyone.
Too bad the same family members didn't offer the same amount of money for homeschooling. I have a wish list a mile long, too!! (Some of the list ideas came from your blog!)
Thanks for the inspiration! Can't wait to hear the rest of your answers. Don't forget my question...potty training during homeschool...H-E-L-P! :)

Renee said...

One more thing...that first paragraph didn't make sense. I meant to explain we took advantage of the tuition offer for one year (first grade for Jaybird), but decided after that year not to continue and to school at home. Does that make sense now?

Anonymous said...

from Tera: Heidi~ You took the words right out of my mouth! Well said. And...ditto from our house :) I am interested in getting involved in a bit of a co-op situation next year, as Drew seems to really need more consistent interaction with peers. He is lonely and playing with his little brothers doesn't always cut it. All the "teams" and "classes" we've put him in have not helped him find a close buddy to claim as a friend...all the kids in schools already have their buddies - he needs one with a similar lifestyle to ours - one that he can see almost daily :)

Have fun answering everyone's questions!

Jennifer said...

Love this post! We, too, walked away from free tuition. And all that you wrote is completely in line with the "whys" of our decision. Homeschooling has been time well spent and well loved!