You see this time last year, homeschooling was not on my to do list. Back in the day (10 or so years ago), when I 'only' had 2 children, I was a big fan of Natural Parenting Forums and I came across the idea of homeschooling. But being young, I thought that I had to 'have it all', a career, 2 income family, and of course, a nice little family in a nice local school. There was also the little hurdle of having the family think I was crazy! and also that I didn't know of anyone who actually homeschooled!
SO over the years my family grew and I did wonderfully well with my career, even to the point where I was considered for management, but I was never happy, always felt that I could never 'give my best', as a mother or as an employee. Then in 2009, I decided to make the choice to 'just' be a stay at home mum. I have to admit that it was initially a struggle to find the joy in 'just' being a stay at home mum. The constant chores, nappies, kids constantly needing attention, never any 'down/me' time. There is so little value placed on motherhood, that it took me a few years to really appreciate the fortunate position I am in, being able to choose to be with my children.
Around the middle of last year, we had to start seriously considering which highschool Callum would be going to in 2012. I knew the local public school was out, it was a big highschool, which services a lot of suburbs, and didn't necessarily have the best reputation. (But I'm sure that there has been many successes with students there also). For years I had said that my children would attend the local private high school, small, successful outcomes with it students, close to home, but unfortunately had the price tag to go with it. Sending the children to this school would mean a lot of financial sacrifice for the family, which we're not in a position to do atm.
So I mentioned to Mike the idea of homeschooling for the highschool years and I looked into it and BOOM! since the last time I researched, there had been an explosion of resources, forums and more importantly, actual 'real life' families out there homeschooling their kids!! And they were local!! YAY!
Since then, I have immersed myself into the homeschooling 'way of life' reading blogs, making connections and dare I say it friends with other homeschooling families :) I've gathered resources and even renovated a space for our homeschool experience. I even did my 'crazy homeschool talk' on the reallies who came to understand that I mean to give this my best shot :) The time I spent preparing really did make things a lot easier then suddenly pulling the kids out of school, even though I was keen to start our homeschooling journey.
Don't get me wrong, the school the kids were attending was and is fantastic. The kids got along great with their peers, the girls excelled in their work and were often coming home with prizes and glowing reports from their teachers. Callum, being a typical boy, was the class clown, did well at subjects he liked, but overall did well at school. And if it did come to a stage where the kids did need to attend school they would be going back there (apart from Callum who is now high school). Can you believe that the Principle, in her 27 years of being a teacher, had never come across a mother who wanted to home school her kids?? NEVER!
I'm so glad that I had the confidence to actually go ahead with home schooling, and while I understand that this is not for everyone, perhaps eventually it won't be for us, at least I can say I did it and not what if. So far things have gone really well, not as hard or as draining as I thought it would be. I can already see our family becoming closer, the kids still have their spats, but are not so divided any more. We've only hit our 4th 'official' week of homeschooling, so really I can't comment on how things will pan out, but I'm optimistic for the future and I am planning on homeschooling for a long while yet :)
They say the 1st year is the toughest. I think the challenge for us will be the adjustment from being school kids to being homeschooled. Realising that learning happens all the time and not just from a text book. And just saying yes more often then not.
Fingers crossed we find that balance, and that we all fall deeply in love with homeschooling :)