A Reflection on Homeschooling
I recently enrolled two of my three children in school after homeschooling for the better part of 9 years. After reflecting on our years together at home, I am finding that homeschooling gave my children a few gifts not every parent is able to give.
First and foremost I gave them TIME.
They had time to be themselves, time to wear super hero costumes all day. Time to read. Time to explore their passions. Time to play. Time to build their relationships with their family. They had time with me. Someday, I will look back on our time together and know that I gave them the fulness of my time.
I gave them EACH OTHER.
So many brothers and sisters are cruel to each other and tease, pretend they don't know each other on the schoolyard. My children had to get along because they were each other's only playmates. As a result they are sealed together in a bond that will carry on beyond these four walls, and this childhood - into adulthood, where their friendship will be an indelible gift of our life.
I gave them LIBERTY.
In our years together we had the liberty to learn at our own pace. We had the liberty to pursue their interests. This liberty has translated to both of my boys firmly understanding themselves within their peer groups. They feel free and respected as their own people; they do not understand the desire to conform.
I gave them MYSELF.
In a world where children are not valued, are shipped off to be raised by others, my children had ME, 100%, undivided and present. Study after study shows children are more intelligent when they have more time speaking to their parents. Minutes in conversation with their parents translates to real mental development. My children had 14 years from birth to school of me + them 100% of the time.
I gave them a CHILDHOOD.
My children played. They played and they played and they played. They had years of LEGO at lunch, imaginative games all over the neighborhood day after day. Their lives have been rich, imaginative lives. Their time at home protected them, preserved their innocence and extended their time in the magical world of childhood.
I gave my children time to become themselves and to THINK FOR THEMSELVES.
All of my children see the world strongly from their perspective. They had time to grow into these people. They are now unshakeable individuals with minds of their own, which hopefully will stay with them and grow with them until they are adults.
I gave my children a LOVE OF LEARNING.
Even as they are challenged each day at school with new ideas and difficult concepts, they truly love learning and are rising to the challenge. I believe the love of knowledge can be suppressed in a traditional classroom too early in life. I am glad to see that it has endured in my boys.
I showed them that LEARNING IS A LIFELONG PROPOSITION.
In our homeschool studies, I showed my children, on a daily basis, that I learned something with them everyday. I was never the expert. I called on help, sought out professionals every chance I got.
Like every parent, I must live with the reality that there will be things I wish I had done better, or more of or differently. That being said, I can be assured that our years homeschooling together are a treasured time that I will never forget and never regret. I hope that as they become the adults they will be that they can forgive my shortcomings and accept the gifts I have tried to give them, and if nothing else, that they will know that I have loved them with the depth and breadth of my soul.