Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Are you sure about this?

A few months ago, my husband and I made the decision to homeschool our kids. Yes, you read that right.  We are going to homeschool.

In typical ME fashion, I have worked myself (more than once) into a panic attack over this life changing decision.  It's not that I doubt I can teach my children what they need to know.  I know I can.  That's the easy part of this decision.  It's the venture into the unknown that keeps me awake at night.

I have spent countless hours reading about homeschooling.  I have researched it, asked question, researched it some more, and then some more after that.  I know it's the right thing for us.  I want our kids to have a LOVE for learning as I did when I was growing up.  I want them to be excited about history, and arts, and literature.  Yes, I want them to be "nerds" as I was.

I had the typical misconception about homeschooling than most people do.  I admit it.  I figured all those who choose it were "different" (as in weird), were radical in their beliefs, have 20+ kids, grown their own food, and live in a compound.  Mostly because I didn't really know any, other than the ones I saw on that TLC show.  I'm sure there are families out there that probably fit that description.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find there are many families that fit under the "normal" umbrella (whatever normal means).

How we arrived at this decision isn't as important as the fact we chose it for our family.  If you know us, you know we are anything but your typical family.  We like it that way, we thrive in being different, and guess what? Homeschooling fits right into our definition of normal.

I have to admit, it is overwhelming to realize you are in charge of your children's education.  I have no doubt we can teach them what they need to know.  But there will be no one to blame but us if they don't understand the Pythagorean Theorem, or Newton's Laws.  

At the same time, it is exciting.  It's an adventure.  One we have been on without even knowing.  Every trip to the zoo, or the aquarium, the museums, they were all learning opportunities.  Our trip to Panama, collecting seashells on the beach, all educational opportunities.  We have been teaching our kids outside a classroom all along.

I want my children to LOVE learning.  That's one gift I received as a kid.  My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, they all homeschooled me without even knowing there was a name for such a thing.  They made me want to learn, from books, from people, newspapers, and magazines.  I was the nerdy kid who got excited about school because I just knew there was a new adventure waiting, a new discovery just around the corner.

Perhaps it was the fact the educational system is different in Panama.  Perhaps it was that I had amazing teachers who nurture my desire to learn.  Or the fact my parents encouraged me to learn outside of the school building.  I don't know, but my desire to learn new things has never diminished.  

I want that for my kids.  I want them to lay outside and look at the stars and find the constellations.  Or notice the different cloud formations on the sky.  To be excited about discovering new things every day.  

Yes I know.  My children are not me.  There are no guarantees they will love learning as much as I do.  But I can at least try, can't I?  

So soon we will be joining the ranks of homeschooling families.  Don't hold your breath waiting for the announcement we are increasing the number of kids in our family.  Or that I'll be moving into a compound, or wearing skirts down to my ankles.  Not going to happen.

Do expect to hear all about our adventure, including the exciting parts and the not-so-pleasant moments.  I'm excited.  I have a road map, with numerous detours, all pointing to the same exact destination:  Happy Kids who embrace Life as the learning adventure it is.  

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