We have seven children. Our oldest two were the only ones in the traditional school system. Since they’d both been in school since age four, they were used to the routine of going back to class after summer vacation.
Their initial reaction to learning everything would change this year and we’d be homeschooling hasn’t been wholly positive, and honestly, my feelings aren’t either. After these first months at home, I’ve experienced some major pros and cons.
I reclaimed time with my children.
Consider the hours per day, per month, per year that your children are away from you being influenced both negatively or positively by teachers and friends. On the short end, it’s seven hours a day, five days a week, 10 months a year.
We had to really meditate on the fact that during the school year our children are out of our care more hours than in our presence. When they arrived home from school, it was a short re-telling of all that went on during their day, homework, dinner and bedtime to prepare for the next day, only to do it all over again.
Since our children have been home schooled, I’ve learned so much more about them because we have more of each other’s undivided attention for a significantly more time.
I’ve increased the quality of our days.
The goal of homeschool has not primarily academic for us. With the new ability to spend more quality time with our children, we can better value each other’s presence. We can also emphasize discipling them so that the ways of the Lord are their foundation.
Now that they’re home, I like that there are no more surprises about what new songs, dances, words, games, or teachings they’ve been exposed to at school.
It hasn’t all been easy.
The idea of not returning to school to see their classmates was difficult, especially our daughter, who had attended the same school since kindergarten.
Though she was excited about the idea of homeschooling when she made the connection that she would not see her friends on a regular basis, the enthusiasm slowly diminished. We reassured her that she would make new friends through new social activities, but she still mourned the loss of those school-based friendships.
The messy reality of being home all the time.
With seven kids, we are obviously home the majority of time. When the two oldest were in school, it was a little easier to keep the house clean throughout the day. Not anymore!
Juggling teaching the older children while keeping the babies occupied has left some chores neglected. Often times when certain things are not clean and orderly, I feel as if I’ve lost control. During those times I have to remind myself that I am a wife and mother to 7 children, teaching four during the day, discipling all of them, preparing meals, potty training, all while trying to keep the house clean.
I had to learn to let a few things go to the wayside, though everything eventually gets clean because we enjoy a clean house.
Honestly when you have children, your time is never really your time anymore.
While two were in school, I was able to steal away to have some time to myself. Since starting homeschooling my time is their time.
I am blessed when my husband arrives home and sends me away for time for myself. But even when I am alone in the house, I am never off-duty. With eight others in the house, I hear everything happening on the other side of the walls and eventually someone gets to me.
But family is what life is all about. When we chose home schooling, we knew we weren’t signing up for a life of ease. Some difficult days are absolutely normal.
This is a journey of learning.
Home schooling so far has helped us obtain wisdom and become stronger. Before choosing home schooling, we spent a year soul searching. We asked ourselves not only if this was what the Lord wanted us to do, but if we ourselves were willing to do it. Now months later, I can say that we definitely needed His direction and guidance because the mass of homeschooling can be overwhelming, but with His help, it’s been mostly positive.
Have you ever considered homeschooling? What pros and cons do you think it would present for your family?