An Open Letter to the World at the Beginning of a New School Year

Its the start of a new school year. Parents across the country, across the world even, are buying backpacks and stuffing them with pencils, gearing up to pack healthy lunches, making sure uniforms fit, etc..

With all this hullabaloo, there are a few questions I tend to find myself answering over and over and over again.

This year, I thought we’d get it out of the way quickly and then we can all move on. Because, lets face it, we’re all going to be pretty busy these next few weeks, with the transition back to school.

An Open Letter to the World at the Beginning of a New Homeschool Year (2)

Yes, we are going to be homeschooling again this year. Unschooling our son, in fact. I’ve found over the past two years that unschooling fits him very well. Our daughter will be continuing on with her Montessori inspired lessons. The ability to teach them differently, that individualized education, is a beautiful thing.

 

No, I am not worried about their academic levels. Both of my children are currently above grade level average in most subjects, and considered “on track” in the few subjects which they aren’t advanced in. But even if that wasn’t the case, even if they were behind, that wouldn’t be a reason to send them to public school. In fact, I’d consider being behind even more of a reason to homeschool. Children stand a better chance of catching up with their peers when they have lots of one-on-one attention, that just can’t happen in a classroom of 20-30 kids.

 

Yes, between the gym days, the field trips, the service projects, the playdates, the co-op classes, and the simply living life out in the real world everyday, I am certain my children are learning all necessary social skills. Gone are the days when a homeschoolers’ only socialization happened through church activities and grocery shopping (not that there is anything wrong with that), secular homeschoolers are a rapidly growing minority among American parents. We’ve banded together to create some of the most fully awesome educational and social experiences for our children. There has never been a better time to be a homeschooler than right now!
My family, specifically, lives in a large city in one of the most homeschool-friendly states there is. We get invited so many homeschool events that we actually have to turn some down just so we can have time to do our lessons.

 

No, I don’t feel the need to have more space from my children. My husband and I knew exactly what we were signing on for when made the choice to have children. We didn’t have rose colored glasses on about how incredibly hard parenting would be. We did it anyway. We gladly took on the life long commitment of parenthood and we have made every decision since then with our children’s best interest in mind.
Thats not to say, I don’t enjoy time apart from my children. I do. We take turns doing bedtime routine and I really appreciate my nights off. Plus sometimes I run errands and visit friends without my children in tow- always a good time. Sometimes my husband runs errands and takes the kids with him so I have the house to myself- love it! But. I just don’t need to be away from them 7 hours a day, 5 days a week.

 

Yes, they are happy being homeschooled. They love the freedom to study subjects of interest, in ways that interest them. They appreciate all the extra time to play- time most kids spend on busy work while their classmates catch up. They enjoy taking multiple field trips every month rather than one or two a year. They take advantage of having a flexible schedule, in the best ways possible.

 

No, I don’t think you or anyone else is in a better position than I am to tell me what my children need.
With the exceptions of extreme abuse and/or mental illness, I believe most parents know their children better than anyone else. I also believe most parents have their child’s best interests at heart. So while two parents might make different choices (for example, one parent choosing to homeschool while the other opts for public education), both are right. Because they are raising different children, in different families, with different needs.
I won’t ever tell a public school parent that they should homeschool. I trust them to make the right choices for their children and respect the choices they make. I expect the same in return.

 

Yes, I am happy to talk about our homeschooling experiences, share tips and tricks, and even have respectful debates about the merits of alternative education. In fact, I quite enjoy talking about homeschooling. Otherwise, why would I write about it?

 

I hope that answers any questions you may have had at the beginning of this new school year.
If not, feel free comment below or email me at suzyhomeschooler@hotmail.com

An Open Letter to the World at the Beginning of a New Homeschool Year (1)

 

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