Our Homeschooling Plunge

It seems like everywhere we go the questions are the same. Kids are spoken to in terms of their grade level. People wonder if they're excited to go back to school. They always want to know which school they attend. Random strangers in public settings seem to always approach my children this way. I'm pretty sure it's always one of my first questions to new children I've met too. A child's education is such a huge part of their life that that's how we identify them and classify them. It's a conversation piece because they spend so much of their lives in an educational setting.

Lately we're fielding questions about who our kids' teachers are going to be this coming school year as well. Their friends want to know if they'll see them in class. I figured I should probably make some sort of formal announcement.

So the answer is me. This year, I'm their teacher.

I have enough reasons for this that I could write a novel. That list of reasons has grown and grown over the years. I've wanted to homeschool for a long time. Kyle hasn't had such a favorable opinion of the whole thing. Finally, he's agreed to let me go for it. He'd be the first to tell you that he's still not in love with the idea, but out of respect for me, he's letting my mom heart take a stab at it this year.

I know I don't owe anybody an explanation as to why we've chosen to educate our kids at home this year, but I also know that questions will still inevitably come. I'll spare you from the aforementioned novel's worth of reasons and just share with you my main one.

Every year when I would drive my kids to school on their first day, we would have a similar conversation. I would tell them that I didn't care what their grades were. As long as they did their best, that was enough for me. I cared about whether or not they were kind. Period. That's it. I never wanted to hear that they had made any other kid feel like less than they were. I never wanted them to participate in bullying another child or hurting another child. I never wanted to hear that they had been disrespectful to their teachers or anything less than polite. I wanted them to be honest, helpful, decent, and above all, kind. I care about my children's characters more than I care about calculus or reading fluency or social studies.

We are a busy family. We have five children with a broad range of interests. The majority of my children are gifted athletically. They love to play sports and I love to watch them to play. Because of those interests and talents, a typical day at our house looked exactly like this last year: bus ride, school, bus ride, sports, homework, and bedtime. That was it. No family dinner. No time to spend talking individually with my kids about their day. No time to build those characters I'm always so concerned about.

We've become a culture that worships busyness. We feel like the more activities we involve our kids in, the more opportunities they have for success. The time kids used to have to run wild and free, to explore, and to create are all but a memory.

We are also a family that believes in and worships a loving God. In this home we pray and read scriptures. In this home we learn about the character of the Savior of mankind and we try to instill those traits in our children and ourselves. We try to serve and to lift and to leave this world better than we found it.

So in a nutshell, we're homeschooling this year because I want our family life to look differently than it does. I want time to spend with my children teaching them about integrity, goodness, and kindness. I want to instill in them a love for God and the rest of humankind. I want them to have time to run around being silly and enjoying nature. I want baseball games that interrupt dinnertime to be irrelevant because we had breakfast and lunch together already. I want my kids to learn that when they encounter struggles academically or in any other way, that they have a family of supporters here to help and to lift.  I want my children to know that in their mother they will find someone in their corner who cares an infinite amount about who they are and what they choose to do with their lives.

Basically, this is me taking my family back.

5 thoughts on “Our Homeschooling Plunge

  1. Jenny

    Bri, I guess I am commenting on your page because my comment would be too long for everyone to read as much as I would love everyone to. ? I love your decision and reasons why. Different options are there because there are just as many needs for education. I removed my son halfway through his 6th grade year after a few years of considering homeschool. He went back into middle school the next year and we are working through it but I learned as much as he did from that inspired decision. I realized within the first few days that he had been bullied by classmates and teachers alike that he couldn't sit down to a problem he didn't know the answer to without breaking down in tears. His self esteem was so low, he thought he was supposed to already know the answers or he was "stupid". He felt any instruction meant a lecture on why he didn't know anything.

    I learned more about my previously "straight A student" than I ever imagined was going on. Eighteen months and a diagnosis of Aspergers later we have a great relationship and feels he can go to school and achieve anything because if he needs help I am here. Go for it and don't look back. Whether you decide it is a permanent or temporary change, there isn't a part of it you will regret. This can only make your family closer and easier to make future decisions for each child. Keep us posted on your journey from all aspects. Love ya!!!!

    Jenny

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    1. Jenny

      Btw, academically he didn't lose any ground in comparison to his peers. In fact, I was able to fill in much of what had been dismissed by past teachers when he had told them he didn't understand. There are many things he can still do to this day that we learned together which he wouldn't have any other way. This also includes diagraming sentences and reciting a couple poems which speaks to my own heart. ? I loved homeschool.

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    I homeschooled for one year, and while there were goods and bads, the thing I miss most was the gospel learning part of our day. It was more than just reading scriptures as a family. We read out of the Book of Mormon reader, talked about the story, and had a little activity that went along with it. It truly started our day out on the right foot. I wish I could find time for that again.

    Reply
  3. Bri, so proud of you for taking the leap - the years of having your children home with you disappear so fast, and those moments are cherished by both you and them long after they leave home. I think the time has come that we do need to take a stand and take our 'children back' because we lose them to the system and our rights as parents are dismissed and our children are taught values based on the values of who is teaching them. If I were raising my children in this day and age, I would seriously consider doing the same - either home school or private school. They need confidence, love, encouragement, and all of the things that shape them in to whom they will become. What a good mom you are! So proud of you! You have a beautiful family and they will do GREAT! Love ya!

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