I don’t have a degree in teaching, but I’m a teacher. If you would have asked me back in high school what I would be doing in 10 years I would have said being the CEO of my own business and enjoying my life to the fullest. I NEVER would have said homeschooling my 5 children, let alone saying I would have 5 children in the first place.
Honestly the thought of homeschooling seemed weird and just silly back then. My whole misconception of homeschooling was children that are unsocial, uneducated, mistreated, and sheltered from the world around them… to name a few. I believe a lot of people who are against homeschooling have these SAME misconceptions.
It wasn’t until our first child was about 2 years old that the thought of homeschooling came up. I didn’t want to do it, and was completely looking forward to “my free time” when he and any other children we had would be sent off to public school.
Little did I know that homeschooling was the plan that God had in mind for us. Everywhere we turned homeschooling was brought up, I couldn’t get away from the idea and for some reason it seemed so interesting to me. My husband and I decided to pray about it and we did for 2 whole years! I did a ton of research and even went over the pros and cons many times.
Finally the decision had been made, we were going to homeschool.
Telling our family and friends wasn’t as easy as you would think, some were very supportive and others thought we were NUTS!
One of my favorite comments from a family member who we were showing our classroom to was, “Oh, this will make a nice playroom at least.” At first I took that very personal and was pretty upset about it. Then I thought about it for awhile and realized… YES, it will make a nice playroom. Learning will be fun, enjoyable, and creative!
A lot of people don’t realize that a child at a young age learns the MOST through play. Here are some interesting facts to keep in mind as well:
When a child reads information they will only retain about 10% of it, 90% of it is lost.
If they are presented the information orally they will retain 20% of it, 80% of it is lost.
If a child sees what they are learning about they will retain 30% of it, 70% of it is lost.
When a child sees and hears he/she will remember 50% of the material.
When a child is asked to talk about a subject or read out loud they will retain 70% of the lesson.
If a child is on the other hand actively involved in a project and doing hands on activities, they will retain 90% of it.
Just my personal opinion, but it seems to me that it is much easier for a mother of 5 children to do more hands on activities and educate her children in a more effective way than a teacher in a classroom of 20-30+ children. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate public school teachers very much and think they have a super hard and important job. However, the way the system is set up does not allow a teacher to educate public schooled children very effectively. The system is more worried about crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s than allowing a teacher to use her God given talents to teach the children in her class. Test scores have proven this time and time again.
Once we had made our decision, we had to deal with many questions including those worried about our children’s social skills and sheltering them from the outside world. We in no way intended to shelter our children and anyone that has ever spoken to one of our children can attest to the fact that they are far from being unsocial! (LOL) We are involved in many activities outside the home, take part in different groups, have participated in Co-Ops and sporting teams.
Another question that has been brought up is “Why not leave it up to the professionals, you don’t even have a teaching degree?” Who is to say I’m NOT a professional… just because I didn’t spend thousands of dollars in college fees, years of my life in a classroom to get a piece of paper that says I have a certain degree shouldn’t deem me unworthy of teaching my children. I am a strong believer that actions speak louder than words. My children and their academic scores have proven that I must be doing something right. For example, when I first thought of homeschooling, I was beyond worried about teaching my children to read. It has never been a strong area for me. However, I learned right alongside my oldest, poured knowledge into him and I was so excited last year when he got his standardized test scores back for 2nd grade. He tested higher in reading than 98% of his peers and was reading at an 8th grade reading level!
There are so many benefits to homeschooling.
I get the chance to see my children learning new things first hand, I don’t have to just hear about it. We can learn together… take field trips and do hands on activities that are fun and exciting. I have the opportunity to see what areas my children are struggling in and what areas they are excelling in as well. This gives us a chance to help them one-on-one to improve on certain skills and give them room to grow and advance in areas of interest. For example, my oldest son, Logan, LOVES birds! He honestly could tell you the name and important facts about pretty much any bird you show him. He amazes me with the knowledge and interest he has in this area. I am able to provide resources and encourage his love for birds and this gets him excited about reading and learning even more.
There also are so many wonderful materials, curriculums and resources offered to homeschooling families. Trust me I have done plenty of research to find what works well for us. I remember our first year homeschooling, I had someone ask me “Did you ever take calculus in school, if you didn’t how are you going to teach your child something you never learned?” My response was this… First off my son is in Pre-K and just learning his numbers, I think we will be ok. When he is older and will be taking more advanced classes, if I can’t help him we have some amazing friends that would be willing to help in this journey with us. Plus there are so many programs out there that we would be able to learn together.
As far as teaching different grades at the same time, there is this awesome thing called unit studies! A great example I always like to share is this: let’s say we are learning about the eye. We would learn together all of the material about the eye up to a 3rd grade level (my oldest), maybe even higher if he is interested in knowing more now. Then our work would be as followed, 3rd grader might write a report about the eye, 1st grader might write a paragraph about the eye, Kindergartener might label the parts of an eye with a word bank and a Pre-K might color a picture of an eye. There also are many curriculums that allow for some independent learning for older grades which allows more time to focus on the basic skills needed in the younger grades, such as Phonics.
I will be the first to say homeschooling is NOT for everyone though.
There is a lot of work, planning, time, and energy involved in it. As well as, a true commitment you have to make to be a homeschooling family. It’s not always easy, but for us, it is worth it. There is no right or wrong… each person / family is entitled to their own thoughts, feelings, and opinions about public school vs. homeschooling. However these feelings should never judge the choice of another family if they feel called to do something different than yours.
Again, 10 years ago I would have said I would be a CEO of my own business and living my life to the fullest. I am thankful to say, I am a CEO of my own business, by being an Independent Director with Thirty-One Gifts, and completely love every aspect of my life… funny enough, I even love being a homeschooling mother of 5!
Proud Homeschooling Mother, Misty Hovis
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