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Friday, April 11, 2008

Home Education Week: Day 1- Looking Back

This is a repost that fits the Heart of the Matter weekly meme just right!

The little yellow school bus was going to be my ticket to freedom. Of that I was certain. Day dreams filled with all three kiddoes off at school while I enjoyed time at home to cook, run errands, meet friends for coffee, do some household projects and hobbies...maybe even take up tennis...maybe even a part-time job! I only had 5 more years to go until I'd have them all in school from 7:30-2:30. Seven hours of independence!

And then it happened... I moved next to some homeschoolers. Not just any homeschoolers - really neat homeschoolers. Our kids became friends, we became friends. And as I got to know them better, homeschooling became less and less "out there" and "impossible" seeming - even for an impatient and slightly dis-organized mom like me. But, just because something is possible doesn't mean it is preferrable. So, for the first couple years I was quite happy to continue with my day dreams. Until those day dreams were slowly erroding away.

Over my eldest's Kindergarten and first grade years, my husband and I became aware of the high cost to our family of having our children in the public school system. We realized it was not a cost we were willing to pay. I became quickly tired of the pointless homework being sent home and the other ways the school monopolized our family time. Wasn't it enough that they had my child for 7 hours? Couldn't they accomplish an adequate education in that time? If not, why not? For heaven's sake - this was only 1st grade after all! Someone had performed a switcheroo on me - the little yellow school bus had become a shackle, instead.

After first grade, we brought my son home and took my middle son out of his 3-day a week preschool program. And in all honesty, I can't say we have really ever looked back. Oh, there are times when I am wistful for those days that I never had (7 hours of independence), but they aren't worth the trade off for us. I've sacrificed my personal independence for my children's intellectual independence. And our family has exchanged financial freedom for our family's freedom of schedule.

So, as I watch the little yellow school bus roll by at 6:30 each morning, I have no regrets, only gratitude.


Amy said...

Very well said!

Annie said...

Thanks for telling your story!

Tracy said...

Shackle, indeed! We too watch the school bus in the morning and am filled with relief each morning that it no longer dictates out lives!!!

Julie said...

Great post. I agree, the public schools do waste so much of the time that they have our home we get our "official" schoolwork done before lunch and have all afternoon to explore "extra curricular" activities. Have a super weekend.

Stacey said...

love it. so like my once-in-a-while daydreams...oh, what I could do with 7 hours of independence! But you're right, it's NOT worth the trade-off.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I always wondered why kids had homework in first grade too. We never did at that age.

De'Etta said...

Great post.