Homeschooling 5 kids is challenging (to put it mildly). There are days I feel outright sorry for myself when I think of how nice it would be to have my older ones in school, have time with the little ones, have a clean house again, a bit of time to breathe. But year after year we choose to homeschool our kiddos, despite the fact that it is downright hard!
This week I have had a little glimpse into school life. We have put our kids in science camp at the local school, which runs all week and is 9-3:30. I have had to make lunches, get the kids out the door, go out and pick them up. I let them go out and play for a few hours, then we eat and it’s time for bedtime routine. And quite frankly, I HATE it! I mean, hate it with a passion. I miss my kids! I miss having time to read to them or do a fun project or activity. I miss talking with them, exploring with them, going berry picking with them. They are all in different classes and don’t see each other, I hate that they are spending all day without their siblings. I hate the rush out the door, I hate that I am not a part of what they are doing or learning, and I hate that I get the leftovers (the tired, whiny kids). I hate that in the rush, we all get stressed, I hate when I see them walk away and I feel like crying.
I have always felt a little bit jealous of public school moms, a little bit of self-pity. I will admit to having a bit of a martyr attitude, the whole “woe is me” mentality around the fact that I am stuck at home. But this week I got just a taste of what our life could be like if we sent our kids to school, and I have never been more certain of the path we have chosen for our family!
Homeschooling is right for us
Our family is big and busy, the connection and time that we get because we are a homeschool family is just impossible if we send our kids to school. My kids are learning about measurement, math, and science, when they bake cookies with me. They are learning about plants and the environment as we go berry picking. They are learning about the ocean and ocean life when we go crabbing or clamming. They are learning about First Nations and social studies when we visit with the local Haida people or talk about some of the history of this land or the local myths/stories.
My kids are learning empathy and etiquette when they learn how to make friends and play with children of all ages (including their siblings). They are learning about art and crafts and engineering and creating when they raid my school room and start making something or build a fort in the forests around us. I am right with them as they interact with their siblings and friends to help walk them through behaviours or character flaws that I see beginning in them. I get to help them through, step by step, when I see anger or jealousy or bossiness or a hint of bullying. My kids are learning how to do their own laundry, how to be responsible for an area of the house and do a job WELL, whether they feel like it or not (real life, right?). They are playing hard and getting a TON of sun and fresh air, not stuck inside at a desk.
They are free to ask as many questions as they want and learn about whatever they are interested in, rather than being taught a certain topic or being restricted by class size or teacher availability. They don’t have to feel fear or inadequacy by either their peers or a test score or grade. They are confident in who they are and learning every minute of the day. We still use curriculum about half the time, but we take days and even weeks off for just life learning and I have seen so much improvement in my kids, just by giving them space and bringing the fun back into our homeschool. I also am finding that if we school year round, we have the flexibility to do this. We can have full weeks of unschooling, as long as we do a few weeks of school each month, we are able to fit in our entire school year of curriculum books, while still having a ton of freedom!
We homeschool for SO many reasons, there are so many benefits to homeschooling, you can read the HUGE list I made of the pros and cons of homeschooling from a homeschool kids perspective, from a homeschool mom’s perspective and a homeschool dad’s perspective HERE. The longer I homeschool, the less certain I am that we will ever put our kids in the school system. I have fallen in love with having my kids around me, with learning alongside them, adventuring together. One day, perhaps, but for now… 1 week of school was MORE than enough for me!