Since my daughter was about 3 and a half my husband and I have been thinking about her education. We wanted one that would encourage her strengths, provide her extra help with the things she found challenging, provide an environment that encouraged her creativity and gave her the freedom to learn through play.
Now that we live in a small town we really only have one option locally (I’m not putting my 5 year old on a bus) otherwise we would have to travel 30 minutes each way everyday for her to attend a school in the nearest city. There’s nothing wrong with that but from experience when I was a child it makes the day so much longer, it’s harder to spend time with friends after school etc, so it’s an option we were trying to avoid if we could. Both my husband and I went to public schools throughout our education and class sizes have probably increased a lot since since then at most schools. It was suggested to us that we look at religious schools as these tend to have smaller class sizes but we are not religious people, I have nothing against it but that’s just not how we live so therefore finding an education that was more along the lines of our beliefs is important. The only other option in the city was a private school. I looked into it and it looked great, extra time in creative subjects, one on one support if the child needed it, smaller class sizes etc etc. I won’t even say it’s a negative because I don’t believe it is but private schooling is expensive. I was more than willing to return to work during school hours to pay for education so that wasn’t really an issue we couldn’t overcome. We sort of sat on this idea for about 4 months, researching, talking and we thought that was the road we were going to take- that is if we could get in!
I never thought I would ever homeschool, I kind of a stereotypical image in my head of what a homeschooling family looked like and we weren’t it. For one we only have one kid (so far) and all homeschooling families I have ever known have had at least 4 kids. But after talking to a few of my friends who homeschool (all for different reasons) I thought I would look into it some more. I asked my husband if it was something he would mind if I looked into and said go for it. So I spent about the next 8 months researching, talking to friends that homeschool, looking into studies and listening to educators about the pros and cons of homeschooling. All while talking about with my husband, my dad and my mum (who is a teacher). It didn’t take long before we were all pretty sold on it and my husband and I agreed that it’s what we think our child would benefit from.
We have decided to take it a year at a time and reasses how everyone is feeling about it our daughter included and see how things go. She is 5 in March of next year and instead of going to school we will be educating at home. Children in New Zealand legally don’t have to be at school until they turn 6 and there is increasing research that shows even by delaying formal education until then can be beneficial for some children so even if she starts school then I’m confident she will still be on track with everyone else.
We have already started lessons at home gradually and she is really enjoying it so far, it’s amazing how fast she picks things up and the joy she has with learning. I want her to have that as long as possible. We are exploring curriculum for next year, our goal would be that if she was to attend school she would be at the same level as everyone else in her class.
I know the social aspect of school is what everyone thinks she will miss out on by not going to school however she is a naturally social kid so I don’t have any concerns in this area. If she was a kid who lacked social skills I would be more concerned but this kid talks to anyone and everyone and gets along well with everybody. Along side extracurricular activities and sport we also have a very close and large family so missing out on social activities will not be a problem. It also gives our family freedom, flexibility and the opportunity for Abby to follow her interests and learn about who she is and what she loves.
I know some people have really strong opinions about this topic and that’s cool but every family and every kid is so different so I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer, nor do I think one is better than the other. It’s just a choice and you have to choose what works for your family and your children!
I will be showing you some of what we do on the blog, including some fun games, resources that you can use regardless if you are homeschooling. We are also in the process of putting together our school room so I will show that to you once it’s done too!
Tell me what you think about homeschooling, could you see it working for your family?