My Reasons behind Homeschooling
Why did I choose to homeschool my kids? I get this question all the time.
I have more than one reason, one motivation and one drive to do what I do.
Where it all Started.
When Nika was in grade one she asked to be homeschooled. She hated school and was a real mamma’s girl. Baby Kelvin was almost two at the time so my answer was never will I ever. Not only was my answer no because of Kelvin’s age, but I really had zero interest in teaching, even my own kids. I spent my twelve years in school thank you very much.
Slowly she learnt to love school, more because of the social aspect and everyone else grew up and also went to school one by one. Fast forward four years after she asked me the first time and I, slowly over time started changing my mindset around the whole homeschooling idea.
First things first.
Homeschooling your kids does not suite every family. It also does not suite every child or parent. It doesn’t make you a more special mom, or a super human or even gives you bigger mother’s day gifts. I honestly believe it is just the different plans God has for different people and journeys. Imagine if we all felt the same, did the same, thought the same … life would be so boring. It is also not something you can do without the support of the kids and them really wanting it as well as the support from your husband.
This wasn’t just my decision. It wasn’t one I made over night and I prayed about this for many years.
Having a big family was part of the plan. Honestly I originally wanted six but four was enough when I found myself with four kids under five years. My big family is really a dream come true. My biggest family goal was to make the most of the us years together.
The First Trigger
The first trigger was when I was left with only one child at home and dropped three kids at school before 7:30 in the mornings. Don’t get me wrong, peace and quiet was exactly what the doctor ordered. But I also missed them. I missed being their only influence. I missed being the one person. They loved their teachers, thank God for that but in a way it made me a little jealous. I wanted to miss nothing. I wanted to see them grow. I wanted to see the cute things they did while they learn.
Life is short, time flies and before we know it the kids are big and we are all doing our own things. Yes we will always be a family and yes I realise I can’t hold onto them forever but why can’t I hold onto them while they are still mine? I had these questions weighing on my heart.
I’m thankful for the years we had in school. Not only was it good for the kids, it was good for me. It was good to test different waters although at that time I didn’t know it was testing waters. Every experience in life is a good one right?
Slowly Realising What I Want
Let’s face it, if we make plans for a weekend and the school decides to have a sports day on Saturday, the entire weekend plans goes down the drain. If the school holiday is only ten days, well then it is only ten days. I know and realise we need structure, discipline, responsibility and purpose. I asked myself whether I could give these things to them and if possible in an even better way.
As parents we want what is best for our children and always. We want to give them the best of us. My best was to not fight with every child before 7am each morning. My best is to sleep a little later, have a chilled breakfast where laughter begins and then spend good quality time together as we learn. I want to have control on the when, the why and the how. Yes make no mistake we still have soccer matches on Saturday’s and we have dance competitions and theatre shows, but our lives slowed down completely. There is so much more time for cuddles and play time. It is important for me to teach my kids how to also slow down in life and that it is not just about rushing around, never stopping and doing everything you possibly can to have a full schedule all the time.
This part of my decision was a no brainer and I don’t miss those crazy busy have to’s of life. Neither do they.
The Second Trigger
Another thing that weighed heavy on my heart was what the kids are learning as well as the traditional way of learning. I know it is important for kids to read, write, spell (although even that is on auto correct all over) and, basic math (although we always have a calculator on hand). I also realise as an adult things we think are basic common knowledge might not be for them because they haven’t learnt it at school or experienced it before.
The one thing most important about this journey for me is to make sure my kids don’t fall behind. But I also choose what is more important. So much of the school content, especially because I see it all, teach it all and make sure it all gets done will never be used one day in real life. I am preparing kids for the real world and knowing about something that happened 700 years ago is just not that important to me. (Although my kids love history so we go big into it.) I feed them what they love, what they absolutely must and encourage them to find and discover who they really are and what they really love.
We are currently using https://www.cambrilearn.com as our official homeschool platform because I need the guidelines. But we still have our freedom. We get to do everything as we please and I get to see the kids progress without me being biased. One day if or when they want to go to university I will make sure they are ready academically, emotionally and socially. In my time. On my knowledge of being here 41 years.
My theory, school is still exactly the same as the for example 50’s. In the mean time the entire world changed. We got TV’S, phones, cellphones, computers, internet… why is school still the same? And this was another reason that helped me make up my mind and choose the path I did. Tag a mom in the comments below and tell me what you think?
Trigger number Three
I love holidays and travel. Have always and probably will always. Although Covid has limited travel a lot over the past two years, I still absolutely love it. This is the one thing I’ve done with my kids from a very young age. I hit the road and my husband would meet us wherever we are over that weekend via plane. We’ve had magical trips, educational trips and literally a lifetime of memories built.
When the kids were in school I could never just spontaneously jump in the car and go somewhere. Everything had to be planned according to school holidays and free weekends. One of my biggest dreams were always to travel more permanently for longer periods of time, and if the kids are in school this is not possible. I figured the sooner we get use to remote learning the sooner we can start traveling. This was a huge motivation towards my final decision.
The Forth Trigger
I grew up in the Freestate basically all my life and in 2019 we moved to Gauteng. My kids were born in the Free State and their best friends where their birth friends. Literally Roxy was born a few hours before her best friend. Moving was both super exciting but so scary and more importantly heartbreaking in a very sentimental way.
Moving was a lot harder than what I ever thought it would be for the kids. They did not like their new school, they did not like the switch in language from Afrikaans public school to an English private school. They had friends, they did well at school, they loved their teachers but something just didn’t stick. Maybe it was the two completely different school cultures, maybe it was the move, maybe it was the different life? I don’t know but they had smiles and enjoyed their time at school until they jumped into the car. Our small town was missed and it showed.
All I could do was cheering them along, embracing our new life and hold them tight telling them this will too become home and familiar. Homeschool popped up all the time but I wasn’t convinced just yet. I, myself was still trying to find my feet in the city.
This move played a huge factor in my decision to homeschool our kids. Have you ever moved towns when your kids were happiest? We moved for just over a year when I was in grade 10 and it broke me but I look back today and it was probably part of the best year of my life. The difference is I grew up in a different era, I grew up in a time when things were a lot simpler and easier. And I grew up in a time long before Covid.
Another Huge Trigger
If you are a mom, even if it is to an only child you will understand exactly what I mean when I talk about the rushing around and schedules. Once kids start going to school, your life no longer belongs to you. I remember always finding myself rushing around trying to get everything done while they were in school and rushing around after school to well also get everything done. Make no mistake, I still rush around but not even close to as bad as it use to be.
Having four kids, four different grades, four different stages and four different personalities I was constantly running around like a chicken without a head. No I only run into myself. Honestly, I was not living the dream. I was not living my best full life. It was one big race from point A to point B and it drove me nuts.
Let’s face it, December 2019 nobody knew what was coming.
My Final Decision
In November 2019 I told the kids “finally” I will give it a shot. I was scared but I made them a deal. We all agreed to one more year of school while I get all my ducks in a row, do my proper research, say good-bye to my time and start and entire new chapter in life. Everyone was happy about this decision and were both excited for their last year in school as well as a new chapter at home.
The decision was made and I had more than enough good reasons to give it a try. What made you decide to homeschool your kids just because you felt it somewhere inside yourself? I’d love to hear other reasons than my own reasons for doing what I did.
I think I am going to pause for a moment and just share my true fears I had as a mom before I took this huge step and responsibility. I was “freakin” scared. I have no teaching qualifications, I personally think not much patience and had no idea where to start.
What scared me the most?
– Will they be qualified enough to go to university one day if they choose to go?
– Will I have enough time to run the home, write, be a wife, be a mom and for me-time?
– Will I be able to keep up with a school schedule?
– Will they listen to me?
– Will I ever get toilet time?
– Will we ever have a clean home again?
– Will I get rest for my soul?
– Will my kids miss out in life?
– Will I miss out in life?
– Will it ever feel normal? Stepping outside of the “world’s way” and when I say this I just mean the normal way of living?
– Do I want to be the odd one out?
– Will I cope?
– Gosh will they cope?
– Where do I even start?
I had enough reasons to do what I wanted but goodness I had more than enough reasons to NOT do what I wanted. I was not NOT scared. The final announcement in December 2019 was a huge step for me because I knew my kids will hang onto that promise. They were super excited to have one more year in school but also homeschooling after I arranged my ducks.
So as you can see I did not make my decision based on one thing. I also did not for a second thought it was going to be easy.
Today I look back and I have no regrets. I often check in with the kids just to make sure we are all still on the same page. They love it. For us, this was good.
Some Questions I Get
If you are a homeschool mom, what scared you the most about this this first and bold step?
Are you considering homeschooling but are afraid to make the move?
Where do you start?
Will it suite your family and your kids?
Remember no family dynamics look the same. We have to do what sits good and right in our own hearts. Happy to help if you leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram. I’m on both Mom Just Saying and The Mad Loud House.
Much Love ❤️