It’s Real; It’s Here

It’s crazy, it’s real, and it’s started:

Growing up rural, homeschooling didn’t seem like a logical option at all. My town was comprised of around 300 people and most families were dual income households. Elementary school was in the neighboring town and educated all children from kindergarten through eighth grade in the same building. Our high school was compilation of three towns coming together and my graduating class only consisted of thirty-six students. Everybody knew everyone and it really did take a village to raise a child. Teachers knew and cared about their students on a very deep level, some even taught our parents. Those deep connections are not as easy to come by living as a military family.

As long as I’ve been a mom, homeschooling has been an idea that sounded great to me for several reasons. The same reasons that every would-be homeschooler comes up with, I presume. But guilt and uncertainty has always held me back. The guilt came from a place where I wondered if I was wanting to homeschool for the “right” reasons. Would my husband see it as a way to stay away from the workforce for longer than our predetermined “when the boys are both in school” plan? Would I be taking opportunities away that I couldn’t replace? Do I just want to spend more time with them? The uncertainty came from not knowing how the standards were being met in public schools and wondering if I was equipped enough to help my children meet those standards. Slowly and surely, insight has been provided. After a few years of uncomfortable school situations for our oldest and a couple years of myself being an intermittent educational aide (usually with special needs children), I feel beyond confident that we can create a successful learning environment that will prove to be less stressful for the entire family. It has to be said though that the guilt would still probably keep us in mainstream public schools (for a while longer), if it weren’t for a big upcoming move.

My husband got orders and our family is moving to a remote island where we’ll be immersed in a whole new culture rich in history. Our surroundings will be like none other than we’ve experienced. There will be tons of opportunity for natural learning. And I feel like that’s really what it all boiled down to for us. In all honesty, no matter what the next duty station would be, the new location would be full of new information to dive into and sending our children to school for seven hours a day might not allow us to take full advantage of the opportunity that was presented.

So here it is… I was gently pushed to move slightly past my level of comfort and I really think our family will reap great benefits from the experience in its entirety. Research has been done, materials have been gathered, and a plan has been devised (for the most part). I’ve defended my plan to family, friends, and acquaintances (maybe I was convincing myself), and submitted my letter of intent to the powers that be. The current teachers have been notified and are supporting me through the transition. In just two weeks we will be a homeschooling family! I’m really just so excited and know that being able to have a 1:2 ratio will create a great academic environment. We’ll get plenty of social interaction with others at sports, the beach, the library, etc. These next two years are really going to grow us!

Naïve as it might sound, I’m ready. I’m even ready for the failures, as other homeschoolers have told me are bound to happen; days, weeks, and even months might not go as planned. I really feel like journaling the experience and keeping daily logs will prove to myself that we are a successful homeschooling family. And I hope that along the journey, I will be able to help others through the experiences we have.

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