There are many answers to the question “what inspired you to homeschool”. Actually the question is often posed differently as well. Anything from “that’s very brave of you; why would you choose that?” to “do you have a teaching degree?” and there’s always “good for you but I couldn’t do it” as they reflect quickly on their own family and declare it’s not for them.
Each of us will answer politely (sometimes I’m a little sarcastic which likely isn’t helpful) but usually the response is light and lacking in substance.
Homeschooling is a personal choice but it is often inspired by a common thread. Over the years I have heard many reasons but each person starts with or finishes their list with family. Time with family is what I hear in every voice whether they are just starting out or sending their youngest off to school, at whatever stage, and saying goodbye to homeschooling. It won’t matter how they homeschool, but this is typically the core motivation.
I met a family recently that was leaving the public system to begin their journey. I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to their enthusiasm and excitement. What a place to be! Their children were young with the oldest entering grade 3 and the youngest around kindergarten age. They asked questions and explained their plan for the upcoming year. My favourite part of the conversation was the declaration “and we can start right now!” realizing that life with their children is homeschooling and what they do tomorrow could (and should) be included in the definition. I try in these moments to be a listener and not some self-proclaimed sage because it’s that enthusiasm that is the inspiration. It’s that energy and excitement that drives the idea of homeschooling their children forward, making it their journey without the burden of my experience. So when I’m asked by the same family what made us decided to homeschool I ride that wave of enthusiasm. It’s in its wake that we remember what inspired us.
Our family is, and always will be, at the core of our decisions. Our oldest decided last year that he wanted to go to public school for grade 9. This seemed like a strange choice (being the last year of junior high in our system) but it was our relationship with him, knowing who he was at his centre, that offered peace of mind. We trusted he was making the choice for his own needs and interests. And I have to say – all of your fears come forward about your choice to homeschool when faced with the comparison of homeschooling versus school. Not necessarily the fear of being judged by teachers and school administrators, but any gaps in what he was “supposed” to learn versus what he chose to learn could cause him difficulties. He completed his last day yesterday and that dreaded report landed in my lap (dreaded because philosophically it irritates me) and he rocked it! Not only were his grades fantastic but more importantly every comment noted what a joy he was to teach because of his enthusiasm, kindness, citizenship and inclusion of all those around him. He is looking forward to high school in the fall and does not regret for a moment his choice. This is the same child who laid on the school floor at the end of his kindergarten year crying “grade 1 is all day?!! I don’t want to be here ALL day mommy!!”
Looking back over the last nine years I reflected on the moments that brought him to this place and like the family just starting their journey, my son’s excitement for his future inspires me. Inspires me to scoop up my younger sons and “start right now!” because our journey is still going hard and we love every minute of it.
Tell me – what inspired you to homeschool?