Monday, September 1, 2014

Homeschooling Ella

We’ve been thinking about our children’s education since before any of our children ever existed; and, once Ella was born, the countdown was on to make the important decision: public school, homeschool, private school, or something else? Education is a hotly debated topic within our country, and even among members of the church. People have frequently questioned us about what our plans are for our children’s education; I think sometimes out of genuine interest, and sometimes to try to sway us one way or another.

This decision isn’t one we took lightly and it has not been an easy decision to make. Part of the reason that the decision about Ella’s education was not an easy one to make is because there are lots of pros and cons to all types of schooling. I think it would be foolish to advocate that there is only one path or way that is right for all students and families. And though we have chosen to homeschool Ella, I know that she could receive a quality education in a different schooling environment. We have been and continue to be open to exploring the many options that exist when it comes to our children’s education.

So, why did we ultimately choose to homeschool Ella for kindergarten? Here are a few of the reasons:

Desire. I want to homeschool her. I like teaching, and I’m excited about the opportunity and challenge to formally teach my own child. I know that this may not be at the top of many homeschoolers’ lists, but it is one of the top reasons that we decided to homeschool Ella.

Time. Time that Ella would be spending away from the family. Time that I would miss as she learned something that was really interesting to her, scraped her knee, or picked her favorite crayon out of the box. Time that someone else got to spend with our precious girl. And, although I don’t think that time apart from the family is a bad thing, I wasn’t ready to give it up with her yet. 

Flexibility. My husband’s job isn’t the typical Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 job. His schedule varies a lot, particularly at different times of the year, and we adjust our lives accordingly. Putting Ella into a public or private school would greatly limit the flexibility in our schedule, and right now we’d like to keep that flexibility.

Curriculum/content. There are many specific things I could mention under this topic, but ultimately it gets down to this idea: we can choose what we teach Ella (here’s what is required in the state of Texas) and how we teach her. Whether it be the Bible, Spanish, cooking, or writing a note of encouragement to someone, I can incorporate those things into her education.

Although Ella continues to show me every day how much she's grown up in her five short years, it is hard to believe that kindergarten is actually here. I’m excited about the prospect of being her kindergarten teacher, alongside her dad at times, and even her little brothers as they teach her things about life.