“So, how long are you gonna homeschool for?” I get asked this question often, mostly by non-homeschooling folks. And, my standard answer is, “For as long as the girls want to.” I just had the conversation with each of them this week about whether they want to continue to homeschool next year, or go to public school. They all independently voted to continue to homeschool next year. I am, admittedly, a little relieved. I have nothing against public school, certainly not our local school district. I whole-heartedly support public education. In fact, someday I hope to return to teaching in public school myself. Personally, it does not matter where the education takes place, but it does require three legs on which to stand: the engagement of the student, the passion of the teacher, and the involvement of the parents. Education at Burden Academy: check, check, and check.
With that disclaimer, there are obvious perks to homeschooling that I am relieved not to have to surrender. We get up and start school on our schedule. We pick the curriculum. If it’s not working, we change it. They get one on one attention and get to go at their pace. If they are struggling with a concept, we find different ways to approach it until we find something that works. We mostly go year round, with a week off per month, two weeks off at Christmas and a month off in June. In fact, we will kick off our fourth year of homeschool in July. It may sound like a lot of time spent schoolin’ when others are not, but it means we can spend a week at the beach in the fall when crowds and temperatures are down, or hit that long-awaited theme park during the off-season.
Homeschooling means regular field trips, as often as we can handle it. It means cuddles with my kiddos during math, reading, or unit study, while they are still little enough to want cuddles. It means freedom to go as far down the rabbit hole on a topic as we want when the mood strikes us. It means impassioned learning to quench curiosity, learning for the sake of learning. No state testing or state standards to buckle under, but education that is aligned to educational goals for each kid, and personally assessed daily. No one knows them better or cares more about their education than I do, because I am the parent as well as the teacher. Breathe in, do you smell that? That is the sweet aroma of educational freedom. God bless Texas.
So, how long will we homeschool? I will do my best to keep you posted, but no promises. We keep pretty busy these days. We are homeschoolers, you know.