Someone recently asked me what we have given up as a family in our pursuit to homeschool.
First my answer was:
Mostly the same things I gave up to become a Stay at Home Mom: Cable, some extra curricular activities, only one car in our family now, we pay for the school-aged children's lunches now whereas before they had free lunch at school. We cut back on family vacations and date night money, but you know what? Our family is extremely blessed and happy. I wouldn't change it!
Then I thought about it the rest of the day. There is so much more to this.
This is my new response:
We gave up driving 2 HOURS a day with little ones in tow for the 30 min drive to and from school to drop off and pick up every day. We gave up bullies and negative attitudes towards learning. We gave up teaching to the tests! We won't let our children be just a number on a chart. We gave up parent teacher conferences every other week and fighting with the teachers, principals, and the school district (ESE Director was on my speed dial) because my kids were being left behind (one too Gifted and one with delays- Dyslexia and Speech) We gave up the struggle of over an hour of homework during the cooking dinner hour AFTER their 6 hour days when neither were learning anything because it was not their learning styles or interests and it is just too long of a day to not have time to play...15 minutes of recess is not enough in my opinion.
We gave up fundraisers and paying for uniforms and school pictures and $200 lists of school supplies PER KID per year. We gave up on last minute bake sales and volunteering in classes other than our kid's class because that just wasn't allowed. We (my daughter really) gave up the idea of needing a cell phone at age 7 "because everyone else in class has one". We don't have to bring our kids to school sick out of fear that the school will send the truancy officers to our house because we have pulled them out too many days that year for doctor appointments, even though they were for pink eye, strep throat, and the flu which are all just causes. Nope. We don't have to worry about driving home to pick up the forgotten lunch box or hearing lectures about homework not getting finished because our son passed out after too long of a day at school at age 5. We finally have a sense of PEACE and LIFE and JOY and LOVE for learning. Our son who had acquired a hate for reading during Kindergarten in public school so profound that he would cry or tantrum every time we were going to even sit down to read now smiles and will participate and is reading easy books on his own and he is so proud of himself. We are too!
Whatever sacrifices we may have given up to homeschool are completely worth it in those moments when your kids are enjoying books and learning and discovering new things. Such precious memories our families will carry on for a lifetime. I'm so happy we made this decision to homeschool!