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Is School The Best Place For Them? 7 Things We're Loving About Homeschooling

"Mom... please. Please don't make me go. Please let me stay home."

Most of us remember times we didn't want to go to school. Maybe there was a big test that day, or your weren't getting along with a friend. Even as adults there are days we feel like staying home rather than going to work or going to that appointment we're less than thrilled about. But every day? I began to question, was school the best place for her?

Nearly every morning this was what we'd hear from our kind-hearted and adventurous six year old. And too many nights I'd awaken with my heart pounding as I bolted to her room, finding her caught up in another night terror. Something wasn't right.

If you're thinking some traumatic event at school occurred, I first wondered the same. Yet she loved her classmates, made many good friends, and raved about how kind her teacher was. She was excited to learn and was doing well academically. Yet still, something was off.

I thought about our spunky little toddler girl... and how she was so happy, with such belief in herself. It felt that I was seeing less and less of that girl and so much overwhelm and anxiety. It had me pondering the European countries such as Finland and Sweden, places where it was common not to start school until the age of seven. Was it coincidence that these also happen to be countries ranked higher for quality of life and among the best places in the world for women to have and raise children? Why is early separation between young ones and their mothers so normalized here?

Most of the time this separation is out of basic necessity. Bills must be paid and many of our jobs don't accommodate the presence of a baby or young child. So off they go to daycare or a sitter, then on to preschool and kindergarten. Yet the Covid lockdown taught us something. We can do things differently for the well-being of our family and others. In fact, according to the Washington Post, nationwide homeschooling is up over fifty percent since 2018.

We'd considered homeschooling our daughter since the end of her preschool journey and this conversation was revisited frequently through the winter and early spring. As we began spending more and more time outdoors, something we value greatly as a family, it became harder and harder to drop her off where she was not wanting to be. We discovered a food dye allergen that she was getting exposed to frequently, and her mental and physical health were not what we knew it could be. She teetered between anxious and overwhelmed more often than she was peaceful, content, or joyful. Even on days that she seemed to do well at school, she'd share about how uncomfortable she felt in her body.

We decided it was silly to wait until next year to begin what we knew would be best for her, and began our homeschooling journey in early April. Like the spring flowers, she is blossoming already! Here are seven things we're loving about homeschooling so far:

1) Outdoor Time

If we can be, we're outside. Our family is simply an outdoor lovin' family, from hiking and exploring the woods to camping, gardening, and fishing along the river, we are all happiest when enjoying Mother Nature. She went from a couple short recesses full of loud noises and little nature connection (rubber playground base, man-made metal and plastic structures) to playing outside much of the day and exploring new natural environments near our home. A recent trip to the Hartman Nature Reserve inspired conversation about the birds of Iowa and we learned all about different bird habits simply because of her own curiosity and made bird nest crafts. We went camping spontaneously, because my husband was able to leave work and we didn't have to stress about keeping the routine in check for school the next morning.

2) The Sibling Bond

Watching our daughter and son bond even more is the most beautiful thing. Don't get me wrong, at times it can be hard and I need to learn to lean on my village more in order to keep my own balance healthy. But overall? It's amazing to watch her natural love of teaching him new things and how much he looks up to her. They're to the point where they can finally fully play and communicate clearly and boy... it is FUN! The amount of giggles shared between them just makes my mama heart so joyful.

3) Daily Life Skills

She's able to take part in life skills that will benefit her as an adult, such as learning how to prepare meals, grow her own vegetables, and sort laundry. Rather than "work" being this mysterious place she sees her dad or myself head off to, she gets to be a part of that. The kids spend time in the office at their father's automotive repair business, learning about tools and how machinery works as well as witnessing customer interactions. They helped build a raised garden bed, learning about layers of compost and plant life cycles. As I write or prepare for teaching a class she gets out her own notebook to write as well, or rolls out her own yoga mat.

4) Social Freedom

One of the most common reasons I've heard against homeschooling is fearing a lack of social interaction. "Oh, but they need friends! They need to go to school for socialization." Understandable, as this is absolutely correct. Friendships are important, as is the ability to properly socialize with other human beings. I enjoyed watching as our daughter befriended a girl at our campsite, a couple of years older than herself. They played and chatted and used their imaginations together, initiating their friendship completely themselves. Or at the local youth pavilion, where I watched her help a younger kiddo get up where they were trying to get to and invite them to play. Or at the grocery store, where she chatted with the friendly cashier about her favorite food items. Socialization and friendship happens naturally through living life in a community. She also has the freedom to not be social at times when she's feeling more introspective, just as we have the choice to do.

5) Family Time

We get to be together. While I am primarily responsible for most of the homeschooling tasks, our daughter gets more quality time with her father than she would otherwise. We are able to go on adventures with less stress about timelines and routines (other than those that support our overall well-being). She and her brother get to grow together with a lower level of stress.

6) Ideal Schedule

We create a schedule that works best for her and us. She's naturally more of a night owl. Her brain is most active in the evening and is often not ready to wake up fully until 8:00 or 8:30am. Trying to continuously wake her up before her body was ready to be and force her to sleep before her body was ready to sleep led to both of us feeling like we were failing. This simple adjustment of timing and being able to listen to her own body has been life-changing for the entire family. We can enjoy visiting grandparents, cousins, and friends without having to wait for vacations or three day weekends.

7) Greater Mind/Body/Spirit Connection

If you're here you know that this is what I'm all about... fostering natural wellness in body, mind, and spirit. So how could I continue to teach this while forcing my daughter to continue doing what was making her feel unwell? Her body was falling sick so often, both from germs and from her food allergy we now are aware of. Her mind was unsettled, fearful and anxious. Her spirit seemed to be shrinking. We noticed her confidence beginning to rebuild within a few days of our decision, and her eyes began to shine with that light that had seemed to recede.

We still love our school, and are so grateful for her time spent there. I'm especially touched by how caring they were when trying to problem solve together and how kind and supportive they were when we finally decided homeschooling would be best for our family. It felt good to know that if at any point we decide to go back, we're happily welcomed to do so. The current balance may not always be the best, and we're willing to make changes to foster the wellness of our family as a whole. I'm also aware that this opportunity is a privilege not available to all, and am so grateful for my own education and skills as well as my partner in doing so.

Is school the best place for our kids? There is no right answer because each child is a unique individual. For some, absolutely! I know our many friends and family in the education field are making an incredible difference in children's lives by sharing their love and knowledge.

For ours, at this current stage of life, we're thankful to be bringing her schooling home.


Heather B
Heather B

You are an inspiration! Well done Momma


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm a writer, energy healer, and plant-obsessed meditating mama on a mission of guiding women to Heal & Rise! For more about my story...

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