Wrapping My Head Around Homeschool

We are considering homeschool for next year.
Technically not homeschool, but school at home through the Georgia Cyber Academy.
I have a friend with children who have attended GCA for several years and they love it.
(She is actually now working for GCA.)
I have talked to several other homeschooling parents about the pros and cons, ups and downs.
I have prayed about it, written about it, thought about it, and talked about it until I’m blue in the face.
And I still just can’t decide.
There are so, so many pros.
There really are.
We are at a place where I really enjoy the children (and they still enjoy me).
We have fun together and there’s more laughing than crying.
We learn by doing every day things together.
And the bigs are actually really helpful with the littles.
We wouldn’t be at the mercy of the school calendar.
Nor the early, frustrating mornings.
We wouldn’t have to worry about missing X number of days.
So I’m not really sure what’s holding me back.
I know that we would make other homeschooling friends.
The socialization aspect doesn’t bother me at all.
I’m certain that we would find plenty of opportunities for that.
The work load doesn’t frighten me (although I know it will require quite an adjustment for us all).
The time commitment, the structure, the details are all things I know I can do.
But something – some little thing – is making me flinch.
Is it just that I’m a rule follower and this is a little unconventional?
Is it that when I mention it, people look at me like I’ve gone mad?
What harm is there in at least trying it?
If we hate it, we go back to brick and mortar, right?
But what if we don’t try it and I always wonder?
Or should we wait?  How long?
I love our elementary school, but middle school?
Meh.  Not so much.
I want to.
I do.
But then I worry.
And I’m right back where I began.
I just can’t slow my thoughts down long enough to wrap my head around it all.

14 Responses to Wrapping My Head Around Homeschool
  1. lettergirl
    June 13, 2012 | 5:58 pm

    You would do great at it. You have the nurturing and organizational skills combo, and Georgia Cyber Academy looks like they offer a great curriculum. It’s a huge decision and sacrifice, though. I know emotionally, I get a lot of fulfillment through my work that I would miss — which I acknowledge is a selfish reason, but still true, lol. You are the best judge of what works for your family, so ignore conventions if they do not suit you. xoxoxo

  2. Kimberly
    June 13, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    I obviously do not have children at that age, but i can speak to agonizing over decisions 🙂 Plenty of experience with that! 🙂 I do not envy tough decisions, but as you point out, you can always go back if it doesn’t work out. Are you flinching from that tiny part of you that says this is something you never thought you’d do, or never saw yourself doing? In which case, I say jump! School building’s not going anywhere; it’ll be there if you change your mind 🙂

  3. Lane
    June 14, 2012 | 9:07 am

    I’ve always been a little meh about the idea of homeschooling, but I think if anyone could do it and be truly successful at it, it would be you.

  4. Heather
    June 14, 2012 | 9:12 am

    My dear friend….I did GCA with J. I adored it to pieces. Also, they do outings all the time (especially in your area)so there is tons of social interaction. Plus, there’s no more fighting. No homework. No nothing. And when you get stuck, there’s a teacher there to tell you what to do next. (I’m here if you want to talk it out…I struggled with the decision too, but I was super happy once I got started, got the hang of the computer system, and got rolling!)

  5. Chrissy Cosper
    June 14, 2012 | 9:17 am

    Girl, you would be a great homeschool mom! Cyber academy is very structured so you wouldn’t miss out on any accademics. I homeschooled until last year. Most churches or comunities have homeschool groups. It is a tough job, but very rewarding. I say go for it! If you hate it just go back to public school. If you wait, however, you may miss your opportunity to have this wonderful time learning and growing with your kids. It is so fun to have the freedom to get lost in a science lesson and hang out there as long as you want to. Or to only have school Mon-Thurs and plan fun field trips or service projects on Fridays. This is what we always did. And while you are learning accademics, you can train the children to cook their own lunch and clean and do their laundry. My kids took turns fixing lunch for everyone. We also could do Bible time and scripture memory every day. Some days we were motivated and finished before lunch. Some days we weren’t done until 5. Can you tell that I am so happy to have had the experience. This next year, Lydia will be going into 6th grade. I am excited for her to now be in public schools where she can have other opportunities such as band, choir, and sports. I could go on and on. Just take the plunge! You can do it!

  6. Erica Mueller
    June 14, 2012 | 9:18 am

    Oh, I am sure you could do it, and trust me, you will LOVE the flexible schedule and having the precious moments with your children. The GCA sounds like a good way to start! You get the benefits of them being home with you, the flexible schedule, and some help with the actual teaching.

    I’m a homeschool graduate. Pre-K to graduation. So is my husband. We’re homeschooling our boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re in Kindergarten right now with our oldest and I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch him learn. I wonder on a daily basis what it must be like to NOT experience this. What it would be like if a teacher was witnessing all my kid’s firsts and seeing the excitement on his face when he ‘gets’ something.

    I know that homeschooling is not for everyone. I know public and private schools can be excellent choices for some families. I also know that homeschooling won’t always be easy. If it were, more people would do it. haha

    I say, try it! Give it a semester. Make the time fun by taking lots of little field trips and park days. Spend some time making friends and see how it goes!

  7. Melissa
    June 14, 2012 | 9:28 am

    Hey Bridget,
    As a public educator I do have lots of opinions on this matter, some that may shock you 🙂 If you want my true feelings just message me. However, my one piece of advice is to do what you feel is best for the kids. Good luck in making your decision, it’s a tough one! No matter what you decide your kids will still be your kids and will grow up to be successful young men and ladies.

  8. Lauren
    June 14, 2012 | 9:32 am

    I have told you before I think you would be amazing at it. My aunt has homeschooled he wide range of kids for over 20 yrs now. The youngest have used GCA and she loves it. My cousins have all gone on to college and have done really well there also.
    I am not one to homeschool (oh how I wish I was)but it just doesn’t fit my personality. I truly believe children learn not only lessons but amazing life skills with homeschooling.
    Good Luck with your decision.

  9. Cathy
    June 14, 2012 | 9:57 am

    I have read your post and was thinking that our history began with mothers teaching children at home. Not only did they learn the the “R’s”, they learned how to sew, cook, grow crops, and other things that have been lost to the later generations (maybe common sense, also). I think you have the patience and skills needed to teach your children. You and Marshall are such loving parents and your children adore you. Whatever you decided, God will bless your decision and give you the guidance ya’ll will need.

  10. Traci
    June 14, 2012 | 10:06 am

    Usually you regret more not having tried something than trying and failing…well it would not even be really failing…just going back to the way it was — busy mornings and all. Go for it.

  11. Frances
    June 14, 2012 | 10:36 am

    Go for it! You would be wonderful at homeschooling, and you and the children could only benefit from the experience, even if it is only temporary.

  12. Stephanie LC
    June 14, 2012 | 11:57 am

    First, let me say that I strongly believe that a family has to make up its own mind about what is best for the family. Even though there are good opinions to accrue, ultimately, the family gets to, and should, decide. After all, the responsibilty of it all resides on the family’s shoulders, no one else’s. (I’m not just talking about school.)

    Secondly, I believe that you are and will continue to be, an excellent educator for your children.

    Third, I believe that parents must be involved and be even more involved in their children’s education. A child’s ability and education should never fall on one person’s shoulder. Ex.–I took piano lessons, but my mom and dad often followed up at home with me, practicing with me, and encouraging me to “keep at it.”

    Fourth, I firmly believe in public school education. I believe that communities should be involved in improving schools in their communities, not taking their children to other counties or private schools. I don’t believe that the president of the USA (any denomination, any political persuasion) can possibly know what’s best for or what works for my community. My child is in daycare right now, but I have no idea what the future will hold for us. I do believe, however, that I will try and make public school work for her, for us, wherever we go. A very good public high school (helped) produce(d) an excellent pediatrician and a not-to-shabby chaplain…go Glads!

    Fifth, I firmly believe in my first statement.

    Love you, as always, for your thoughts and your struggles–you are a top-notch Mom for caring so much!

  13. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith
    June 15, 2012 | 6:20 pm

    First, I will say this is a very tough decision. I went through this last summer, and at the very end I decided to place my first grader in our local public elementary school. This year I continued to home school my four year old for pre-k,teaching her how to read, and write. My oldest daughter’s attitude towards the experience can be summed up by what she wrote in her yearbook, ” I love First Grade!” She really enjoyed being in a classroom environment, and she thrived at school. She is a very social person. The waking up early was a big challenge for us, but thanks to my husband who created an early morning Daddy-Daughter reading club that issue was finally resolved. The bus, on the other hand, was a big problem for us. I now pick up my child from school.
    Personally, I think being in a structured homeschooling environment would be a good support system. Even though, I connected with other homeschooling Moms on-line, locally that was not the case. Often, I felt isolated. Many times, I felt overwhelmed with the homeschooing experience. I second guessing myself, my teaching style, and my child’s ability. However, that was me and my experience. I am not you. My best advice would be to pray about it, I mean really pray about it. Take the next nine days, and devote yourself to one hour of silent prayer a day. Breathe, pray, listen, and God will show you the way.

  14. Kate Wicker
    July 3, 2012 | 7:14 am

    As someone who has always homeschooled but has also struggled occassionally with juggling everything, I’m a firm believer in taking it child by child and year by year. No decision has to be for forever. Right now I’m in a very happy place and am excited about another year of homeschooling (but I’ve dealt with burnout before and have researched schools, made visits, etc.). My kids are the same age as yours, and I love it that we spend so much time together. That’s on a good day. On a bad day, the home is one step away from a health hazard and I morph into a mommy monster. But someone once shared a GK Chesterton quote with me for here days when I feel like a homeschooling loser. “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” Homeschooling is something I’ve decided is worth doing right now, and it’s okay if it doesn’t always look perfect.

    The flexibility is wonderful. I don’t use GCA, but I don’t unschool either. We have fun together. Our mornings are relaxed. My oldest often sleeps in past 8 am. My kids have lazy afternoons where their imaginations take them on delightful adventures. We read lots of books. I’m not crafty like you, but the kids love to color and draw. The siblings fight, but my oldest still tells people that her best friend is her younger sister. She has plenty of other friends, too, but she loves her family where unconditional love is freely given. Right now the pros of homeschooling far outweigh the cons – the biggest of which is that I don’t have as much time to engage in the online world anymore. However, this is probably a good thing, too. We are all fostering real life connections, and I hope I’m helping to gift my children with a childhood that is simple but sweet as well as “take” them to a “school” where learning happens organically.

    Sorry for the rambling comment (typed with my thumbs, so please forgive any typos, mental gaffes, etc.). You know where to find me if you have any questions, etc. I’m happy to offer an honest perspective on the joys and challenges of homeshooling.