1. It is Natural ~ I have stayed home with my boys since they were born. Having a parental figure, especially Mama, with young ones at all times from the very get-go is an important part of their development, sense of security, evolving independence, and self-confidence. So, when they turn the young age of 5, why, I ask myself, do I want to send them off for a full day, every day of the week? I am home already and I think it is a very important bonding experience and ongoing learning opportunity for both parent and child. They are only children for so long, then they grow up, and I seem to ponder about all the multitude of things I would have missed had we not home schooled.
2. It is Flexible ~ I have freedom to teach the boys how I feel fit, when it is appropriate to our schedule, where we have learning experience, and what is important to learn. I can choose what charter school they are a part of.... This last school year, Jared ended up being enrolled at a charter school who provides each student with a little over a thousand dollars a year. These funds can be used for books, supplies, classes, and field trips. We were able to buy numerous Waldorf supplies and enroll Jared in Gymnastics and piano lessons. This was fantastic for Kindergarten, but Jared wanted to go to class with his friends. Some of them attend a local offspring of the public school. The science-based charter school would allow Jared to attend a K-8 class (more on that in a moment) 2 days a week, 4 hours each day. This will give him his independent time and allow me one on one time with my 3-year-old. The rest of the week, I home school him We are now using a great curriculum called Oak Meadow. I highly recommend this if you are looking into homeschooling Waldorf-style. Furthermore, If we ever decide to take a vacation or day trip, we can miss a school day and make up for it later. It is all really up to you.
3. It Stimulates Social Behavior ~ Without the constant pressure, judgements, cliques, etc... of public school, homeschoolers have the ability to bloom and grow naturally into their fullest potential. This equals self-confidence and intelligence. I am already noticing the boys' innate ability to openly and articulately converse and assert themselves with both adults and children, in large groups and in one on one situations. I started homeschooling almost 7 years ago and I have made lots of friends. Thus, our children became friends. Some of them have play dates and each week we have a lesson/play date at the local park. Besides, Jared makes friends, even if he's never met them. Plus, the more we show our faces in the community, the more chances to see existing friend and to make new ones. At Jared's recital, I was surprised to see both his readiness to share his talent and his full unwavering voice each time he presented a song..... I wasn't like that at all. He amazes me.
4. Mixed-Age Groups are Fantastic ~ Public schools and many private and alternative schools place children in classes with their own age group. This falls under the misunderstanding that those children are all at the same level. Each child learns in different ways and each child learns different subjects at varying rates. So why put them in a labeled box? Looking outside of that box, placing kids in a multi-age setting will allow for a lot more flexibility. Whether you have a large family with children of ranging ages or if you chose to be part of a home school group or classroom with a range of ages, this dynamic can be very complimentary. The teacher can take a given subject or lesson and modify it for each child, depending upon what they can be expected to do. There is a lot of team work happening between ages, which gives the older students a sense of empathy toward younger children, responsibility, initiative, and compassion. The younger students then have role models worth looking up to, a sense of security and emerging self-confidence, and a sense of diligence and a love for learning. I cannot wait until this coming school year. Jared has 4 existing friends that are already in the K-8 class and many more to be made.
5. Accommodates One's Lifestyle ~ We are planning on starting a farm when we can purchase a home. I am sure there are many farmers and homesteaders that send their children to school, but we have decided it is best for our family to home school, especially when we have a farm. First of all, I think the daily flow and work of farm life should fully include our children. This is somewhat of a gift to them to see the natural course of life taking place and to see the fruits of our labor in action. It is healthy, both physically and spiritually. Plus, I think being on a set daily schedule of bringing them to school and picking them up will interfere with our flow. Besides that, I think is more important for them to participate in all the ongoings, whether it is watching baby chicks grow, getting their hands dirt stained, watching the birth of a lamb, making homemade ice cream, etc..... rather than having them essentially sit in a classroom all day, not doing enough hands-on learning.
6. You Can Educate In Your Own Way ~ I touched on this earlier when I spoke of flexibility. Mothers generally know what is best for their children, so why not teach them. Plus, in every family, parents and grandparents instill their personal culture, beliefs, and interests into their children and grandchildren. Homeschooling allows one to tie all of those elements together on a daily basis. I have chosen a Waldorf approach for so many reasons, I will have to write another post, solely about why I have chosen this method of educating my boys.
7. Children Learn More Real-Life Responsibility ~ They are able to go more places with me, such as the post office, the bank, the store, the farmer's market, the thrift store, the feed store, etc.... So, they clearly learn the dynamics of some of these essential errands and how important they are. From an extremely young age they can be in charge of several chores and daily tasks, and as they get older, this spectrum can be broadened. My boys already help with baking, cutting of vegetables, doing dishes, cleaning up after themselves, minor wood-working, dusting, sweeping, folding clothes, etc.... Also, when we start a farm, that will be a whole other ball game of work in which they can participate. They are already helping with the planting of seeds, but there is SO much more to learn.
8. More Time to Play ~ Children are children, quite simply. They need to be outdoors in all weather, as long as they have appropriate clothing, and they need to explore and experience with their bodies, hands, and hearts. I will touch more on this when I discuss Waldorf education later. My boys play in the snow, the rain, cloudy days, windy days, sunny days...... we go on hikes all the time, trike and bike ride, mess with the pogo stick, make sidewalk art, see saw, swing, climb jungle gyms, climb trees, skate board, dance and sing, just run around, play ball, play Frisbee, etc.....to name a few things....... Indoors, they play with wool balls, handmade dolls, their train set, their marble set, puzzles, cars, blocks, puppets, dress up clothes, etc......
If you are debating on how you want to educate your young ones, or deciding to make an existing change, or just want to have a better understanding of home school, I hope this article helps you. Or perhaps, if you are just reading for the fun of it, I hope you enjoyed it!