Homeschooling is still very rare here in Scotland, and so when I tell someone who's just asked me about my kids' schooling that I homeschool, a variety of reactions come my way.
We have the:
'What! You have your kids around you all day'
... kind of reaction. When I smile and say with genuine enthusiasm, 'Yep, I have them with me all day. It's great!', the reaction normally translates into some version of,
'You need your head seen to'.
Then we have the
'Homeschooling? What's that?'
...ones. They have truly never heard of such a thing, and can't quite get their heads around it.
Then we have the
'Er, are you really allowed to do that?'
...ones. When I point out that these kids are my kids, and that legally, the responsibility for a child's education actually rests on the parents (though most parents choose to deligate the day-to-day education to a schoolteacher), they normally react with an,
'Ahh... I suppose you're right. I never thought of it like that'.
And then there are some who react with:
'What? You teach them at home? Aww man, that's fantastic. Oh, I'd love to do that',
'Oh I wish I'd known about that when my kids were school age'.
When we first began homeschooling, I had no idea the whole concept would grip me like it has done. I had no idea I would grow to love it like I have done. I had no idea that I would genuinely come to the place I'm at where I can imagine no other life but that of homeschooling my kids.
Is it hard work? Yes.
Are there days I would love to put my feet up and have silence in which to read a good book? You betcha.
Would I swap it for any other way of life in the world? No, I wouldn't. Not for anything in the world.
To anyone who has ever considered homeschooling but has real doubts as to whether they could do it, I say: Try it.
Try it. If it genuinely doesn't work for your family, then it's not the end of the world - the kids can go back to school.
But, if it does work, you will never be more glad of anything you've done as a family than this.
Homeschooling is so much more than simply 'doing school at home'. It's a whole way of life which does, of course, include formal education. That part can be fun at times, or tedious at times, or mundane, or exciting. Some days, the kids will be enthused with what they're learning, and other days, they reckon pulling teeth would be preferable to the work they're having to do. Hey, that's life, and a lesson worth learning in itself. Whether a duty is fun, or horrendously boring.... there are times when it's just gotta be done.
But it's all the rest of what homeschooling means that makes this life, for me, more than I could ever have hoped for. Here are just some of the aspects of my day to day life which I love:
I love that we can linger around the breakfast table and noone is rushing for a bus;
I love that when we sit for our morning devotions, we have as much time as we want. I love that any questions can be discussed, and that the Bible has something to say about pretty much anything and everything that life has to offer.
I love that our kids are part of each others' lives every day. I love that the Wee Guy knows his brother, who is ten years older than him, as well as he does. This level of intimacy would be difficult with this age gap if they were at school or college.
I love that in the middle of a Maths lesson, I can be told that I'm loved, or that Genghis Khan was amazing, or that Big Brother's sheep are going to be moved that afternoon and so schoolwork has to be done quickly, because - as you all know - Big Brother can't do anything with his sheep without a certain Wee Fella helping.
I love knowing that at any given time, I can have any of my kids wander into the room and say Hi.
I am constantly amazed that God brought this homeschooling life to me. I am one of the least likely candidates you can imagine. I am what is not suited to being a homeschooling Mum in a thousand different ways, and yet God saw fit to gift me in this way. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am blessed beyond words.