I’ll be back next week with more curriculum posts. Here’s some bonus reading in the meantime!
When I’ve described my preschool plans for Betsy to others I am generally met with enthusiasm. However, it’s become clear to me that when I use the term “homeschooling” within that description, the reaction is somewhat… I don’t know… dampened. I struggle with this – I’m aware of the stereotypes and I don’t believe they fit our family – but I also made the choice to homeschool, and I’m disappointed when that term changes others’ perception of what we’re doing.
So, I’ve spent time thinking about a synonym for homeschooling. I’m mostly coming up empty. The curriculum I’ve designed utilizes place-based learning, but I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate or helpful to use that particular term. What we’re doing can also be described as experiential learning, but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. I use both terms at times in conversation, but still find myself describing what we’re doing as “homeschooling” more often than not. I guess that’s because… it is.
I’m sure that – despite stereotypes – the reasons why families choose to home school are diverse and complex. In the interest of shedding some light on our decision making process, I’m going to offer our family’s reasons for choosing it. The truth is, I choose this path early in my time as a parent, and certainly hadn’t fully thought out or explored all alternative options at that time. But, Tony and I definitely revisited our decision over the past year and realized that – despite any stigma we might face – this emerged as the right choice for our family.
First, B is my baby (although I’m not allowed to call her that these days!) and – like all parents – I’m acutely aware of how fleeting my time with her is. These first 3 years have gone by in a flash and I welcome the opportunity to spend another year or two with her before sending her to school.
My professional interests and experiences lead pretty clearly to this path. There are other paths I could take, of course, but this one makes sense on both a professional and personal level.
Navigating preschool options can be overwhelming. There are many preschools at a variety of price points in our area. Deciding which might be a good fit, touring schools and going through the application process is time consuming and requires a lot of decision making. I know too much about education to make it a quick and easy decision… I would agonize over it! Whenever possible, I strive to eliminate stress from my life – avoiding the preschool application game was one way to achieve this goal.
Homeschooling works well with our family budget. I’ve worked part time from home since B was 6 months old. The added expense of preschool would require us to make cuts to our already tight budget or for me to pick up additional work. But… the time B would spend in a ½ day preschool program wouldn’t allow me much extra time to get work done. At this point, homeschooling gives us more money and more time as a family.
So, we’re homeschooling… despite our family culture’s incongruence with the most common stereotypes about homeschoolers. It’s only September and we’re just getting started but so far, so good! I’ll keep you posted.
Do you think stereotypes about homeschoolers are still quite strong or is the perception changing? How would you describe what B and I are doing?