As parents to a five year old daughter and three year old son, home-schooling may seem like a topic that isn’t warranted until a child is “school-age” in Western world standards.
In our minds, we envision this realm that we call Earth as a school. So for our children, school starts as soon as they are free from the womb.
With little ones, how is it possible to successfully teach them at home? How can we keep them focused enough to learn when most of their day is spent running around the house with no signs of decreased energy?
In 2014, our family made some alterations in our routine by allowing one parent to stay at home while the other worked. During the time, my husband was Active Duty Air Force. I was a recently separated service-member from Active Duty after giving birth to my son.
From the anxiety that I experienced being unable to nurture my oldest daughter, I had to make a decision that would ultimately decrease our family’s monthly income. But, it would allow me to have a sense of security knowing that my children would receive the greatest care from ME.
While being stationed in Bossier City, Louisiana, I only had to deal with one bad daycare. After that, our daughter was placed in the Child Development Center on Base. For the most part, I felt secure with the providers that were in charge of taking care of my infant. However, there were times she couldn’t be with the same caregiver, and I wasn’t so secure with that idea. Some days I could sense the anxiety in her. Having a feeling that I had no control over these moments made my days at work feel miserable, wrestling with the decision I’d made to remain in the services.
There came a point where I got tired of faking it to make it. I had to begin changing my perspectives on being a Stay at Home Mom.
Before having kids of my own, I never fathomed the idea. I always had a job. At the age of 12, I was babysitting and cleaning houses. At 15, I got my first REAL job working at a Pizza Restaurant. And from there I never went long increments without being employed.
So, this was a big adjustment for me. But I realized the welfare of my children was way more important than a paycheck.
I understand that many mothers feel a strong desire to work so that they can provide for their children. Having my children’s father present in the home to cut the slack, I cannot place myself in the shoes of a mother who doesn’t have support from their children’s father. This is indeed unfortunate. And, I am very empathetic to those who do not have a choice in the matter. I grew up in a single parent household (four siblings). So, public school was probably a necessary break for my mother. Even I have felt this way before, needing a break from trying to balance employment with parenting. I think this is a phenomenon all parents share.
However, this way of thinking was not going to solve the separation anxiety I experienced being away from my daughter during the day. My daughter experienced seizures as an infant that required her to be hospitalized. That was a traumatic experience in itself. I was only going to stress myself out more by holding onto a job for superficial financial security. My little ones needed my nurturing and my time especially during the early stages of their development.
I hope that I can encourage anyone who has a desire to homeschool that there is hope! No matter what your circumstances may be, thousands of moms like you have done it and ARE doing it to this day. It involves sacrifices and it may not be easy at first. But, after leveling out the bumps it will be smooth sailing from there.
Our family went from making about $65,000 or more annually with all of the incentives for military pay, to about $40,000 a year.
To counteract this, we instinctively lowered the amount of bills we were accountable for each month. We moved to a more affordable place and refinanced our vehicles. Daycare was no longer a monthly liability, so that was another bill X’d off the list. Daycare in Louisiana for two children would have been $1000 monthly!
It has been 3 years since we made this big step and it has been so rewarding. There’s security being able to see what our children are doing throughout the day. We don’t miss any moments of their growth. Additionally, our children are able to use the world as their school since we are now living abroad in Latin America.
Their creative minds are able to process way more than what we imagined! We take credit as genetics may play a factor, but ultimately the source comes from their willingness to learn.
Both of our childrens’ vocabulary is above average. My husband and I have always talked to our children from birth until now, in a way that is not too childlike. By this I mean, we talk to them using full and complete sentences. We used baby talk sparingly with them. For the most part, we talk to them as if they are average sized human beings.
They are learning Spanish, reading, and able to spell their full names at the age of five and three. My son can write his alphabets in uppercase and lower case letters.
It has just been a joy being able to monitor their learning. The best part about it is, they are their own modulators. They choose their lesson plans. No restrictions are placed on their developmental stages. At any point that they want to learn something new, the opportunity is afforded to them. As parents we quickly realized that our children are only placed in an educational box if we make them feel that a concept is too advanced for their age.
This technique works best for our children. However, every child’s comprehension skills will be different. There is no one size fits all approach to homeschooling. I will always say, “Do what’s best for you and your family.”
For parents who feel they are inadequate to teach their own children, here’s a word of encouragement from me to you.
“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” ~Mahatma Ghandi
Society requires a degree of higher education to deem someone intellectual enough to teach. My husband and I do not possess anything past an Associate’s degree. But what we do possess, like all parents, is an innate ability to be a guardian to my children. I have what is called mother’s intuition.
I value the work of educational teachers (both private and public). To devalue their hard work and efforts would be unfair. However, the maximum ratio of students to a teacher is 30:1, according to the Education Commission of the States. In the occasion where a teacher’s aide is present, the ratio ranges between 2:20 to 2:30.
It is undoubtedly, in my opinion, more unfair to give one teacher the task of catering to the needs of each individual child. It’s just not possible. They do their best work, but at the end of the day, parents must do their part as well. I am an advocate for parents being their child’s FIRST teacher.
Homeschooling doesn’t follow a curriculum in our household. Although as they get older, certain changes will be made to ensure proper documentation.
What I enjoy about this experience is being able to let my children be their own educational advisers. They tell ME what they want to learn by asking questions showing me where their interest lies at a given time. I can then assist them and monitor their pace of learning, advancing them according to their individual comprehension.
(Another blog post coming soon detailing our methods of homeschooling and tips for homeschooling abroad)
Being a Mom first and then Teacher to my children, it takes dedication. In order for me to be a TEACHER, I had to be willing to LEARN as well. So most of the time, I am studying! With their curious minds, I have to read a lot to find the information they seek. But, I enjoy doing this. So, I say that because I’m not going to paint a picture like it is blissful. They’re learning and I’m learning too. This is a full time job.
However, unlike my previous job, this one is fulfilling to myself and my little ones. I can remember my time in the U.S. public school. Most of the history was one-sided and boring in my opinion. I couldn’t relate to 75% of what was being taught. The only stories I knew of my ancestors were those of slavery and activists who were, as a result, murdered. So when I say that research leads me to learn new things everyday, I truly mean that. But, I am content with the idea of my children growing with expanded minds so that they can have a wider overview of the world they live in.
There are times when I get tired. Some days all I want to do is rest and be lazy! Schedules? I haven’t created a such thing yet. But in the coming months, as my daughter nears her 6th birthday, I will attempt to make a schedule for the children so that things can run smoothly throughout the day. With toddlers, I find that spontaneity makes the learning environment more diverse and enjoyable. Especially for my son, anything robotic or routine will end with him becoming inattentive.
If you are a parent who loves the idea of teaching your own children and are afraid of not having enough income, there are plenty of reputable scam-free work from home jobs.
Here are a few sites I use to search for online employment.
All in all, I hope this post serves as encouragement and not indictment. This is not to compare or place my children on a pedestal above another. I feel we ALL have unique children that have been placed in our care.
“Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.” ~Anonymous
With this post, I desire to inspire as well as connect with other individuals who advocate for homeschooling and other unconventional methods of teaching.
We all have our individual circumstances. And, although the idea of homeschooling sounds wonderful, for some I know that is just not possible at the moment.
I am a practitioner in manifesting the life you desire by speaking it and taking action. This has been my M.O. that has never lead me wrong. So, if this sounds like something that you would love to do, then I say go for it brave spirit! The power is always in your hands.
If you would like to connect, send me a personal message to my Facebook Author/Blogger page listed below. Don’t forget to follow my blog on Facebook or signup for email notifications to see more information related to Homeschooling, living abroad, and more!
And as always…Peace, love, and light to you!