Private School or Homeschool?

Fun fact about me – I am a homeschool mom. I didn’t start out wanting to homeschool. I had thought I would send them to a local private school in my town. I had high aspirations and big dreams for my precious little prodigies. They would go to the top private schools in our area. They’d be at the top of their class. They’d go to my alma mater for college. But because of some local changes happening in our area, I began to check out other school options. A friend of mine was just beginning homeschool with her daughter and suggested I give it a try. So I did. I started when my oldest was in kindergarten. That was almost 20 years ago. Since beginning, I have continued homeschooling all my crew, with my two oldest having graduated a while back now. The littles, as we like to call them in our family, are currently in middle and elementary school.

Coming Up with Your Own Educational Plan

One of the benefits unknown to me when I first starting this journey was having to come up with an educational plan for each of my kids. A few years in, I realized it would be helpful if I determined a purpose for why I had set certain goals and chosen certain curricula. This led to some serious introspection to discover my values about education and ideas about success. I had always thought I had clearly defined values, but when I started to verbalize why I had set certain goals for my kids’ education I realized how vague my ideas really were. If I wanted them to reach the goals, I needed a way to give the goals more depth and substance. This would give us all things to hold on to and guide posts to light the path ahead of us. When the children were young, it was easy to use just my values and goals. But as the kids got older and were finding their own voice, I learned that they needed to define these terms for themselves if they were going to be successful in reaching the goals. You know what else I learned? There ideas weren’t exactly the same as mine. After a few moments of panic, I realized that it wasn’t just going to be OK. It was GREAT! They needed to own the process for themselves to make it truly work. That meant they needed the freedom to determine their own values and end goals. We could then work together and set up an education plan tailored to them.

Taking Off the Training Wheels

In the beginning I had a lot of input, both in definition and direction. The children were still pretty young and were just beginning to figure themselves out. We were all new to the process and discovering what were the questions we needed to answer. But as they got older, they took on more responsibility with their goals and success. They had been able to work through their own ideas and come up with a real plan that made sense to them. They had their own opinions about success and where they wanted to end up in the future. It was scary at times for both sides. My husband and I would smile nervously as they shared their ideas, and pray for wisdom to how to help guide them. The kids too would get nervous when they had to actually do parts of their plan because they didn’t want to fail. All totally normal in the process of growing up. And the end results for them have been awesome. Not because my original plans worked out. Far from it. One is a professional ballet dancer and the other is working in Christian ministry while he finishes up with college. Neither of these were part of my dreams way back when. But my kids followed the plans we all worked together to create and they’ve stepped into the futures they envisioned for themselves.