Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | January 6, 2014

Why Homeschooling is Working for Us

Thanksgiving Turkeys

As I reflect on the fall, I must say homeschooling is working for our family.  In September, Keira learned to ride a two-wheel bike.  In October and November, she learned beginning phonics.  In December she crafted her little heart out in preparation for our homemade Christmas, fine tuning her already impressive fine motor and artistic skills.  But the most amazing thing that happened over the course of the fall is that she settled into herself.  The tantrums stopped.  The hitting and kicking (that we’d tried our best to stop for seven years) finally came to an end.  We removed the stress.  By giving our daughter the gift of time and space, she is blossoming.

The front cover of Home Education Magazine pretty much summarizes the secret to our family’s homeschooling success thus far:

THE MAIN THING

IS TO KEEP

THE MAIN THING

THE MAIN THING.

While I do like this magazine, it’s not my favorite magazine by any stretch (that would be Law of Attraction magazine!).  Some of the articles do not even spark my interest, BUT there is always some little nugget that really gets me thinking.

The OFF KLTR main thing is pace.  A SLOW pace.  And saying “no, thank you” to really great enrichment opportunities has made our homeschool experiment successful to-date.  I blogged in great detail about this back in October in the post Viewing Childhood as an Unfolding Process, Not an Enrichment Opportunity.

In some ways, I don’t even notice our slow pace.  We always seem to be doing something.  Though, I’ll admit, we are often “doing” imaginative play or drawing or baking.  But we are still doing something.  I’m still cleaning up from that something before the girls and I can eat lunch!

But, the universe has been sending me really clear signs that we do, in fact, have a very slow pace.  Much slower than the world around us.  Just today, I was driving back from Whole Foods with my grocery order in the trunk, apparently at an incredibly slow pace because the woman in the car behind me started honking at me, making exasperated hand gestures at me!  She didn’t flip me off or shout profanities, but it was clear that my unhurried pace was pissing her off.  This was not an isolated incident.  It happens to me a lot, actually!

A slower pace, an unhurried childhood is why we homeschool.  But different homeschoolers have different main things.  For many homeschoolers, religion is the main thing.  For others, it’s academic rigor for gifted children.  Many families focus on strictly adhering to an educational philosophy, such as Waldorf Education or Radical Unschooling.  For others (and really, all of us, to some extent), it’s about holding our children close.  And I suspect that it is when we forget our main thing, our main reason for homeschooling our children, that things start to unravel.

I also wonder if another cause of unraveling is when families come to homeschooling as a last resort – a way to AVOID something.  A way to avoid paying tuition.  A way to avoid the grind of the public school calendar.  A way to avoid bullying.  I understand that these are completely valid things to wish to avoid!!  But I think that we need to commit TO something.  Commit TO homeschooling and all of the freedom and excitement that lifestyle can offer our families.  It took me a long time to get there!  I knew that Keira would have been better off at home with me than at her 3/4 preschool.  The tantrums after kindergarten were clearly a cry for help.  But it wasn’t until I really started digging deep into the world of homeschooling that my eyes were opened to how much homeschooling had to offer.  And I’m so glad that I waited ’til I got to that excited place before pulling her out of school, as it’s another reason for our success.

And, in closing, I’d like to mention another really key element of our success:  my husband.  He’s totally on-board.  And not just because we no longer pay a whopper tuition bill (ha)!  He is on this journey with us.  And he works very hard to single handedly financially support our homeschooling adventure.  And for this – ten years of this partnership, as of December 27th! – I am so grateful.

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Responses

  1. Love, love this post, Tracy! Especially this line: “A slower pace, an unhurried childhood is why we homeschool.” So very true!

    • Welcome home, Kerry! Thank you so much for your comment – and for modeling the natural grace and rhythm of homeschooling!!

  2. Great post….. So true about keeping focused on what the purpose is. Healthy( mentally and physically) children. However I did ask on face book today if anyone could help with transitive and intransitive verbs. Lol…. These are the moments I go “let’s take a break and make some cookies”. The nice part of being at home is that I cam say that. 🙂

    • Transitive and intransitive verbs, huh? I just looked it up in Spanish (as that is the only grammar that I know – thank you NMRHS!) and I don’t even remember ever learning or teaching about (in)transitive verbs. Do you have to pass some kinda NH test at the end of the year? If not, ditch the grammar and bake more cookies!! I miss you. Dinner soon??


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