If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that we have made the official declaration that WE ARE HOMESCHOOLING OUR KIDS!
And in case you missed it, we are homeschooling our kids.
The process and evolution of this decision has not been an easy one. It’s a decision that we have prayed and prayed and prayed over. And then we prayed some more. We have spent so many hours talking about the pros and the cons of ALL different kinds of schooling methods and it finally just hit us after we went to the homeschool convention a couple of weeks ago:
This is just clearly what we are supposed to do.
I can’t really explain it, but Jason and I just KNOW that this is the lifestyle and road that we are supposed to be walking. We both feel a deep conviction that this is where God wants us and where God wants our kids. And to do anything else at THIS point, would be disobedient. We are committed to praying every day about this and will be open to the Lord’s leading should he decide to lead us to do something different than homeschooling.
But for right now, we are homeschooling.
Now, the decision we made wasn’t as easy as “God told us to so we are”. And there are a LOT of reasons why we feel convicted to teach them at home. I am going to list a few of them here but in all honesty, in order to avoid a gigantically large blog post on this topic, if you wish to know or talk more about it just let me know and we’ll go to coffee. I will talk to anyone who wants to listen about homeschooling. But I have FOUR main reasons as to why we are committing to homeschooling our kids and I am going to discuss them here.
1. Our Lifestyle
We are photographers AND we are in ministry full time with our church. As photographers, we work nights and we work weekends. When I look at our schedule and our calendar, it was really, really stressful for me to think about how school was going to work around that. We work a lot. And while we HAVE been able to say no to a lot of opportunities that come our way that don’t fit our brand, the bottom line is that we work in the late afternoons (we are natural light photographers), nights for meetings, dinners, and coffees, and on the weekends when we shoot weddings. If our kids were in traditional school, we would race to get them there early in the morning, they’d get home at 3:00pm, we’d leave for work at 4:00pm, and wouldn’t get home until after bedtime.
MEANING- We would never see our kids.
Sunday is not a full family day, as we are all serving at our church for a good majority of the day. Everything that I value about family time together and watching our kids grow would suddenly be filled with rushing to get them to school and rushing to get to work. And while I have no issue whatsoever with other people teaching them, I didn’t have kids so their teachers and our nanny could be the only people influencing them. The hours for my job can’t change, but the hours we do school CAN change.
Our lifestyle really supports homeschooling and deciding to do so gives us complete freedom to take our kids with us when we travel for work (and we DO travel quite a bit) and it allows us to be together as a family unit before Jason and I head out to work on some days. There will be no horrible, rushed mornings. There will be no missed opportunities while I’m rushing out to work. There will be peace, learning, creative play, a LOT of reading, and a massive amount of family time. And I am SO thankful and blessed that our lifestyle supports this style of learning and I’m embracing it wholeheartedly.
2. Traditional School Isn’t For Everyone
I’m just going to get down to the bottom of it. I sort of cringe at the direction our school systems are going these days. I KNOW that there are MANY fantastic schools and amazing teachers out there you guys, I KNOW. I want to lift my glass, stand up and applaud, tip my hat, and throw ALL my money to every single good teacher there is because I KNOW they are making a massive difference in the lives of children all over this nation. Teachers have an incredibly hard job, are severely underpaid, and definitely don’t get enough credit.
But at the end of the day, the way that the school system is going just isn’t what I want for my kids. AND THAT IS TOTALLY OK. It’s totally ok if it IS what you want for yours. That’s what makes America great!
As an artist and a creative person, I just firmly believe that kids need to be kids. I don’t want my kids to sit at desks for the next twelve years inside brick buildings with no windows when I have the lifestyle that allows me to take my kids and learn wherever we want to be that day. I want my kids to learn how to function within their family unit, to learn how to develop a deep desire for God, and to really be given the opportunity to dive into and figure out what makes them tick.
No tests. No busy work. No homework. NO HOMEWORK OMG.
Just being outside, art, music, curriculum that I develop for them, house chores and making friends everywhere we go. I want them to enjoy learning and to learn HOW to learn on their own. To be independent thinkers. I don’t want the stress of testing. I don’t want the anxiety of failing. I just want them to move at their own pace, learn about who THEY are as individuals, and to thrive in the setting of our home.
I really, REALLY believe that God designed my kids to fit perfectly in our home. And that Jason and I ARE enough and fully capable to teach them what they need to know. And when I start feeling inadequate, I just remind myself that God is going to equip me as I walk this journey and that I don’t need to be fully capable right now this second. When my kids need something, He will provide it whether it be through me and Jason or other resources that he brings our way. I just honestly know that and really trust it.
So I’m not afraid. And I just know that there’s more to life than sitting at desks for years and years and years. And I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone and that some kids really thrive at school.
And that’s totally ok.
But for us, our kids, and our lifestyle, I just really know that traditional school and traditional learning isn’t for us. At least not right now. I don’t want our kids to be so worried and focused on the end goal of what school is all about, whether that be graduating or going to college. I want them to simply learn HOW to learn. And how to learn independently. I want to support their interests and dive into what makes them tick. I want to encourage growth in ALL areas and I don’t want them ever to feel like they’re “behind” in something. Because the truth? We ALL learn differently and need differently things. I want to learn what they need as individuals and to give them the space to thrive in those ways.
If one of them needs to learn math while running on a treadmill, then FINE. I’m open if it’s going to encourage a love for learning, exploring, and reading. I’m all in. There’s no one way to do things. There’s not one style of learning. Tests aren’t an accurate picture of what life is, because there ISN’T a right and wrong answer in many cases.
YOUGUYS I could go ON AND ON. Seriously this blog post is going to be hours longer if I don’t just stop here with this point.
To sum up better what truly inspired me in all this, watch THIS Ted Talk. It’s kinda long but this kid is seriously rad. About halfway through watching it, I was bawling because I just knew that this is EXACTLY the kind of opportunities I want for our kids. And they can’t get this being in a traditional school with our lifestyle.
Like I said, let’s get coffee if you want to hear me ramble on more about this.
3. God Has Entrusted Them To Us, AND They’re Education
This one is a pretty personal point. And I almost don’t want to write this section because I don’t want any of you to misunderstand and to think or assume that I’m judging others.
We are all just moms and dads trying to do what’s best for our kids, right? And what’s “right” for me, might not be “right” for you. And that should be totally ok.
But I feel a pretty deep conviction that at this point, that WE are to be the ones in charge of their education. God entrusted these little minds to me, and it’s MY job to train up a child in the way he should go. I started doing some informal research (meaning, I started stumbling across MANY verses) in the Bible about education and NONE of them discuss sending your kid to school. Most of them center around the home and around family. The book Educating the Wholehearted Child has REALLY helped open my eyes to how many bible verses there are that discuss education and what God’s heart on the topic is, and has continuously pointed me back to The Word and encouraged me to dig deeper about it.
So is it wrong to send them to school? NO. That’s the farthest thing from what I’m saying.
What I AM saying, is that I hear the Lord telling me and Jason that we are to focus on their education inside our home. For how long? I’m not sure. We are taking it a year at a time at this point.
4. I Hate Homework
This will be short. I hate homework. The thought of my kids spending almost eight hours a day at school to then come home to spend three hours a night on homework makes me want to BANG MY HEAD AGAINST A WALL. If it’s between playing outside, digging in the dirt, swimming at my sisters house, piano lessons, riding bikes, chasing rainstorms, playing at the park or doing homework- HOMEWORK LOSES EVERY TIME.
Homework is busy work IMO. I’m sure others will have conflicting opinions on this and that is FINE. I’m not looking to get into an argument. But I hate the idea of my kids being inside all day with packets of homework to do, instead of living real life, playing, baking, building things and just being kids!
Seriously. I am structuring our day so that will be doing one to two hours of school work a day and then we will be filling our days, minds, and lives with LIFE. I am going to be intentional with what we do after school work is done so I can continue the learning all day. But there will be lots of playing, coloring, reading, dress up, snacking, time spent outdoors and applying and talking about what we learned during our school hours.
None of it will include homework.
SO. I am going to conclude this entire blog post with this. I truly believe that we as parents have a very hard job when it comes to deciding what you’re going to do for your child’s education. And I REALLY don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer. We all have different kids, families, lifestyles ETC. It’s all going to look a little different for each of us. My reasons for homeschooling could look very different from your reasons.
And that’s GREAT.
Comparison steals joy. We ALL are trying to figure out what is the best fit for our kids. School is NOT a bad place for kids to go. It’s just not what Jason and I value right now for our kids. There are a LOT of amazing things going on in schools all around the nation.
There are pros and cons to traditional school. And there are pros and cons to homeschooling.
It’s just a matter of figuring out what lines up with your core values, your lifestyle and the personalities of your children. This post has given you a few of the reasons as to why we’ve landed where we have. We are excited, liberated in our decision, and have spent a lot of time praying over it and discussing it. It’s where God wants us for this season in our lives, and so we are moving forward in it.
Am I scared? Not really. Nervous? HECK YES. But I am confident that I know I can do it. I know Cruz will love it. It has given us the gift of TIME together. It’s given us the gift of FREEDOM in our days together. It’s given us the gift of CREATIVITY to be as we are and learn how we want and in the ways that are best for our kids. I get to dive in deeper with the three God saw perfectly fit for me, and really, REALLY discover what makes them tick. And I get to really help shape their little lives by being such an active role in their education.
That feels really special to me and makes me really excited.
So join me on the journey. I will be blogging on this topic a LOT. I’ll be discussing the good, bad, the in-between. I’m not afraid to admit when I’m making mistakes or to admit if it isn’t working any longer.
I’m not afraid.
So here we go. Wish us luck. Say a prayer for us if you will. My constant prayer is that this experience will ignite a deep and rich love for learning in my kids, that there will be NO holding them back in this life and for what God has created and called each one of them to do.
And I get a front row seat.