Published on September 28th, 2012 | by Emily Kipling

The Jump to Homeschooling

Counter-culture decisions lead to more counter-culture decisions. When we begin to question the attitudes of everyone around us and we find that we deviate from them or disagree with them, it follows that even more deviations will take place as one conviction gives even more momentum to the next. We begin to challenge the “status quo”. We begin to challenge the things that everyone else does.

It was a journey that led our family to the decision to home school. I was one of those people that said, “I could NEVER do that…” That was until real everyday life started happening and every single facet of who I am and who we are raising the kids to be and what I want them to value was being challenged.  Each of my main reasons to home school have somewhat complicated rabbit-holes and stories behind each one, but my reasons can be listed simply as: academic, safety, social, spiritual, consumerism values, respect, emotional, and what bookends all of those reasons is a family bond that I want as strong as it can be. We call our school “Roots and Wings”. I want to raise well-adjusted kids that are ready to question and challenge the world – ready to change the world – but first rooted in home and family strongly.

One of the reasons that I even entertained this idea to home educate is that they asked me. I still wonder why they want to be around me all day – but they do. I believe it is the right of the parents to decide what is best, but I also believe children instinctively know what they need. I observed their behavior when they came home from public school every day, and I knew something was not right. All of our guts were telling us that we needed this – this is who we are.

It’s who we are because we all like to explore and have a conversation. It’s who we are because it is working.  One idea sparks another thought and then school is happening. We cover all the basics and my push this year is to make up for what I feel was lost time for science.  Science is great to focus on because it can combine mathematical ideas and practice with reading skills, and even more important – critical thinking skills.

Indianapolis is a great place to take advantage of museums, a wonderful network of libraries with their own little microcosms of programs to choose from, and my favorite – parks. When you are an eclectic “homeschooler”, outside can become the classroom as we find real life examples of things we read about in books. My philosophy is that kids of all ages naturally want to play because play truly is a child’s first work. They learn so many things about life by those interactions and the more physical activity they have, the stronger their muscles, bones, and overall health will be.

Homeschooling is not without its challenges, and I am still looking at the different support groups as well as sport and other extra-curriculum options here in Indianapolis, but it is definitely “do-able” and something that anyone can truly do with the right resources and support. 

Homeschooling was something that I learned was right for my family. Because of job losses and then promotions, our family had to move three times with three corresponding public school changes. When I “just” had two children, I decided to home school when my oldest was in first grade. For her, she needed the extra challenge and gobbled up every one on one interaction she had with me. She loves the personal attention and immediate help she can receive if she has a question. When I gave birth to our third child, however, we put our children in public school right before our initial move. Of course, I didn’t believe I could do it anymore, and had no support group to bounce off ideas, and so back into public school they went. They have experienced three different public schools.  We’ve learned that schools can be managed in completely different ways, yielding a totally different experience for each child. My opinions about what is right for my family have been molded by my own experience and home educating is certainly not a blanket judgment of public school, nor do I think public school is inferior. Both environments can yield both positive and negative experiences and as parents, we ultimately mold our children’s experiences by what we teach them at home.

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About the Author

My interest in the environment, health, and spiritual wellness has brought me down different paths of volunteering, freelance writing, and personal study for the past decade. I am so glad that four little people call me "mommy" and that I have a funny husband to make me laugh on hard days. I thank God for my blessings and try to follow Jesus in everything I do.

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