Parents must be the first to educate their children on the importance of learning. There are many reasons why parents make the decision to homeschool their children. Today, we share insights from Amber Mathison, blogger at FromABCstoACTs and a former teacher turned homeschool parent after the birth of her first child.
MomViews: Congrats on the birth of your daughter, Skylar! Your blog, FromABCstoACTs focuses on tips for homeschooling your children. It appears to be a common trend among former school teachers. Can you share some thoughts on why you decided to homeschool your children?
AM: Thank you! My blog does focus a lot on homeschooling your children, specifically young children right now since my son, Nicholas, is preschool age because school really does start at home. I too, have noticed that quite often, former teachers make the choice to homeschool and while I can’t speak for all former teachers, my main reasoning for wanting to homeschool my own children came from knowing that Nicholas would need that one-on-one attention. He was diagnosed early last year as non-verbally Autistic and that just set me on the path to figuring out what would work best for him, what would help him learn and succeed to the best of his ability.
Right after his diagnosis, he started attending speech therapy sessions with other children his age so that they could interact with one another but he quickly became one of many in a group that a single speech therapist couldn’t attend to on her own. After a couple of months and no progress in his speech we made the decision to pull him out and I started working with him every day on his speech, among other skills, at home. After just 6 months of this he has made tremendous progress and is using more words on daily basis than most people thought he ever would. We still have a long way to go with his ability to communicate but I really believe that he wouldn’t have made this amount of progress within a group. He thrives on one-on-one attention and my husband and I decided to homeschool to make sure that he gets that.
MV: What issues did you face while deciding whether or not homeschooling was the right choice?
AM: Rules and regulations. Hands down! Homeschooling laws are some of the most confusing, I think :). We knew that homeschooling was what we wanted but finding and deciphering the laws for the state we’re in wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, the laws vary from state to state and one of my main concerns was that I would miss something in one of the homeschooling laws and once Nicholas was old enough to actually be “school age,” there would be issues with the school system or the state.
MV: You’ve been married to your husband Eric since 2008. Was he always supportive in your decision to homeschool your children?
AM: He was! We both went to public school growing up so I was a little worried when I mentioned it for the first time that he would have a lot of reservations about it or that he would outright be against even considering the idea but I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had been thinking along the same lines that I was.
MV: What does homeschooling mean to you and your children?
AM: We’re still really in just the preschool stage, but for us, homeschooling means that our children will get that one-on-one attention in the “classroom.” With Nicholas especially, he’s proven to us time and again that he needs that to thrive and to succeed and homeschooling allows us to give that to him.
MV: What advice would you give to a mother who is considering whether or not to homeschool her child(ren)?
AM: To anyone that is considering homeschooling, I would say first and foremost, do your research. Don’t take someone’s word for the laws and regulations in your area, don’t go off of what someone else says your child should have learned by a certain age. Do your research, make your own decisions. Every child is different, every child has different needs and will learn at their own pace. The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that it can be so easily tailored to the individual child. Don’t waste that by doing what everyone else is doing.
Secondly, find a support group. We live in a really small town but even here, I’ve found quite a few homeschooling groups. Most of the parents in that group have homeschooled for years and have been where you are! They know the ins and outs, the ups and downs and most of them are more than willing to answer any questions that you have. I mean, who better to ask than someone who has been in your shoes right? They can help you navigate your state’s laws, introduce you to other homeschoolers (who may just become some of your child’s best friends) and they can point you in the right direction when it comes to curriculum choices, community activities for homeschoolers and more.
Finally, if you do decide that homeschooling is the right decision for your family, make it fun! Young children especially, learn through play. You can continue that as they get a bit older. If you treat homeschooling, or education in general, like a chore, eventually you and your child both are going to hate it. Switch things up! Very few people want to learn math by reading lessons from a book, so if you’re trying to teach your child patterns, make some. Dump out the LEGOs and make patterns with the colors. If you’re trying to teach your child fractions or measurements, bake some cookies together and use the recipe as a learning tool. Whatever you do, whatever subjects fill your school day, make them enjoyable and not only will your child retain what their supposed to be learning but they’ll build a love of education that will last them for the rest of their lives.
Join me next week for insights on how a mom of two supports her husband’s passion.
Also, don’t forget to tune in tomorrow via ShuGarLove’s website for my views on forgiveness.