“Oh, this looks like so much fun!” I was photocopying activity sheets for the girls’ history program and couldn’t help but gush as pages of paper dolls, medieval adventures and maps rolled off the copier. (Well, maybe not about the maps.)

The woman beside me was curious and I explained that I’m homeschooling my three children. “Oh, how far out of town do you live?” she asked, and I answered, “Ten minutes,” before realizing that she was asking because she assumed distance from schools to be the only reason a parent would choose to home educate.

A recent outing with another homeschool family had the kids climbing the river hills, searching for gypsum crystals.

Her next question was “Then why do you homeschool?”

I don’t think I would homeschool if I only had one answer to that question. Lately I’ve been thinking that really, were I to send my kids to school, they would be fine. They would cope well and get a decent education and I would have more free time for myself. (I’ve really been struggling with the schedule change since we started school two weeks ago.) Sometimes I fantasize a little about it.

But they like being home. And I am passionate about homeschooling because it fits us. It suits our goals for our family, for our values and how we spend our time. I love the flexibility of tailoring a child’s education to suit their learning style and interests. It’s thrilling to teach a child to read, and satisfying to discuss topics studied and how they relate to what we are seeing or hearing later in the day. And it’s good for me – ensures I am spending time with each of my children, forces me to deal with behaviour issues I might ignore otherwise, and I’m getting a second education out of the deal (and I’m much more interested this time!).

Home schooling is a lot like managing finances – you could always do a better job – and I struggle with never feeling like we’ve gotten everything done, but it’s a choice we are glad we’ve made, despite the sacrifices.

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