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Noreen Claire

Please talk me in to/out of homeschooling...

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I can't make up my mind...

 

Background: I currently have a 7yr old in the local public school. His K year was great, but his 1st grade teacher has had a lot of family issues and had been absent since January/February. He reads well above grade level, has an enormous vocabulary, loves to learn, and is EXTREMELY social. I also have a 3yr old (turns 4 next week) who attends Montessori nursery school 2 mornings/week (registered for 2 full days/week next year), a 1yr old (turns 2 at the end of the month), and I'm due with baby #5 in October. (Child #1 is 20yrs old, works full-time, and still lives at home.)

 

I am a high school math teacher by trade and for the last four years have been a stay-at-home parent. Husband is a full-time high school physics/astronomy teacher and part-time college physics professor.

 

Problem: Is not wanting to have to get four kids, ages 7 and under, up and out the door every morning/afternoon a valid reason for me to home school?

 

Currently, the bus picks up the 7yr old at the corner, and I can leave the two little ones alone in the house for the 5 minutes or so it takes to wait for the bus to pick up/drop off (if it is nice out I try to get everyone out to the bus stop). This won't be feasible with a newborn in the fall, as I won't be able to trust the younger two alone in the house with the baby and I don't want to have to take him/her out in the cold, wet, etc. Just the idea of having to get everyone up out of bed, fed, dressed, teeth brushed, diapered, into jackets/hats/boots, and to the bus stop for the 7yr old and into the car to drop off the 3yr old EVERY MORNING (and again EVERY AFTERNOON) makes me want to crawl under the covers and weep.  :crying:

 

I have read and reread WTM over and over, annotating it in the margins. I have started purchasing materials and have a general plan worked out for the 7yr old and figure that my 3yr old will do lots of art/play/story time and start phonics as his pre-k 'curriculum'.

 

If you've read this far, I thank you kindly. So, my question again is: Am I being selfish for wanting to keep everyone home for a year (or two - or possibly longer if it goes well) just to make mornings/afternoons easier? Or should I leave the kids where they are thriving and suck it up?  :confused1:

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Actually, it might be a great year as long as you don't stress over school work getting done in a very structured manner.  If you are able to give your oldest some targeted instruction maybe for a set amount of time each day and let the rest be interest led you might find the year much easier.  Not easy.  Lots of littles is tiring.  Just easier.  And no, you aren't being selfish.  Think of it as family bonding time, which IMHO is pretty darn important. Once your oldest hits the pre-teen years family bonding may be a much lower priority for him.  Inspire a love of learning and a love of family while he is still young.

 

Bi the way, a big rookie mistake with homeschooling is looking at all the shiny, piling on hugs amounts of work and expectations, panicking that you aren't doing enough and ending up overloading the instructor and the student.  Start really slow.  Create a core you can add on to as you are able.  Maybe center learning around the new member of the family arriving in October.  Discuss what babies need.  Have special "apprenticeships" for each of the kids where they are training to help with some particular aspect of baby raising.  Give them a certificate or a little party when they have passed their apprenticeship and moved on to journeyman status.  Let them brainstorming ways to be an awesome sibling and come up with a list to post on the fridge of things they would love to do or be as a sibling.  Let the oldest write out the list with your help, maybe add a picture where they can, Etc.  Lots of learning possibilities for everyone.

 

And congratulations on the newest member of the household...

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Clearly you've already put a lot of thought into this. I think a lot of us just starting out wonder how much we are doing it for them and how much we are doing it for us. It's just important to be pragmatic and look at the reality of the whole situation. But to answer your question - no, I don't think not wanting to take the kids to the corner bus stop is a valid reason alone for homeschooling. Intentional homeschooling involves being pretty darn on-the-ball, and to do it well you generally need to be willing to set aside discomfort for the sake of consistency and accountability. If you were talking about having to drive your son an hour each way, then that would be a different story .... but walking to the corner seems a relatively small hurdle to cross.

 

If the idea of getting the kids to the bus stop is so daunting, will you feel similarly overwhelmed with the thought of getting lessons done with three little ones underfoot and in arms? To me, that would be the more stressful scenario - and I only had to teach 2nd/3rd with a 2/3 year old. Those days were chaos, although I will admit my toddler was particularly high needs. Is your 7 y/o likely to be bored at home if you are busy with his siblings? If you do decide to homeschool, will you be doing it to provide him with a better education than he is getting in the school? Are you looking at a structured, academic setting or a relaxed, interest-led one? (I am guessing you are looking at more of the former, since you are annotating WTM). That will be very hard to do with three little ones.

 

If you do keep them in school, no one says you can't bring the kids to the bus stop in their pajamas. ;) Is there a neighbor kid who would be willing to walk your son to the corner?

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Any reason is a "valid" reason, but some reasons will keep you going more than others. :-)

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If your eldest was an introvert, I'd say go for it. 

 

Coping with an extrovert's social needs with a bunch of small kids in tow sounds painful to me. Unless your small children are a great deal more civilised at much younger ages than mine were. :leaving:

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Is not wanting to have to get four kids, ages 7 and under, up and out the door every morning/afternoon a valid reason for me to home school?

 

Am I being selfish for wanting to keep everyone home for a year (or two - or possibly longer if it goes well) just to make mornings/afternoons easier?

 

Yes, I absolutely think that this is a valid reason (perhaps not the only reason, but still valid) for homeschooling your children. No, I do not think you are being selfish. In fact, I did the same thing! ;) I know plenty of other homeschooling moms who have told the same story.

 

My husband and I had always planned to homeschool our children, if possible. When our oldest daughter was Kindergarten age, I found that the thought of getting her to and from school each day was more than enough reason to question the value of that process. We lived in a very rough neighborhood at that time, and many of the students on that bus were big, tough 6th graders. There was no way she was going to school and back on the bus. My husband left for work by 5:00 am each day, so he wasn't going to do any transporting.

 

I would have to get my daughter, our twin toddlers, and myself fed, dressed, and out the door every day, down the icy driveway, down the snowed-in street, and over to the school for drop-off. Parents of Kindergartners had to go inside the school to sign in the student, so that would mean all of us going in each day. Then back home with my little ones for a few hours, then back to the school for pick-up -- again, going inside to sign out the student -- then back home. Kindergarten was only full-day, too, there was no half-day option in our district. Many of the kids who took the bus were getting on the bus at 8:20 am and getting off the bus at 4:20 pm. It wouldn't have been a much shorter day to go in the car, either. And, of course, after that long of a day, the Kindergarten students still had homework! (We knew this because our nephews and niece were at this same school.)

 

Anyway, it occurred to us that we could all have a more peaceful, joyful, home-based life if we opted out of that entirely. We did, and it has been a wonderful journey. It's hard to explain... it becomes such a process of growth, for you as well as your children.

 

I hope you and your husband will find the wisdom and path you are seeking. Whether or not you do decide to homeschool next year, please feel welcome to hang out on these boards. There is an afterschooling board for those whose child(ren) attend school, a special needs board, and even a bilingual education board! :) There's so much to learn and glean from here, however you choose to go forward. Welcome to homeschooling!

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I think you will need more of a reason than that to do a good job.  My suggestion is to picture out your whole life, and instead of just taking out the early morning rush, add in the math and reading and the fairly constant talking of an extrovert.  Then ask yourself whether it still appeals.  It might, and it might not.

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Guest

One of my kiddos is very much an extrovert (the other and myself are extremely introverted!) and it can totally be done! You'll definitely want to join some social activities, but I wouldn't let that stop you. As long as you're willing to be flexible with yourself, having a preschooler and new baby, I think you'd really come to enjoy it. This was our 6th official homeschool year and it has definitely grown on me. I think as you start and get a groove you will either come to love and appreciate homeschooling or you'll realize it isn't for you guys. Good luck, I think you'd really enjoy it and the freedom it will bring your family!

 

ETA: Oh, I meant to add: many times the reason we start homeschooling morphs into other reasons as the kids get older and start to mature. So I wouldn't worry about your initial reason!

Edited by Guest

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There's not harm in giving it a try and see how you all like it. You may end up loving it, or you may end up deciding it's not for you. I personally LOVED that I could have the control of how my dc and I spent our days when they were super young. I still love it 11 years later. 

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Any chance a neighbor could help you?

 

Where I use to live lots of people ran home day cares. One them would walk past a neighbors house to and from the bus every school day. The arrangement was that the home daycare would walk the kid to and from the bus stop. I just know this because every so often I would take over for the home day care worker. 

 

For your eldest perhaps you can find someone who is going out anyway? And then just keep all your others at home. 

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I suspect that getting to/from the bus stop and preschool aren't the only reason you've though of homeschooling, even if it's the most salient. 

 

I will say that for us, a relaxed home life has been one of the most important benefits of homeschooling. Perhaps that's what you're seeking, in the midst of new family members? 

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You know what I think is a better reason for homeschooling? Wanting to!

 

Sleeping in and no school logistics are big bonuses! X100 when the little ones come along.

 

If you want to do it, then own it! Homeschooling is a valid choice, you don't need an excuse.

Edited by LMD
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I suspect that getting to/from the bus stop and preschool aren't the only reason you've though of homeschooling, even if it's the most salient. 

 

I will say that for us, a relaxed home life has been one of the most important benefits of homeschooling. Perhaps that's what you're seeking, in the midst of new family members? 

This.  There's nothing wrong with having that be *part* of your reason for homeschooling, but you'll need a fuller expression/motivation.  Homeschooling with that many littles at home will be WAY harder than getting them out the door.  ;)

 

If you want to do it, do it.  You'd probably have a great time.  Bright ones are super fun to teach.  

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Here first graders walk to the corner bus stop alone - and we have a late cut-off date, so that's kids who are almost 6yo and older. So, my suggestion for simplifying your morning is to just send the 7yo to the bus stop alone. Watch from a distance the first few times, and done.

 

Whether you want to take your 3yo to preschool is a different matter. Decisions do not have to be all-or-nothing. You can send the 7yo to school and keep the 3yo at home. Or find a different daycare that will let you send the 3yo for 2 days a week even after s/he turns 4yo.

 

Or, you could make part of the 20yo's rent to take the 3yo to preschool (assuming that works with his work schedule).

 

If you want to homeschool, sure, but if you just need a solution to morning logistics, there are other options.

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Thanks everyone, for your honest words and input!

 

I have always wanted to home school. My oldest, now 20, never had it easy (or was interested) in school and I always thought that I could do a better job with him. It wasn't feasible at the time, as I was a single mom until he was 13 and then I was working full-time while also trying to finish my Master's/Doctorate in my spare time. With boy #2, we've been told that he's 'gifted' and feel like he could do very well at his own pace, especially since he's been doing not much of anything this year, what with the missing teacher and all.  

 

There isn't anyone in the immediate neighborhood to help with the bus routine, and school/bus company rules are that parents MUST be out at the bus stop until the child is in 4th grade. (Don't get me started - I was a latch key kid at 2nd grade!) He has lots of sports activities during the year that will keep him in contact with his friends and, as he gets a little older, we will teach him to navigate the sidewalk-less streets to his best friend's house a few blocks away.

 

I don't have to make a decision yet for a few more months, but I really like the idea of homeschooling. I actually think my preschooler will not do well at school each day, unless his personality changes drastically in the next year. I'm going to keep lurking in the forum and asking questions as they come. Thanks again for your responses.

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Gifted kids are a good reason to homeschool!  Do you feel like you could do things for him that the school could not? 

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It sounds like you want to homeschool. I think you should give it a try. He's young, if it doesn't work out for any reason you can put him back in school.

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It sounds like you want to homeschool. I think you should give it a try. He's young, if it doesn't work out for any reason you can put him back in school.

 

I agree, though starting a month before being due with another kid may not be the easiest time to make this transition. Since the 7yo is happy in school, I might be inclined to bring the 3yo home (since next year would be going from 2 days to 5 days a week), and to maybe wait one year before bringing the 7yo home. Of course, there are pros and cons, and YMMV, etc.

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I agree, though starting a month before being due with another kid may not be the easiest time to make this transition.

 

I was actually planning to do some 1st grade 'remediation' during the summer, from June-September, to fill in any gaps from not having a regular teacher for half the year and to get into a home school rhythm. Then, I was going to go into a sort-of 'crisis' mode for Oct-Dec, where we do a bare minimum of schooling (lots of reading, anything he can/wants to do independently, lots of practical life stuff) while we adjust to a new baby. He would formally start 2nd grade after the holidays, and we would take it a day at a time knowing that we had until at least the end of the summer to finish. At that point, we can decide if they will stay home another year or if both will go off on the bus everyday, one to K and the older to 3rd grade.

 

Does that sound more feasible?

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Three thoughts:

 

1) You don't want to do so much in the summer that the kid hates homeschooling before fall even starts. All his friends are going to be having summer break.

 

2) I don't know "north of Boston" homeschool law, but for our reporting purposes here (in NY), the school year runs from July 1st to June 30th. The schools don't start until September, but we can't count any work done in July or August at the end of our school year - it counts at the beginning of the next. So, study up on your homeschool law to see that everything works.

 

3) I'm not too concerned about 2nd grade academics, but being home with a mom who is exhausted from newborn (and toddler, and preschooler) may just not be a fun time for a 7yo. I get grumpy when newborns need to be fed in the middle of the night (twice) and are colicky (luckily only my oldest was), and all that. Your 7yo may be wishing to be back in school in October. It's not always easy to get kids who like school to go along with homeschooling.

Edited by luuknam
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I think not wanting to get all the kids out of the house early is a totally valid reason! It sounds like you are on the fence and need a push lol....

 

So you will only have one school age child and he'll be in 3rd. He's reading above grade level. Ok I think it's very doable. He can likely get set on a routine to do independent work if he's reading well. My dd is in 3rd and can do about an hour and a half of her work on her own. She does her phonics, spelling, handwriting, math exercises, free reading and book basket (subject based readings) on her own. Some days this is all she does because our days are crazy, aside from Bible and me reading a chapter book aloud. We have a two year old and I just had my 3 week old twins plus I have a k'er. If we can do that and I can do Lang and math with my k'er I feel we're pushing along.

 

Not to say we don't get to the other stuff---the field trips, science, history, grammar, handicrafts, music, art, park days, library days, nature journals, etcetera....we do...but we have our days with a full house of littles....

Edited by lea_lpz
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2) I don't know "north of Boston" homeschool law, but for our reporting purposes here (in NY), the school year runs from July 1st to June 30th. The schools don't start until September, but we can't count any work done in July or August at the end of our school year - it counts at the beginning of the next. So, study up on your homeschool law to see that everything works.

 

Thank you! This is exactly some information that I hadn't even thought of yet. I just looked, and they want to know only the length of the school day/year. I also found this on the Massachusetts Home Learning Association's website:

 

"7. A daily schedule matched to that of the school calendar is not required. Under the 1993 Educational Reform Act, public school students are required to receive 990 hours of directed instructional time per year at the secondary level (900 at the elementary level; check to see where your town has placed middle school grades). It is still not clear if private schools and those otherwise educated, which includes homeschoolers, are required to meet this hourly requirement, since it hasn't been addressed by the courts. However, if pressed to answer the question of time, you can assure school officials that the hours will be covered....but in a flexible manner. Because homeschool instruction needs only to be equivalent, not duplicate, you may consider certain hours when the local school is not in session as instructional time. This means that your equivalent schedule can include instructional time during the evening, on weekends, on snow days, during vacation periods, while traveling, while utilizing the internet and educational technology. Most school buildings are only open for instruction 180 days, and the length of the school day is determined by local collective bargaining agreement. Homeschoolers are not bound by collective bargaining and can utilize time in ways different from those expected of classroom teachers. However, the school system's year runs from July 1 through June 30. Because of homeschooling's flexibility you can use a 12-month school year instead of a 10- month one. This concept is called year-round schooling."

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I suggest that you make some kind of plan to keep your 7YO in touch with his school friends if you homeschool.

It could be as simple as, "We're going to be at XXX park Monday at 3, who's with us?"  or inviting other kids over regularly or offering to pick some of them up for a playdate when the school has a minimum day or a day off that working parents don't have.

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At some point when I was making pro-con lists about homeschooling, my husband reminded me that homeschooling didn't need to somehow win over public school in my lists. I didn't need overwhelming reasons to homeschool, or any reasons beyond wanting to, because homeschooling is just as valid an option as any other school.

 

You don't need to justify your choice - although I do recommend having both a somewhat flippant answer (perhaps: oh, I really think we homeschool so I don't have to deal with school drop off) and a more serious answer (perhaps: I spent years teaching other children and now I have the chance to teach my own) when others ask you why you're homeschooling. Because they will, especially at first, and it's hard to come up with a quick answer when there are so many great reasons!

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Yes, I absolutely think that this is a valid reason (perhaps not the only reason, but still valid) for homeschooling your children. No, I do not think you are being selfish. In fact, I did the same thing! ;) I know plenty of other homeschooling moms who have told the same story.

 

My husband and I had always planned to homeschool our children, if possible. When our oldest daughter was Kindergarten age, I found that the thought of getting her to and from school each day was more than enough reason to question the value of that process. We lived in a very rough neighborhood at that time, and many of the students on that bus were big, tough 6th graders. There was no way she was going to school and back on the bus. My husband left for work by 5:00 am each day, so he wasn't going to do any transporting.

 

I would have to get my daughter, our twin toddlers, and myself fed, dressed, and out the door every day, down the icy driveway, down the snowed-in street, and over to the school for drop-off. Parents of Kindergartners had to go inside the school to sign in the student, so that would mean all of us going in each day. Then back home with my little ones for a few hours, then back to the school for pick-up -- again, going inside to sign out the student -- then back home. Kindergarten was only full-day, too, there was no half-day option in our district. Many of the kids who took the bus were getting on the bus at 8:20 am and getting off the bus at 4:20 pm. It wouldn't have been a much shorter day to go in the car, either. And, of course, after that long of a day, the Kindergarten students still had homework! (We knew this because our nephews and niece were at this same school.)

 

Anyway, it occurred to us that we could all have a more peaceful, joyful, home-based life if we opted out of that entirely. We did, and it has been a wonderful journey. It's hard to explain... it becomes such a process of growth, for you as well as your children.

 

I hope you and your husband will find the wisdom and path you are seeking. Whether or not you do decide to homeschool next year, please feel welcome to hang out on these boards. There is an afterschooling board for those whose child(ren) attend school, a special needs board, and even a bilingual education board! :) There's so much to learn and glean from here, however you choose to go forward. Welcome to homeschooling!

I always pictured you In the desert because your name rhymes with Sahara to me! Lol (not that I actually picture anyone that's weird/ but to me you're like Sahara mama haha) guess not!

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I have one rule: don't make decisions out of fear (edit: or dread, or dislike). Make them out of love and hope and all the good things in your life.

 

There are many good reasons to public school and many good reasons to private school and many good reasons to homeschool and it depends on your family.

 

What gives your son joy about learning? What gives you joy about homeschooling?

 

In the end I personally don't get a lot of joy and delight out of "not having to get up" though it does sound convenient. I mean I like sleeping in but I get more satisfaction out of getting stuff done.

 

That is not to say you should not homeschool, not by a longshot. It was my plan initially. However we had to do what worked for us.

 

Good luck in your decision!

Edited by Tsuga
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I always pictured you In the desert because your name rhymes with Sahara to me! Lol (not that I actually picture anyone that's weird/ but to me you're like Sahara mama haha) guess not!

 

No, not the desert, just New Jersey. ;) Rain, rain, rain. Unless we're in a drought, then no rain.

 

Sa Ha Ma -- it rhymes with Bahama, as in "It's better in the Bahamas."

 

My daughters' names begin with: Sa____, Ha____, and Ma____. See those chunky baby legs? They are 9, 9, and 11 now. Sniff, sniff.

 

And I'm the Mama... so one day, years ago, my husband called me "Sahamamama," and that became my board name. He actually calls me "Honey." :)

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It sounds to me like you already wanted to homeschool, this is just one extra reason for starting now. You've already thought it all out, you've already started planning. Your oldest that is still school age is only 7, and reading well above grade level, there's not much you could do that would screw him up. ;-) I would go for it.

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Thanks everyone, for your honest words and input!

 

I have always wanted to home school. My oldest, now 20, never had it easy (or was interested) in school and I always thought that I could do a better job with him. It wasn't feasible at the time, as I was a single mom until he was 13 and then I was working full-time while also trying to finish my Master's/Doctorate in my spare time. With boy #2, we've been told that he's 'gifted' and feel like he could do very well at his own pace, especially since he's been doing not much of anything this year, what with the missing teacher and all.

 

There isn't anyone in the immediate neighborhood to help with the bus routine, and school/bus company rules are that parents MUST be out at the bus stop until the child is in 4th grade. (Don't get me started - I was a latch key kid at 2nd grade!) He has lots of sports activities during the year that will keep him in contact with his friends and, as he gets a little older, we will teach him to navigate the sidewalk-less streets to his best friend's house a few blocks away.

 

I don't have to make a decision yet for a few more months, but I really like the idea of homeschooling. I actually think my preschooler will not do well at school each day, unless his personality changes drastically in the next year. I'm going to keep lurking in the forum and asking questions as they come. Thanks again for your responses.

So, the bus situation is one of the reasons... but it sounds like you are very interested in the topic and WANT to homeschool. My advice might be biased, since I just love it. Go for it!!!! I can't tell you it'll be easy (specially with littles, and a baby). For us, homeschooling was not only a change in educational method, our entire lifestyle has changed, and we love it. I also have a 20yr old, never homeschooled her...I regret it. Sounds like the school bus situation is just a minor, a "one more" reason to want to homeschool...you might find that you have way more than that one reason. It is a frightening change, but you won't know how it is til you try it. And as for being selfish... I don't see multiplying your workload to become your children's primary educator as selfish, if anything, it's a huge sacrifice. Good luck on your decision making process!!
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At some point when I was making pro-con lists about homeschooling, my husband reminded me that homeschooling didn't need to somehow win over public school in my lists. I didn't need overwhelming reasons to homeschool, or any reasons beyond wanting to, because homeschooling is just as valid an option as any other school.

 

You don't need to justify your choice - although I do recommend having both a somewhat flippant answer (perhaps: oh, I really think we homeschool so I don't have to deal with school drop off) and a more serious answer (perhaps: I spent years teaching other children and now I have the chance to teach my own) when others ask you why you're homeschooling. Because they will, especially at first, and it's hard to come up with a quick answer when there are so many great reasons!

Lol! You are too nice. When I was asked a "because we want to" was enough answer...and the nice thing about it was that it didn't leave much room for discussion/argument. Once in a while I had to add a "it just works best for us". Loved your dh's reasoning...really like the idea of not having to hate public school in order to homeschool :)
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