I remember when our first born was near turning four years old and that encompassing thought of sending him off to his first day of Kindergarten entered my mind. I imagined him wearing a new pair of running shoes with white soles that had barely met pavement. I envisioned him standing there with an anxious smile on his face waiting for the yellow school bus to whisk him away to an adventurous day of discovery. He is wearing a brand new schoolbag with his favourite superhero hugging his entire little back and inside there is a matching pencil case filled with pointy new crayons of every color. There are sharpened pencils that are thick enough for his tiny hands to hold pink erasers up ready to fill blank papers with glimpses of his curious mind. My thoughts of him going off to school were positive as I personally had great memories of school myself, and my husband the same. We had a collection of positive experiences meeting new friends, learning from a variety of teachers and being a part of a community.
As we began to research nearby public and private schools to enroll our son, the idea of homeschooling whispered at my heart. I had known a handful of friends and acquaintances that homeschooled and I wanted to explore the option. I began researching the idea and the legalities for my area. I learned that there was actually a fairly large community of homeschoolers and I was intrigued. As I continued to research my options, I gained confidence that our family could do this. And then it happened, like a sneaker wave silently roaring to the shore, fear began to consume my mind and I was flooded with endless questions of doubt. I thought about the heavy responsibility I would bear on my shoulders taking on the role of educator to our precious little family. I was scared. I hadn’t even yet discussed this with my husband and a large part of my thought that he would likely dismiss the idea and simply say no. if he wasn’t on board then it would simplify things I would have instant relief of the fears. And it would end there.
And so, with all of my self-doubt pestering at me, I sat with my husband at the kitchen table and just came out and asked him how he felt about the idea of homeschooling. I didn’t know how I would do it , but in my heart I knew I wanted to at least put it out there and try. My husband responded immediately and decisively with “yes”. I was like “yes…and that is it”? He gave me a funny look as though I was from another universe and said “My Love, you are actually asking my if I would like our children to stay at home with their mother and be educated as a family while providing us ample opportunity to travel and explore our world hands on. Absolutely,yes. I could not ask for anything more”!
When I received his immediate support, I was instantly inspired and I was determined to move forward. And to relieve any fear or stress, I just decided right then and there that I would take this journey day by day and school year by school year. This is the approach I continue to take today and when people ask, as they very often do, how long do I intend to homeschool? My response is that I cannot know what the future holds but I intend to continue as long as it works for our family.
Homeschooling full-time may not be for every family for various reasons, but one thing we believe true is that every family actually homeschools. Parents are their children’s most valuable teachers. That batch of cupcakes that you just made with your toddler just taught him a math lesson on measuring, a safety lesson on the dangers of heat, a science lesson on chemical reactions and a quick recap of the importance of cleanliness. That quick stop at the gas station with your daughter just taught her about how the fuel gets drawn into the engine and combusts to force pistons to move and the fluctuation in gas prices is caused by the supply and demand of oil. Every family homeschools and every moment can be a learning opportunity. Children are observing your actions. They are a reflection of you. When they inquire about things we should always try and answer their questions. Preserve their natural genius and curiosity. We are fortunate to be living in the day of the Internet because if you are unsure of the answer, a quick google search can usually satisfy their curious little minds!
So whether you homeschool fulltime or are thinking about homeschooling or are seeking more creative learning opportunities in your family, I hope that this blog will offer you some inspiration. Welcome to the Cooligan Academy! This is a footprint of our journey. Whether we are at our home in beautiful Ontario, Canada, at a little cafe in the South of France or at the Disneyworld theme park in Florida, we are always eager to explore and learn more. The world is our classroom.