006: 6 Years and No Regrets!

by | Apr 27, 2021

Welcome, my Tenacious Homeschool Tribe, to another episode of Homeschooling with Dr. B!

Sometimes I get asked the most impertinent questions by people.  Just recently, I was asked, “Do I regret wasting the last 6 years of my life homeschooling?”

That’s an interesting choice of words, especially the word “waste.” But it is a question that I get asked often. I’m going to be honest with you, not always in that way. Most of the time, people ask me the question a little bit nicer, but I always find it disturbing that people think that I wasted the last six years of my life homeschooling my kids. 

People often point to the fact that I had a Ph.D. and I was a college professor, and therefore I must feel that this world minimizes me somehow. But I have to tell you very honestly that I don’t regret homeschooling for the last six years! I definitely see the benefits of homeschooling in our children.     

First, I really enjoy being around my kids. I have never understood the moms that do the happy dance at the beginning of the school year when they put their kids on the school bus. I’ve always really enjoyed my children. I don’t know if that’s because I’m an older mom. I don’t know if that’s because I’m from the Hispanic culture. Being a mom is very important in our culture, or at least it was very important when I was growing up. It was the central tenement in our upbringing. We were told in every way possible that we had to be good moms and being good moms meant loving your children and spending time with your children. 

Now my kids did start by going to private school. And I have to tell you. I was blessed in that they went to great private schools. They went to one for preschool and kindergarten, half of kindergarten. And to the next one, they went for half of kindergarten and first grade. In the last one, they went for second grade and were there for the first two weeks of the third grade. 

They learned a lot. They really did. They had some great teachers. They had some not-so-great teachers. And up until the third grade, we were satisfied. We were very happy with the progress they were making. But, here’s the BIG BUT! Since they started kindergarten, the second half of kindergarten, they had anywhere between 3 or 5 hours of homework every single day. Every single day! And frankly, I found it ludicrous! Completely ridiculous that my children had to spend that amount of time doing homework. The other thing was that it meant I spent most of my afternoons reprimanding them, “You have to focus. You have to do your homework. Why haven’t you done your homework?”

So, what little time I actually got to spend with them, I spent chasing after them to do their schoolwork. Then we decide, “Well, we won’t do that. We’ll let the kids stay after school and go to the homework class.” 

But then we weren’t picking them up until 5:00 p.m or 5:30 p.m, and they still weren’t done with their homework!  Now here’s the thing, you get to be a child for a very limited time in your life. The majority of your life you’re going to spend as an adult. 

Second, so, my personal belief is that children should enjoy their childhood. I know not everybody agrees, but that is my belief. I wanted my children to enjoy their childhood. I wanted them to play outside. I wanted them to swim in the pool. I wanted them to learn to ride a bike. I wanted them not to be stressed out about turning in homework at the age of 6, 7, 8, 9.  I’m sorry, I wanted them to be kids. Actually, I’m not sorry. I’m not going to apologize for that. That’s what I wanted for them. I wanted them to enjoy their childhood. 

Those are two of the reasons I don’t regret homeschooling for the last six years. I love spending time with my kids, and I wanted my kids to enjoy their childhood, and that’s exactly what they did. 

I also love the flexibility that homeschool can build into our schedule. We homeschool year-round. Now, I’m going, being honest with you. We started homeschooling year-round, not because of the kids but because I was sick a lot. And so, if I had to go to the hospital for a week or two, it wasn’t a big deal. We just pick up what we had left off. And then, after I got well, we started traveling. 

And I’m going, being frank. We don’t work on our homeschool work when we’re traveling. We have a good time.  One of the trips the kids remember the most was our trip to Aruba. They didn’t have to do anything for two weeks. That wasn’t why they remember the trip to Aruba. They remember it because they got to go parasailing. They got to swim with dolphins. They got to go and spend time at the butterfly farm, at Arashi beach. We had a great time! And no, I didn’t log the books with me. 

Now some people believe that that is part of the learning process. I don’t believe that it’s part of the educational process. Still, I do believe that it’s part of learning to be a human being: learning to have a balance in life, learning to appreciate nature, being adventurous, and developing character. 

I mean, let me tell you, I’m afraid of heights, and I am entirely hydrophobic. I don’t know how to swim. And when my husband came up with the idea to get up on this parachute being dragged by this boat, I wanted to turn around and kill him. I was like, “What the hell are you thinking?!” 

But my kids were like, “Yes! I want to do it! This is gonna be so exciting!”

Andy turned around, and she said, ‘Mom, I want to do it with you.” 

Emmi was, “I want to do it with Daddy.” 

I was so scared I thought I was going to throw up or pee in my pants. That’s how scared I was. We get on this boat, and we’re going out to see everything’s fine, and then Emmi decides she’s scared. She doesn’t want to do it. And I thought I don’t want my child to be the way that I was brought up, my parents would have yelled at me, and they wouldn’t have encouraged me. I would have been more terrified.

  1. They would have either dragged me into it while I sobbed hysterically and try to contain myself so my father wouldn’t hit me. Or B. They would have just told me I was boring. Just go slink off into a corner and not ruin their fun.

So, instead, what I said to my child was, “You know what? I’m scared too. Let’s go together.” 

I turned around to Andy, and I said, “Is it okay if you are with daddy?”

She’s like, “Yeah! That’s fine!” 

I said to Emmi, “We’re going to go first.” 

Because I was thinking before either one of us changes our mind and we can’t do it. That’s character building. So, up we go, and Emmi was laughing! She was laughing so hard the whole time! I did have to tell her to stop when she started screaming, “We’re going to die! We’re going to die!”

Emmi was just joking, but I wasn’t enjoying it. So, she had a great time. I mean, to this day, Emmi talks about how much she wants to do it again. She enjoyed it so much. Both of my girls talked about that trip to Aruba.

As I said before, we never rushed back to the room to do vocabulary. Forget all of that! We had a great time. And had they been in a traditional school setting, we would have to take homework packets, and we would be stressed out about getting it all done. Maybe we would have chosen not to go up on that thing, not go to the butterfly farm, or not to go to the lighthouse. You know, we would have missed out on a life experience. So, I love traveling, and I love traveling with my children. That something else that’s always been important and exciting for me, to experience new things with my kids. 

Additionally, because we have a flexible schedule, if they want to take a theater class in the morning, it’s not a big deal because we’re just going to work in the afternoon. It’s not a big deal for us. We know, in our case, when we start homeschool, we’re going to homeschool for, well at this point they’re older, they’re in middle school, so we’re going to homeschool for four hours. It doesn’t mean that I’m teaching for four hours. That means I do my teaching, and then they sit down and they do their work, and they’re not free until they’re done. And when they’re done, they’re done. That’s one thing about me. I really focus on getting our work done. Probably because one of the good things that I learned from my father was a good work ethic, but also we take homeschooling seriously. 

Another thing that I have really enjoyed in the last six years is re-learning or learning things with my kids. Now, as someone with a Ph.D. I found myself in a program where if I got anything less than a B in any given class, I was going to be dropped. Not just lose my scholarship, but I would have been dropped out of the program. It was very stressful because, as a child, I grew up with the idea the math was not my forte and that I couldn’t learn math, and that I was terrible at math. 

But I love Saxon Math. I really do! I’ve gotten to fill in all of those holes that I was missing as a child. I really enjoy it. I enjoy having to sit there and figure out how to teach the lesson to my kids. It forces me to break down the concepts to teach them. And sometimes, even after I’ve done that, they’ll come up with some problem or another that I’m like, “Umh, what happened here?” 

I have to go back a few lessons, backtrack, and sometimes ask my husband for help. He’s an excellent mathematician. But I figured it out. I figured it out, and I love it! 

Another thing that happened to me was because my parents were on the irresponsible side. They pulled us in and out of school as their whim went, and we never actually made up for that missing time, and so my grammar wasn’t very strong. I always got A’s on my papers, but because I pinned for hours going over my grammar or I paid somebody to clean my grammar. Now, I get to learn it from the very beginning, and I’ll become a much better writer because I’ve taught my children proper grammar. 

The other thing is I change things as I need to. If something isn’t working for us? I changed it. Yes, I want my children to learn grammar, but there are fifty bazillion programs. I never marry a program. If it works, I keep it. I keep it until it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, I resell it. That’s it. Not a big deal.  

Or sometimes, for example, I’m trying to teach my kids Spanish, and we use this book called Asi Se Dice. They’re good books. But guess what? My kids were not ready for them. So, we set them aside to use next year. They’ve been set aside for the last three years, but now they’re ready for them. Not a big deal. 

Here’s the other thing that I really enjoy about homeschooling, I don’t give my kids any busy work. I don’t. As far as I’m concerned, busy work is used in the classroom as a classroom management tool. We don’t need it. Since we don’t need it, we don’t do it. And that’s another nice thing about homeschooling. In elementary school, my kids homeschool for maybe one to two hours. Well, sometimes they dragged it out to three. Sometimes, they got down to business, and they were done in 45 minutes. It really depended on their willingness to work on that day. 

They knew every time we sat down to get our work done, yeah, we would take ten to fifteen-minute breaks, but we needed to get our work done before we went out to have fun. So, they didn’t have to deal with all that busy work that just fills in the day. And when they got done, they were done for the day. There was no homework. We did all of our reading. We did all of our science. We were done. We moved on. 

At one point, we were taking horseback riding lessons three times a week. We were done. And then afterward, we went to the beach club, got into the pool every single day. We didn’t get up until 10:00 a.m. Our work was done.

Here’s another big thing, especially in today’s society, and I’m not going to get into politics. Still, I’m going to get into the fact that everybody wants to tell everybody else what to think. I don’t want my children to be told what to think. I want my children to be analytical and critical thinkers. What do I mean by analytical? 

Well, I want them to have the ability to tackle complicated issues by evaluating the information they’ve gathered, and they’ve organized. I want them to distinguish between someone’s opinion, even though they believe their opinion is fact or truth, and actual academic material.  I want them to detect patterns between datasets, and I want them to be able to come up with creative solutions because they can detect those patterns. I want them to be able to turn noisy data, all of that information, into action. Action that they believe is correct, not that someone else is telling them, is correct. 

I also want them to be critical thinkers, which means having two major components. I want them to gather that information to generate their beliefs and have good processing skills. And this requires intellectual commitment on my part and their part. I don’t want them to be just able to acquire and retain information and spit it out. I want them to think it through. I want them to play with that information to feel it, touch it, and treat it in their mind. I want them to use that information. 

When Donald Trump was being impeached, they were able to use that information and compare it to the impeachment of previous presidents.  They went through that analytical and critical process to determine for themselves whether the impeachment was appropriate or not without listening to the whole noise that’s going on. 

My children don’t accept anyone’s opinions blindly. They understand the difference between an informed opinion and a well-formed opinion. Not all people can do that. As a retired college professor, I can tell you the number of times I had to deal with a college student who couldn’t put two and two together. I have to be honest with you. 

One of the other things that I enjoy about that is that I can talk to my children about interesting things like politics, religion, history, sociology, and psychology.  They’re only thirteen and a half! Not the five-year-old. We’re waiting on the five-year-old. Right now, he wants to talk about Spiderman and Sonic. So, there is no question that my children are on their way to being analytical, critical thinkers. 

I have never taught to the test, but my children are tested by the school district at the end of every year. None of my kids are gifted. You know those children that come to some incredible gift, like Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory or Leonard or Koothrappali. We know a lot of those kids. I met a lot of them in college. But I can assure you one thing. My kids give those kids a run for their money. My kids test in the 99th percentile year after year, even though I have never taught the test. Never done it, and I never will. 

Now there are many more reasons why what became a one-year homeschool experiment continued for six years. And much to my shock, well, it will continue until they’re out of high school because my twins have decided they want to continue homeschooling.

The bottom line is I don’t regret it. I never will. It has been a precious learning experience both for my children and myself, and I’m grateful for it.

This podcast episode is brought to you by our friends at Syrtenty. Their reusable replacement electro patches help you live pain-free. Check them out at Syrtenty.com. Use the code OMB15OFF for an additional 15% off your purchase. 

If you find our show helpful or encouraging, please share a link on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, if you have time, all three!

This podcast episode is brought to you by our friends at Syrtenty. Their reusable replacement electro patches help you live pain-free. Check them out at Syrtenty.com. Use the code OMB15OFF for an additional 15% off your purchase. 

If you find our show helpful or encouraging, please share a link on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, if you have time, all three!

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