Today I have a guest posting from a friend who just began homeschooling this fall. She was just innocently talking and I got her to write her story down to share with you. Enjoy!
"We began our schooling journey with my daughter attending public school for the first grade. She spent a full semester at two different Texas elementary schools. We loved it. She had great teachers and both schools were fantastic. They were interested in the students and tried to incorporate parents as much as possible. Nothing about our lives seemed out of the ordinary, but at the same time something about it felt awkward.
Little things were difficult. At the first school, we had nice mornings as the hours were 8:45 - 3:45. That start time suited our family nicely, and we would enjoy our breakfast and early morning walk to school. Unfortunately, the fact that she didn't get home until 4 was incredibly difficult to adjust to. At the second school, we were horrified to find that the start time was 7:45. Mornings were not so smooth, but having her home at 3 was much nicer. Unfortunately, to go pick her up at 2:30 usually meant waking up one or both of her brothers from their nap in order to get there on time.
In both cases, my daughter was completely exhausted from her 7 hour day when she arrived home. We always had a snack first and talked about her day. She was usually starving. We don't gorge ourselves in our house, but the 15 minutes she had to eat her lunch and the one additional small snack during that time wasn't holding her over well. Then it was time to complete her homework. At both schools the teachers told me that the homework was 'designed' to take 25 minutes. What they didn't take into account was the mental fatigue of my 6 year old after 7 hours of schooling and (at the second school) an exceptionally early wake up time. It wasn't unusual for the 25 minutes to stretch into an hour. Thankfully, it was only assigned 4 days per week -- Monday through Thursday.
At the first school, again we had nice relaxing mornings, but she didn't get home until 4. She had a snack until around 4:30. Then it was time to tackle homework until 5:30. She literally had an hour to play with her brothers or spend time with her friends (or me!) before it was time for dinner, bath, and bedtime. The second school felt like a breath of fresh air, since she had 2 entire hours to spend playing and doing kid stuff.
It wasn't until we started homeschool this year (we're in our 6th week) that I fully realized how out of balance that was. I knew I was missing out on my baby girl during the best part of her day, but I didn't fully realize how much I was missing. Education was an altar I was willing to sacrifice her on and I didn't even know I was doing it. It's amazing how quickly one's perspective can be changed. I'm so very grateful that we stumbled into the strange, new world of homeschooling."