Yip, We’re one of Those Families!

Benjamin Wu

Benjamin Wu

You know what I am talking about! We all know a family like that!

We talk about them, laugh at them and even mock them sometimes.  One of those families, yip, I confess…… we are a homeschooling family!

There, I said it!

Now most people conjure up images like the one to the left when they think of homeschooling, but we are nothing like that…….in fact I don’t even own a dress!

I’m not quite sure why homeschoolers get such a bad rap. It seems that if you want to be a homeschooler, you must wear clothes from the 70’s, have at least 8 kids and travel round in a people mover. (Sorry, my homeschooling friends out there!)

Well, I am here to lay that rumor to rest. We are a regular family (well kind of!), we don’t have 8 kids, I don’t wear clothes from the 70’s (although my kids would beg to differ) and we don’t drive around in a people mover, not that I have anything against people movers, they are very practical cars, but just not for me!

In 2009 when we took a year out and travelled the world, it obviously meant taking our kids out of school! Both kids had been in school since they turned 5 and I had no intentions of doing anything different. I wasn’t very disciplined so figured homeschooling wasn’t for us, I would leave it to all those other crazy Mums out there that were structured, organized and worked to a schedule! Those Mum’s that could turn a yoghurt pottle into a work of art, that could grow amazing gardens, live off the land, bake all day and all the while teach their kids algebra, science and how to be a law abiding citizen. Yip, I would leave it to those Mum’s!

So we left NZ  without a hitch, but when we got to the USA no one wanted to know us. The US Embassy said we couldn’t put them in school as we weren’t citizens and the  NZ Embassy said, well actually you are in the States, we don’t care what you do!

So it was sink or swim. It was either me teaching them or letting them free and the world teaching them! As much as I agree with “tough love” I thought sending out our then 9 and 11-year-olds, out into the big wide world by themselves, without equipping them the best we could, was not really an option for us, so it came down to me!

Oh my goodness, I was now responsible for my children’s education! There was no more blaming the Government, the schools, the teachers or even their friends, nope, this was now on my shoulders. What if I got this wrong? What if I screwed up and my kids couldn’t add 8+7 when they were 14? What if I taught them the sky was blue, and it wasn’t? What if, what if, what if? The pressure. The angst. The feeling of inadequacy. Ahhhhhhh!

But you know God is awesome, he calmed me down, told me to take a deep breath and said “You can do this. You don’t think I would give you these precious children and not equip you, do you?” Well, no of course not God, not when you put it like that!

So we did it! We had an incredible year. The kids (and actually I did too) learnt so much. Not just from books, but more importantly from life experiences. If you want an ice cream in the middle of Paris and you can’t speak the language you WILL work out a way to communicate! I believe book learning is important, please don’t get me wrong, I am all for it, but the things we learnt by “living” has taught us so much more, and those experiences are memories we will never forget.

When we came home in 2010 we decided to put the kids back in school but then in 2012 something changed……..