As part of my “Why” series, I thought you might like to know why I homeschool my kids. : ) I hope you enjoy this view into this part of my life (and it’s a BIG part of my life!).
Homeschooling is a huge part of my life not only because I homeschool my children, but because I was homeschooled myself most of my childhood. I always figured I would homeschool my own children. I knew about people’s apprehensiveness towards homeschoolers (which homeschooler doesn’t!), so to be sure my kids got a good start, I started teaching them their letters with a curriculum beginning in K3. Sometimes people get concerned if your kids aren’t in preschool, so now I didn’t have to worry about that!
This year of course everyone has been forced to homeschool because of covid. Now when I tell people that I homeschool, I say that I’ve been doing it since before it was popular! : ) And now people have a little different perspective of homeschoolers. They know that since we’ve always homeschooled, that our lives haven’t been turned upside down this year as badly as most everyone else’s have. And they look a little envious.
(Let me just say that having to do virtual school because of a pandemic really isn’t the same as old fashioned homeschooling. But then you probably knew that.)
Before I tell you WHY I homeschool my kids, let me tell you some reasons that do NOT apply to why I homeschool my children….
First of all, I don’t homeschool my kids because it is easy.
Ha! It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I never imagined I would ever say that. I never thought it could be so difficult. I enjoyed being homeschooled myself as a child. I thought it was pretty easy. But then, I wasn’t the parent. I wasn’t responsible for the planning, and the grading, and everything else that goes along with homeschooling and running a home besides that!
Secondly, I don’t homeschool my kids because our friends are doing it.
When I started homeschooling, we didn’t have a group of homeschooling friends to collaborate with. We didn’t have a co-op. Sure, I knew other people who were homeschooling, but we were not close friends. Halfway through first grade, we did find a homeschool group that we “clicked” with. That was wonderful and I had been praying for such a group. But my decision to homeschool was independent of our friends’ influences.
Thirdly, I don’t homeschool because I think Everyone should be homeschooling. I don’t.
As much as I love homeschooling, I do not think everyone should do it. There are many reasons for this. If a homeschooling parent is weak in a topic, then it is likely that the children will be weak in that topic, too. If a homeschooling parent is weak in discipline, not ensuring that the children do their work, then that is not a good situation.
On the other hand, just because a homeschooling parent has faults (as we all do), that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t homeschool. With effort, things that are lacking can be compensated for, by exceling in other areas. These are decisions that should be made on an individual basis. I would liken these decisions to the similar process that parents go through when deciding which private school they want to send their child to.
Alright, so here are the reasons that I homeschool my kids.
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1. I Homeschool Because I Want To.
Of all the reasons that I homeschool, “I want to” is the biggest reason. It is kind of a wide all encompassing term for all of the reasons listed below. But if I didn’t want to homeschool my kids, then I could find other solutions for all of the things listed. Wanting to homeschool my kids is what gets me through the tough times. It is what keeps me plodding on when homeschooling gets tough.
2. I Homeschool Because I Think it is Best for My Children.
I know that my kids will be able to learn better because of the one-on-one time I can give them during homeschooling. When they don’t understand something, I can help them with it. They won’t struggle to learn, and fall behind while the rest of the class moves on. I can teach each of my children at their own individual learning speed (which is different for each child). The slow one will not fall behind and feel inferior, and the fast one will not be held back and bored by the slow one.
3. I Homeschool Because I am in Control of the Curriculum.
I like knowing that if I don’t like the curriculum, I can switch. If I were sending my kids to school, I would have absolutely no say in which curriculum is being used. When I find that a curriculum is not suitable for my child’s learning style, or for my teaching style, then I can switch to a better fit. I have in fact done this twice already. There are hundreds of curriculum choices. If my child is not being challenged enough in a subject, I can find another curriculum to keep their interest (I have done that, also). When “common core” became an issue in recent years, I didn’t have to worry because I wasn’t going to use it. While others are struggling to learn the “new math,” I can continue to teach the old math.
4. I Homeschool Because I Don’t Want to Help With Homework in the Evenings.
Growing up, I NEVER had to do homework because we got all our work done during the day! Those poor public school students who had to spend hours in the evening doing homework…. I felt sorry for them!
As a parent, I knew that I did not want to spend time in the evenings helping my kids learn what they missed during the day because of all the distractions of learning in a large group of people.
5. I Homeschool Because I Taught in a Private School.
As a single person I taught in three different private Christian schools. In every one of those schools were a large percentage of teenagers who didn’t want to be there. They didn’t appreciate the efforts of the adults in their lives who were giving them an education from a Christian viewpoint. They were mad at God, life, and people. Of course not all the teens started the school year with those feelings, but the “rotten apples” influenced the other teens easily enough. I didn’t want my kids to end up like that, so I didn’t want to send my kids to a private Christian school.
6. I Homeschool Because I Worked at a Public School.
I also worked as an aide for kids with autism in the public school. I observed kids standing in line for long periods. I observed elementary age kids standing in line doing things to other kids that no teachers saw them do, because no teachers were present or watching as the kids stood in the long lunch line. I observed class time being taken up with behavioral problems instead of learning.
7. I Homeschool Because My Husband was Bullied as a Child.
My husband has struggled with lifelong issues because of being bullied in public school, and on the school bus. Because of that he has been very much in favor of, and supportive of us homeschooling our children. Occasionally he has served as substitute teacher, as stand-in principal, and as chief dishwasher.
8. I Homeschool Because I can Teach my Children my Philosophies.
Do you want your children to believe the same things you do about God? Do you want your children to have the same political viewpoints? I know that some people say that they want their children to think for themselves and “make their own decisions,” but usually that means they don’t want their children taught conservative values, or they don’t want their children taught about God and the Bible.
It is very important to me that my children have my viewpoints about God, the Bible, History, and Science. I want my children taught History, Science, Language, Math, and Spelling from my Christian perspective. I feel that I can do this best with homeschooling.
Some Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling that I Enjoy.
Rest. Sometimes people think that if you homeschool, then you are just sitting around in your pjs all day watching tv and eating popcorn. That is certainly not the case at our house! However, if we have been out late at night, I do like that I have the option to let the kids sleep in if they need to. Then they will just get their schoolwork done later in the day. I think that getting enough rest is essential for children, and that it greatly helps their immune systems.
Flexibility. I love the flexibility that homeschooling gives us. Thirty years ago we did not have that flexibility because people weren’t used to homeschoolers. But now if I need to make a doctor or dentist appointment in the afternoon, I can. If other things disrupt our day, we can always make up the work later.
No Missed Schoolwork. This is one of the best things about homeschooling, in my opinion. If my kids are sick, or we need to travel and miss some school, my kids will not actually miss any lessons. They won’t miss the day the teacher taught about fractions. Throughout our flexibility, my kids will still do all of their work, and they won’t miss out on learning anything! They don’t even miss a key point if they have to leave the classroom to use the bathroom! My kids will get a very thorough, one-on-one education.
No post on homeschooling would be complete without mentioning socialization. It is a big concern of non-homeschoolers, that homeschoolers may not be getting enough socialization. Whenever someone has mentioned that to me, then I think—you don’t know me or my kids very well! We LOVE to talk to people! All the kids at the playground and in our neighborhood are friends. I think it is because of homeschooling, that my children can play happily with kids above or below their age. My kids can also have intelligent conversations with adults of all ages.
My concern in reverse is that children in a school system primarily associate with children only in their grade, and do not get the variety and diversity of conversing with people of all ages.
Sports and Music
Another concern along with socialization is about sports and music, and other extra-curricular opportunities. I can confidently say that my kids get as much as or more outdoor exercise than their public schooled peers. They ride bikes, jump on our trampoline, go hiking, can swim well, and play tennis and soccer. They practice the piano and violin and participate in junior choir with our church group. We go on field trips with other homeschoolers, and have traveled as a family to many interesting places. History is everywhere you go.
As you have seen, I absolutely love homeschooling. I enjoy encouraging other homeschoolers or want-to-be-homeschoolers. Sometimes I am the one who needs the encouragement. I’m very thankful for our homeschooling journey this far, and hope that it continues to be a successful one. When people tell me to enjoy my kids while I can, that their childhood will be over before I know it, I smile and say “Oh, don’t worry. I’m slowing it down. I homeschool!” I anticipate graduating my kids with a well-rounded education that gives them the confidence and skills they need to succeed in life. That is every parent’s goal, isn’t it? -whether you homeschool or not!