If you bring up the topic of homeschooling, most of the time you will get quite the amount of criticism. I don’t really know why. I mean, you don’t get that much criticism if you send your kids to a private school, so why so many comments when you send your kids home? In any case, I wanted to address the reasons why we chose to homeschool as well as explain the reasons that do NOT determine our decision to homeschool.
While I love the fact that I can teach my children about God and bring our religion into all the different subjects that I teach, it is not the reason why we homeschool. Obviously if I sent my kids to public school, I could teach them about God once they got home.
To Shelter Them
I am not hiding my children from the real world. Both my husband and I feel like it is important that our children graduate school without being totally naïve about real world topics. Yes, we will decide when we will teach about certain topics and we will tailor the discussion so that it is age appropriate. Teaching at home does not need to mean that your kid will be a deer in the headlights when they go off to college.
Because Public/Private Schools are Horrible
This I think is an important one to bring up mainly because of the teachers. When people homeschool, they aren’t doing so because they think teachers are sub-par. There are many great teachers out there and some schools are wonderful. It’s a bit like the whole crunchy thing. When I tell a person about how I do this or that, I am not implying that the person who doesn’t do these things is some horrible person or even that they are wrong. It is just the best decision for me.
Because I Don’t Want to Let My Kids Go
I will admit that I am a clingy, protective mother. I make sure that my kids are always within my eyesight. Although in all honesty it’s never because of what could happen to them so much as what damage they could cause. So yes, I am very glad that I do not have to send my kids away to school but if I felt like public/private school was the best option for us then I would let them go. I obviously do not have a problem letting them go as they go to Sunday School, VBS, and various other events.
Every child is different. Anyone with more then one child of their own will tell you that their kids are drastically different. I originally had high hopes of bumping up my second son a year so that I could have both him and his older brother in the same grade (the boys are only 12 months apart, you can see why I’d love this.) However, as it turns out my oldest son is quite advanced. The kid has his father’s sponge-like mentality and he just memorizes everything. My second child is not that way. I’m not saying he isn’t a bright child, he is but he isn’t the textbook type. He is much more the learning through play and visuals type. Needless to say, I didn’t bump him up a grade. Homeschooling allows me to tweak how I teach. All my kids will still follow a pretty standard curriculum but they can learn it in a way that works for them.
To Challenge My Kids
As I just mentioned, my oldest child is a bit advanced. If he were in public/private school, he’d be bored to death. Homeschooling means that I can let my oldest son do 1st grade math even though he is in Kindergarten. He doesn’t have to sit at his desk waiting on the other kids because there are no other kids. If I see that he needs to be in a more advanced math or reading then I can just bump him up. No need to make him do work that would be boring and of no use to him. Homeschooling also means that I can bump him up in just the areas that he’s ready for. Most of the time, if you want to bump a kid up in public/private schools, it’s an all or nothing situation (at least in elementary.) You can’t just do the next grade up in math but not the other subjects; with homeschooling you can.
An Expanded Education
Most schools stick to the basics. That of course is great. However, with homeschooling I can add in subjects that I feel are worthy of being learned. For instances, we include Bible in our subjects. I will probably be adding a character building subject next year as I feel like character/manners/etc are extremely important. Obviously as kids get older, they generally do electives in school whether it is public, private, or home. Homeschooling allows for anything to be added as an elective and they can be added whenever. You can bet that my kids will be getting a good dose of “Crunchy” electives.
A Literature Rich Education
My husband and I both love to read. One of our dreams is to have a room solely devoted to being a library. In fact, as it is now we have more books then anything in our house. The curriculum that we use is very literature based and I love it because it motivates children to love reading. History isn’t as boring when you are reading a non-text book about it! Not to say that textbooks do not have their place. I just love literature-based learning.
As I mentioned in my invalid reasons, we aren’t homeschooling because we do not want our kids to experience the real world. However, that doesn’t mean I have to just throw them to the sharks. School has come a long way since I was in it! When Kindergartners come home talking about sex or 7th graders who are already hooked on drugs, it is not a good thing. Now I’m not saying that kids won’t hear/pick up/even do these things outside of school. Sadly our world is a messed up one and there really is no full proof sheltering of that. However, with homeschooling I can be the one who talks to my kids about these things. My kids will have the benefit of getting my information rather then Billy’s or Jessica’s. Of course, those with kids in public/private schools can talk to their kids at home about these subjects but think about it, your child spends 6 or so hours with these kids and maybe only a few hours with you (at least on the week days) who do you think will have more influence?
Time to be a Kid
This one saddens me. I hear it all the time, “Jon goes to school till 3pm and then has another hour of homework.” You can basically equate kids going to school (and all that it entails) with putting in a full work week. I don’t really think that’s what kids need. Now of course, homeschooling varies from family to family and even kid to kid. For instance, I was able to finish my day’s worth of school in 2-4 hours (I was homeschooled from 4th– 12th grade). However, my sister almost always took 6-8 hours to do her school. I guess my point is that with homeschooling you can get school done as fast as possible instead of waiting for all 30 kids to finished their math before moving on.
Ok it’s not really a reason why I chose to homeschool but it certainly is an advantage. Since I am the one making the schedule, we can do spontaneous events or take a vacation whenever we want. There are no snow days that make school go long in the summer. Well unless I want to enforce a day of playing in the snow.
As you can see, there are many reasons that we choose to homeschool. However, there are just as many that did not have an influence on our decision. Homeschooling is the best fit for my family. I am not saying it is the best for all families. I personally have seen examples of poor homeschooling (quality wise not financially) and I know that it is not for everyone. However, like all things crunchy (although once again, I don’t really think homeschooling is crunchy…maybe natural?) I think it’s best to at least research all your options and then decide.