Why Do We Homeschool?
Yes, this is a question I periodically get asked by outsiders- but, not very often these days. Maybe it is my own confidence level with our family’s decision or the growing homeschool population that have helped make “it” not as out of the ordinary as “it” once was.
So being the list maker that I am- of coarse I wanted a hands on visual list covering the reasons “why” we do this crazy thing called “homeschool” – I do not feel the need to better defend our family’s decision but it’s more to fulfill a need and serve as a reference for those times when the going gets rough- because folks, it does. I am not wonder women and my kids are not perfect either. We make mistakes, we argue, we disagree, I want to quit, my kids argue, and well, we are human. We make mistakes, apologize, forgive, pray, and move forward.
That’s real life.
I never thought I would “really” homeschool my kids- In college I wrote term papers on it (yes, before I had kids of my own), I researched “it“, and I was always a bit curious about people who who did in fact do this homeschool thing- I always wanted to know “how” they did “it“- but, I never really thought I would become one of “those” people.
If I’m totally honest I probably had the stereotypical image of a “perfect” family dressed in denim (not that I have anything against denim), holding hands, gathered around a big farm table, and no arguing- just a blissful home education environment.
Oh, and lets not forget about the “perfect” dinner that was waiting atop the stove and the impeccably clean home because the children obediently and cheerfully helped with daily chores. Ha, man I’m pretty sure I was envisioning a great start to a really good book.
So, without further ado here are …..
Our Top 10 Reasons; Why We Homeschool
Our reasons have changed over the years with a few core reasons still remaining the same- I guarantee some of these are not even remotely close to what you might expect.
Selfishness – I’m not going to lie- I am selfish. Aren’t we all? I like spending time with my kids and I don’t want to send them off for most of the day. I don’t want to spend my only hours of the day carpooling my kids around and doing homework that was assigned by a teacher. So there- I said it, I am selfish and yes, that is one reason “why we homeschool“.
Gifts and Talents– We strongly believe in our home that every individual has a unique set of gifts and talents. Homeschooling provides the perfect learning environment to foster, develop, and explore those gifts and talents. A typical homeschooled student can complete his or her “book work” in a few short hours leaving the rest of a day to develop, interact, and embrace the being that God intended them to be.
Freedom and Flexibility– One of my favorite things about homeschooling is having the freedom to choose my children’s curriculum. I absolutely love pouring over curriculum review web-sights, catalogs, and tailoring each child’s material to fit his or her learning style. Yes, it is a ton of work- but, watching them grow and learn in an environment that best meets their individual needs is immeasurable.
Way back when I wasn’t one of “those” homeschool parents-I think what I really wanted to know was what their day looked like. I’m going to let you in on a little secret and tell you- its flexible.
If we have a dentist appointment at 11:00 one day then maybe that means we double up on school work the next. If we don’t start until 9:15 AM one morning instead of the normal 8:30 AM you know what, everything is going to be ok. If we fell behind in a particular subject one given year- we then have an entire summer to pound it out.
Control– So, yes just as I am selfish I am equally a control freak. I like to “think” I’m in control- ha, even though I so am not. Homeschooling does however give you a certain amount of control. You have better control over the environments that your child(ren) are exposed to- and the field trips they attend. You also have control over the curriculum and teaching method used to educate your child(ren)-whether it is religious, secular, eclectic, montessori, classical, etc.
Food Related Issues– This is one “why” that I personally used to balk at- when we first began homeschooling in fact I seriously thought- “really, people would homeschool their kids because of food allergies?” Yes! I never thought I would homeschool some of my children because of food issues and guess what I learned “never judge”. Our homeschool philosophy (well, I guess if you want to consider it that) is – year by year; kid by kid. Much to my surprise and 6 years later God is still calling us to a homeschool lifestyle-and, with each passing year and each coming school aged child it is only becoming that much more evident. With food issues ranging from gluten, dairy, dye, nightshades, to an unknown slew- I’m in no hurry to send them off.
Real Life– Education extends far beyond what we learn in a text book. Learning happens in our day to day life. The things we experience day to day enhance our scope of knowledge far beyond that of any text books. When a learning environment consists of 7+ hours of classroom, text book, paper testing, and institutionalized learning- a real life hands on learning environment can be a hard thing to mirror within the walls of a school. This was one of our original reasons “why we homeschool“- real life experiences, problems, and solutions.
Family Togetherness- This is another original reason “why“- back when we first made the decision to keep our oldest daughter home my husband was traveling a good deal and the thought of some of our only quality family time being at jeopardy was not even an option-we would homeschool.
We didn’t want the best hours of our day spent away from each other- children are at their best typically in the morning and early afternoon-yes, the prime time for learning. So yes, I pulled the selfish card- I want my kids at their best- not when they are tired, hungry, and flat out grumpy.
As our family has grown over the years the family togetherness that we have day in and day out has helped form special bonds between each of our kids-they really are each others best friends. They squabble, fight, yell, and disagree just the same as any other siblings but at the roots-they know, they are stuck together like glue.
Learning is fun; NOT Hard– One of the questions I frequently get is but “how do you grade them” “what about a GPA“- here is what I have to say to that; I check their work for accuracy, effort, and completeness- we educate to learn, master, retain, and use the information gathered. We do not educate to get an “A”. When is the last time your boss gave you an “A” on your project-he or she likely didn’t. You instead get a complete sit down review of your strengths, weaknesses, goals, achievements, and things to improve upon.
That my friends is how we grade.
Learning is fun; not hard- we make it way more complicated than it needs to be-make school interesting- some good books, the internet, real life interviews, experiences, and a bit of encouragement can go a long way. I do not need to speak 5 languages, be a chemistry major, and know calculus to be a good teacher to my child. There are people who can help with that stuff- know your limitations- and, when to seek help with the things that are beyond your scope of knowledge. It takes a community to educate a child-embrace that community.
Self Assurance and Independence– Some of our kids are not quite as confident as others- they need a little extra hand holding, a little more attention, and a lot more encouragement. While others, are completely capable of being set free to work independently. Homeschooling has provided an environment which we can embrace both end of the spectrum. I can set my independent learners free- with occasional monitoring and little instruction. While, I can encourage, teach, and feed the tiny hearts of those that may not quite be “there” yet. We want all of children to be independent leaders- full of self confidence and drive.
The World is our Classroom– I remember one of my favorite things about going to school was the occasional time the teacher would announce “we are having school outside“. I loved it. My kids are outside nature lovers too. Our days are filled with outside exploring, running around before, during, and after lessons. We eat lunch on the porch 6+ months out of the year- there are field trips, family “gym” walks, and endless hours of imaginary play. We are not confined to the walls of our home to do school- the world really is our classroom.
If you are contemplating homeschooling be sure to send me a message or leave me a comment- I love helping newbies and hearing from all of you. Homeschooling has taken on a new face in recent years- we are not all religious extremist raising little book worms- we are real family’s-home educating our totally normal socialized (non-sheltered) children.
I am not anti-school- I went to school- I went to college- we are just doing what works for us-and, you should do the same. I say none of this to offend anyone or place judgement- it all comes from the heart so please keep any rude comments to yourself- thou shall not judge (I don’t, and I certainly hope you would refrain from doing the same as I strive to make this space a safe, encouraging, and helpful home for all who visit).