Why Do You Homeschool? 43 Reasons from the WUHS Readers
Why do you homeschool? When asked, I tell people that the reasons people choose to homeschool are as varied as the homeschooling families themselves. For us, homeschooling began as a trial year when the traditional classroom setting was not working for my oldest. She thrived with one-on-one instruction, so we continued.
I’ve shared reasons why homeschooled kids love being homeschooled and why homeschool parents love homeschooling – but those tend to be the reasons we continue, not the reasons that led us to homeschool to begin with.
Once again, I went to the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers Facebook page and asked folks what made them decide to start homeschooling in the first place. Here’s what they had to say, in no particular order:
1. Common Core
2. Bullying. Many parents cited the bullying to going so far as to cause health and anxiety issues. Others commented that they had problems with the school protecting the bully over the bullied. I don’t care how you feel about kids learning to survive in the “real world.” There comes a point when we can’t expect a child to continue to tolerate a situation that we wouldn’t expect an adult to tolerate.
3. School violence. Tanya said, “The turning point for me was when I received a letter from my son’s school asking me to put together a snack bag and to write a note to include in the bag, telling my son that everything was going to be OK….that I loved him, to hang in there and to listen carefully to instructions. This bag was meant to be given to him in case of a lockdown at school because of a potential school shooting situation. It killed me inside to write that note, imagining that. That was when we decided there was no good reason someone else should be teaching my child when I am fully capable.”
4. The ability to allow kids to hold on to childhood just a bit longer.
5. The opportunity to provide a faith-based education. Alternately, some atheist parents cited the opportunity to provide a secular education. I think that just points to the commonality that many parents want to be able to raise their kids according to their own belief system.
6. I was a classroom teacher and I saw how the system works. I heard this answer quite a few times. (For the record, I was never a classroom teacher.) Former classroom teachers who are now homeschool parents cited problems such as education standards that are not developmentally appropriate, too much testing, and a lack of time for kids to move and be creative.
I always feel the need to point out that these issues are equally frustrating to many of my classroom teacher friends. There are so many teachers who are passionate about educating children who are just as frustrated as we are about the test-driven culture in which we live.
7. School was negatively impacting my child’s personality.
8. My child was bored/struggling/advanced. I heard many variations of this reply, which boils down to the inability of a classroom teacher to individualize her instruction to meet the needs of each student. (That’s not a commentary on teachers, but time and student to teacher ratio.)
9. God called me to homeschool my children.
10. My child was mistreated by teachers. Oh, my goodness. Don’t even get me started on my 2nd grade teacher. That was one lady who didn’t belong in the classroom. My family apparently thought I was exaggerating – until my younger cousin got her, too. When his little brother got her a few years later, my aunt and uncle had him moved to another class immediately.
11. Despite having an IEP in place, the school was unable to meet my child’s needs.
12. I was homeschooled. I heard from several second-generation homeschoolers who said they always knew they’d homeschool their kids. There were also some people who responded saying their spouse was homeschooled and, though it took a little convincing to get the non-homeschooled spouse on board, both were ultimately glad they’d made the decision to homeschool.
First-generation homeschool moms and dads, doesn’t that encourage you? Sometimes we doubt and second-guess ourselves or we let the naysayers get us down, but there are lots of people out there who were happy enough with their homeschool education that they have chosen to homeschool their own kids.
13. The ability to provide a customized education. I guess our initial reasons for starting fall under this category. We knew the areas that needed a slower pace and more focus, versus those that Brianna could sail right through, and we were able to provide the right materials to make that happen.
14. To keep my middle of the road kid from falling through the cracks and not reaching his full potential.
15. Sexually graphic info at young ages. One parent cited her 1st grade student being presented with material far to graphic for such a young age.
16. Active, wiggly kids who would have had behavioral issues in a classroom setting. Unfortunately, what is natural, normal, developmentally appropriate behavior for young children is often seen as a disruption or cause for medication in a classroom full of kids.
17. Too much homework. Um, yes – typically 2.5 – 3 hours per night for Brianna when she was in 1st grade. We decided we could add another hour to hour-and-a-half to that and be done for the day.
18. Medical issues/special needs
19. Because sitting on a carpet square counting to 100 and missing recess because the class is “behind” is not the best way for 5-year-olds to learn. Agreed.
20. Learning disabilities that would have been labeled, mocked, and/or not addressed
21. Flexibility to accommodate a parent’s atypical work schedule
22. Unwillingness to medicate
23. The ability to offer one-on-one instruction
24. The amazing field trips
25. Stability for military families
26. To instill a love of learning
27. To provide real-life experiences
28. To avoid peer pressure/drama
29. Life-threatening food allergies
30. To avoid negative influences
31. Parental influence vs. outside influence. Jennifer said, “It dawned on me that our kids spent more time under the influence of people who do not have the same long-term goals, basic life beliefs, etc. that we do.”
32. Family time. Erin says, “We chose homeschooling because we spent our first years as parents creating a family-centered life. We saw no reason to shift to a school-centered life just because someone turned six.”
33. To allow room for individuality
34. School programs don’t take into account how children learn and develop.
35. Everyday Math
36. As a temporary situation to help a child catch up in a particular area. Nope, this wasn’t my answer – but it tells me I’m not alone.
37. To be able to get the best hours of my children’s day and give them the best of mine in return.
38. Working with ill-prepared public school grads in college and wanting better for my kids.
39. My kids asked to be homeschooled.
40. We lived in an academically poor school district.
41. Not wanting my kids to have the negative public school experience that I did.
42. Planning for a mid-year move. One family stated that they started homeschooling to provide academic stability in anticipation of a mid-year move – and then they never quit!
43. We didn’t want to get up in the middle of the night to put them on the bus. Oh, this one cracked me up. I can relate. The busses run through my neighborhood so early.
If you’re currently homeschooling, did you see your family’s reasons listed? If not, leave them in the comments!
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.
images courtesy of pixabay
I laughed to tears at Everyday Math! We pulled my son out in kinder and they were using this……the worst math I have ever seen!
We started homeschooling simply because the Lord laid it on my heart. Now, we homeschool for this and many other reasons. I had NO clue how many awesome benefits to homeschooling there were till I got started on the journey.
I’ve been nodding my head as I read. We went into homeschooling with the idea it was a “temporary” fix to our situation. Two years in, I am glad it was not just temporary. It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding to know the kids are learning and thriving at home.
😀 We were just doing it until the youngest went to school (which was a year or two). The youngest turns 15 next week. I am sooooooo glad we travelled this road. My encouragement goes out to you.
I so agree! Its not easy and there are days I think for just a minute how nice it would be to put both kiddos back in public school. Then I remember the fights just to get my ADD child out the door dressed, fed, shoes actually on and all items packed in his backpack. Plus the mounds of homework nightly after sitting in class for 7 hours. And the fact we made minimum lifestyle changes that allowed us to no longer medicate our ADD child. Wow! Its changed our lives, and while its not always easy…….its right for us. No going back!
It is definitely not always easy. You’re right, though, for many families it’s not just an educational choice, but life-changing decision.
#29 My oldest son has life threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy and eggs. At the kindergarten information meeting, we discovered the nurse(an LPN) is only there 2 1/2 days a week. I knew right then and there he would be homeschooled. Now a decade later he is a sophomore in high school and along with his younger sisters(5th and 7th grades) is homeschooled.
I had a bad time in public schools as did my husband and I want my children to look back on their education in a positive light, unlike their parents. Additionally, having a close-knit family culture with emphasis on our culture and faith rather than societal norms and peer pressure is very important to us. That’s why we homeschool. It is our 6th year and the girls are 10(almost 11) and in 5th grade and 8 and in 2nd grade.
Mine original reasons were #10 and #11 – My child had a 504, rather than an IEP, but the situation was the same. Teachers not only ignored his educational plan, but a few mistreated him. One teacher used to lock him away in a supply room all day. The next teacher he had ignored him, then blamed me for his problems, stating he didn’t have a disorder, he just needed a good butt-whoopin’. (She used more colorful language than I do, though.) Then they were going to expel him because his learning struggles and anxiety issues were just in their way.
Wow. I can’t even imagine that kind of treatment of a child. That’s just horrible.
We started homeschooling some 20-odd years ago because my husband wanted our children’s hearts to be attuned to ours and molded by us instead of by someone we didn’t know who might instill values completely contrary to ours. I think we both have memories of ourselves or others calling the teacher “mommy” by accident, signifying the huge influence that teachers have on our children. My husband had been certified to teach, and was gung-ho for public school and my working while the kids were in school. This was an answer to prayer that God would change his heart.
Because I wanted the LOYALTY of my children to be with the family not their peers.
Thanks for posting this…it’s been a really rough go lately and I find myself questioning everything…even though i know it’s just our current situation. Sometimes I think it’s important to go back to the reasons why we started this crazy journey in the first place. Thank you.
I think you’re absolutely correct – sometimes we have to think about WHY we’re doing this. It can make a huge difference.
21 of those reasons resonated with me!! Oh, Everyday Math was AWFUL! First thing I did when I took my son out was to teach him how to multiple double-digit numbers the traditional way. I always find that when I’m asked why I decided to homeschool, I have SO many reasons, I don’t know which to give in that really short moment that I can show how wonderful homeschooling is! Christ-centered education, avoiding all the pop-culture influence, learning at his own pace(faster in some areas, slower in others), and the ability to give him more time to pursue other interests (because the homework after school took so long with his ADD that he had NO time to pursue alot of other areas he was interested in, like chemistry or computer programming)…those are some of my reasons. I recently discovered that my son is a right-brained/visual-spatial learner, and that’s another reason why I am glad I’m homeschooling, because the public school system pretty much caters to left-brained learning.
Thank you for such a great reminder of why I’ve chosen to homeschool over the years. I am so proud of the teenage daughter I now have and say it’s because I’ve made this decision.
I never liked how some school staff treated me, the parent, once I was inside the school, as if I didn’t really belong there and they were the authority on my own child over me. When a teacher told me to stop helping my 6-year old take off his bulky snow suit, because he was old enough to learn how to do it himself, that was one of the last straws for me.
Um, yeah, I can see where that would be annoying. Good grief.
These are great. I didn’t have just one though; I had 18 of them!
First few days of homeschooling and I feel like it is more personalized than anything he could have gotten anywhere else. Our reason is for health reasons. He has a misunderstood “invisible” illness similar to fibromyalgia. I started feeling policed about his absences.
Our local school runs on a super late, 9-4 schedule. My kids hated it. I love being able to get started (way) earlier and be done by noon. They like it, too.
I guess this falls into “not wasting the best hours of their day.”
So many of those reasons above fit our family but our driving reason was because we live overseas from the core of our family and we wanted to be able to travel to see them for months at a time without being restricted to school holidays.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for us was extreme restrictions on bathroom break frequency. If you can’t empty your bladder, you can’t concentrate or sit still. No one should be humiliated in front of their peers for asking to use the restroom.
Currently, I am being bombarded with “well-meaning people” telling me I have no right to homeschool my special needs child and that I don’t have the experience to do this. The public school would be much better. Yeah–no aide for 3 years for a nonverbal child with autism. I taught him how to read, how to do handwriting, how to do basic math up to the 6th grade I had a friend show me how to get him to write stories and essays, and another friend help me teach him to cook. At our public school, they will not teach him science or social studies because they can’t possibly learn these things. First, I have been homeschooling for 26 years. I don’t want my child to lose all I have taught him. I do this because God asked me to do this. He has never told me not to. So to all my nay-sayers—-well I don’t know what to say. Any suggestions? Can I use part of this list to put on FB why I do this?
I’m so glad you appreciated the post, Peggy. It’s so hard to deal with nay-sayers. I’d love for you to link to the post on your Facebook pages. Thanks for sharing!