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