Why Do You Homeschool?
I’m often asked the question, “Why do you homeschool?” The reason we started homeschooling is simple enough (though I’m very skilled at making a simple answer long and complex, so feel free to let me know if you’d like the long answer! lol) — my oldest daughter was one of those not-quite-average kids, you know, the kind who just doesn’t quite get things when they’re taught in the traditional way. The school wasn’t meeting her needs, academically, and didn’t really have any reasonable ideas on how to rectify the situation.
I had an idea. Homeschool.
By the end of a really miserable first grade year, my husband was on board to give homeschooling a try. And, so it began. It was clear, within the first three months, that homeschooling was a perfect fit for our family. My oldest never went back to public school and my younger two have never been. None of us would have it any other way.
That’s why we began homeschooling, but why do we continue? Ah, here’s where I’ll probably get wordy.
Probably the top reason we homeschool is because homeschooling allows us to personalize our children’s education. From working within each child’s individual learning style to taking into account his or her own God-given talents and natural bents, we’re able to emphasize each child’s strengths, while shoring up their weaknesses.
Homeschooling allows us to teach our kids based on our Christian worldview, rather than a humanistic one. I love that we can look at all we study, not just the Bible, through the lens of our Christian worldview — history, science, nature, art, music — it brings a cohesiveness to our learning that was missing from my own education.
Socialization. That’s a homeschooler’s favorite word, you know? 😉 Far from being unsocialized, my kids have several close friendships, those of the true and genuine sort, born of shared interests. And, they can be navigated with the input of caring adults. No, I don’t monitor my kids’ every social interaction. However, being with my kids the majority of the time allows me, or another parent, to step in when needed. So, instead of twenty or thirty kids standing around yelling, “Fight! Fight!”, a couple of adults, with a vested interest in the welfare of the kids involved, can step in and help the kids figure out how to resolve disagreements in a calm, rational way. Which method do you think is best going to prepare a kid for the “real world”?
Family time is another awesome benefit of homeschooling. My family gets to spend our days together, rather than spending eight hours a day at work and/or in age-segregated classrooms. And, let me tell you, having siblings together for the better part of the day is probably the best way to learn how best to handle inter-personal conflict! 😉
Another of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility. My kids and I are NOT morning people. With homeschooling, there’s no need to drag everyone out of bed before the sun comes up. We can live and work based on our body’s natural rhythms and our family’s schedule, which makes for much more effective learning and more productive days. We can also take time off when Dad is off, go on vacation during the off-season, and have lunch with grandparents who might rarely be seen otherwise.
We have time to learn life skills. I want my children to be ready to raise their own families and manage their own households some day. I want my son, as well as my daughters, to be able to cook, clean and wash clothes. (My son is becoming an awesome cook, btw, and my oldest daughter loves to point out the things that he can cook better than me.) We do household chores each morning that I’d probably just do myself, if the kids were in school.
Before my kids leave home, part of their schooling will include balancing a checkbook, meal and menu-planning, frugal shopping, budgeting and other skills along those lines that I wish I’d learned before having my own home to manage.
Homeschooling allows us to make the world our classroom. Everything can be a learning experience, from a trip to the store to an unexpected doctor’s visit involving CAT scans and EKGs (don’t ask me how I know that one!). Since we began homeschooling, we’ve had pets such as mice, gerbils, frogs, toads, crabs and snakes (in additional to the more traditional dogs and cats). Could we have had such pets if we didn’t homeschool? Sure. But, we probably wouldn’t have.
See, I’ve found that homeschooling makes ME look at the world in a different way. It has opened my mind to really look the things around me and see them through my children’s eyes. I point out to them things that I wouldn’t even have noticed, otherwise. I take them places that we wouldn’t have gone and explore things that have been around all my life, but that I never thought to be curious about. We share and learn about each other’s interests, bringing a richness to our lives that would been missing were we separated all day.
Maybe that’s why I love homeschooling so much…for the way it’s changed me. It’s made me look and the world and at my family a different way. Its allowed me to learn things that I never knew and make time for things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s helped me appreciate my family and the time that we have together. It’s introduced me, and my children, to friends that we’d never have known. It’s made me more introspective and given me a love of learning that I never knew before.
Homeschooling is much more than an educational choice. It’s a way of life…and one that I never want to take for granted.
Why do you homeschool?
I totally agree. I was asked this question last week. I told the person that I decided to homeschool because there are things that I just don’t want the public school telling my children are okay when they aren’t. I can work with my kids in a way that works for them. I know the frustration that comes from being taught for years in a way that doesn’t work for you. I also feel that I can give them a better hands on experience than a public school. I can take them on less than traditional field trips, which is a great way to teach independent thought. I can give them all the help that they need and not have to divide my attention between thirty kids.
I homeschool for the exact same reasons you do! It is just a perfect fit for our family. I would truly be in a panic, then a deep depression if for some reason my girls had to attend public school! I feel they’d be taking a HUGE step backwards! Plus, I’d miss them terribly. I think you have to be the kind of parent that actually LIKES being with your kids so much of the time- which I certainly do- even after all these years!
In perfect Family Feud style, I have to exclaim, “GOOD ANSWER!”. Yes, I’m clapping, too!
this is good Kris~
I really thing you need to write an book.
You always have alot of helpful tips & advice.
We are beginning our 13th year of homeschooling, and the reasons you’ve laid out pretty much tell why. 🙂 I LOVE the way homeschooling has changed me.
You have just summed.up.my.whole.line.of thinking!! I am new to homeschooling, my oldest is finishing 1st grade and youngest finishing 4yo pre-k. I am typing this through tears, as I feel affirmed that the gentle nudges from Him are truly where I need to be! And that is homeschooling with my boys! People think I am crazy and I am. I am crazy about raising 2 boys that love Jesus and that are responsible, self-sufficient, and productive men. I am researching curriculum and am hoping to go to a convention in Mobile this month. I can.not.wait!! Thank you and thank Tiffany at Nature Moms blog for plugging you.
Thank you so much, Carrie! What an encouraging post! Enjoy those boys! Praying that your homeschooling journey is blessed.
And, my thanks, too, to Tiffany!
Hello, I just stumbled upon your blog searching for something totally unrelated, and the title caught my attention. You see, I am one of those "weird, unsocialized homeschoolers." 🙂 And, yes, it gave me a big chuckle.
I was homeschooled K-12, was able to test out of 2nd grade and graduate a year early, completed my Associates and Bachelors degree and am now married and running a small Web design business from home. No kids yet, but if the Lord blesses, I plan to homeschool them for sure! I feel that homeschooling gave me a wonderful foundation for life – and faith. Comparing notes with other schoolkids, I often felt that I was truly blessed to get to do *so much* in school. We went on many wonderful field trips and explored many avenues of education. We enjoyed theater, band, gymnastics, swimming, and other activities that rounded our experiences. We made lots of aquaintances along the way – so much for being "unsocialized" – and a few true friends as well, whom I have to this day.
My dedicated mom has been homeschooling for about 24 years now with 6 grads to date (the 7th and final grad is 14 years old so she is in the final stretch!) and she co-leads a homeschool support group and newsletter. She is a hero of mine. I have no idea how she survived all of us crazy kids without being able to "send us away to school" but she is amazing and I thank God for her.
I say all that to explain that I know somewhat of the work you have undertaken and my cap is off to you. You are blessing your children inestimably. One day they too will realize it (if they haven't yet – I confess it's hard to recognize amid the drudgery of school).
Thanks for this witty blog and for your moving thoughts. I will pass this link along to my mom as I am sure she would also enjoy it. God bless you and your family as you endeavor to serve Him.
Thank you so much for your encouraging comment, Bethany. I needed that today.
I am so glad you sent me this link, Kris! I'm going to make sure my mom reads it. I agree that I've become so much closer with my sister and with my parents than would have been possible through traditional schooling. I love how you've said the whole world is a learning experience. That's exactly the way I feel!
I saw my kid's education going the same route. She had all fours in Language arts and reading (which means exceeds standards) and all threes in math (which means meets standards) yet bc she processes information differently–she's thinker and observer, her teacher spoke with me and said that she(the teacher) was becoming concerned that maybe Madison had a problem processing information. My husband and I thought, "here comes the labels" and we refused. She's doing great academically yet, she has a problem processing information. Didn't make sense and we didn't need to wait around to see what would happen. We jumped ship. And today, while schooling at home, she sang about the work that she was doing while she was doing it. Somethign she wouldn't be able to do, if she was in a classroom with 20 other kids.
ahh the wonders of google!
I am so glad I ran across this blog- it's going on my favoites bar right now. We decided just last week to pull all three of our kids ages 13, 11, and 8 out of public school and bring them home. I am scared to death. My stomach drops every time I think about it. I have so many worries:
How will they adjust from being in classrooms and seeing friends everyday to, well, to being alone?
What if I miss something important, like world geography!? That one just sounds silly now.
What if my daughter does the Alpha Omega placement test and it tells her she really is only at about 3rd grade math level, when she was technically about to enter 6th grade? How am I going to tell her it's ok and she's not dumb? Because she really thinks she is. (thank you, mrs griffin, for that)
How will I keep the yelling to a minimum? Theirs and mine.
Do I turn my whole house upside down and make a schoolroom, or do we start out on the kitchen table and see where we end up?
How on earth do we tell my husbands backwards, narrow minded parents who will say we are stupid and that I have no business doing this?
How do I make up for all the lost time?????
I"m tearing up just trying to think of all the questions that hve run through my head lately. But I think, hope and pray that I have found a few answers here!
Glad to "meet" you!
Amanda [email protected]
It is scary taking that leap to homeschool. I think you'll find, though, that most of your fears are unfounded. It is a change going from ps to hs. I think it's important that you make the effort to let your kids have playdates with their ps friends. One of my dd's best ps friends was a little boy in her class. It wasn't a boyfriend/girlfriend thing. They were just in 1st grade and just good friends. Since boys and girls can't have sleepovers, we would do an "almost sleepover." The boy would come over for the evening and stay to play until bedtime, then, his mom would come get him or we would take him home. She still remembers that.
I made a very strong effort to keep the friendships with her ps friends strong until she started making homeschool friends. Then, although we didn't purposely let the ps friendships die, they did naturally taper off as our kids moved more into the homeschool realm.
And, hey, they're not alone – they have their siblings. 😉 Not quite the same, I know, but they do grow close. And, in the interests of full disclosure, they will bicker because, let's face it, they're siblings, they're together A LOT, and there's no one else to bicker with.
If your daughter doesn't do well on her placement test, I would encourage you to point out a few things: 1) All kids learn things at different rates. It doesn't matter what grade number is on the curriculum. 2) This is a different curriculum than she's been using. There may be gaps in her math
education due to the fact that her teacher was teaching 30 kids, not your dd
as an individual, so it's natural that you'll have to back up a bit and fill
in those gaps. It's not her fault that there are gaps; that's the nature of
a ps classroom for many kids. She may find that she moves through the levels
very quickly. 3) Grade level numbers aren't as important as mastery.
I'm not sure I can help you on the yelling. 😉 Just remember that it is an
adjustment period. For all of you. Even the day-to-day life of veteran
homeschooling families isn't all rainbows and unicorns.
Come back and read tomorrow's post for my tips on dealing with the relatives
and their negative comments.
Slow down, take the time to enjoy your kids. You may not be able to get back
the time you've lost, but you can fully savor and enjoy the time you have
(((Hugs))) I hope that helps.
Kris, I am so glad to have found your website. It’s like someone took a look at my brain and somehow honestly and gracefully wrote down my thoughts. I really appreciate how you worded it all and it helped me to begin to articulate some of the reasons that are on my heart and in my mind.
I’m totally new at this whole thing, but that’s something I hope that never changes. The newness of learning should continue to excite and cause me to feel “new,” I think. Hope all it well with you these days and I look forward to exploring your site and tracking with you. Thanks,
I’m glad you stopped by, Lana! I’m also really glad that I helped you begin to articulate your reasons. Blessings to you on your homeschool journey.
Thanks so much, Kris……….perfectly put! I have just started homeschooling my eldest daughter this year for kindergarten and (like so many others have said above) your post pretty much reflects my heart precisely. This year has been a big, beautiful, messy period of adjustment, but we are loving it. You also confirmed to me that we are doing the right thing for our children – so thank you. Can’t wait to explore your fantastic site more, thanks for giving your time to offer it to us!
And just on the side, I’m really inspired by your champion fitness effort……well done amazing lady! x
Aw, thank you so much, Emma, for your thoughtful, encouraging comment. I so appreciate you taking the time to comment and pray that you and your family have a wonderful first year!
I’m so thankful I found your site through Pinterest! Tomorrow is our first day of HS! We have two kids, 13 & 9 and are very excited and very nervous but I know this is what the Lord wants me to do. Both of my children were in the gifted program at their local public school, but they were both bored! Our curriculum hasn’t arrived yet but I have some fun activities planned for a few days! I was disappointed because all of the blogs I’ve found seemed to focus on younger children, and then i found you. PS I also need to lose about 70 pounds so I’m excited to read through more of your posts. Thank you for your encouraging blog!
I’m so glad you found my blog and stopped by! I hope your first homeschooling day is going wonderfully! And, the weight loss? You can do it!