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?