I’ll be honest, I never thought I would homeschool. I grew up homeschooled and yet I never thought about what I would do when I had kids. When my husband and I were dating, we talked about our future and what we wanted together. I had my opinions about things like health, tv time, pretty much all things kids (except homeschooling!). He gave me everything that I was asking for without a fight. You want to give birth at home? Okay, it’s your body. You want to use alternative medicine? Okay, you know more than me about it. Etc., etc.. At the time, homeschooling wasn’t as important to me as the other requests so I was okay with allowing my future kids to attend school.
One night, my now-husband and I were out to dinner and talking as usual when he looked at me and said “We are going to homeschool our kids, right?” Well, let me tell you, if someone offers you that kind of a gift without you having to ask for it, you take it! So I looked him straight in the eye, smiled, and responded “Yes. Yes, we are.” And that was that. I am lucky that I didn’t have to have long conversations with him about it. I never had to defend to him the “socialization” aspect or the that “yes, I can teach and yes, they can learn outside of school” conversation. He accepted it as what we were going to do.
I understand that most people are not in that same boat with their spouses. I was given a gift because my husband loved his public school friends, but felt the academics were lacking, so in his mind we could do (at least) just as well as public school.
Once we made that decision, I put it out of my mind until we were married and our first child was born. When she was maybe 10 months old, I attended a homeschool conference with my mom and older sister who were both actively homeschooling. It’s there that my mind started to form my convictions, my “why” toward homeschooling. I heard about parenting methods, homeschool philosophy, curriculum, etc.. It started to shape who I was and what I wanted for my family and children. I researched and read so much. I talked with my sister and mom a lot over that time. By the time I started homeschooling several years later, my mind was so firm on the matter that I couldn’t imagine ever entertaining the idea of public school.
My reasons today are so different than when I started but I’m more driven and more firm in my reasons. So, here are some of my reasons why today.
I can individualize their learning. Oh, how this has many meanings! All kids learn things at different times and in different ways. I love that I have the flexibility to change course when I need to. To go down rabbit trails or take the days off when needed. There are days when my kids are at each other’s throats so we take off and teach character by working or doing service.
- I can individualize their learning (part 2). My oldest has been into robots since she was 3. There have been a lot of times when I can help her understand why she is learning something within that context. I created a Jr FLL (First Lego League) for her to learn to build and program the lego WeDo robot. We can really cater what she is learning and help her understand . My second child is a mover. She needs a lot of breaks and a lot of movement. She is in tumbling and we use that a lot during school. Having a hard time concentrating? Go do four cartwheels. I can remind her that her mind needs breaks just like our bodies and it’s okay to take those breaks.
- I can individualize their learning (part 3). Not every family is the same and I can cater their learning to what I believe is important. For instance, my husband studies history and wants them to study history and then apply it to current events. That is something that may not be important in someone else’s family. I have a sister-in-law that the arts are very important to her. I appreciate the arts and do incorporate them into our homeschool, but it is not an emphasis of mine. I love that each family can cater their homeschool to what they cherish and value.
- I don’t have to worry what is being taught in school. There is so much out there that is questionable. Common Core, Sex Ed, bullying, political views, etc.. I remember a time when my dad wanted my younger siblings to go back to school. So my mom reluctantly put them in. My brother was eating dinner one night when my dad asked him what he learned. His response was “I learned that if I write the answers on my thigh, I can just pull my shorts up a little when I need the answer and the teacher won’t know.” How comforting that THAT is what he learned! (Insert sarcasm).
- I can instill in them a love of God. “If you don’t teach your child to believe in God, the world will teach them not to.” We start our school time with scripture and prayer purposefully. I want them to know of God’s love and to have a love for Him as well.
- My choice of curriculum. If a curriculum does not fit a child, I am not strapped to it because of 30 other children. I can choose what is best for them and their learning abilities.
- Safety. It’s a sad day when I even need to include this in my reasons, but my kids are safe from things like school shootings, bullies and academic pressure. I consider it one of my greatest responsibilities as a mother to protect their young impressionable hearts and minds and bolster them for when they are older and I won’t be around as much.
- Character building. I believe that a child forms much of their character in their early years. If I need to spend a little more time teaching those skills to a struggling child instead of academics then so be it. I would rather have a child who knew right from wrong, good and bad, true and false, than a child who could recite their math facts. This does not mean that I only focus on character, but if I need to, I can.
In truth, I love homeschooling. It is challenging, but offers more rewards than I can count.