“Why did you decide to homeschool?”
It is a question that many people either ask or think, even amongst homeschoolers. The reasons for homeschooling are different for each family although you often hear common themes as to why families decide to go against the grain of society and school their children at home.
I find it fascinating to hear about how other people came to the conclusion that schooling their children at home, even for a short while, would be the best decision for their family. It’s so interesting for me to hear other people’s stories so I figured it might be interesting for you to hear a little bit of our story.
Why have you waited so long to share your reasons for homeschooling?
Because I’ve been a scaredy cat. I haven’t shared anything online regarding our decision to homeschool prior to this because honestly I wasn’t ready for anyone’s criticism. And I know that people have very strong beliefs about how children should and shouldn’t be schooled so I didn’t want to create any waves or make our family the target for criticism. These days if you tell me I’m a total nut and ruining my kids’ lives I can smile and nod and say “yeah, ok” and go back to what I was doing before.
Three years ago when we originally made the decision to “give it a try” I didn’t feel confident and felt really alone. I had a good career going in HR before I left to stay-at-home with my children. Was I really going to completely walk away from that to teach my kids at home? At that time I didn’t personally know anyone else who was making the decision to homeschool. All my friends and acquaintances were sending their kids to either a public or a private school. Since then I have thankfully met so many rockin’ homeschooling families and have become more comfortable with our decision and our process at home.
What are your top reasons for homeschooling?
These are our main reasons for choosing to homeschool and are in random order.
- Valuing the family unit while allowing each child’s individual identity to emerge
- Time and freedom for our children to follow and pursue their own interests and God-given talents
- Customized curriculum and teaching style to best suit each child’s learning needs
- Material covered and pace of learning is as fast or slow as each child needs
- Opportunity for our children to pursue extra-curricular activities and interests without sacrificing rest or time together as a family
- Time and opportunity for our children to be creative.
- Freedom to keep Jesus at the center of everything we do.
- Flexibility to change our schedule, our curriculum, or our location at any time.
The common themes you see here are: freedom, flexibility and individuality. Those are some super awesome reasons for doing something outside the norm!
The reasons our family decided to homeschool is different than other families’ reasons and there is no right or wrong. Schooling decisions are so difficult and parents who decide to send their children to a public or private school came to that conclusion based on what they determined would be best for their children and their family. Every child and family situation is different so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to schooling decisions.
Our family decided to do something “different” these past three years, but it can be difficult to be “different” than other people you know and go against what you yourself are familiar with. I am personally most familiar with the traditional school environment. Joey is most familiar with the traditional school environment. Neither of us were homeschooled or even knew of anyone that was homeschooled growing up. I’m sure if I’d even heard of it I would have thought that was so weird. Who would even do something like that?! Ha! God has a sense of humor for sure.
What is your number one reason for homeschooling?
Our number one reason, at least initially, was to be able to create a customized curriculum for our oldest. He was a very early reader and at the age of two he began reading level 1 readers (I am not kidding). Academically, he was way ahead of everyone else his age and it was apparent when he went to 3K that he was not going to be challenged in a traditional school environment, at least at that time. That’s when the search for a solution began. After a lot of research, reading and months of daily prayer I felt led to homeschool. After giving Joey the low-down and convincing him this might not be as crazy as it sounds we hesitantly made that decision.
Our reasons for homeschooling have grown over these past several years and are more equally balanced among those I listed. We have been blessed to experience many of the benefits of homeschooling but that doesn’t mean it’s been all fun and games. Seriously, it’s been crazy hard at times and I’ve wanted to run for the hills, or a secluded island, on several (or many) occasions.
One other thing a want to address is the issue of fear. I sometimes get a sense that people outside the homeschooling community believe fear is often a part of a homeschooling family’s decision to homeschool. With the school shootings, bullying and other “junk” in the schools I can certainly understand this.
After a lot of reflection, I can honestly say that fear is not on our list of reasons why we have made the decision to homeschool. I do not want any of my decisions in life, especially the big ones, to be based on fear. I want my decisions to be based on where God is leading me and what is best for me and my family.
I hope and pray that our decision will never be due to fear or a result of what other people want for us or our children. Rather, because it’s what we as parents feel Spirit-led to do and we desire the best for our children and our family.
How long will you homeschool?
This is the number one question I get asked and I don’t have a definitive answer. Our family will continue to homeschool as long as it’s working well but as soon as that changes we’ll definitely change what we are doing. We are not making any decisions long term and are taking things year-by-year to determine what will be best for our children and our family.
Right now we are planning to homeschool again for the 2015-2016 school year. However, we know that life and circumstances can change in an instant so I hold loosely to decisions and being a few months away there is always a possibility for change.
And unless God has different plans and throws us for a loop we do not plan to homeschool all the way through the schooling years. Our children will go to school at some point but we are just not sure when. As we continue to pray about it and assess our children’s needs and our family situation I feel confident we will know when we need to make a change.