Why did we choose to homeschool?
Why did we continue to homeschool
You'd think the summer and fall months would be when most families decide to begin homeschooling. After years of writing about homeschooling and being part of a homeschool support group, it became evident that Christmas break is also a popular time for families to remove their kids from public/private school to homeschool.
We were one of those families back in 1996. Seth was doing well in school, but between the complete rejection of phonics instruction, altercations with other kids, and PG-rated movies being viewed during nap time, we became very dissatisfied with his school. So the term "Christmas break" meant more than just a week off school--it was a transition from traditional school to homeschool.
As time went on, homeschooling was less something we did a few hours a day, and more a description of our family's lifestyle. I think sometimes you make a decision you think is about a particular thing--like misguided teaching methods--but the passage of time reveals more of the underlying reasons why you not only begin to homeschool, but continue year after year.
Here's my Raber's Digest Condensed Version
of the reasons we started homeschooling,
and then kept on going for over 20 years:
- As a Christian family, our faith informs our choices. We believe that parents are given the primary responsibility to teach and train their children in the Scripture and with a Biblical worldview. This is shown by commandment, principle, and example, based on references such as Deuteronomy 4:9-10, 6:7, 11:19, Proverbs 1:8, 4:1, 6:20, 22:6, 31:1, Ephesians 6:4, 1 Timothy 3:4, 12, 2 Timothy 3:15, and Titus 1:6.
- We also believe that during a child's formative years, it is our responsibility to safeguard their hearts and minds by providing opportunities for healthy companionship and influences. This is also based on principles and instructions from such passages as Psalm 1:1, Psalm 119:63, Proverbs 13:20, 28:7, Ephesians 5:11, and James 4:4.
Providing a quality education
- We understood that a high quality education begins with individualized instruction and one-on-one attention, and we are not alone in this belief.
- Teaching and learning methods, along with curriculum, were tailored to fit each child's strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
- Each day was an opportunity to address character issues as well as academics.
- We were able to provide a well-rounded education with targeted career preparation. This involved allowing plenty of time to pursue hobbies, as well as arrange for apprenticeships.
The benefit to the whole family
- Daily communication and collaboration created strong bonds between all of us
- We were able to provide proper socialization by supervising interactions with other children, adults, business owners, and the public.
- Homeschooling serve to reinforce the proper chain of authority in and out of the home.
- We viewed learning as a lifestyle, not a specific activity that takes place during certain times of the day.
- A focus on core skills for short periods of time and an openness to learning opportunities throughout the day made homeschooling more efficient than hours of dedicated 'class' time.
- We enjoyed the freedom to go on field trips and travel whenever we chose.
- It was much less stressful to have the flexibility to deal with life's emergencies, both great and small, without worrying about school attendance, make up work, and missing tests.
- Homeschooling was FUN!
More reasons to continue homeschool seemed to appear every day because we were free to live our lives as we chose without constant conflicts with school administration, teachers, other parents, and federally mandated curriculum.
Why are you thinking about homeschooling? Maybe it's because it will provide your family a safe, secure environment so your children can focus on learning, minimizing such problems as peer dependency and adversarial attitudes towards authority. Maybe you want to make sure your kids eat nutritionally balanced meals, drink plenty of water, sleep 8-10 hours a night, and get enough exercise.
These may seem like minor issues, but something as simple as living a healthy lifestyle makes a huge difference in your family's over all well-being; and a family that is healthy and feels more relaxed is going to be a happier family.
Are there other reasons you want to homeschool? Maybe you want to pass on your family's faith or cultural traditions. If you have children with special needs, you may want to address your child's issues in a safe, caring environment. If they have severe health issues or allergies, you can supervise their condition while they learn in the safety of your home. Like many other parents, you may be weary of the problems in your local school system--bullying, testing, student privacy, Common Core curriculum--and you and your kids need a break so they can focus on their education.
It wouldn't surprise me if you have completely different reasons than the ones I've mentioned. Families are like fingerprints--there are no two exactly alike. So whatever you choose, you know what will work best for your family and why.