Why are we homeschooling?
The answer to this question is very personal and my guess is that there are as many unique answers as there are unique families out there.
(I’m mostly writing this as a voyage of discovery for my own personal use for my family and not as a way of convincing anyone else that homeschooling or public school or some other option is right for them. I’m a big proponent of doing what is right for your family and respect other people’s choices in this area.)
1) Tailored Learning:
One of the biggest reasons is due to both of our experiences with small town public schools. Nate and I were both “good students” and had an easy ride through high school only to find that we didn’t really know very much or know how to study when we got to college. There were some benefits to school being easy for us, we both were able to participate in tons of extra-curricular activities and other outside of school activities. But, we both would have chosen better schooling with a manageable number of activities we really enjoyed. While we wouldn’t go back and change our experiences (they made us who we are today), we think our kids should have more specialized schooling. Learning at their speed and their ability, learning that moves with them instead of just keeping them busy or achieving a “pass” in a class. Learning that let’s them explore subjects that they are interested in in more depth because they want to.
Rebuttal: There are some options out there that achieve this goal that were not available when we were kids; online learning, charter schools, and specialized schools, maybe others. I will continue to research these as technology gets better. Maybe someday our kids will go to one of them.
2) Time Saving:
I’ve seen multiple sources stating that the amount of time needed for early elementary education topics is 1-2 hours a day or less and even when you move up into high school subjects, it goes to an hour or less per subject with a large part of that being self-guided. When you compare this to the amount of time public school children spend at school on a daily basis, you see that there is a bunch of down time. I understand why its needed when you have 30 kids to corral, but when you only have the 1 to teach, school can be completed fairly quickly or in a few short bursts with lots of time to play in between.
The public school year is set and inflexible from a single child’s perspective. If a child is sick on any given day (or longer), the rest of the class moves on and the child has to catch up. With homeschooling, you just skip that day and move on when you are healthy again. Same thing for length of the year, if a child needs more help in a subject, you could supplement and take the time to understand the subject better before moving on and then just add a couple weeks on to the end of your planned year. Homeschooling will also allow us to continue our schedule of erratic vacations throughout the year instead of feeling like we have to fit them in when the kids are off.
4) Family time / Influences / Religion:
I rolled all these together as they are intricately related.
– I love spending time with my kids. I love watching them grow and learn.
– I feel like its our job as parents to teach them how to be active participants in society instead of drains on it.
– I want to be the major influence on them (while I still can be) instead of sending them off for the majority of their day and then trying to sneak my values into their lives in the couple hours I see them , or worse spend the couple hours I see them trying to undo what has been taught to them during the day and not even having time to sneak in my values.
– I want them to have the option of spending time with me. I know as they get older I will have to let them go and learn how to be independent. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t want to or need to come home every now and then to lick their wounds. I want to be available for those days. I feel like if I’m at work full-time, that I can’t achieve that goal, no matter how many times I tell them I want to be there for them, my actions will speak louder than my words.
– I want them to see me and my life and the choices I make so that they have examples (whether good or bad) to guide them when I’m not around.
Rebuttal: Our kids could go to a Christian school. Doesn’t meet all the needs of this topic, but would address a large part of them.