I wasn’t going to post today, other than the few links I shared, but Deb from Let A Woman Learn just left a beautiful and well-thought out answer to the question, “What are your reasons for homeschooling?” Enjoy her story:
Before the birth of my first daughter, I didn’t think much about education. My own education had been only what I had experienced and from that, I knew generally something was amiss but I wasn’t really clear as to what all “being educated” or what “having a good academic education” meant. At the same time in my life, I was going through a struggle in my spiritual life and faith, and I also didn’t fully understand what it meant to have a true, Christian education, or what exactly it meant to bring up children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Once my first daughter was born, all of this became a real interest and concern and God used it to make changes in my mind-heart. At that time, my husband was not opposed to government schools. He did well academically so he had very few issues with them. I didn’t want the government schools but couldn’t explain why. So we reached an agreement and decided on a small, private, church school for kindergarten. At the end of end of the school year, the administration announced that the school was closing. After thinking we had figured out what we were doing for her education, my husband and I found ourselves back at square one, needing to re-think and make another decision. We did agree to homeschooling for a year to see how it would go and thus began my “re-education” and the “official” home education of our two daughters.
Looking back, I have to admit now, it was more of an emotional, gut reaction for me rather than a well thought out, specifically defined decision. From a mother’s perspective, I just simply loved my girls and enjoyed being with them so much that I hated the idea of being apart so much. Through 14 years of home schooling and conversations with my husband, we’ve understood more of what I was reacting to and have found more specific reasons for our decision to home educate.
The reasons are all inter-related and of equal importance so it’s hard to separate them or value one over the other. The ones at the top of the list tend to be fundamental or foundational to the rest. They come down to the basic parenting responsibility, family relationships, individuality, academic, and religious reasons:
- More time together – to talk to one another, share interests, share thoughts and feelings, imperfections and struggles, activities and just being together and with extended family of grandmothers.
- Closer relationships – they’re my constant companions other than my husband, mother and sister, and friends at church, the socialization I prefer.
- Character & spiritual growth and maturity.
- Their friends are at our house a lot and we get to know their friends well.
- Freedom to educate my daughter the way I (we) think best, freedom in curriculum.
- Curriculum content – by law in our state we are to use a curriculum comparable to the government school but we want a Biblical content, so I follow it to a point then teach it the way I want, expand/add to it or delete, go ahead on concepts or slow down, we don’t really go by grade level only for certain situations.
- High academic standards, they can learn and grasp concepts yet balanced with their own time and speed.
- Curriculum methods, philosophies – how and for what purpose is important.
- Being able to know how to learn, find answers, study.
- Not knowing the teacher personally — giving my child to an individual I did not know was one of my biggest fears!
- Physical safety.
- Teacher and school accountability or lack of it.
- Parental involvement or lack of it, being prevented from being involved.
- Not wanting my daughters to disappear into the mass, one size fits all, not wanting wrong labeling, being able to develop individual gifts, strengths, interests — to become the unique person they are.
- Peer pressure, learning to be able to think for themselves.
Educating my daughters is my maternal (parental) desire, pleasure, responsibility and right — it’s parenting — in the way I think best for them as individuals and for our family, free from the government funding and regulations/restrictions. Academic and religious education is one for me, I can’t separate them — two distinct parts of the whole. Similar to a coin — two distinct sides, yet the one coin. I call myself a home educator of the eclectic, unstructured sort, using a combination of Charlotte Mason, classical, and Principle Approach. I’ve never been one to think that everyone should home school because I do or that they home school in the same way I do. It will be different for everyone and I tend to stay away from the individuals/groups that want everyone and everything to be identical. Homeschooling hasn’t been without struggles. There are better days than others. Days where we don’t accomplish as much and days where we do accomplish a lot. Right now we’re behind due to a lot of sickness but we work at it on the weekend and year around. Even with this it has been well worth it and I’m glad to be a home educator. If some one has an interest I would certainly encourage them to try.
This probably shouldn’t have surprised me, but I could not help but note how many of the homeschooling families in the discussion had not really planned on homeschooling their children and even thought that wasn’t something they would ever do to their children. How much we can change when the best interests of our children are at stake!