"Why in the world would you homeschool your children?"
I understand the question. I really do.
In fact, this was a question I uttered many years ago - although I think it went something like, "Why in the world would THEY want to homeschool their children? I could NEVER do that."
Ha. Life can be quite ironic. (Remember, we abandoned the public schools in 2009).
People criticize what they do not understand, therefore homeschooling receives A LOT of criticism! And sometimes, it's not criticism, it's simply curiosity.
I don't take offense when someone makes a critical (or curious!) statement about homeschooling , but I do consider it part of my role as a homeschool ambassador to dispel the myths and also preach the BENEFITS of homeschooling.
While our family homeschools for SO MANY reasons, perhaps if I give you our top five it will aid you in your ambassadorship - or perhaps in your decision to begin homeschooling your own children.
And I want you to know -- if I can homeschool, I know YOU CAN, too!
5 Reasons You Should Homeschool Your Children
Normally, the word CONTROL has negative connotations, but when it comes to the shaping of our children's hearts and minds CONTROL is absolutely necessary.
I spent countless hours on the phone with school board members, meeting with administrators, and contacting our state Department of Education when they raised my daughter's public school class size to 25. I was going through every appropriate channel to express my discontent and find out the reasoning behind this decision.
Then, there was the time I had to actually request permission for my daughter to check out books from the school library that were above her grade level.
Or, once I went to bat so the children could actually TALK in the lunch room.
(I have lots of these stories for you, believe me.)
Now that we homeschool I don't have any of those worries. I control the class size, school situation, curriculum, and a million other things.
I remember a very sweet woman at church saying to me (in kind of a sarcastic tone).... "You just had to have control over her education, didn't you?"
Well yes, I did. And I make NO APOLOGIES for wanting that control over my young child's day.
(Once I read For The Children's Sake - given to me by the only homeschooling mom I knew at the time - I was SOLD on homeschooling. I HIGHLY recommend this book! )
Perhaps I'm a bit jaded, but after working in a public elementary school that was locked down while an escaped convict ran through the hallways and also working in a school system where a mentally ill man walked into the lobby of an elementary school and attacked several young children, I didn't want to be concerned for my children's safety on a daily basis.
My oldest was born shortly after the attack at Columbine.
In this day and age, I want to know WHO has access to my children and that their environment is safe and protected.
I didn't want my children to go to a school and sit through bomb threats, lock downs, and tornado drills.
I also want to be sure the adults my child spends the bulk of their day with adults who have their best interest at heart.
Call me protective? Thank you - I consider it a compliment.
I make no apologies when it comes to protecting my children.
When you homeschool you are not a slave to the school "schedule".
If you want to take a field trip that is 2 hours away, you can just DO IT.
If you don't like a particular science curriculum (I was beginning to have huge problems with the teaching of ONLY evolution in our public schools), you can change curriculums.
We are free to PRAY before a mock trial competition -- OPENLY!
If your grandmother is very ill, you are free to go and be with her for however long need be -- and I guarantee you it will be of greater value than any "schoolwork" you could have been doing.
If you don't understand a math concept you can STOP and pause on that concept until you MASTER it.
If you are very interested in something... maybe it's horses or music or LEGOS; you are FREE to pursue that to your heart's content, much as you would in the REAL WORLD when you are an adult!
Now that's we've experienced the freedom of homeschooling for so long, I'm pretty sure it would be VERY difficult to return to a traditional school setting.
And truthfully, that FREEDOM of ideas and thinking is what our world needs.
A wonderful homeschool primer is Educating The Wholehearted Child. This is another MUST HAVE resource if you are homeschooling (or contemplating homeschooling) your children.
We are only giving a limited amount of TIME on this earth, and homeschooling helps us to be good stewards of that time.
Honestly, when we started homeschooling I thought I would experience a huge LACK of time... because I was still living in a very selfish mode. I thought I would lose time to myself, time to clean my house, time to pursue my interests, and time without my children.
I was so very wrong. Not only are we seizing every moment with our children (who will all too soon be grown and gone), but we are also avoiding the WASTING of time.
Homeschooled kids don't wait in lines to get their lunch.
They don't wait for the very last child to finish their test.
They don't wait while a teacher has to discipline a group of rowdy children.
Instead, they are giving the gift of TIME.
Time to cuddle with mom and read books on a chilly morning by the fire.
Time to perfect that cursive they've so desperately wanted to learn.
Time to STOP and serve a family in need.
Time to forge a deep bond with their siblings.
Time to MASTER a concept rather than simply regurgitate it for a standardized test.
Time to sleep in when their teenage bodies just need REST.
Time to contemplate BIG ideas without unnecessary peer pressure.
( The list could go on and on..... )
One of my NEW favorite resources is Teaching from Rest, by Sarah Mackenzie... if you really want to know how to make the most of your TIME with your children, her book and audio companion are invaluable.
The final benefit of homeschool is difficult to put into words.
I homeschool my children because I want a front row seat in the development of their heart. I believe that through homeschooling their hearts are allowed to develop under careful, supervised guidance.
I believe God called me to homeschool my children, plain and simple.
Sometimes kids' hearts are tricky things (especially in the teen years), but it's such a benefit of homeschooling that we get to STOP whatever we are doing to train and guide that heart, or to give that heart care when it is broken.
We can guide our children carefully through making (and keeping) friends. We can guide them through appropriate ways to treat others' hearts, and we can impart to them that their hearts are THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about them.
What good is a 4.0 GPA, all the friends in the world, or a wall full of accolades if our children don't know that their HEARTS (and the hears of others) come FIRST?
I love so many of Charlotte Mason's writings on home education - they are what first attracted me to homeschooling. The following quote is especially meaningful when we think about our children's hearts, and the environment in which they will spend their most formative years:
I'd love to know... what are your top reasons for homeschooling? Care to share a story about how your family came to homeschooling? Let's start a discussion in the comments below!
This post is part of the iHomeschool Network's Why We Chose to Homeschool. Several of my blogging friends are also tackling this same subject, so pay them a visit by clicking the image below!