Tuesday 4 September 2007

Why Homeschool?

I was asked why my husband and I had decided to homeschool our child(ren), so I thought I'd add my response here.

I've wanted to homeschool for a long time (I'll get into why later). I had been trying to figure out how to bring it up to my husband, or whether I even should, since he tends to be one of those "we'll worry about it when the time comes" people. Then one evening we were doing our own separate things and he just randomly looked up from his computer and asked if I'd consider homeschooling our son.

Me inside: "Yahoo, yay, yipee! Yes yes yes!"

Me outside: "Um, yeah, I...I think I'd like to do that."


His reasons are different than mine though. For him, he found school to be a waste of his time. He was (is) very intelligent, the type who often corrected our chemistry teacher and never had to study for a test or exam a day in his life. I did very well in school, but not because I was smart like him, but rather because I worked hard - the idea of just not doing my homework was quite honestly completely foreign to me. I just went home and did it. I studied for tests starting a week in advance (two for sciences) and exams three weeks in advance (sometimes four). He was smart, I worked hard. I graduated top of our class, and he had to have been such a close second. (I still feel guilty for "beating" him. I wasn't the smart one, he was. He knows much more than I do.)

Anyway. All that is to say, my husband expects that if our son takes after us, he too will find school to be very boring, not challenging enough, and really rather a waste of time. So my husband wants to homeschool our son in order to get through things at a quicker pace and an appropriately challenging level rather than being held back by 30+ other kids.

My husband and his two sisters were homeschooled for at least a year, and he enjoyed it. He learned a lot of practical things that way, like cooking and housework (and yes, he's still a better cook than I am). They did a lot of things in the community and only did an hour or two of actual "schoolwork" each day.

Personally, I do agree with his reasoning. I remember spending the entire first grade bored out of my young mind because no one else in my class could read, while I was sitting there going through novel after novel. A lot of elementary school was the same - I was bored. I was put into enrichment programs, but even those were just more "make work" classes rather than anything challenging. I didn't have any homework until the sixth grade, and even then only rarely. In grade 7 I took a high school science class and in grade 8 I did high school History. As a result, I was a grade ahead in those classes for much of high school too. I did have a lot of homework, but I rarely had a class that I found "hard".

So if we can homeschool our son, challenge him appropriately, have him work at his level, I think it would keep him much more interested in learning. I've always found that homeschooled kids are far more advanced than kids their age in public school. They learn more, graduate sooner, and tend to be very well-spoken and well-written. In short, academics is probably the main reason we would homeschool, particularly for my husband.

For me, I'm more concerned about less academic reasons. Ultimately, I want to be the main influence in my children's lives - not their peers and not their teachers. I had a teacher throughout high school who bragged about the fact that she lived with her boyfriend. She would just randomly bring it up in class and go on about how whatever other people said, she was proud of her decision and had no problem with it. She would regularly spout feminist nonsense that had nothing to do with the class (she was my geography teacher one of those years). She had opinions on everything and no qualms with sharing them with her students. The things that go on between peers in school are even worse. I can't believe some of the things my little sisters tell me now, and that's in our fairly innocent small town. Basically, I don't want my son's morals dictated to him by teachers or peers, and there are so many things that I don't want him exposed to before he is mature enough to handle them appropriately.

Second, I like spending time with my son. I don't expect that to change anytime soon. So many mothers seem to think I should be leaving my son with other people so that I can go out and "have fun". Guess what? I have fun with my son. I really do. I enjoy my time with him and I know it will pass far too quickly. Getting to see my son only on evenings and weekends (and even hardly then, with all the homework kids are getting nowadays) isn't something I particularly want. My mom and I had our first "mom-to-mom" conversation the other day over this very subject - people keep telling her to travel without the kids, but she enjoys travelling with her girls and doesn't want to travel without them. I feel the same way - I enjoy being a mother and I'm in no rush to hurry my children out the door. What's more, I want to truly know my children, and have them know me. Spending more time together will allow for that.

Third, I like the flexibility. Schoolwork can be individually adjusted for each particular child depending on strengths and weaknesses - a school teacher with 30+ kids simply cannot do that, no matter how good and how well-meaning that teacher is. On top of that, the type of school work can be varied. We can do a lot of hands-on projects. We can go on field trips. We can connect with other homeschooled children in our area. What's more? We can travel during the off season! We aren't tied to a school calendar for our children's entire education. We can learn flexibly, we can schedule flexibly, and we can spend more time as a family.

Fourth, homeschooled children tend to be better adjusted, better able to socialize with people of all ages rather than only their immediate peers, more mature, and very well-mannered.

Fifth, safety. It's the same reason we don't hand off our son to the nursery teacher at church or leave him with babysitters. Our child is an amazing gift that has been given to us, and we will do our best to protect him - physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I don't want to leave our children with strangers, with people whose morals differ vastly from ours, or with people who would take it upon themselves to physically punish our children. We are his parents, thankyouverymuch.

Finally, I like that we can incorporate our faith into our day-to-day lives more fully. No, our math classes won't involved dividing loaves and fish, but we can include studies of biblical history, we can read books with faith-related themes, and if we want to pray in the middle of a class, we can. We don't have to watch our every word to make sure we're not "offending" someone.

So there you have it. I think that covers my (many) reasons for homeschooling our children.


  1. We just started our fifth year of home education, and I just wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am providing a better education for them (which means SO many things, beyond just academics).

  2. Hi! I saw your blog from another friend's link and loved the title! I am a bit of a Hippie Housewife myself. I so wish I woud have known about babywearing when my kids were little...but we recently adopted a baby (our old st is 18), so I am finally getting the chance to try it! lOVE it! Anyway....we are a homeschooling family with 5 kids. Our reasons for homeschooling sound much like you and your husband's. We have homeschooled for the past 10 years. Our oldest will finish high school and have his AA degree from college at the same time. We have cherished every moment..not that it has been easy, but it has been so rewarding. We truly know our children's souls and can send them off into the world knowing that they love Jesus and want to impact the world. If they move to the other side of the globe and we never see them again, we still will have spent more time with our kids than most people spend in a life time! I have learned so much and truly love each moment I have with them! I could say more, but just remember to stay true to your convictions and don't let the negative people around you influence your decision to homeschool. You'll never regret it!

  3. Love it. You have a lot of similar reasons that I do for homeschooling (although I expect they are fairly universal homeschooling reasons! :P) I love the fact that we can adapt the curriculum to each child's abilities. That we don't have to bury them in homework (which are not even proved to be helpful before high school). That we can do field trips whenever, wherever. One on one (or on 2-5, if you have more than one kid) attention is also a great aspect of homeschooling. And the safety issues are also a concern.

    I like how you say connect with other homeschooling moms - I was thinking that too, how little group field trips and such might be nice now and then. :)

    Do you know how you're going to go about it? Do you plan on using a curriculum?

    By the way - I'm Johanne from the OMWF group ;-)

  4. @Christine and Kimberly - Thanks so much for your feedback and encouragement! I really do appreciate it.

    @Joe - Thanks for the comments. :) I suspect you're likely right about them being fairly universal reasons for homeschooling, but it's neat to hear that others share them anyway!

    No, we haven't yet decided exactly how we're going to go about it. I expect that we'll be fairly "unschooling" and relaxed in the early years, focusing more on real-life experience and self-directed learning than bookwork, but slowly building in more and more structure with each year. There are so many curriculums to choose from, it's overwhelming! I like various bits and pieces from each of the major homeschooling "methods", so I won't be surprised if we end up with a fairly eclectic approach ourselves. Then again, that ability to tailor our home-education to our families specific needs and characteristics is one of the draws to homeschooling in the first place!