We originally started homeschooling our 3 children when we went to Ecuador for three months in 2013. Our kids are not anywhere close to fluent in Spanish (much like their parents). Inclusion into a local school there was out of the question, because we knew we would only be in Ecuador for 3-6 months. Thus, homeschooling seemed like the obvious choice. When we came back to the States, we chose to continue to homeschooling.
1) We Liked It! – The kids had enjoyed homeschooling and strangely enough, so had I. I wasn’t as frazzled as I thought I would be. I had a lot more patience than I gave myself credit for. Yes, we had days where I would’ve loved to ship them off to someone else. Those days we either battled through and I went ALONE to Target after school or we just walked away and came back to it the next day. I didn’t like our curriculum, so I chose something different for the 2014-2015 school year. Shockingly my kids did not become socially inept and unable to converse with their peers or adults (oh, the age old ‘socialization’ debate). In fact, they have no problem carrying on a conversation…with anyone. Seriously, I dare you to talk to them.
2) Individualized Education – We feel like the benefits of being in a home environment, where they can get more individualized attention, far outweigh anything they miss being in a public school environment. Their curriculum can be tailored to fit their learning style and interests. I enjoy being able to include and expound on subjects that interest my kids. It adds a whole other realm of learning for them.
3) Environment – Jackie Kennedy is quoted as saying “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” I wholeheartedly agree with her. I feel that my children deserve better than mediocre. Please walk down the halls of the public high schools and tell me that given the choice between homeschooling your child and putting them in that environment, you would choose public schools. I doubt it. I know what it was like when I was in high school. These days our children are facing much more from bullying, school shootings, etc. I know I can’t shelter them forever, but that does not mean I have to expose them to every evil the world has to offer.
4) Flexibility – I enjoy being able to adapt our schedule to fit the needs/desires of our family. If we get a wild hair and want to take a day and go fishing, we can, and recently did. On the drive, we did some schoolwork in the car. We happen to be studying forest biomes in science. So after we were done fishing, we took a nature walk through the woods. We discussed the different types of forests (coniferous and deciduous) and the different layers of the forest (emergent, canopy, understorey, etc) . The kids did drawings in their sketch pads of some plant or tree they saw in the forest. Then we drove to the beach and had a picnic (yes the dogs came with us). On the drive back home, we decided to stop on the river and fish again. My children got to experience three bodies of water that day; a lake, ocean, and river.
5) Influence – I like that we can introduce a Biblical foundation into their education. When we talk about the origins of our world, they can know that God created the heavens and the earth, while being taught that there is something called the Big Bang Theory. We start our day off with prayer and the Bible. My children have a Bible verse to learn each week. This year they are learning about different countries and cultures and which languages the Bible has been translated into. I want my children to understand that their relationship with God does not start and end on Sunday, when they walk in/out of the church doors. I want them to understand that it should permeate every part of their lives.
I can’t speak for anyone else – so, please do not take my reasoning as an attack on those who choose public schools or the educators there of. I happen to know quite a few wonderful public school teachers and love them dearly. BTW – They are way underpaid! So when people ask “Why Homeschool?” . . . . we are ready to give an answer.