Let's Talk About Homeschooling and 8 Reasons Why We Do It

Homeschooling....it's such a controversial subject. Somehow, within the distorted lens of society, saying you are a homeschooler means you are against all people who send their kids to public school. Can I tell you something? I have lots of friends who don't homeschool their children. In fact, some of my best friends send their kids to public school....and we are still friends, really good friends, actually, who don't judge each other on our schooling choices.

We were first introduced to homeschooling through a friend when we lived in Michigan. She had one daughter she was homeschooling for kindergarten and planned on homeschooling her second daughter when she was of age to attend school. She was the first person I had ever met that was a homeschooling mom. The funny thing is she seemed so ‘normal.’ Even though I'd never personally met a homeschooling mom, I still kind of knew what they were supposed to be like. You know…denim skirts, no makeup, kids with pants that are too short, etc. Well, she is not like this at all, and today we often joke about that label given to homeschooling moms. Not to say that we aren’t all a little different, because we are. After all, homeschooling families are known for their uniqueness, aren’t they? I might add that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing denim skirts, AND my son has been known to go out in public numerous times with pants that are too short on him. Oh, and makeup...well, let's just say I haven't put any on in about four days now. :)

After observing my friend and her family for awhile, and being intrigued by their lifestyle, I approached my husband about the idea of homeschooling Evan. He flat out said “No way.” I finally, after much persuasion, convinced him to at least attend a homeschool conference with me so we could learn more about it before we made a final decision. After attending the conference, my husband was sold on the idea. He couldn’t get over how well behaved the kids were at this conference. They were sitting there with their parents not misbehaving or acting bored. In fact, some of the older ones were taking notes while the main speaker was giving his talk. I laugh about this now because I get it. It’s something my son would do today. 

That being said, I receive inquiries weekly about homeschooling. I recently had a friend I met online through this blog who pulled her daughter from school and started homeschooling after Christmas break. I like to think I helped give her the courage to know she can do it. There are still a lot of questions out there about homeschooling, so I decided I would give you some of the reasons why WE made the choice to homeschool our son. First, let me say just because WE have chosen to do this for OUR family does not mean we think EVERYONE should do it. Would I love for more of my friends to homeschool? Uh...yes! Can you say play dates to parks and trips to restaurants during the week without the crowds...that equals awesomeness. Unfortunately, I do feel pretty lonely on this path at times. I do, however, have a great network of homeschooling friends in a town not so far from me and I adore them. 

Here are eight reasons why we homeschool:
1.     We decided we were not happy with today's public school system. We both come from it and we know how it is. Neither one of us had a very good experience with school. Some people do and that's great. Like I said earlier, homeschooling is not for everyone!

2.     We want to have lots of time with our son. We don't want the rushed mornings and the rushed afternoons. When you add sports and extra activities outside the home, how can you have time at home as a family?

3.      We want to be able to teach him our biblical values and have it be part of his schooling. Reading the Bible and studying the Bible are part of our daily schooling. God and His word are not part of the public school system. That doesn't mean there are not lots of Christians in the public school system, because there are, but we want it to be a part of his life everyday and not have it be something that is controversial that you have tip toe around.

4.      We want him to be able to explore his own interest and learn at his own pace. We don't want him to be in trouble at school because he is a boy and boys can’t sit still, and we don't want him to be bored because he catches on too fast, or frustrated because he can't catch on as quick as others.

5.      Character development is HUGE for us. We want to teach him how to treat people and how his reputation and actions do not just affect him but his family too. If you raise a child that has good character, good morals, and is liked by many, he will be given many opportunities in life. If you raise a child that is arrogant, self-centered, and doesn't have basic manners, I don't care how smart they are....ain't nobody want to deal with that. The more I am with him, the more I can see where his character flaws are and work specifically with him on them so he can improve them and grow to be, not only a functioning adult, but one that contributes to society in a good way.

6.      In MY opinion, schools are not a safe place anymore. I don't want that phone call that says our school is in lockdown because someone brought a gun to school. I don't ever, ever want to be in a position where I cannot get to my child and be with him. Ever.

7.      Homeschooling gives us flexibility to go and do what we want without following the school schedule. If we want to go to Michigan and visit our family, we can. This decision doesn’t have to be approved by anyone but us. We get to go to all the parks and attractions during school hours and miss the crowds. If something really is interesting to Evan we can take a week or two and dive into that subject until we want to move on to the next thing that interest him.

8.      We want our son to like being around us. We want him to value our opinion over his teenage friend’s opinion. Let’s face it, I cared a whole lot more about my friend's opinions than my mother's as a teen, you too? I want our family to continue to be close and for our son to respect us and value what we say. We are very close as a family right now, and I can't see that changing because he becomes a young man and starts to form his own opinions.

There you have it - a few of the reasons why we homeschool. We made this choice for our family because we really felt like it was the best thing for us.  We do not feel that everyone should do this, or everyone should feel the same way we do, and we don’t look down on those who choose not to. Maybe you can relate to some of these, or maybe you have a completely different set of opinions... that's okay, my friends. Thankfully, He didn't make us all alike because how boring would that be? In reality, not everyone can homeschool even if they wanted to. There are lots of double income families and single parents out there who do not have the option, and the last thing they need, on top of everything else, is to feel guilty about their choice of schooling for their child.
For those of you who have thought about homeschooling and feel like you could never do it, I'll tell you something....I'm not anything special. I'm going on my sixth year of homeschooling and some days are not fun. My son and I fight occasionally, and  we get sick of each other because we are both human and selfish at times. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to do school. Sometimes, I don’t want to do school. Some days, I call my husband up and say things like, “I’m done and I am enrolling him in school tomorrow!” I struggle with staying disciplined with lesson plans and keeping us on a routine. My son struggles with math. We have done five different math programs before finding one that works. Sometimes, I have to call my husband and have him explain things like fractions to me because I am not sure I understand them myself. I'm learning right beside Evan, and I love that part of it. I'm learning history, English (which I really need because my grammar and punctuation are pretty bad as you probably can tell), and all sorts of things I have forgotten over time. Last year we were able to read several missionary biographies and my son’s eyes were opened to how Christians are sometimes treated in this world. It was a life-changing school year for us. I cried while reading him the stories of Nate Saint, George Muller, Amy Carmichael, and Gladys Aylward. My heart was stirred for missions, and I was once again reminded how spoiled we are in America. My son learned that his faith is not something to take for granted and that any day things can change for us Christians in America.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I'm a sinful, selfish person who gets reminded of these things everyday through the homeschooling process.  I struggle with anger issues and yelling at my son. I struggle with wanting to have more ‘me’ time. I feel like homeschooling brings out the very worst, and the very best, of me.  

My son is learning to forgive me when I make mistakes... after I ask him for forgiveness, of course. He is so smart, loving and thoughtful. Adults like to be around him and he has many friends. He is secure in himself, and yes, he is somewhat sheltered. I don’t necessarily believe that's a bad thing. I know there are lots of folks out there who will disagree with me.  I'm okay with him not knowing certain things until he is at an age that he can understand them. We don't shelter him to the point he will not be able to function in society. We make sure to discuss with him lots of things that are taking place in the world right now. I refuse to be a mom who hides the topic of sex, drugs, drinking or any other controversial issue from him. If he's going to hear about that stuff, it will be from me and his dad, not the kid on the school bus.
If you've thought about homeschooling but you’re scared, just remember all homeschooling moms feel this way when they make the decision. We all wonder at times if we are making a mistake. We wonder about the things they may miss out on and we feel alone sometimes. Some people say they admire a homeschooling mom. Some people say we're crazy and ruining our children, and some people say even meaner things than that to us and about us. I'll say it again.... homeschooling is not for everyone, but if you think it may be for you, I encourage you to check it out and research it.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me. I would love to talk to you about it some more. If I have offended anyone by this post, please know that wasn't my intention. If homeschooling is not for you - it’s not for you. I'm just trying to explain to you the reasons why we choose to do it and to encourage anyone out there thinking about giving it a try.


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