The beginning of a new school year is always a good time to re-evaluate our homeschool philosophy and remind myself and my family of why we homeschool.
First, why do we NOT homeschool?
- We do NOT homeschool because it’s cool.
- We do NOT homeschool to hide from the world.
- We do NOT homeschool to brainwash our children.
Everybody knows somebody who is homeschooling because that’s what the Smiths do, so they have to do what they do to be recognized as good parents. Wrong answer! Homeschooling is hard work for the parents and the children. Anybody who is doing it for any reason other than utter devotion won’t last long and won’t do a good job.
Yes, the world is a dark and dangerous place at times, but rather than throwing our children in the deep end of the pool to sink or swim, we desire to help them develop sensible values and navigate the dark places wisely. We’re not hiding. We’re preparing.
No matter what you teach your kids, someone is going to accuse you of brainwashing them. So, if you take issue with us teaching our children polite manners, moral values, and a Biblical worldview, then, yes, we’re brainwashing our children. Guilty as charged.
Now, why DO we homeschool?
- We homeschool because we love spending time with our children and want to invest in their lives.
- We homeschool because our children receive a quality, individualized education.
- We homeschool because our children can develop in a safe and socially appropriate environment.
We love our children and want to invest as much time in their lives as possible. Now, I didn’t say that parents who send their children to a school don’t love their children. So, don’t get your knickers in a wad. We simply believe and are deeply convicted that our job as parents includes being the primary influence in our children’s life. We can’t be the primary influence when a child spends 8 hours in school, maybe 2 or 3 more hours at after-school care, and an hour or so at an evening activity. In that schedule, the parent becomes little more than an overnight babysitter during the week. I can’t imagine having that little interaction with my children. This may sound strange, but I like my kids.
Are my children receiving a good education in homeschool? Well, they can read and write and ‘cipher (math). Each child receives an hour or so of one-on-one teaching in the morning, then another two hours in the afternoon doing several group subjects. My daughters in junior high and high school have the responsibility to do additional independent study. We cover geography, history, science, grammar, phonics, reading/literature, spelling, and math.
Are my children socialized? Serious eye-rolling here. Really? With all the headlines on bullying, suicide pacts, teen pregnancy, teacher/student liaisons, etc., you would think socialization in public schools should be severely curtailed, rather than homeschoolers being stigmatized for supposedly living in a prison.
My children participate in weekly co-op classes. They socialize in groups of different ages, rather than being segregated by age or ability.
They have volunteered in childcare programs and ministries.
The older two sometimes accompany me to work once a week and learn computer and network skills.
They have numerous friends with whom they email, talk on the phone, have play dates, and hang out.
We rarely go places in public without being complimented on our children’s good behavior, even when we think they are being wild. Perhaps these people too often see children who throw food through dinner or run around the store pulling things off the shelf and are just relieved that someone is still teaching their children manners. In fairness, though, a parent can’t teach manners in an hour or two a day, which is all the time they have if they follow the normal school schedule.
Share your homeschool philosophy in the comments below.
P.S. If you’re starting to plan your homeschool year, check out my review of Homeschool Tracker. It’s a fabulous program to help you get your ducks in a row.