Every summer we evaluate our homeschooling journey, our goals for our children, and our plans for our next year of school. We think about reasons to homeschool again. The inevitable question is always, “Should we homeschool another year?”
Every year our answer has been, “YES!”
That’s not because our year has been without difficulties or tears or disappointments. No one has ever made all A’s. Every subject has involved struggles at some point. Someone, usually me, has threatened to run away from home at least once. When my daughter had a brain scan, I asked for a copy to frame so I could always point at it and tell her, “You have a brain! Use it!!”
Homeschooling is hard. I’m not going to lie.
But it’s worth it. I am thankful to spend every minute of every day with my children – even when I want to poke pencils in my eyes because I have to remind them for the 10 billionth time to watch the signs on the math worksheet. Heavy sigh.
So, with a cleansing breath that would make any yogi envious, I review my homeschooling mantra for why I don’t homeschool AND why I do homeschool. Yes, I have reasons for why I don’t homeschool. Those are important to remember, too. I don’t want to miss God’s plan for my life or my children’s life because I was stuck on a band wagon not meant for us.
Likewise, I have reasons to homeschool, and my plans for the next year need to reflect those goals. Sometimes, homeschooling involves doing the next thing, and it’s easy to kind of wander along out of habit. Picking the same curriculum. Choosing the same extracurricular activities. Going with the flow.
Nope. A summer review fixes that. It keeps us pointed in the right direction and allows us to make changes. Reflection is good.
Why do we NOT homeschool?
We do NOT homeschool because it’s cool.
When we started homeschooling in 2005, I only knew a few people who had ever homeschooled. It wasn’t unheard of, but I wouldn’t say it was mainstream. That has changed drastically in the last few years. It is more accepted today, but I still have to often explain why we don’t need a doctor’s note or why we’re not playing hooky.
We do NOT homeschool to hide from the world.
While I set aside at least a half day for school, we do not stay home much. We participate in several group activities. My teens go to a week-long camp every year. They volunteer for a few organizations. We are members of a homeschool co-op. No hiding from society here.
We do NOT homeschool to brainwash our children.
We live out our beliefs in our daily lives. That may look different from other people, but that’s not brainwashing. That’s parenting. My older girls are able to discuss their faith and develop a reasoned opinion on current events. We don’t always agree because, like I said, I don’t brainwash them, but they’re not bullied or outcast for having differing opinions.
Why DO we homeschool?
We homeschool because 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.
One of our reasons to homeschool means we 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 we only spend time an hour or two a day with them.
I like my kids. I prefer to spend time with them over all other people, with the notable exception of my husband. We use the quantity time to make quality investments in their emotional, physical, and mental health. We talk. We laugh. We play. We argue. We learn. We are a family.
We homeschool because we believe that we can better direct our children’s education in an individualized environment.
Each child receives an hour or so of one-on-one teaching, then another few hours doing several group subjects. My older daughters in high school have additional independent study, as well as homework for their co-op classes.
We are able to pick curriculum based on their learning styles and abilities. While we cover all the basic subjects, if a child (or two) is not a strong sciency kid, then we don’t use the honors version of the science. Likewise, if one child loves a subject and has expressed interest in a career path, then we invest more time and effort in school work to cater to that interest.
We are not providing a cookie-cutter education.
We homeschool because we believe in socialization.
The socialization comment, alone, makes many a homeschool mom want to throat-punch someone. My homeschooled children are very socialized. In fact, if you met them, you’d wonder if there is anyone they don’t talk to.
We do not live in a prison. My children are involved in extracurricular activities – piano, drama, art, and book clubs. They socialize in groups of different ages at co-op and church. They volunteer at the library and help elderly friends shop, cook and clean. They have numerous friends with whom they email, talk on the phone, have playdates, and hang out.
Socialization is the least of our concerns.
In a nutshell, homeschooling is not something we do on a whim. We homeschool because we’re committed to our children’s future and our family’s bond.
Share your reasons for homeschooling your children.