We have homeschooled for a few years now, and putting the “why” into words has taken some time for me. Our decision to do this was not made quickly or without much thought, prayer, counsel, and research.
While we are not supported 100 percent by some family and friends, others have been quick to offer their support and encouragement. Homeschooling is not considered the “norm” in the town in which we live, and that’s fine. Homeschooling is actually becoming more mainstream, but that news hasn’t quite reached everyone. We do not think we are better than others because we choose to homeschool. Homeschooling, in our opinion, is a choice… just like sending your children to a public, private, or charter school is a choice.
Sadly, there are a few misconceptions held by others about our homeschooling. And while others’ opinions do not really bother me, I would like to clear these up, especially since my children are old enough to understand some of their comments.
Myth #1 – We homeschool because of other people.
First of all, our reasons for homeschooling are just that: our reasons. They are not a reflection on any person, or even our own public school upbringing. We homeschool because it works for our family, and our reasoning has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.
Myth #2 – We hate the public school system and public school teachers.
This is so far from the truth, it is not even funny. This goes against everything we believe and stand for, so how someone could seriously think we homeschool only because we hate the public school system is beyond ridiculous. In fact, how we feel about our local public school teachers is the exact opposite: we appreciate them and the job they do. As I mentioned above, our reasons for homeschooling do not reflect on anyone but us… our family. In fact, I find this opinion that is held by a few to be very offensive.
Do we have issues with how the public education system is as a whole? You bet we do! I know plenty of public school teachers who have issues with the public education system, as well. I’m not sure any of them hate it, but there may be those that do. Let’s face it, the public education system as a whole has a lot of negatives. Our unhappiness with this is one reason we have chosen to homeschool. Again, this is not a reflection on any one school or person; I am referring to the education system as a whole.
Public school teachers are a necessity (and our local ones are an asset!). Just like homeschooling is not for every family, public schooling isn’t either. I have a few friends who have chosen to send their children to a private school. Do they receive flack for that choice? I’m not sure, but obviously public schooling is not for them, either.
We appreciate our local public school teachers and administrators. They have an amazing, wonderful, hard task, and I completely admire them. They do a job that I am personally not cut out for, and the local teachers I know are truly fantastic. It just wouldn’t make sense for me to homeschool my children simply because of them… when, in fact, I do not feel negatively about them at all! So, this all goes back to my original point: we homeschool for our family, not because of other people.
Myth #3 – We do nothing all day.
Since no one I know is a fly on the wall of our home, I’m not sure how anyone could deduce this. Sure, there were times in my early pregnancy when I was unable to do much of anything but lay down, but this was for a short season. And the girls, who are actually very independent, did some things on their own. In reality, the girls work hard. If they are not “up to par” in someone else’s eyes, well… that is just too bad. One of the things I learned during my college education (and the public school work I did after college) was that children learn at their own pace. Not everyone fits into a cookie-cutter mold, and each child learns differently. The current public education model does not really allow for this, and that IS one reason we chose to homeschool.
While it may not take 8 hours to instruct my two girls, we do have a full school day. If that is in question, please see our curriculum choices for this year. Believe me, we have plenty going on!
Myth #4 – We do not want our children around other kids.
If this were the case, why would we take them to Falls Creek church camp and let them
be corrupted by hang around with 100 teenagers for a week? (That part about “being corrupted” was a joke, by the way.) Our children are very active in Sunday school and the children’s ministry at church. They have several friends, and will talk to just about anyone. They play soccer and basketball with local (and not-so-local) leagues. They also spend an incredible amount of time with the teenagers in our youth group. We are in trouble if we truly don’t want them to be around other children!
The word “socialization” gets thrown around so much, but when I was in school, I got into trouble if I tried to socialize anywhere but on the playground. Even in the cafeteria, we weren’t supposed to talk to anyone who wasn’t immediately to our right, left, or across the table. I know this to be true in some places today, as well. School should be about learning, not socializing; in that same respect, learning should be fun.
Myth #5 – We homeschool to protect our children from evil.
In this world, I truly do not know how to protect my children from evil. Homeschooling certainly doesn’t prevent bad things from happening. Evil is everywhere, and I cannot keep it from touching my children. My family does not live in a bubble, sheltered from every hurtful or mean thing that might happen. Bad things can happen anywhere: the grocery store, on the road, movie theaters… you name a place, bad things can happen, but it doesn’t make those places evil. Until it was mentioned to us, “protecting our children from evil” wasn’t even on our radar when we decided to homeschool! It had never even crossed our minds, because it truly wasn’t part of our reasoning.
Myth #6 – I have control issues and that is why we homeschool.
It’s no secret that I have control issues, but they truly are not a factor when it comes to why we homeschool. If we homeschooled simply because I liked to control my children, that would not be fair – to them or to me. If homeschooling did not work for us, we would find another alternative. Period.
The bottom line is, we are not against anyone else’s schooling choices. If you know anything about homeschooling, you know that not every homeschool is the same; we all adhere to different models, styles, curriculum, methods, and philosophies.
The truth is, I truly enjoy teaching my children. I love watching them learn. Sure, we all have bad days, and sometimes there are more bad days in a week than good, but that’s probably the case even in public and private schools. It’s life, and life is not perfect. But overall, the good completely outweighs the bad, and being my children’s full-time teacher is a rewarding and amazing experience that I dearly love.
God is the center of our home, and He is the center of our school. We follow the Classical Christian Model, which shows God in the center, how God relates to everything, how everything relates back to God, and how everything also relates to each other.
Being at home with my girls is what God made me to do. Homeschooling makes sense for this season in our lives.
Like most other parents, I want my children to have the best education possible. For our family, that is homeschooling. I realize that is not the case for others, and that is fine. I have always said that what works for my family does not necessarily work for your family. You have to do what you feel is right and best. There is no one “right” way to do anything, and every family has to decide for themselves what is best.
Will we homeschool forever? Since I’m not God, I do not know what the future holds. Yes, we plan on homeschooling our children all the way through high school, but I am not so lofty as to say with 100 percent certainty that yes, we will homeschool “forever” no matter what. We reevaluate every year and every child, and if this ever stops working for us, we will do something different.
Linked to: Finer Things Friday