What Led to Your Decision to Homeschool?

It’s been fascinating reading the different journeys that took people towards homeschooling at the Back to Homeschooling Week. Ours started with our parents. Both of our sets of parents started homeschooling mostly for pragmatic reasons–for mine, it was the cost and hassle of sending a fourth child to a distant private school; for DOB’s (if I remember correctly), it was concern over the health and safety of the decrepit local school building. Over the years, our "former families" both changed to primarily religious reasons for homeschooling. Neither of us ever attended a traditional school.

For us, it was never even up for discussion. Of course we would teach our own children. As DOB likes to say when he’s feeling flippant, "We’re lawyers. Why entrust our children’s education to someone less educated?" Although we do feel that we can give our children a better education ourselves than we could ever pay someone else to give them, that has less to do with our level of education and more with the amount of time and quality of books we can provide.

According to research by Brian Ray, about 3/4 of homeschooled adults are going on to homeschool their own children. I suppose this could be interpreted in a sinister way–these poor homeschooled outcasts are cowering in fear, terrified of sending their children to public school lest all the EEEEVILLL things they have heard will happen to them. Then again, you would have to be pretty paranoid to think parents could so warp their children’s minds that they’d still be worried about the bogeyman in their twenties.

I do think there is something fundamentally flawed in the way school is conceived in our society–the amount of time and regimentation required, the level of separation from real life in the community–but I honestly don’t care what’s going on down the street at the local elementary.

Mostly, we want to homeschool (our oldest is three, so we’re not technically homeschooling yet) for the fun of it. We like doing things with our kids. We like showing them new things and reading books to them and watching the little wheels turn and the light bulbs go on. It would be terrible to miss out on this just because they pass the magic age of five and must go off for someone else to get to do it.

We like having time together as a family, to know what each other does all day. We don’t want D1 to find out that little brothers are pests, or D2 to discover that girls are yucky. We like having time to serve others and stay in touch with extended family.

Not to say that we expect school to be smooth sailing, but that’s just the nature of life and parenting. I’m pretty sure even the worst day of teaching fractions can’t compare to a bad day of potty training. (Now if they had a school for that, I might sign them up!)

3 thoughts on “What Led to Your Decision to Homeschool?

  1. No, it's not always smooth sailing, but then I never met a parent of kids in public school that always experienced smooth sailing either. No, far from it.

  2. I don't know why your post made me think of this exactly, but you know what I think interesting? The idea of cottage schools where the kids go for only a couple hours a day and are homeschooled the rest of the time. It seems like an interesting way to really get the support.

    Anyway, it took me awhile to realize homeschoolers weren't a bunch of nuts.


  3. You give lots of interesting things to think about between this post and the one above it!

    I think the why of homeschooling really directs the how. We have plenty of reasons to home school: religious, primacy of family, bad public schools, socialization issues, expensive private schools, and so on. Still, if all these were resolved we'd still home school because our main goal is to help our children grow into the people God created them to be. That goal dictates highly individualized instruction and a whole lot of prayerful discernment.

    My husband is a public school teacher,. We believe that school is the best way to give the largest number of people the minimum education necessary to provide a functional and complacent citizen workforce. This is literally what the system was designed to do (in Prussia). It was also designed specifically to transfer the citizen's obedience from the family to the state. (Incidentally if you are following the news story about the girl in Germany who was taken from her family because she was home schooled, this is the issue: the state's right to form it's citizens supersedes the rights of the family.)

    Sorry for the digression! Suffice it to say, I don't think the school model is the best education!

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