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!)