Why do you homeschool?
Don't you just LOVE getting asked that question by otherwise well meaning friends, neighbors, and family. The answer to this question is complicated and different for every homeschool family. A complete answer to this question is rarely attainable, there just aren't enough hours in the day to fully answer this type of question. Generally, when I am asked about my reasons why, I only state one or two of the biggest reasons. However, in reality there are probably ten reasons why homeschooling is the best choice for my family.
Reasons why we homeschool:
#1 Academics; hands down I always knew I could give my children a better education than the one they received in public school. Our now 3rd grader was doing "fine" in public school though so year after year we just kept him there. Concerns arose after time though which I know was God planting the seed of homeschool in our hearts. Once my Kinder started preschool I knew that homeschool was going to be the only option for him. He had an immense love for learning but was bored at preschool because it was "too easy" and "too boring" for him. Our state has had extensive budget cuts which has caused class sizes to increase beyond beneficial capacity and the smart kids are falling through the cracks because the "academically challenged" children consume so much of the overworked teacher's time. My Kinder would have been a frustrated, disruptive, and a bored mess in public school. In 3 short months he is well beyond where he would have ever been in an entire year of public school kindergarten.
#2 Moral/Religious; I have spent countless hours volunteering in public school classrooms. Sadly, I was appalled at the way elementary students acted, talked to each other, and treated their teachers. As a result, we had to deal with many behavioral issues that our older son learned from other kids at school. At home we are able to shape their behavior, speech, and impressions of what is acceptable in our family. We are raising morally sound and ethically right children according to His will and His word.
#3 Socialization; much like reason #2 socialization is a key reason we choose to homeschool. Are my children socialized? Absolutely, YES! However, unlike public school kids my children socialize with more than just their peer group. My children are socially comfortable with everyone from young babies to elderly adults and everyone in between. They can comfortably and confidently talk to the grocery store clerk, ask for help from the librarian, play at the park with a wide range of children, and enjoy ministering to the elderly. My children have not learned to be judgmental of others and are accepting of everyone no matter their skin color, handicap, or age. Can the same be said for public school children?
#4 Family; homeschooling allows for an immense amount of family time. Our children grow-up way too quickly. Rather than send my children away for 7 hours a day and then battle every evening over homework I have chosen to keep them at home in a relaxed loving environment and we avoid the nightly homework arguments. I get to cuddle with my son on the couch while we do our reading lesson, we get to take hikes together during the day when they would otherwise be stuck in a classroom, and I get to teach them life skills throughout the day rather than in the few hours during the week and the 2 days on the weekend.
#5 Use of time; Have you ever stopped to think how much instruction and learning really happens in the 7 hours of public school each day? A long-time friend and 30 year veteran public school teacher confirms that 80-90% of each day is spent on discipline and not teaching. What a shame!! I prefer to make the most of my children's time and keep them at home. Childhood is too short to waste it in a classroom not learning to their potential. In just a few short hours at home I can accomplish more with my children than they would otherwise learn in an entire day in public school. I am doing my kids a service and making the most of their childhood by homeschooling.
#6 Self identity; homeschooling allows my children to develop into whomever they want to be. No longer are they influenced by their peers. No longer do they hear from their friends what they "should do" or "shouldn't do". No longer do they are they influenced by their friends about who they should and shouldn't play with. And no longer are they influenced about what things they should and shouldn't like to do. My children are free to be whoever they want to be without the fear or persecution or belittlement. If my oldest wants to play dolls with his younger sister he is free to do so without fearing his friends at school will make fun of him if they find out. For this very reason alone I would have loved to be homeschooled as a child. Self-identity is difficult for children to create when so many outside influences conflict. Here at home there are no outside influences telling my children what they should do, how they should act, how they should dress, what they should say, or what they should believe in.
My list could go on and on. . . .
So the next time you are asked this question and you don't quite know how to answer, please know that you are not alone. There are many other homeschool parents out there struggling with this question just like you are. I could explain all of my reasons to the next person that asks but I know they really don't want to hear all of it. So, I am rest assured that my choice to homeschool is the best for our family and when all is said and done that is all that matters. My husband, my children, and God; those are the only ones I really need to answer to (and not necessarily in that order).