These thoughts originally appeared on the MOMformation blogs. If you’d like to see quite an interesting discussion, spend some time with the comments on that post. But, these are my personal thoughts on why our family has decided to school our children at home. If they seem a bit defensive in tone, that is because the audience at the time they were written, was full of nay-sayers.
Why I am sharing these thoughts:
1. It’s a really good exercise to remember WHY I’m doing this. Because some days, when it gets frustrating, I ask myself, “WHY AM I DOING THIS??!!”
2. I feel confident in our family’s decision to homeschool our children.
3. I’m not hard-core. I’m open-minded and sensitive to
each of my child’s needs. If I felt for some reason that this was
absolutely not the best method or choice for educating one of my
children, I would stop. I would explore other options.
4. I have absolutely no ill-feelings towards or cast
any judgment upon families that choose to send their children to public
school, private school or any other kind of formal school setting.
Please, above all else–don’t forget number four. This is not a critique
of public schools, or parents that send their children to school. And
I’m not going to take the time to address every counterpoint to my
point.This is why MY FAMILY, has chosen to homeschool our children:
There is a sweet innocence that comes with childhood. A rosy glow. A
lack of knowledge of “what’s out there”–whether it’s teasing or anger
or bad language or sex or rebellion or cheating. I know there will come
a point where every child will be exposed to some form of those things.
That is the stuff of life. However, one of the reasons that I
homeschool is because I want to try to protect that innocence in my
children for as long as I can.
Am I sheltering my children? Of course. That is a parent’s job. It is
up to each individual parent to decide what their child is exposed to
and when they are exposed to it.
THE BIRDS AND THE BEES
No, not sex-ed. (Though that might be another reason why I homeschool.)
But I mean, literally the birds and the bees. I homeschool because
there are countless things that I want my children to know about that
aren’t covered in most school curriculums. Knitting and baking bread,
bird calls and tree identification; there are things that I believe are
important for my children to learn. In the defense of teachers, and
with the demands on today’s teachers, they have neither the time nor
the resources (nor the class size) to explore some of these
I like the flexibility to have our studies driven by what is sparking
my child’s curiosity or what’s happening in our lives. If we walk down
to the stream behind our farm one afternoon and see a tree felled by
beavers and the beginnings of a dam blocking up the water, it may spark
all kinds of questions. With the flexibility homeschooling gives us, we
can explore this new discovery and capitalize on their curiosity.
When I was an elementary school teacher I had a wonderful principal who
used to always preach to us about “teachable moments.” My day is filled
with teachable moments.
AIN’T NO SUNSHINE WHEN SHE’S GONE
Last year, when Emma would have entered Kindergarten, it was the first
year the state of Maryland began instituting full-day Kindergarten.
This meant that Emma would be spending an average of six and a half
hours of each day away from home. Not only would I miss her,
six hours, to me, is too long for a child to be away from home and
family. I want to be one of the strongest influences in her young life,
and in order to be that, we need time together.
While one of the most common critiques and concerns about homeschooled
children is lack of socialization, I find it to be just the opposite.
Instead of spending the majority of their day with same-aged peers, my
children interact with their 86 year-old great-grandmother, and my
50-something stepmother. The 30-something checkout girl who’s helping
them count out change, the teenaged children in their homeschool co-op,
and their baby sister. If there’s anything my children are not lacking,
it’s socialization. In fact, at times, it’s hard keeping up with my
daughter’s social calendar. I have to remind her that homeschooling
isn’t just morning trail rides at the horse barn and baking cookies
with my grandmother. And yet that also happens to be one of the best
reasons to homeschool.
So there you have it. That is the abridged, scaled-back version of why
I homeschool my children. There is much more that could be said, but my
word count and the length of a baby’s nap-time keep me limited.
Be nice. Be fair. And remember, these are MY REASONS. They are not the
reasons I am imposing on you or your children. I am not judging
anyone’s decisions, any school, any teacher (I used to be one myself).
I am simply sharing mine.
You can find my MommyCoddle posts on homeschooling HERE.