Why We Might Homeschooling

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Did anyone else see this article? Homschooling Growing SevenTimes Faster Than Public School Enrollment.

The title is fairly self-explanatory, but the article highlights the growing popularity of homeschooling. It's no secret (or maybe it is, I don't know. If it was a secret, now you know!) that we're considering homeschooling our kids, at least for elementary school. We plan to send them to a traditional high school. 

Homeschooling is one of those parenting topics, along with natural birth, vaccines, co-sleeping, etc. that can incite a great deal of controversy. Fortunately, the decision to homeschool has become much more mainstream since I was a child. Many parents, regardless of their religious and political affiliation are opting to homeschool their children, not because they think the public school system is so bad, but because they genuinely believe they can offer their children a better educational alternative. 

Like most parents, our children’s education is not something we take lightly. We have talked about the prospect of homeschooling at length. Each time we discuss it, we keep coming back to the idea that it might really be the best option for our little family. 

Whether we like it or not, parents are the primary educators for their children. At the end of the day, our children’s education is ultimately our responsibility and not that of a teacher, school or educational system. I figure by homeschooling, we’ll just cut out the middle man.

If you’re interested, I’ve included some of the reasons we’ve decided to homeschool. I’m sure each homeschooling family has their own unique reasons for doing so, here are ours. 

1)     Perhaps one of our primary reasons for homeschooling is to help encourage and foster strong familial relationships. We hope our kids will form strong sibling relationships with one other as a result of being able to spend their childhoods together rather than in separate classrooms for 8 hours a day.

2) I am a big believer that when children are young they need a lot of free play time and not a lot of school. By homeschooling our kids when they are little (kindergarten through 2nd grade), we can choose to have school for a few hours a day and play for the rest of the day. There was a Harvard study done not too long ago that supports this notion—many children who end up excelling in high school and college had plenty of unstructured play time as children.

3) Homeschooling will actually leave more time for our children to be involved in various activities outside of the home. We can schedule swim lessons at 9am in the morning or 1pm in the afternoon because of the flexibility of our schedule. Same goes for piano lessons, tai kwon do classes, etc.. We can take trips to the museum on a weekday and call it school.

 4) Family life will be structured around our family rather than around a rigid school calendar. We can take trips to Civil War battlefields or go skiing or visit family whenever we like as opposed to waiting for a school vacation. Again the emphasis is on our family, rather than on a school.

So far all the examples I have highlighted how much we like the flexibility involved in homeschooling, which probably makes me sound like a slacker, haha! But obviously, we plan to homeschool for the educational benefits as much as for the benefits to our social calendar. 

5) Despite my previous mentioning of all the free time we’d have, we actually intend to expect more out of our children because they are learning at home. Our goal is for our children to ultimately gain a greater depth and breadth of knowledge at home than they would at school.

6)  An enhanced home education includes a religious and moral education. I think so often parents can become consumed with giving their children the best opportunities to develop the mind and body, they forget the third and most important aspect of a person, their spirit, or soul. A child’s spiritual development is an integral part of a complete education.

7)   More than being able to control where our children learn, we can control what they learn. Much of what is taught in school today is fluff and non-consequential information. We want to give our kids a rich and in-depth understanding of the world around them and a love for knowledge. Most homeschooling families agonize over which curriculum to choose, we are no different. We’ve been discussing various curricula since Hannah was probably a year old. (Incidentally, I think we’ve decided to mostly go with the Sonlight curriculum).

8)      We trust ourselves to be our children’s teachers more than we trust an unknown adult. Both Matthew and I are experienced educators. I have taught other people’s children, I feel confident in being able to teach my own (that’s not to say if you’re not a teacher, you shouldn’t homeschool). No one will care for our child as much as we do, so who better to be responsible for their mental and moral development than their mother (and father).  

With all that said, we also acknowledge that plans change and we will need to take this homeschooling adventure one year at a time. And...we plan to send our kids to pre-school, so Hannah will be going to school in the fall. It's a twice weekly program for only two hours each time. I know she’s going to love it. 

We also plan to send our kids to a traditional school once they reach middle or high school. We want our kids to have a normal high school experience and play sports and whatnot.

So there you have it, some of our reasons to homeschool. What do you think? Are you a homeschool parent? Why do you homeschool? If you’re not a homeschool parent, what do you think of homeschooling?

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