As a former teacher, I have struggled with the question of if homeschooling was truly right for our family. I started asking myself “How do I want my children to grow up and how do I want them to learn?” And that’s how I began enumerating ideas to determine what is the main reason for homeschooling my children.
Have you thought about how your kids and grandkids are going to learn? The environment that they will sit in everyday? The food they will be fed? The attitudes they will face? The ideas, theories, agendas, politics, health, and nutrition they will be taught?
Personally, seeing how so many schools teach to the middle, I realized that if my daughter is not “average” she probably will not get a focused education. What it does is force those that are behind to try to rise up and those that are ahead to be bored.
So why make the decision to homeschool? What is your main reason for homeschooling?
I homeschooled before I sent my oldest to school. Then for just a year and a half we sent her into a private classroom because of life circumstances. But circumstances changed and I had to go back and look at my main reason for homeschooling and that was quality education. So we again are homeschooling and have for several years and wouldn’t change a thing! In fact the reasons we homeschool were reinforced and emphasized after sending her into the classroom even though she went to a really wonderful school.
Setting the Standard and Eliminating the Problem before it happens.
Kids fight. Teachers say mean things to students even when they do not mean to do so. So on and so forth. This is not to say I don’t want my kids to know how to deal with adversity. However, I do want my kids to be treated how I would like them to be treated. I know that I “turtled” if a teacher did not treat me with respect and therefore I did not thrive or learn like I could have in that class. There are better ways to learn adversity that to feel completely mistreated, left out, and alone.
Creating this environment in the home builds self-confidence and boosters both physical and mental health! We can build a strong family culture within our home and it’s even stronger because we homeschool.
The state of our world.
(I wrote this originally in 2013. Now updating in 2021 and realizing this has such a different application!) Not to say I want my children to be isolated. By no means will that ever happen. But, I will say again, I was a teacher. I know what already happens in schools and don’t really like it. I mean HS girls were doing what I would have never even dreamed of doing my senior year of college. My parents are/were even elementary school teachers and after 30+ years they can attest to the change in students, behavior, and environment over that time… so what will it be like over the next 25 years as my children grow up?
Government schools put kids on a track.
I have no intentions of putting my kids on either a trade school track or a college and university track. I intend on letting them learn with enthusiasm and not forcing them to make a really important decision about their future career based on their classroom performance.
I want my children to know that through homeschooling they can learn anything they want. They are capable of achieving anything they want no matter how long it takes them! I want them to know education and learning is not a means to an end it’s an adventure and an opportunity.
If my kids decide to go into the trades, I will encourage it. If they want to go to college I will encourage them to know themselves and what they want to do first. In fact, I willing likely discourage my children from immediately going to college so that they don’t waste thousands of dollars just to not know what they want to do with their lives. There is so much more to be experienced than just the classroom. There is always time for college.
There are so many ways that homeschooling better serves my family’s health but I will touch on just a few.
I do not want my kids to be fed food that does not promote their well-being. From juice that’s not really juice to sugar and candy and other food that I have no intentions of giving my children… especially not a a regular basis. My children also cannot have food dyes. There are both family allergies and so many studies I have read that indicate they aren’t that great anyway.
Also, I don’t want my kids to sit in a chair all day if they could be up, playing, and moving around. This makes the learning experience better and more enjoyable.
We can also better deal with infections and viruses at home (especially since we already have a big family) and not worry about a child getting behind in school (behind of course being a school standard and not my own).
This means my children can learn how they learn best. We can spend days outside enjoying nature, or cuddled up inside enjoying each other. I can go as fast or as slow as needed. I can ensure that they don’t get flustered or upset, but that they learn and love the process.
Homeschooling lets me decide what the best environment is and specialize it based on an individual child.
My oldest likes time alone and loves being in nature, so sometimes she takes her things outside. She is also very autodidactic so I can give her almost anything and she can teach herself with little extra input (though I do). My second needs more hands-on learning experiences and she needs someone to walk her through it. Her environment needs to be more focused. All of my kids are different — as children usually are. And even within my own home I can give my children different learning experiences.
Learning Together with multiple age groups.
I believe that true socialization like society is, includes interacting with multiple ages. I also love that my kids can homeschool on the same topic at the same time and just have different levels of engagement and learning. Maybe my oldest is writing a report and studying a specific marine animal while my youngest is learning to simply recognize and differentiate between aquatic life.
I don’t have to teach all of my kids all different things, I can teach in units so it’s at least similar content between children.
Experiences beyond the Norm.
I can teach my children to garden while teaching them about nature and natural sciences. I can teach them math and fractions as they learn to cook. I can teach them to sew and weave as they learn more fine motor skills. I can teach them to play musical instruments and speak foreign languages even when they are very young.
But in the end, it’s not teaching, it’s learning. And they really will love the process.
Plus, we use so many board games for learning that it makes it way more fun in general!
Utilize the Community.
We like local. We want to support local. And enjoying our local surroundings is just one of the reasons why I chose to homeschool my child to begin with and why I still enjoy it with my children today.
When we lived in Oklahoma City, our kids can go to the zoo on days that aren’t busy and to the Science Museum whatever day they want just to learn. Then in Boston, we had access to so many museums, beaches, and other opportunities during the day!
What kid would want to look at a picture in a book over going and exploring? Plus, we are supporting local venues by visiting these great resources. And actually, many of them are free!
For most of 2020 we did a Friday field trip to a different beach or nature preserve. We would take books, utilize the learning resources at the areas we were in, and otherwise take our classroom on the road.
Learning Styles and Testing.
I will be able to adapt my children’s education to their learning styles. I can test them based on what they know and not what they don’t.
They will learn to love to succeed not hate to fail.
We can educate anywhere, even on vacation. (Because remember, it’s fun!) We can go all year, we can take breaks, or we can even have our kids graduate early if they love learning that much.
They set the pace, not the school.
There is no pride or shame in how fast or slow a child learns. It’s simply learning.
I love my kids.
Yes we all do. I am not slamming anyone who sends their kid to school. I just want to spend time with my kids while I can and while they’re young and build lasting memories we will all enjoy and appreciate.
And while it may not apply to everyone, my final reason is I am a teacher. I am a Mom. They both are my life’s dreams and passions. My college education will be going to good use.Most quality private schools are $15k per year per child. Considering if I only had two kids going there that it would have been about my salary as a teacher… I can give my kids (I now have nearly 5 kids) the education I desire for them cheaper than if I sent them to a good school.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!