Getting back to school is an issue for nearly everyone after the holidays. For us, it means buckling down to school here at home. We have been homeschooling for 16 years now and there are 10 more years until our youngest is done. It is a huge commitment that I question from time to time. But, if I ever think about giving it up, these are the reasons I keep going.
1. It is God’s plan for our family. Notice I say our family. I would never say it is God’s plan for families in general. I would love to think everyone would be as happy as I am homeschooling. I would love to believe everyone has the support I have from my husband and extended family. I know not everyone is even free to be at home. Happiness and support are certainly not requirements before you homeschool but a clear direction from God is. All obstacles can be overcome except that one.
2. We run our lives. We, meaning God, my husband, and me. This for me is where it’s at. Would you love to be able to do what you want, when you need to? Ya know, things like sleep, eat, play, go to Grandma’s, take a day off, stay home with a sick child, or even stay home when you are sick yourself? Those things should not be a description of a cushy, unattainable life. That should be life! Certainly you give up things to have all that. Staying at home means giving up money.This means you won’t have some things like maybe new clothes, a great car or two, vacations and numerous other things. For us it means we give up things even more common than those. The sacrifice would be different from family to family, but for me, these are things I gladly give up to have a peaceful and relaxed day-to-day life and the freedom to run it as we see fit.
When you have kids in public school, the school schedule decides when you eat, play, sleep, go on trips, or even what happens when you or your kids are sick. I may be a control freak, but I don’t even want to wait in a line to pick up my own kids at a time set forth by someone else. I am the William Wallace of schooling – FREEEEEDOMMMM!!!
3. Homeschooling helps avoid peer dependency. Before my first child was school-aged, I was given a book called Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. That is where I learned about peer dependency. The main goal in raising children is to turn them into adults. In a life filled with public school, their exposure to adults and how they live everyday life is very limited. Children in public school are more apt to look to other children for how to behave. Rather than aspiring to be like mom or dad, they could spend their year aspiring to be like some other 5-year-old, one you do not even get to choose. In middle school, the girl or boy every one looks up to is invariably the one you would not want them to emulate. These problems can be countered without homeschooling your kids, of course. We just felt so strongly about the concept that we decided to tailor our lives to bring up children that look to us and other adults for the guidance to grow up.
4. Time. Educating at home is so much more time efficient. Public schools are notorious
for the amount of homework they give. In the same two hours or four hours spent doing homework, your child could be completely educated at home, and then be free to live life and have some down time. I actually think some children go to school all day and then are truly educated at home by the parents that help them do homework. I know that the load of homework older kids have keeps them from getting a part-time job or participating in sports or activities. Jobs and activities are important learning experiences that can get left out due to homework and time constraints.
I probably should not have numbered these reasons because our reasons are too many to count. There are also numerous reasons that are not good reasons to homeschool.
1. It won’t protect them from evil. Sin does not live at public school. It lives in the heart of every human, even your precious child. It may be easier to battle the dark side at home but don’t fool yourself. Much of the heart problems of public school are still within your home because people live there. Your home can be a place where grace is given freely however. Teaching them about grace can help prevent the legalism and judgement that can come from separating yourself from others. It is important not to let your kids feel they are better than anyone else, regardless of their schooling.
2. You can’t control their lives. You could try, but with disastrous results. I have six children and each one is completely different. They are born with an agenda, but it can’t be your agenda. Keeping them home will not help you fulfill your plan for their life. God has a plan for them and your job is to get them ready.
3. Geniuses are not guaranteed. The goal of homeschooling should not be academics. You are raising a person, not a brain. It would be wrong to push your child to academic excellence for all the wrong reasons. College is important and learning is important but we miss something important if we don’t take advantage of the chance to make sure our children are well-rounded people, not just good students. Their testimonies are far more important than their transcripts. Their character comes before their college applications. Homeschooling is the place where you can make the most of these priorities or fall victim to the pull of academics.
These thoughts only scratch the surface of the important topic of your child’s education. I feel like a lot of the concerns people have, like socialization for instance, have been addressed fully elsewhere. I wanted to share the reasons why we homeschool and why it works for us. I would love to hear from readers from different perspectives on this issue and how your choice works for you. Please share your questions or thoughts in the comments below. Please keep in mind how everyone’s situation is different. We can all learn from others when we are raising His child.