This question comes from a reader named Sandi:
How did you guys come to the decision to homeschool?
Most homeschooling parents can tell you exactly why they decided to homeschool their children. Many are ready with quick answers for controversial questions about socialization, ability, and curriculum. While I have my reasons, the easy answer is just because that’s what Karl and I decided we would do. It was a decision we made long before we were even married. I’m certain we didn’t make that decision based on anything substantial other than we knew of a couple of families who homeschooled their children, and their children were always the best behaved, smartest kids. We thought, “Hey, let’s homeschool and make our own well-behaved, smart kids.” We were (and still are to some extent) so naive about what we’re doing.
I changed my college major to Human Development and Family Studies. I thought about getting a degree in education, met with an advisor, but decided that it definitely was not the way for me to go. Sometimes I wish I had gone that route, but it’s all water under the bridge now. In my program, I learned tons of developmental theory from birth to death that continues to help me.
While I was in college, God provided a homeschooling family for me to work for. The mother taught her older two children and she hired me to care for her 2-year-old and 5-month-old. I also had the awesome task of doing all within my power to keep the school time free of interruptions. I learned everything about caring for an infant and a toddler. I learned how to make sandwiches and prepare bottles. I learned how to play with little kids. I learned how to make a meal plan for the week. I learned a little about cooking—mostly by mistakes I made. I did ruin one or two of their dinners during my tenure. I think I worked for that family for about two and a half years. What I learned there is invaluable. Not only did I learn the paramount importance of a daily schedule (ahem, routine), I learned that homeschooling with small children is doable. I enjoyed working with this family so much, I couldn’t wait to start my own family and school.
I’ll try to list a few reasons for why we continue to homeschool.
Reason #1: I firmly believe that five years old is too young to send children to school all day. I believe children are better off in the long run the longer they stay home with their mothers, or, at the very least, a consistent care-giver. Consistent care from the same person from birth to age 5 makes a significant impact in every area of a child’s development.
Reason #2: Karl and I want to give our kids a solid foundation in Jesus before they leave the nest. We want them to know Him and how to walk with Him all their days. Eight hours in a government school will not help us in that area. We want them to be thinkers and able to discern truth from error, articulate, educated men and women who can speak passionately to this lost world. We feel we can best give them that kind of education if we homeschool.
Reason #3: There are too many distractions in a regular classroom. I’m not saying that my home isn’t full of distractions, however, they are the kinds of distractions that I can usually fix in relatively short order.
Reason #4: A regular school day lasts from 7-3. Then, you can count on a couple of hours of homework. No thank you.
Reason #5: I have two friends who have children in our public school system. They have shared a couple of awful stories with me. I just want to spare my kids some of that grief while they’re young. I’m not opposed to enrolling my children in public school, but, if we do, I don’t see it happening until about 10th grade.
Reason #6: We homeschool so our kids can experience lots of other things. They are enrolled in all kinds of extra-curricular activities that don’t eat away at our evenings together. Most of their activities/lessons happen on a weekday morning.
Reason #7: My children have plenty of time to pursue other interests. Once we finish our lessons, they are free to develop their talents.
Reason #8: Though I have to remind myself sometimes, I do love being involved in the lives of my children.
Please do not read this and think that our school is perfect, or that I have it together. There are many things we will be working on this new year to make our school day more efficient. I still do not have a great plan for record-keeping. And some days the kids just whine about everything I have assigned for them. I hate days like that, but, like many of you, I press on. I believe what we’re doing is right, and it is important to give it our best.
Thank you for the question, Sandi!
Email me with your question.