Our decision to homeschool wasn’t always part of the plan, but over time we realized it made the most sense for our family. There are SO MANY reasons that I could list but I’m going to try to narrow it down to our main deciding factors. This is what we’ve decided as a family but know that this is just what works for us and no judgement to anyone who views things differently 🙂
When my husband Bryan and I started having babies, homeschooling was never even a thought. I pictured them being home with me for a few years and then sending them on their way with giant backpacks in tow to an exciting new chapter of public school. It wasn’t until the days drew closer to our oldest starting Kindergarten that we started to feel conflicted and decided to look into homeschooling.
Bryan has been an educator in public schools for over ten years. It is something that he’s passionate about and a job he truly loves. I think the argument we hear most when it comes to homeschooling is how can we homeschool and also support public education, so I’m going to add in an excerpt from him to explain his feelings on the topic:
“Working in the trenches and knowing about what some kids (not the majority) are exposed to in an unscrupulous society can leave an unsettling feeling. Many kids have open access to technology that goes unmonitored at home, exposing them to things they do not need to be witness to at such a young age. There are also a lot of really good kids that go through some really bad things and don’t always have the greatest examples at home. Trauma is pervasive in our society and shows itself in many ways and in any educational setting (public, private, or homeschool). My instinct is to protect my kids from being exposed to the bad that is in the world. Being a teacher means fighting the good fight each day to show my kids that good is still out there and that we get to be the good regardless of circumstances. (Please know that when I refer to “my kids” I’m not just talking about my biological children. I treat my students as “my kids” and have done so since I first started teaching at least ten years ago. Ask any teacher about “their kids” and see what they say!)
Homeschool does require sacrifice on our part for Emily to be able to stay at home with our kids, but we value the togetherness. We want to be the ones to teach our children to openly talk about God, to be able to study His creation and give Him credit. We want to be the ones to give and to model for our children a Christ-centered foundation. We want to be the ones to prepare our children for the good, the bad, and the ugly that they will face in the world. We are blessed to be in a situation where we can do that – where we can be the one. Right now we are able to give our kids this experience.
There are a lot of families that can’t homeschool, or can’t afford private schools. Those families trust that the public education system will help prepare their children, and it will. There are incredible teachers that work in the public education system. Communities of people that are called by our Creator to influence and mold children to be the best they can be. People that work tirelessly to give children opportunities to be successful. There are great educators found in all educational settings.
Education has changed so much over the years. Like much of the world, there are systems that are broken. Some more than others. I’m a product of the public education system and I’ve been in it now for over thirty years. It hasn’t failed me yet. I started in Kindergarten and worked my way through the system earning two degrees from a public university, attaining both degrees in middle childhood education. I proceeded to go back into the system as a career choice (one that I plan on sticking to). Public education has been good to me, really good.
Most importantly I feel that teaching is a calling that God has placed on my life. I’m confident that for some reason He has put me in middle schools across the nation to be an advocate for children. I work day in and day out to help prepare my kids (students and my own children) to be the best individuals they can be. Regardless of the setting, my purpose is to help children learn and to help them grow to be their best. To think that God can use me as a part of his plan for restoration of this broken world is what gives me hope in all aspects of my life, at home and at work. It is why I value time with my family and it’s why I get to do something I love every single day.”
So let me start with the number one reason we homeschool. We LOVE to be together! It’s our main motivator in almost everything we do as a family. We only have 18 years with our kids at home, if we are lucky, and the idea of sending them to school for the majority of their childhood made us really sad. Not only would they be away from us but their main influence in their most formative years would be from other kids and adults that we didn’t know. Homeschooling and being in a Co-op allows us to be together while they socialize and learn in a controlled environment. Being able to spend my days teaching our kids and watching them grow and learn is one of the greatest joys of my life!
Another reason we decided to homeschool is because of our religious convictions. We feel strongly about our kids having a God-centered education and see so much value in being their primary spiritual influence. It’s a joy to be able to start our school days with prayer and reading scripture together, and also incorporating God’s design and plans for them into their education and learning.
All children learn differently, and even in my own two children I see how unique they are and so different in so many ways. My son has the most amazing memory and learns quickly from doing something even one time. He has always been able to sit still and focus on what he’s doing even at a very young age. My daughter learns better from hands on activities and through art. We love that homeschooling allows us to use all learning styles depending on what works best for us and our kids.
Another major deciding factor for us was flexibility. We didn’t want to be tied down to a school schedule because we travel frequently. Homeschooling on our own timeline has been so great for us and we love the flexibility it provides for our family.
Work ethic and life skills are another major factor for us when it comes to homeschooling. While we see the value in learning math and science and reading, we also see just as much value in learning to cook, clean, garden, take care of animals etc. There isn’t a lot of time to do those things when kids are in school all day and participating in extracurricular activities every evening. Our hope is that our kids will learn life skills that will prepare them for more than just college and help them to be strong, hardworking and self sufficient.
Our family is FAR from knowing it all when it comes to homeschooling. When we made the decision to do it I couldn’t have felt less qualified or prepared for the task, but God has given us everything we need to teach our kids. We firmly believe that this is the right thing for our family and are so excited for this adventure!