Why Do We Home-School?

This post is the second in a four-part series on homeschooling.  I hope after you have read it you will leave a note in the comments telling me why YOU chose to homeschool or are considering homeschooling.

The reasons that drive home educators to begin homeschooling are probably almost as numerous and diverse as homeschoolers themselves.  In addition, the reason why someone may decide to start homeschooling may not be the same reason(s) why they continue to homeschool.  Here is a list of many of the common reasons why people choose to home-school:

~Many (though certainly not all) homeschoolers are Christians who made the decision to homeschool because they feel that the public education system is teaching values that are contrary to what they are teaching their children at home, and they don’t want those values constantly called into question.  This is certainly a valid reason to homeschool.  Our children are impressionable.  Anyone that has kids knows that they are like sponges that soak up every experience around them, for good or for bad.  Those that want to be the primary educators of their children in order to promote their own values are following in the footsteps of men and women of past generations who chose to give their children very individualized programs of instruction.  For those that are not familiar with this concept, one place you could look is Greenleaf Press’ “Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation .”  When I was using this course with my middle son I was astounded to see how many of the leaders of that era – whether their area of expertise was the political or the artistic or the scientific arena – were almost invariably “homeschooled.”  Frankly, I think you will find this to be true of almost any time period save the last 150 years or so.

~ Another reason many choose to homeschool is they simply believe they can give their child a better educational experience than can be found in a traditional school setting (whether public or private).  Studies have borne out that home-educated students DO supersede their public- and private-schooled contemporaries in every area of academic achievement and even in areas of social growth.  The Home School Legal Defense Association keeps tabs on studies that chronicle homeschoolers’ achievements in their “Research” department; these studies are well worth a look.

~Many homeschoolers choose to educate their children at home because they feel it will foster a stronger family unit.  I have certainly found this to be the case in my own family.  When children “go to school” the tendency over time is for their peers to replace their family members in terms of who they want to spend their time with and whose influence they value most.  In fact, we have been told as parents to expect our children to eschew our company by the time they are in their “tweens” (don’t you love how society has to keep finding new labels for children so they can buttonhole them into certain expected behaviors!)  I have four children whose ages vary widely yet they are all very close.  I would even say that my children are each other’s best friends.  And my older children have had a very influential role in the teaching and training of their younger siblings (which in turn prepares them to be parents themselves someday).  Personally, I refuse to accept the popular view that my children will inevitably come to a place where I am just a postscript in their lives.

~For some home-schoolers it is simply logistically easier to homeschool.  If there is a parent in the military or a parent’s job requires frequent moves, home education provides a continuity and stability that is unmatched.  In 1992 when my family was forced to move from our home because our community had been ravaged by Hurricane Andrew, it was certainly an advantage to be homeschooling.  Over the course of several weeks my children and I lived at my parents’ home and then, later, at my sister’s home, but all I had to do in order to keep up with my children’s education was bring the books along.  School went with us.  In the meantime, families in the areas affected by the hurricane whose children attended traditional schools were scrambling trying to figure where their kids would be going to school and when school would be re-starting.  While I had to deal with a lot of stress at this time, that was one less stress I had to deal with.

Those are just a few reasons parents choose to home-school their kids.  I would like to summarize by adding what the reasons were that influenced me to begin homeschooling and what the reasons have been that have influenced me to continue homeschooling for over 20 years.

My introduction to homeschooling was through listening to a “Focus on the Family” radio program where James Dobson was interviewing home education pioneers Raymond and Dorothy Moore.  This was probably back in 1986 or so.  My oldest child (and only girl) was around 2 years of age and I loved having my little daughter home with me.  Hearing about homeschooling for the first time was exciting – the idea that I could keep my child home with me for even longer than just her first five years was very appealing to me.  About the same time I became involved in a women’s Bible study and one of the other members turned out to be a homeschool mom.  We became fast friends and, as a result, I started attending the weekly park meetings of a local homeschool group.

However, by the time my daughter turned five and was ready to go to kindergarten I had had another child, a little boy who was a non-sleeper and just generally a handful.  As a result, we decided to put our daughter in a private Christian school.  Overall, it was a positive experience.  Our daughter made straight A’s and was her class “valedictorian.”  But by the time she “graduated” kindergarten I realized that teaching a little kid was not rocket science, and the couple hundred we were spending in tuition every month could be used for other things.  In addition, we were thinking of moving and I thought it would be better for her not to have to change schools in the middle of a school year.

Well, here we are more than twenty years later and my little girl is 27 and has a Master’s degree.  Her “troublesome” little brother is now 23 and has a Bachelor’s degree in business which he completed at the age of 20 with a perfect 4.0 GPA.  I homeschooled both of them through high school.  I also have two children, ages 17 and 9, who are still in my “home education program” and I wouldn’t change the choice I made to homeschool for anything in the world.

Over these two decades I have seen so many benefits of homeschooling: from the superior academic achievements of my kids, to the fact that instead of being influenced by their peers they have had the active influence of their father and I to make good choices for their lives.  My kids are amazing people.  Just ask their mother. 🙂

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  • Colette

    It just occurred to me that I'm not too sure about this blog thing. Are you going to keep sharing anecdotes about me? Kidding, it's fine! 😉
    Love you and thanks for homeschooling me and my bros!