Why We Homeschool

This is something that I have been wanting to put into words for a while now, but for some reason, I haven't taken the time to sit down and do it. This weekend I have been thinking a lot about the upcoming start of Logan in second grade so I thought it would be a good time to write down my thoughts on the subject.  

I first want to say that I don't think homeschooling is the perfect and only way for education, and I do not think my children are better because they are homeschooled.  I feel that God calls each family individually for what is best.  It is up to us as parents to listen and obey in the path that He chooses for us. 

Since Logan was around three years old, I was very interested in homeschooling as our option for education. I wasn't sure exactly how this would work out or if it would for sure because I was working full time with no definite plans in quitting. The year before Logan started Kindergarten I was able to quit my teaching job and stay home full time with the boys. I was so thrilled for the opportunity to do what I had wanted to do since I had children. When I would think of how much time they would spend in a child care provider's home verses our own it was disturbing to me.  I felt strongly that I should be the one to take care and raise my children and not pay someone else to do that for me.  After all, you don't really know what is going on when you are not there.  It is a tremendous amount of trust in someone you may not know very well. 

One day while I was at my friend's Trish's house, I saw a book that looked interesting.  She had raved about it so I ordered my own copy.  I highly recommend it as well!  It is Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel.  Amazon has wonderful marketing tactics for someone like me because I went on there to order just this book.  They have on the bottom the little icons of "customers who liked this book also liked these..."  I found another book by the same author called, So You're Thinking of Homeschooling, and of course I had to buy that one too.  It is also a fabulous resource if you're even considering homeschooling as an option and that is where my journey began.

I was fully on board with the idea and ready to get started.  However, Landon was not convinced.  I knew this was a major family decision, and I didn't want this to be something I talked him into without him being confident this is what we need to do.  He is really driven by sports, so he was concerned about the boys not being able to be involved.  So instead of trying to talk him into it, I just prayed for God to change his heart.  It was hard to sit back and wait, but God was faithful and answered my prayers.  I don't know exactly what changed his mind, but I am glad he did by something other that me. 

Reasons why I love homeschooling:
1) You can go at your own child's pace:  I taught in public schools for seven years, mostly in the high school level.  I didn't have any experience as an elementary school teacher, but I am sure it is challenging to have anywhere from twenty to twenty-five students in your class, all at different levels.  It is physically impossible for one teacher to go at the pace of each individual because some excel and go quickly, while others need more help.  When you homeschool, you can go at whatever pace your child needs to make sure they really understand what is being taught. 

2) Instruction time is much less (especially for the younger grades):  I had a problem with the idea of a five year old going to school for seven hours a day.  The way public school is set up, there is a great deal of wasted time, in my opinion.  When you homeschool, you can move on when your child is finished.  In school, a teacher must wait on others to finish.  Our instruction time lasted around two to three hours in Kindergarten and First grade. 

3) More time for field trips:  There have been budget cuts, so field trips are cut to a minimum.  I love that we have freedom to take trips for educational purposes.  I also have considered family vacations for the future to be educational. 

4) No one loves my child like I do:  This was a major issue for me.  You can't pick your teachers so if your child ends up with one who they don't get along, it can be damaging to your child's self-esteem for an entire year or longer.  Also, I love being with my kids.  I just want to be the one to spend that much time with them rather than a person who may not even like my child.

5) You know what they are learning:  I love that I know what we are learning in every area.  Logan can be non talkative about details at times.  I would imagine that after school or in the evening, I would ask, "What did you learn at school today?" his reply would probably be, "Nothing."  I love that I know what we are learning and can talk about it throughout the day, even when we aren't actively doing schoolwork.  It is also great for review driving down the road or just throughout the day.  I also love that I get to see the lightbulb moments when he gets something.  It is such a joy!

6) Not Test Driven:  I think tests are valid and serve a purpose.  However, in the last several years, testing has become the focus of education.  Teachers have no choice because so much depends on their test scores.  I will have my children tested, but it doesn't dictate how I teach. 

7) Ability to cater to different learning styles:  Not every child learns the same way, and when you are focused on just your children, you will soon discover the best way they learn.  You can then select curriculum that is more for that style.  This is much more difficult to do in a group setting with twenty or more students.  A great resource for discovering what way your child learns best is 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style by Cathy Duffy. 

8) Bonding time:  I love that I have designated time to focus on Logan (for right now).   It really gives us time to bond and really get to know each other better.  I read in a book that homeschool families have closer relationships, especially among siblings.

9) God-centered curriculum:  This is probably my number one reason for wanting to homeschool. I want to teach my children that God is a part of everything. We can learn about Him when studying history and science and in every other subject. We practice writing with Scriptures, and we have more time to do bible study. I had to learn this concept as an adult, because I was taught God and education separately. 

Homeschooling also has its cons.  It is not always rainbows and butterflies, and some days I really can question what in the world am I doing?  One major area that can be a challenge is discipline.  As a parent, it takes effort in self-discipline to maintain a daily schedule.  It will not happen without planning. 

Another thing that can be considered a con is the reaction you get from people sometimes.  I don't need for people to understand why we choose to do this, but sometimes disapproving attitudes or looks aren't always well received.  It's really okay with me most of the time, because I know I am doing what I am supposed to do.  I don't expect everyone to have the same opinion as me or do everything the same way I am doing it either. 

Letting other educators know that you are planning to homeschool can be offensive to some teachers because they take it personally.  Most of my reasons have nothing to do with teachers.  There are many wonderful teachers who are passionate and have a genuine love for their students and the curriculum.  However, as in any profession, there are also some bad ones too.  For the most part, I really feel that teachers do the best they can with what they are given.  So, I am not trying to slam public educators in any way by the things I have said. 

One of my major pet peeves on the homeschooling topic is the "socialization" issue.  I really don't think it's an issue unless you are a hermit and don't ever leave your home.  We have our kids involved in many activities and they are around lots of other children.

I have also heard people say that they have concerns about not having "normal" children if they aren't in school.  Who defines "normal" and do I even like what "normal" is?  Is that what I want my kids to be?  We are called to be different and in time, I hope they understand why our family was lead in this direction. 

I am not trying to talk anyone into homeschooling by writing this.  I know it is not possible for everyone, I just simply wanted to share my thoughts on something with which I am extremely passionate.  Sometimes when someone asks me the simple question, "Why do you homeschool?", I tell them I could talk for hours on the subject.  It is complex and there are many reasons. 

Another question I am asked all the time is if I plan to teach them all the way through high school.  For now, the answer is yes.  Is the idea overwhelming and daunting to me?  That answer is also YES!!  But I know that if I am called to do something, God will not leave me without help.  There are online classes and places that we could go in surrounding counties if I feel I am not capable.  Also, I happen to have a math wiz for a husband, among many other things, so I think we will be just fine when we get to that point. 

Logan's First Day of Kindergarten

Another frequently asked question is what Lucas does during school.  He sits and colors and does his own "work".  Also, I sometimes do school during Lucas' naptime because he can be a bit distracting. 

Field Trip to Cripple Creek

Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge was free for homeschoolers this day!

Homeschool Valentine Party.  We went to Life Care to give Valentines to the residents.

Logan's 100th Day of School.  Mom sent him 100 balloons!

Homeschool Sedar

First Day of First Grade

Apple Orchard Field Trip

Fun science experiement with a Coke and Mentos.

Homeschool Game Day

Logan's Last Day of 1st Grade...can you tell he was excited??  ☺

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