Often, upon telling someone that my children are homeschooled, I am met with a look of disdain. More frequently, however, I receive a quizzical look and the question “why?” Almost everyone gets a different answer from me; because there are so very many reasons. So, I have attempted to narrow it down to the top ten reasons we (I say we because I am not alone in this endeavor, Daddy is a big part of it) homeschool, and a bit of explanation behind each reason. For the most part they are in no particular order.
1. A Love of Learning
This could easily be my number one reason. I have a desperate desire for the kids to always have a voracious appetite for learning. Do I think it is impossible to get that from public school? No. I went to public school, and my need to learn can never be filled. I attribute that more to my grandparents than anything though. I do believe that being able to provide a constant learning environment is a better way to ensure that they never stop wanting to discovering more. Being able to always answer, or help them find an answer to, every question they ask (and always making it fun), will keep them asking.
2. Whole Learning
This is my way of saying that I feel like homeschool provides a more well-rounded learning environment. I have more time and opportunities to give our kids world and life lessons. There is more time to teach them basic life skills that public schools no longer devote enough time to.
3. No Test Teaching
I don’t have to spend all of our time and energy pushing them to be prepared for a test that in no way truly measures a child’s abilities.
As a sort of follow up to number three, homeschool allows a greater level of freedom than public school teachers are afforded. They are so weighed down by administrators, rules, having to pass a test, and other parents, that they don’t actually have enough time to do what they want to do; which is nurture children and help them grow. Most laws regarding homeschool have minimal requirements, so we can learn our own way.
5. Individualized Learning
Because we’re in an almost one-on-one environment (or at any rate, much smaller than a normal classroom), and because I know our kids better than anyone else, I have the opportunity to provide them with a learning plan that caters entirely to their specific needs and learning styles. This is especially important to me because every human being is different and will learn in a different way; and I love the idea of being able to provide the best way to learn on an individual basis.
6. Let Kids Be Kids
Public schools are starting earlier and earlier having kids just sit at a desk and complete tasks. There is a very small window of time in life where you are almost worry free. I think Bug’s biggest decision/concern on a daily basis is whether his video game time is worth eating the dinner I make. Let’s give kids this time to be little, and wild, and free, and just have fun. They’ll learn what they need to learn, while enjoying it.
7. Hands-On Learning
At this young age play-based learning is what I feel is the absolute best way for kids to learn. For anyone, having an action to go with the thought or information is going to further reinforce the lesson.
8. Flexible Schedule
For our family this is extremely important because my husband works a bit of an odd schedule, and is in school himself. Not having to follow a Monday through Friday 8am-3pm school schedule allows us to have more family time. Which brings me to number nine…
9. Family Values
More family time means more time to reinforce our family values. Our kids are constantly exposed to things that are important to us. Like kindness, politeness, compassion, hard work, and being good upstanding citizens.
10. The Healthier Choice
In keeping with the topic of time, our homeschool schedule allows more time for sleep. More sleep gives the brain more time to process and catalog what we have learned. It also gives little bodies the sufficient rest they need to grow healthy and strong. In addition to more sleep, I also have the ability to attempt (it’s a great struggle) to feed the kids the healthiest meals I can. Sending a packed lunch every day, or choosing public school lunches, limits the availability of a variety of nutrients.
As a disclaimer, I want to say that I am in no way condemning parents who have to, or choose to, send their children to public school. Nor would I condemn teachers, who are not given the pay and resources they deserve. My own very special mother-in-law is among these warriors who sacrifice so so much to enrich the lives of other people’s children. And my sweet sister will be joining them soon. I just personally feel that the public school system is greatly lacking. And I am fortunate enough that my husband and I can work very hard to provide what we think is the best choice for our children.
I should also add that this could all end up being temporary. We could in the future discover that it’s not the best option for us. Because homeschool is not the best option for everyone. However, I am optimistic and very confident that this will be our permanent path.