Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why I Homeschool

It occurs to me that I haven't answered the question of why I homeschool our children.  Not only have I not answered it on my blog, but I have always had a hard time putting it into words.  I am going to attempt to do that now.
First let me tell you what homeschooling is for us. The activities of our family are the foundation of our girl's education.  This education that began at birth fostered in an environment of love and caring (for oneself and the world).  Our home environment is carefully prepared, created to be rich artistically, culturally and scientifically.  The world outside of our door was also created to foster curiosity and if you yield to that curiosity and spend time exploring it, education happens.  Education that is not forced but rather is a result of living.  Living and learning should not be separated.  I in no way wish to recreate school in our home.
I have yet to find my niche within the homeschooling world.  Some people think I homeschool because we follow Jesus.  No.  That doesn't make sense to me because as Christians we are to live in the world not create our own little bubble.  I do not use 'curriculum'.  (the stringent time schedules and demands of certain popular curriculum sets I believe is the downfall to many a homeschooling moms)  We are not unschoolers in the truest since of the word.  I choose not to be a part of any homeschooling co-ops that recreate school-even if only for a few hours a week.  My children attended Montessori preschool.  Having your children attend preschool isn't the homeschooling norm.  My oldest daughter chose to go to public school in the 6th grade.  We allowed this because she was accepted into a small, wonderful,  arts magnet school very close to home. (Another time I will address this transition for her.)
Okay so why?  Why do we homeschool?  We chose to homeschool because I have no faith in the public school system.  I do not agree with 'No Child Left Behind' or what it has created in its' wake.  I put very little on standardized testing-although state law requires my children to be tested each year.  Historically public schooling is a relatively new concept begun with wonderful intentions, but it has gone off track.  It is my belief that parents are genetically designed to nurture and educate their children and children to learn from their parents.
My children are very social and can and do interact with people of all ages.  Well meaning family members have asked how they will be prepared for the 'real world' with out school.  It is a ridiculous question because the real world is not socializing with only people your own age in a competitive and rewards based environment that you have no choice but to attend.  Public schooling focuses on social behavior where we focus on social development.
All this said the main reason I homeschool is that I want my children to be cared for and about.  In turn I want them to care for and about others.  I do not see much of that in schools.  I read an article recently about the socialization of school age children.  It was so bothersome to me!  The article suggested peer rejection is caused by the rejected child's "social skill deficits" or "behavior problems" and gave parents tips on how to help their child become more socially accepted.   It was basically coaching you on how to get your child to conform to whatever the norm happens to be.    I disagree that most children which are rejected by their peers have something wrong with them that needs correcting.  I do not want my child to feel the need to conform to another's standards.  Why instead wouldn't we try to educate children that differences are okay.  I want my child to be respected as a person should their actions merit it and I feel this is lacking in our schools, child to child, teacher to child, and child to teacher.  In short public school would undermine the very qualities I hope to instill in my children.  Confidence.  Caring.  Curiosity.  Self motivation.  Peaceful.  Generous.  Honesty.  Humility.
I hope you don't think I am an over protective mother who shelters her children from life.  Unfortunately I don't have very high regard for humanity and do prefer to keep my children away from a lot of it.  But not from life.  The girls are exposed to a lot.  They have seen birth-and know how the baby got there, watched death, lost loved ones to addictions and suicide, been exposed to the consequences of horrible accidents and cancer, we have travelled through out the States and Europe, they spend a lot of time in a tattoo shop, they know Chinese deities and Buddha, don't believe in Santa, believe in Jesus, are aware of Haiti and the recent oil spill, I could go on and on.  I just want you to know we are all for them experiencing life along side of us.  I just refuse to believe public school is "life".
And that is why I homeschool.


  1. That was a very thoughtful and well articulated explanation. Although I don't homeschool myself, I think it's wonderful and I totally support those who do. I was struck by how you talk about your children experiencing life. Isn't it weird in our culture how it's become the norm to shield kids from natural things like birth, sickness and death? It was so strange, while my father was dying of throat cancer my siblings and I took turns staying overnight with him, and all of my sweet aunties were horrified that I had my then nursing infant and toddler right there with me. They were goofing and playing in the tv room while he rested on his big easy chair. What could be more normal than that? He got to see his grandsons goofing around on his rug on his last day of life. I recall my mom telling me that when she was a girl they still laid out their dead in the house for calling hours. I pretty much think anything that seeks to separate and compartmentalize your kids away from you is unnatural. I have been very happy with the schools around here, but if I weren't I would do exactly what you do. I go so far as to say that I learn so much from you homeschooling mamas about teaching my own kids when they are home. Wonderful!

  2. I absolutely love this! Honestly, I couldn't think more highly of you as a parent or in general. While I do not necessarily agree, it is plain to see your reasoning and that this is a carefully thought out decision - which reinforces how much you care for your children. And that's more than noble. I myself went to public school, however I know I benefited from programs not widely available. I also benefited from parents who never sheilded me from anything (including many situations you spoke of), a multi-generational and multi-cultural home, a grandmother who taught for 36 years.... I will never learn in school what I have already learned at home, and I will never be able to thank my parents enough your children are exceptionally lucky.

    (PS. I hate that term, "the real world", too! As if to say if to say school doesn't really exsist! I always wanted to yell at the adults and fellow classmates who bought into that. For better or worse, it's an experience and therefore real!)

  3. I really really like what you wrote. It was very well written and thought provoking and brought up great points. I 100% agree w/ you that public school, while with good intentions, has indeed gone off track. Having been public schooled myself, I know basically that they only have time to teach to the standardized tests and have little time for anything else. I know it was very frustrating for my mother when I would come home and tell her what we were learning and she would always try to supplement what I learned in school and cater anything she taught me at home to my interests, curiosities, and needs. And now that I am at an age where children are a real possibility for me in the near future, this is an issue that I have given a lot of thought. All of the 4 year old children from my Church and Sunday school that I teach who are homeschooled are more socially mature than their peers, but then again they are 4:D And anytime I have tried to ask the parents of the kids why they homeschool they can never give me a straight answer other than, "because that's what Christians do, etc." So thank you for writing this. I finally get a "straight and thorough" answer on why you homeschool. Fabulous:D

  4. It's great and refreshing that you love your family and children enough to home school. And, by the way, dare I say it? ENDOCTRINATION is a fact. Your morals and values are what's absorbed by your children in a safe, loving environment. In public schools, it's whatever they are taught to believe based on mostly what's politically correct at the time. Zootsuitmama

  5. I agree with you one hundred percent. All of these reasons (and more!) are the exact same reasons why I homeschool. We don't have curriculum either but my children are so self motivated and are constantly learning. We love it!

  6. I think it's fabulous the way you teach your children, it's the main reason I follow your blog. Your methods appear more nurturing and productive than the socially agreed system of public schooling that the majority. It's refreshing to learn about alternatives, and even though I don't have children I love reading about how you're expanding your childrens horizons and allowing them to experience life organically. I'm taking notes for the time when I do have a family!

  7. I hs'd my boys k-12. The oldest graduated from college a few years ago ( suma cum laude ! ) and the twins just finished their 2nd year ( 3.9 and 4.0 GPA's !!! ). Your reasons for hsing were similar to my own and I love the way you put forth your values and ideas - you children are truly blessed.


  8. I totally agree with you! My think my mom would too. She has homeschooled my brothers and I all our lives. And I think we've done fine. The kids I know that go to public school have way more problems and the homeschoolers I know. Even the friends I have from church who go to public school have started using crude language and swearing because as they say they hear it so much they've become numb to it and it's become normal. I'm definitely homeschooling my kids when I'm older, married and actually have some. Haha. :)

  9. awesome. I am with you on it!
    I really look forward to homeschooling my boys. As a youth leader in my church, I have noticed how a lot of the homeschooled kids seem to be so smart, socialable, great at sports, involved in a lot of various activities, and really seem to be knowledgable about the Bible too. A lot of the public school kids seem a little confused about everything and have a lot of family problems. . granted there are a few that have great families and are also smart and have an overflow of joy from the Lord in them, but I just see it more from the homeschooled kids. They have this family closeness about them and really are so bright! I think it is good that I can be the one to encourage my kids, see them grow, and be involved in watching them learn. . .sot hat one day they can enter the world with a lot of confidence.

    I do have 3 close friends who were all homeschooled. . .one was extremely sheltered and had no friends other than me, and it had originally left a horrid taste in my mouth of homschooling until I started youth leading. My other homeschool friends have accomplished so much after school. One is an incredibly hard worker and she not only helps teach other kids and nannies (and is called mom by them), but she has one of her own child and one on the way. I am impressed by how socialable she is in comparison to my other friend. Then the last homeschooled friend had done so well in school that she has spent three years teaching English in China while also posing as a teacher to do missionary work with the kids she teaches, which has gone well. I see her every summer and she tells me all she learns. It is so wonderful to see! I went to a private dutch reformed school through my freshman year of school and switched to public school.

    I learned so much in private school plus my mom was really involved in my life. My husband was always so proud of the public school system with being a Christian in the system, until he became a father and started to spend time around my youth group kids with me. There is something amazing about seeing them interact with others that it made him really love the idea of home schooling far above other systems. I just hope I'll be smart enough to teach my kids subjects I have a hard time with. I love the ideas of all the Co-Ops they have for homeschooled kids. It seems like all of the kids who homeschool have really tight knit friendships as well. It is so inpiring to me! It is also helpful that I know loads of home schooling mamas that can help me along my journey!!

  10. I totally support you in your views. Of course I can't compare the school system in Belgium to that of public schools in your area. But that doesn't matter. It's so clear to me that your children's lives are so rich and full of great values and -something that is very important to me as well- creativity. Children need to live life with all that comes with it, good or bad. And that's exactly what you give them the opportunity to do. Respect!

  11. I wish I could print this post and hand it out every time someone asks me about why we are choosing to home-school. I have a master's degree in sociology with a specialization in early childhood socialization. What I learned during my thesis work is that I will not trust my child's education or socialization to public schooling. I totally understand where you are coming from :)

  12. I've just discovered your blog through Vixen Vintage and am totally in love. This post combined with my last years' experience in public school it totally makes me reconsider homeschooling. If only I could figure out a way to homeschool and go to school myself at the same time! Ultimately, I want my boys to go to college, and without at least one example in the family I'm not sure how that might occur.

    Personal stories aside, I adore your blog: the pink, the baking, the sweet pictures of you, Amy, and Solonah, the sweet 8:19am post. It makes me long for a sweeter, simpler day. I only wish I had been so productive as you are when I had those days!


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