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, 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. My children attended Montessori preschool. Having children attend preschool isn't the homeschooling norm-I am actually surprised at the amount of blogs dedicated to homeschooling preschoolers. My oldest daughter chose to go to public school in the 6th grade. We compromised on 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. 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.
p.s. We also now unchurch, having walked away from institutional religion for very similar reasons.