Monday, January 9, 2006

Why We Homeschool: The Practical Version

There are so many different reasons why we decided to homeschool. This is always a hard question because all of the reasons are important but it always seems to be only one or two that get discussed. I've listed several reasons below, but even these don't come close to saying it all. It's impossible to tie "the reasons why" up into a nice bundle. Every single day I find new reasons. But here's a go at it:

Family: Probably the most profound reason why we homeschool is our desire to truly appreciate and celebrate the daily sanctity of family. No human can know our children better than we do. Why give away their best hours to someone else? We feel so strongly that our family is a gift to nurture and enjoy. We don’t have to conform to the standards of an individual or an organization whose values we don’t support. We want a more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle. We want to watch ants carry a dead wasp or watch birds on a sunny afternoon or read for hours on end. Our children are able to bond more with each other and with us as they spend time together playing, working, and helping each other. Our time with our family is so short and so precious.

Learning. As far as learning goes, our values about learning were quite different from those of the local school system. We want to teach our children creatively. We want them to love learning—not look at learning as a chore that must be completed, day after day, year after year. We wanted to be able to spend weeks on a certain subject if we were enthralled by it, or to spend only a day on a topic or a process that we found unnecessary. For instance, in PS, a child might spend weeks learning a math process that we spend one hour learning. Homeschooling allows us to teach very specifically to our own children without having to teach to the middle—or to the lowest—end of the class.

Time. Too much of the precious time allotted to childhood is wasted in school buildings! How much time is spent engaged in meaningful learning in a typical day at a typical school? How much time is spent with discipline issues, waiting in various lines, waiting for the teacher, waiting for the next activity, waiting until everyone else is done…. Also, I think about how much learning my kids do OUTSIDE during the day.

Identity: I want my kids to have a clear sense of who they are. Not who they are as defined by their teachers or their peers, but who they really are. It is so much easier to be a confident, secure adult of you can bypass all the crap that goes on in school.

Socialization. My children are socializing with the real world—with people of all ages, in all walks of life. They are not stuck with a group of 20-30 of the same kids every day—kids their own age. One of the funniest things about people voicing their concerns to me regarding socialization is that they will often talk to me about their concerns after complimenting me on how well behaved my children are or how much they appreciate their clear delivery of scripture at church, for example.

Shelter. One of the remarks I hear occasionally during discussions about homeschooling is whether or not I’m concerned about the fact that our children are sheltered too much from reality. I explain that "shelter" has developed a negative connotation. To be sheltered is one of our basic needs. Think about how God promises us shelter--how he shelters us in the cleft of a rock or under a wing. Providing shelter is a good thing! Yes, I am very concerned about sheltering my children from the reality defined by the culture of school.

Faith Heritage. Finally, we homeschool for our faith heritage. We want our children to learn to serve others and to engrave the Word of God on their hearts by acting it out daily. We want them to grow to be servant-leaders who will make a difference in the Kingdom of God.


  1. These are all extremely excellent reasons to homeschool Actually, I'd like to see some good reasons why people do NOT homeschool. I've never heard ANY!

    Now, our first reasons were probably to supply the best education possible. I knew after teaching in state and private schools and being handed the book Homegrown Kids that I could do better. Thus, for my family we evolved into homeschooling as the best way of approaching academics.

    As I've grown older and wiser I've come to realize that it is basically the ONLY choice. State schools should be abolished immediately IMNSHO for a myriad of reasons which I will not get into here.

    Now, after homeschooling my kids (all the way through to college) I'd add to the list of importance.

    The importance of teaching the Biblical Truth of Creation. Evilution is such an evil and mean myth that has been primarily responsible for MILLIONS of human deaths and it MUST be fought (see the movie Expelled for an accurate reference) in the homeschooling movement as the number 1 or at least 2 or 3 goal. I add to this the love of beauty and creativity, and at the center Biblical Truth and Worldview in all things. Note, I did not say Christian Worldview because there are a whole lot of "christian" worldviews out there today that are NOT Biblical. NO, every thought must be brought captive to the obedience of Christ and His Word.

  2. In a few weeks, I am going to be facilitating my daughter's education at home through Cyberschool. Even though I have an education background, I decided to go this route for now because I felt I needed to start with a bit more structure than traditional homeschooling. Your comments on why you are schooling your children at home are so encouraging!! I have discussed my reasons for starting to school my daughter at home- share some of the same reasons as you listed, and some of my closest friends are looking at me like I'm from another planet. I know that they will support this, but it was a bit uncomfortable. This is a decision that my husband and I came to with a lot of thought and prayer, so I do feel confident about it. Thanks again for this post. I'm looking forward to sharing it with my husband, too.

    Jen @ Creative and Curious Kids!

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