Why Homeschool?

This is such a big topic, but here are some reasons that are close to my heart for when homeschooling is a good idea.

  1. You have prayed about it and it seems like God has called your family to it. God has opened doors for it to happen.
  2. You have talked with your spouse. You both agree  that it is the best way to educate your child or children, given the variety of circumstances that you have to weigh.
  3. You have medical reasons. For us, my son has 13 food allergies, severe asthma, and eczema. If he were in a traditional school, he would be sick a lot and miss out on a lot of days of learning. Also, many precautions would need to be made to keep him safe; most schools are not used to making the school safe for children with allergies and asthma yet. Maybe one day that will change and schools will have better procedures. For other families, diabetes, cancer, or learning differences could be reason alone to homeschool.
  4. With God’s help, you think you can do a reasonable job educating your children. Maybe you have a background in education, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you were always good at school. Or maybe you are a really hard worker and often succeed at what you do. Maybe you did not finish a college degree because you got married young, but you are “the type” who would have done well in college. Maybe you excelled in your business or place of employment and never needed college, but you are quite capable of learning how to homeschool well. I know some really good homeschooling moms who did not finish college, but they are “the type” who would have done well in college.
  5. You have a strong desire to be with your children and cherish these short years you have with them at home. For me, my brother died in high school when I was 14-years-old. That taught me how very precious life is. Each day is a gift from God. I know my children cannot be with me forever, and I teach them skills every day to become more independent. We can appreciate family togetherness that a traditional school cannot provide. At a traditional school, the children could be gone from 8:30am-3:30pm, followed by after school events. After school, there can be 1-3 hours of homework while you make dinner and help with homework. Then there’s minimal time left for family time before bedtime routines begin. Most families are ok with the routine, but if it does not work for you, then homeschooling is a good option.
  6. You’ve seen too many families whose children are in school and their family is not a strong unit. You suspect the parents are too disconnected from the children because they work two jobs, or maybe it’s because the children are rarely home. Family life is hard–homeschooling, or not. This is why prayer is key. I know many families where the parents work, but their family units are close. You probably do, too.
  7. You appreciate education. Education is a priority. If you want to homeschool, it’s essential that you want to be a teacher. Parents are natural teachers and are the primary educator. Let’s be honest: it’s an extra commitment to be “in charge” of a child’s entire education. Good home educators learn to be good at choosing appropriate materials to teach each child. Good home educators are attentive to each child’s learning needs. Good home educators regularly evaluate if their approach or materials for each subject are working for each child. Good home educators are wise enough to know when a current approach or subject is going well and can go on “auto-pilot” because the child is doing well. Good home educators have a desire to do their role well, and are willing to learn teaching strategies specific to their children’s needs. Good home educators enjoy learning along with their children. If you don’t fit these…oh my goodness, that was not my intent! These are general attributes that I see other homeschooling moms have that I think are goals that I have as a home educator. What do you think makes a good home educator?
  8. You don’t like that public and parochial schools have schedules that do not allow for enough family time during important times. Some schools don’t have Christmas break until December 23, even Christian schools. If you prefer to take time off from school to have time for Advent, Holy Week, and Easter traditions, then homeschooling is a good fit.
  9. You want to be able to visit your extended family with your children. If you live far from family, homeschooling can be a flexible way to allow time for your children to know their extended family.
  10. You don’t like the curricular approach your public school takes, and you cannot afford the local private school that is better (if it is indeed better than public). Homeschooling is more affordable than a private school.
  11. If you need to care for your sick parents or grandparents, and being able to homeschool is a blessing to allow your family to travel. With planning to ensure the children are getting regular schooling during travel and juggling doctor appointments, it can work and is a beautiful testimony to your children on the dignity of human life.
  12. You want your children to have time to learn what’s important to their overall education, and have the flexibility to nurture a God given gift, such as acting, singing, violin, piano, ballet, etc. Since homeschooling is efficient, it is very possible to teach a typical curriculum, do lessons, and still have family time outside of “homeschool time.”
  13. You have the time. This is important. We are all stretched thin, even those of us who are home full-time, but you need enough time and flexibility to make your daily routines work for homeschooling. Fortunately, homeschooling is often a very efficient homeschooling model and a lot can be done, even when managing a home and caring for a child with significant medical needs. I know some families homeschool even with both parents working; if God calls you to this lifestyle of homeschooling, if you are flexible and carefully plan, you can successfully do it.
  14. You recognize the value of a social life and will make efforts to help your children have a social life. Even if you have several children and they are friends, it’s important for children to have friends outside of the family. Their best friends might be their siblings, and you absolutely want to nurture their relationships to be friends, but once homeschooling is “over,” your children need to feel like they belong to the greater world and can make friends wherever God calls them to be. During the homeschooling years, I believe it’s important to have children see their friends a few times per week. This can be at religious education class, swim lessons, co-op, and having play dates. I think most of us homeschoolers find that our children can make friends and thrive. It’s worth the effort.
  15. You are moving, and you don’t know if your next move is your last move, and you want your children’s education to be stable. If you homeschool, you can provide stability in your children’s education and not accidentally have big gaps from switching school districts.
  16. Your child has special needs, and you have gifts to be able to help your child. Some schools do not provide enough support, but you might be able to help better. If you are willing to learn about your child’s special needs and ways to teach, your child can go far. Sometimes loving, one-on-one, daily instruction can really help a child make academic progress.
  17. You want your children to have a “big picture” of the world. You want to take them places and enjoy nature. You want to take them to museums. You want to take them to parks. You want them to learn how to swim, ski, dance, sing, and many other beautiful things, and you want to be a part of it.
  18. Your child is bullied at school, and the school has not done enough to stop it. Despite repeated attempts and intervention, despite many meetings, if your child is repeatedly bullied, homeschooling is a good alternative. No child should have to be bullied. It can lead to low self esteem over time, depression, and suicide. Don’t take the risk, and instead homeschool and help your child find true friends.
  19. Maybe as a child, your mom and dad might have worked too much and you never had a chance to appreciate life with them (even though you appreciate their sacrifices to keep food on the table and a roof over your head). Maybe you are blessed now to not have to work full-time, and you can appreciate time with your children day in and day out.
  20. You want your children to know who their parents are. Maybe your spouse has a job where he/she works a night shift, and adjusting your homeschooling hours can allow your children to be with your spouse some of the time.
  21. You might not know if you will homeschool every year, but you feel confident that it is the right thing to do this year. You might have ten reasons to homeschool, or only one or two really good reasons!

What are your reasons? I know there are so many more reasons than this! Choosing the best place to educate your children is such a huge responsibility. It takes a lot of discernment. The decision should not be made lightly, and it is important to know your reasons. Please know that I do not believe that everyone should homeschool. There are many wonderful things about schools. I am not anti-public school, or anti-private school. Schools can offer a lot to children, but it’s not for everyone. I would love to hear your reasons for homeschooling!

 

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