Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Homeschool?

“I could never homeschool!” Many of us have heard this—and maybe we’ve even thought it. I did.

My son went to a Christian Preschool. We had talked about homeschooling, but I always envisioned that my husband Dave would pick out the curriculum--I had a mental block and thought I couldn't do that! Then Dave became disabled and had to leave work; I doubted myself and decided to put Zach in school. It was a good year mostly, & he had a wonderful teacher, but I realized, "I could have done this." So I brought him home for K. Anna has never been to school.

Slowly I learned that homeschooling is a way of life--you start when they are babies, and keep teaching them the next logical thing. Walking and talking lead into reading and writing, learning about money, learning about our world and learning about God etc...

I enjoyed the book, Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson, and also The Homeschool Journey by Michael and Susan Card. Many authors quote from Deuteronomy 6, and express that homeschooling is basically talking to your children "along the way" (see verses at end). I find this is true--no matter what struggles we have gone through, it always comes back to walking together through this life.

In this homeschooling journey, I find it helpful to review the reasons why we are doing this from time to time. For us, they can be summed up in 7 main points (not in any particular order--most of these permeate all of life, not just school):

1) Relationships. God created families, and it seems natural that the family be the place where especially young children be taught. Our kids can be with Dave and me instead of being away from us all day. We've developed a strong relationship because of this. And we enjoy it--most days! We all have our days. But I love the books, reading to my kids, seeing their light bulbs go on, and talking about their questions. Sometimes their questions and concerns become the curriculum for the day—it’s a beautiful thing.

2) Academics. Our kids love history and science! I hated history in school. When I first read the Sonlight catalog, I said, “I wish I had learned history this way, I might have liked it!” Our kids might not love every subject, but they have a better chance of enjoying and being inquisitive and engaged in subjects if we Homeschool. Where else can they get one-on-one personalized education?

3) Flexibility. We have the freedom to teach at each child’s pace, whether advanced or remedial, and according to his or her interests. God made individuals. If we want to take a break from our overview of World History and learn more about Rome, we can do that. I listen to my children’s questions and pursue the answers with them—and teach them how to pursue answers.

When my son was hating math in 2nd grade, I asked him questions, listened, discovered why, and helped him to learn methods of self-control (throwing tantrums over subtraction is not helpful!). I also worked with him to find a curriculum that better suited his needs. Together we looked at online samples, evaluated, and then made the switch. I told him my main goal for him that year was to learn self-control—to learn to do math with a good attitude even if he didn’t enjoy it (though I hoped he could also learn to enjoy it sometimes!). He could not have had that kind of attention, training, direction, goal, in public school. He had an “I believe you can do this, and I’m going to walk with you through it” kind of experience—and excelled!

The schedule is mine to determine—I’m not following someone else’s schedule. If we want to play monopoly for math and reading some days in the elementary ages, we can! We have the flexibility of doing work orally when they are younger too.

4) Life Skills! One day Dave had the kids help fill up the car fluids and check the oil. That’s homeschooling too in my book. Too many kids grow up with few life skills—not knowing how to cook, clean, do laundry, weed a garden, paint a wall, do basic maintenance, make a budget, FOLLOW a budget, manage their money, make investments… There’s not much time for all that when you’re in school all day, then come home to activities and homework. This is a real handicap for lots of people.

5) Health. It’s easier for kids to get enough sleep and not eat junk with homeschooling. And there’s no getting beat up on the playground or bus, no fear for your life, no being publically humiliated in class.

6) Character. I don’t think character issues can be dealt with in a large classroom, and especially not on a playground with a few supervising teachers. Peers won’t teach biblical conflict resolution—it takes time and patience and training to walk through the steps of how to deal with others.

7) Spiritual. God is the director of history, the creator of science, the author of language. One time Dave was concerned about a science book we had—generally a good book with great illustrations, but the first 2-page spread showed man evolving from monkeys, and he worried what the kids would think. I handed the book to Zach (then 6.5) and asked him to tell Daddy what he knew. He said, “These people believe we came from monkeys, but God made us out of dust and breathed His breath into us so that’s not true.”

I think this is the essence of homeschooling: 1Thes 2:8 "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." Relationship.

We want to share our faith with our children, and encourage them to teach their children as well. If we only teach the things of God to our children, but don't teach them to pass it down, then our family is only a generation away from leaving the Lord.

Consider Psalm 78:1-8: "O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-- what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers-- a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Deut. 6:4-9 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

I pray we have many more years to walk along the road together.

(Originally posted on my chatterbee blog on April 19, 2009)


  1. This is a great post. I love reading about why other's have chosen to homeschool their children. Thanks for sharing.

  2. "He also said that our job in homeschooling isn't done until we have taught our children to teach their children. If we only teach the things of God to our children, but don't teach them to pass it down, then our family is only a generation away from leaving the Lord. "

    Wow!! This is thought provoking and very challenging. Thankyou.