and this is why we homeschool

5 Dec

I often get asked why we homeschool.  That is a question that demands a long answer for our decision to homeschool was not one that we made lightly.  In fact, a few years ago, I remember announcing to my friends and parents, “There is no way we will homeschool.”  No way, no how, I truly did not believe it was for me (knowing I would be doing the majority of the teaching) or in the best interest of our kids. 

But then…

Annie grew up and it was time to start thinking about school options for her.   Jason and I thoroughly researched different schools in the area.  I had a lot of experience with the public schools in our district, as I had done a lot of work in my undergrad program working in this district.  I know many of the teachers personally.  As far as public schools go, I think it is a pretty good one.  We also toured a number of Montessori schools, as this method of instruction is one that I always favored as a teacher.  We found one that we loved, but the price tag was a bit out of reach for us.  We also sat in at our parish’s school.  Again, it was a nice school and we would have felt comfortable enough having our kids attend there.  At its heart was the Catholic faith and that is extremely important to us.  But none of these options were settling as *the* place to send our kids.

And so we continued searching.  

We attended our first homeschooling conference and I remember the first session’s topic was a “Getting Started” discussion in which a few seasoned homeschooling parents discussed curriculum options and how to determine which programs would be the best for your children.  The idea of tailor making my kids curriculum was very appealing to me.  We later attended talks on the joys and struggles of homeschooling, ones on the importance of passing on the faith to our children, etc. etc.

I remember clearly sitting at lunch with Jason and intensely discussing all that we had soaked in that morning.  We were both so excited.  This, we both felt, was something that God was pulling at our hearts to consider more closely. 

And so we took it to prayer for quite some time.  Continually, we were met with a resounding “YES” from God that this is what He desired for our family. 

So, the first (long) answer to the question of why we homeschool is because we believe with every fiber of our beings that *this* is what God wants for our family.  With that knowledge, we never expected it to be easy.  In fact, I will be the first to admit, it is very difficult.  As a wife and mother, the responsibilities of running the home are a full time job in and of themselves.  Then add on top of that planning lessons, weeding through curriculum, and then actually teaching the curriculum—yes, it is a *ton* of work. 

{ And as a side note:  It’s so funny to me when well meaning friends and family suggest that we send our kids to school when I mention just how much work homeschooling is.  Sure, sending the kids to a school would solve the issue of being so busy.  However, and this is a big however, since we feel that God has so strongly asked us to home educate our children, you better believe we will never turn our backs and seek an easier way just because it is hard or time consuming.  We believe we are being obedient to what God has asked of us as parent of the children that He entrusted to us. }

Now on to the other reasons we homeschool.  This really has turned into a “reasons we love to homeschool” list.

1.  Again, because God asked us to.

2. There are many, many, many things that have become social norms in our society that we are just not comfortable placing in front of our children at such a young and vulnerable age.  We believe that *we* want to be the greatest influence in building up strong armor (read: a strong conscience) in our children before we send them out to battle.  We would never consider asking a 5 year old to fight in a war.  In our opinions, what children face in schools today is a battle ground.  We will send our children to battle when we feel that they are ready. 

3.  The question of making sure our kids have ample opportunity to “socialize” is forever brought up. Jason always answers people with, “The question should really be, *how* do you want your kids to be socialized?” This goes back to the above reason that the battle field in schools today is plagued with moral issues that are inappropriate for children to know about, let alone deal with. We involve our children in many extra curriculars—some academic, some purely social, and some for athletic purposes. We choose what kind of influences there are in their lives. This may sound like we are sheltering our children. To that I say, “Yes!” No parent would argue that they want to keep their kids innocent and pure for as long as possible. We believe homeschooling allows us to do just that.

4.  Homeschooling is not just what we do, it is how we live.  All day long, we are weaving curriculum in and out of our day.  Our school day does not look like an institutionalized school day and I find that to be beautiful.  We learn (and make mistakes) and we do it all together with God’s grace.

5.  The teacher in me loves the ability to customize my kids’ curriculum.  Having taught in public and private schools and having written many different curricula myself, I feel like I have a solid foundation of what my children need to be learning.  Annie is a very gifted student.  “School” comes easily for her which is why as a first grader, she is one-two years ahead of her “grade” in every subject.  I love that we can push her to keep learning and I can create curriculum that challenges her.  Jonah is a much different learner.  For the most part, school does not come particularly easy to him.  I am able to reach him in completely different ways than I did with Annie (and in reality, he has shown me a completely different way of educating children for few of my go-to means work for him).  I know him and I know he would be one of those kids who got lost in the crowd at a traditional school.  With homeschooling, I can rest assured that my kids are getting exactly what they need.

6.  All we “need” is each other.  My kids have a beautiful relationship with one another and I believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that they spend their days together.  They are kind and compassionate towards one another.  Sure, James is a bully and likes to wrestle Jonah until he cries, but when push comes to shove, neither wants to go to bed at night without the other one in the room.  Annie mothers her brothers—caring for their needs better than I do some days.  They don’t view their siblings simply as a blood relation, but as a friend.  That is a precious gift.

7.  Hands down the most important reason we homeschool is so that we can pass on our faith to our children in the way we believe is best for them.  My thoughts on passing on the faith to our children are far too long for this post, but suffice is to say, our family has been blessed by using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd method to raise up our own saints.  Having been a religion teacher, I can say with all honesty that a lot of the curriculum out there stinks and are the antithesis of how I want my children to internalize the faith.  Having been blessed with being trained in the cgs model, we can assimilate the faith in this way in all aspects of our daily lives.  It is awesome.

So there it is.  I know the list is filled with strong opinions.  We are passionate about homeschooling.  The work, the long days and nights, the endless to dos, we would not trade them for
anything (now, if we could afford a maid, I would totally be OK with that). 

As parents, God entrusts us with the beautiful gift of raising up HIS children.  He asks us to do that in different ways.  I do not think that homeschooling is perfect—no means of educating is.  But it is the perfect choice for us because it is the one that God asked for us to do.  And so we do.

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One Response to “and this is why we homeschool”

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  1. Unplugged « His New Day - January 13, 2013

    […] a homeschooling mom, our days revolve around schooling. Like I’ve said before, we weave it in and out of our day. The kids’ take breaks just like “school kids” and what […]

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