Why We Homeschool

Handwriting... it's over-rated!

We have people ask us (directly or indirectly so) often, “Why homeschool?”… often followed by a reference to socialization…. or “I could never do that”… the list continues. The answer is simple but multifaceted.Β  Before I explain a couple of the reasons we chose this path, let me say that we do not believe homeschooling is the best choice for all people. There are those circumstances that simply won’t allow it. While we lived in NE Georgia, our children went to our small, public school. It was “Christian” in many ways although it was public. We loved many of the teachers and I am very thankful for that portion of children’s education.

My husband (who has a PhD- had public and secular education all the way through) and I (public & secular education here too) decided pretty early on to pull our kids out when they reached middle school age and homeschool. Reason? Basically because most middle schools are less than successful educationally speaking and seem to produce hormonally driven robots. Once our oldest son aged out of our little primary school he went on to an intermediate school. The school was a good school… I’d say a really good school. What we saw and heard looked a little more like what we thought middle school would look like than we were comfortable with.

One day I was looking at a Christian Book Distributor’s catalog and was admiring a new series. It was a series of biographies on heroes of our faith… William Carey, Eric Liddell, Annie Armstrong… true heroes. I was thinking, “I sure would like to buy that entire series for Boy1.”… Later that same day, Boy1 came home telling me about a book he was reading that (in my opinion) was just junk. Not sinful, not evil… just junk. It clicked! The public school (however well intended) was controlling what went in my child’s mind. The school is directing my child in his worldview. We were not willing to give that up. Our son finished out his 3rd grade year and has been home since. I can not, in good conscience before my God, hand my child’s mind to the world.

But what about socialization!? I like to hit this head on. Are there homeschooled kids who are not socialized? YES! There are. Are there public school kids who have problems with socialization? YES! There are. What about private schooled kids… Yep… there too. Many parents who have chosen homeschooling will let you know that they are deliberately avoiding the “socialization” the school is providing. Many homeschooled children are involved in other activities such as sports, music programs, church, co-ops and such. There are many opportunities for proper socialization.

I was asked out at the ball field one night if homeschooled kids could ACTUALLY go to college. Honest, I tried not to laugh out loud. You can read here about how homeschoolers are sought after by colleges. When you cater an education for a child, you can push ahead, you can pull back… it’s a specially designed educational program suited for the gifts and talents of your child. Homeschooling is a lifestyle. We are in a (semi)constant state of learning. Education around the lunch table, driving to the grocery, during the summer (don’t tell our kids)… a lifestyle of learning. “Yes, ma’am… homeschoolers CAN go to college.”

“I could NEVER do that”… Yep. I said that too! (several times)… Is it hard? YES! Is it confusing? Often. Are there days I would love to send my kids on a bus to the nearest school? YES! Is it worth it? YES! I have to remind myself often WHY we do this. I realize more and more as time goes on that the academics is such a small part. We are by no means anti-academic. We’re the opposite if anything. But my child’s heart. Can I protect, guard, and encourage his/her heart. Will they look more like Christ in the end? Will he/she want to live his/her life for the kingdom… books, education, knowledge… that is simply a tool the Lord uses. If they all end up Merit scholars with full rides to Harvard, are recognized by the world as scholars and I loose their hearts… I’m a failure. It’s all about Jesus.

I was talking with Boy1 the other day about guarding his heart, protecting his mind, staying pure. I tried as best I could to explain how difficult it would be… and that it would get more difficult as he ages… but I promised him (and I’m sure of it)… “It will be worth it”… Yes. Being a crazy homeschool mom is hard. It makes me crazy. It makes me cry. It makes me laugh. It makes me pray. It makes me thankful. I’m blessed to spend these days with my children… I’m a mom. That’s my job.

“Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state.” – Adolf Hitler

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17 thoughts on “Why We Homeschool

  1. I would have to agree with you on a lot of your major points. Though I’m not a parent, it scares me that one day the government will control what I believe my children should learn and acquire through education. For myself, I absolutely HATED middle school; it was like a whirlwind with the worst of the world–gangs, drugs, drinking, violence, discrimination (against everyone of all colors, shapes, sizes, and religions), and a complete disregard for any authority. While this is not the case for every middle school, it certainly was my own experience. At such an impressionable age, people underestimate the impact of sudden exposure to all of those influences.
    Another reason that I would consider homeschooling, as if that wasn’t enough, are that in certain areas–especially rural communities and intercity schools–the actual educational progress being made is limited. In the area of Mississippi I live now, I question the schools’ methods in their effectiveness for broadening the minds of children beyond their community and the negative influences of their culture.
    πŸ™‚ And, OF COURSE, homeschoolers go to college. OF COURSE they do. I know many who continue to excel and have very successful lives and careers. I commend you for doing what you believe is right for your children and taking responsibility for their future.

    • Hey Girl! What great insight from a young woman! Thank you for sharing so openly! Thank you also, for your kind words! We put our children in the Lord’s hands… just like your parents put you and your brother and sister into the hands of the Lord! What a joy you are to them!

  2. First, let me say, FABULOUS! πŸ˜€

    I taught in a public school system for 6 years 7-12 grade. It was during this time that I decided my children would be homeschooled. Being in the “midst” of change, even in a small Mississippi school district, I didn’t like where things were going. Furthermore, I’m with you on the hormone-driven robots that are created in the environment. The teachers are handed so much busy-work by the state that they can’t properly teach or control their classroom. Sexuality runs amuck among “babies” who have no business, in my opinion, even knowing, at their age, about the things they were discussing.

    • Thanks for your insight. I’m amazed how much criticism is out there for hs parents… how we “shelter” our children… IS THAT NOT OUR JOB!? I am not naive enough to think we can prevent our children from being exposed to the world (nor would that be healthy)… I would like to delay that exposure. Boy1 came home from 1st grade asking about “sticking up your middle finger”… HOW and WHY would I want to explain that!?!? I’m with you… thankful and blessed! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I am so thankful to be blessed with the opportunity to home school! Keeleigh went to a private Christian school for K-2nd grade (it was necessary that I work at the time) and, even though I felt confident that she was learning in a good atmosphere, I still felt the call to take responsibility for my children’s education. I am of the mindset that God gave them to our family and that I am responsible for what happens to them so I wanted to be active in every area of their young lives! One day while Keeleigh was still in private school, she brought home a spelling test and had missed one or two. It wasn’t a bad grade but I realized I hadn’t even looked at her spelling list that week. What else was I missing? I wanted to take Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Proverbs 22: 6 seriously and knew I couldn’t do that if I was sending my kids off for 8 hours a day then coming home exhausted from work myself. This was the way that God provided for our family to center our thoughts and lives around Him. I not only believe my kids are receiving a higher quality education but I see how they are being PROPERLY socialized and growing emotionally and spiritually. I didn’t expect, however, how much homeschooling would benefit ME! I feel like I, too, am growing closer to God and have a connection with my family that I wouldn’t have had otherwise!

    • Well said, Traci! Thank you for being transparent. I especially like your thoughts about them being away for 8 hours a day. I heard someone (I wish I could remember who- I think it may be AFR) on radio saying that if we send our children off that many hours a day- THAT entity is setting your child’s patterns for discipline. Unfortunately, by the time the child gets home, mom is too tired to actually discipline the child (often)… NO WONDER parents feel they have no control… they don’t.

  4. I homeschool half of my kids. We chose to homeschool while my husband was at his last church due to living in a very large, but not very good school district. When we made our move to the small community that we are in now, my oldest two wanted to “try” school. It has been a difficult year with name calling, bullying, and getting that “worldly” education that I had feared. Recently, I was praying about what to do next year. I was considering putting them in a Christian school 35 miles away. God answered my prayer during a recent revival service. Son #1 and Son #2 brought unchurched friends from school. Both of the unchurched boys came to know Christ. That might not have happened if I had insisted on homeschooling this year. I have chosen to give my kids the choice. As of right now, 3 will go to school next year, and one will stay home for school. Unless God tells me different, I will allow them to stay in public school where they can be salt and light.

    • Thank you for your transparency, Casee! It’s a year by year journey often… been there done that! While in NEGA we let ours go through a K-2 school then pulled them out. In NOLA… non optional :)…. private education wasn’t a consideration either due to cost. The Lord prepared me for this leg of the race in advance… He’s so good that way!
      Love you guys! you should come visit with boy1, boy2 and boy3! (and Macon too)

  5. I totally agree with you. Only, we felt the need to homeschool them while they were tender young lambs – and we allowed ours to enter school in middle school. I remember one church member who was on the school board telling me that we needed to have our kids in p.s. so as to be a light, and I wasted no time in telling him that I would teach in a public school, but I wouldn’t send my tender young lambs to slaughter. Actually, I was talked into sending them one year and I prayed all the way through that year and would not do it again (we were in N.O. area).

    When moms said, “I could never teach my children”, I’d ask them, “Do you think someone is going to love your child more than you???” “If you can’t be patient with them, do you really expect someone else too?”

    Socialization – I would bet that my kids are more socialized than most kids because they have been exposed to so many age groups and circumstances. We also made sure they were in gymnastics, karate, art classes, photography classes, etiquette classes, etc… as well as GA’s, RA’s, Children’s Choirs, etc…

    Katie and John Anders have learned some worldly things at school, but I believe they have a good handle on what they have learned. We continue to teach them God’s ways and they continue to handle circumstances in a Christ-like way (most of the time anyway).

    Keep up the good work, You will never regret one moment of the time you had to rear them and instill iwithin them your values. Kudos to you and Greg! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m so thankful we still have a choice. I can foresee a time we won’t. I read/heard/something someone who said the disciples were “with Jesus”… what is our child’s best chance of being “with Jesus”… at home or at school? You’re right… no one can love our children like we do! Kudos to you for being willing to be a crazy homeschool mom! haha!

  6. Thank you all for this post and for the responses! I was always going to put my kids in a public/private school, you know. I was NEVER going to homeschool….then I had a child! That mindset changed real quick when I realized the HUGE responsiblity the Lord has blessed us with and I didn’t want to take that lightly. I want to disciple her in a way to prepare her for the future and the world that awaits her. I have put in so much effort repeating abc, 123, etc. and yes, she now knows all these things but I put in a LOT of time with her to learn and everywhere we went I would incorporate it into our day. I also do that with God, Jesus, etc. and what He has made. If I get to devote this much time into her life now…how much more later to really disciple her like I have been called to do? So I will be homeschooling our precious daughter. Not just to educate her with school subjects but most importantly with the Word of God. I love reading and talking about this subject! I have come so far! Thank the Lord.

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Tracy. You are so right in seeing it as a lifestyle. It is. At dinner, at the grocery… it’s all education. Your sweet girl is so blessed to have you and Ed as parents! Great things will follow! Love you guys!

  7. Crazy hard – YES! Then you have days where your kids do a science experiment on their own because they wanted to! Or they read further in their history book because it is interesting to them. Or you cannot keep up with giving them their next book because they are reading through them so fast!

    I don’t know where the efforts of homeschooling will end up – I really don’t because nothing in life is a sure thing. But I am choosing to trust and push through the hard days and be grateful for the good ones.

    Thank you Michelle for you post – reading about others homeschooling journeys is sooooo encouraging!

  8. Why I homeschool – What a loaded question! And, although, the reasons change every year, and I’m always adding additional reasons, the reasons also stay very much the same.

    Initially, it was because I couldn’t harbor the thought of putting my sweet, innocence kindergardener on that huge, smelly, foul-language- ridden bus at 6:30 every morning. In addition to that, I was very pregnant with baby #4; and the thought of getting up, getting everyone out the door, taking said kindergardener to school each morning so she wouldn’t have to ride the bus did not seem feasible. Add to all of that, the fact that kindergarten is not even required in my great home state of MS, and you have a recipe where home schooling for one trial year seems very appealing. And, that was how we got started.

    Home schooling is a very selfish thing for me. The fact of the matter is, I like spending time with my children. I like for them to be around. I enjoy their company and I like for us to do things together. When they were young, it was nice to have the option to sleep in, take off and go on a trip, visit grandparents, take longer holidays, and never have an outside entity dictating to me when or where we had to be.

    Since we began home schooling, I have thanked the Lord on many occasions that He gave us the opportunity and ability to home school. The following are just some of those reasons: highly-distract-able boys who are all boy and would drive a teacher to the brink – I’m glad we chose to keep them home, and their potential teachers are too. Modesty, spiritual growth and a more solid foundation, I’ve learned so much, Being able to direct my children’s learning and to reap the reward of seeing the learning happen, keeping their innocence a little longer, physical safety, shielding them being inundated with talk of sex, drugs, cheating, dating, etc. growing as a family, experiencing life together, being able to focus on individual needs, the list goes on and on.

    Home school is our way of life. I can’t imagine life any other way. I don’t want to. I’m more thankful than I can say that this is what we do.

  9. My position as an educator observing children for many years has always been : Some of the best educated kids I know are/were home schooled. Some of the most poorly educated kids I know are/were homeschooled. Some of the best educated kids I know go/went to private school. Some of the most poorly educated kids I know go/went to private school. Some of the best educated kids I know go/ went to public school. Some of the most poorly educated kids I know go/went to public school.
    There is not a right answer to this question. It requires very deliberate thought processes on the part of each family!
    If anyone ever has the audacity to say your kids are not well-socialized you send them to me and I will set yhem straight!!

    • You’re right, Paula. There are pros and cons for each position. Homeschool is not a 100% guarantee… nor is public school (although I think you can be pretty positive of some outcomes in that system :)… nor is private school (although I would have to go into debt to send our kids). It is a personal choice for each family. I am SO thankful to have a choice still.

      Thank you for your insight…

      (I’ll send all the nay-sayers to your house… haha!)

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