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. 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