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Friday, February 26, 2010

You do what?

Why do we homeschool?

I remember when I was in grad school studying to be a school librarian. We discussed vouchers, charter schools, and homeschooling. At the time (pre-kids), I thought that only insane people would homeschool. Why on earth would someone want to be with their kids all day? How do they have the patience? What about time with other kids?

Ah yes. Before kids. When I was an expert on it all.

Fast forward to the birth of my first son. A few months after he turned 2, my friends started asking me where he would be going to preschool. At the time, we were broke. I couldn't have sent him to school if I had wanted to. And, I started thinking, maybe I didn't really want to. I mean, he was only 2. A baby! He didn't need to go to school yet, anyway. He seemed perfectly content to collect rocks and sit on my lap and read books.

Then, at work one day, my co-worker mentioned that she had homeschooled her kids until high school. And I knew she wasn't a denim-jumper-wearing, kids-in-a-bubble-of-crazy mom. So I started researching it.

Let me tell you, nothing is worse then a librarian on a personal research project.

I got every book that might remotely be related to the subject of homeschooling. I read articles from magazines. I looked online. I filled myself up with information. Then I took the idea to Hub.

Hub, after finding out it was legal, was delighted! Thankfully, he has always supported me in the best way that he can. He doesn't complain when there's cereal for dinner. He is okay with a project being spread all over the table. He sends me out to meet friends and drink coffee.

After that discussion with Hub, here are our reasons for homeschooling:

1. We want our kids to love learning.
If kids have a good attitude about learning new things, they will continue to learn new things as adults. Learning is fun! I think back to my own educational experiences, and the thing that I loved most was History. No offense to my teachers (I did have one excellent History teacher in 11th grade), but I loved it because my parents took me to every plantation and battlefield they could find. What? It's Sunday? Must be time to go to Williamsburg! I was largely annoyed by these trips, as I just wanted to sleep. But, once I got there, I loved it. I loved it so much that I majored in History in college.

Learning is not drudgery. The world is HUGE! I hope that my children are always curious and always want to know how things work and why things happen.

2. Time spent with family.
Family is where you can find out who you are. It is where you are always loved and accepted. We don't always get along. We are together a lot. But, we are forced to resolve problems quickly. We have to figure out how to make it work.

3. We get to be there for our children's "a-ha" moments.
It is like watching your baby take his first steps. I love to see those moments when my kids finally understand things! Nothing is better than when they start connecting the things they've learned.

4. It's flexible.
I love how flexible homeschooling is! We don't do "school at home" with desk work and workbooks. We are very hands-on. Our school work has traveled to Missouri for a visit with my sister. We've set it aside for a week at the beginning of spring in order to play outside. We snuggle and read when someone is sick. If something isn't working, we can chuck it and try another approach.

I can think of a number of other reasons. Let's call them bonuses, as they don't necessarily influence our decision to homeschool. These might include money saved on trendy clothes, less peer pressure (for now, at least), no carpooling, etc.

You may notice that I didn't list religious reasons. When we made this decision, it was not for religious reasons. Hub and I are both Christians, and 2 of our kids have become Christians as well. But I feel like whether they were in traditional school or at home, they would still have that influence. I suppose I could rant on about this topic, but I would surely alienate all 2 of my readers.

5 comments:

  1. I would have to say that we ARE homeschooling for "religious" reasons, even though what I have in Christ is not religion, but salvation. But now that we have been at it for oh, ten years, my reasons are more numerous. A woman at the public library said to me just this week, "May I ask you a question? Just why do you homeschool? What would make you want to do that??" Her tone said, "You are nuts." I wanted to let her know it's because we fear God, but I didn't want to sound like a right-wing fundamentalist wacko. Even if I am one. I mean, I just didn't want her to misunderstand me. "Christian" means one thing in the Bible, and a million other things to the world.

    Instead I said something to the effect that the longer I homeschool, the less I think kids need to know what schools are teaching. Algebra II, for example. Who needs it, but engineers or other fields in which math is necessary? And, I hate the way English is taught. Only a linguist cares what a gerund or a participle is, or what future perfect tense is. I just want my kids to know how to use English correctly. What's with the vocabulary? What a waste of kids' time. They could be really learning something a lot more interesting and practical. Somehow that woman ended up on my side by the end of our conversation. She had been a K-1 teacher and decided, yeah, she didn't need to know Algebra II either! lol


    I agree with all your reasons above. Will have to add those to my list of why's. Sorry about the rant. Should do that on my own blog. :o)

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  2. On the days when you think you're crazy, you should re-read this post =) (Visting Kentucky is also educational =) )

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  3. Hey, I have been meaning to tell you what a good time my daughter has been having with your clarinet! Remember how excited I was to have it? Well, it sat in the closet here for a long time, and finally my 10 yo decided she wanted to play something no one else in the family plays. :o) She is doing well, and we are very thankful to you for giving her this opportunity!

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  4. catching up on blog reading. i was going to comment that at least half of your "two readers" enjoyed this post. but considering the fact that i am the 4th commenter, i'd say you've miscounted. :-)

    i would say that "religious" reasons might have been the primary (though not the only) factor in our initial decision to homeschool, as our feeling was that we wanted our kids to have a "christian-based education" but did not want to afford christian school. at first i thought of homeschooling as a "second-best" thing. it didn't take long before i came to consider it the BEST thing, and my reasons for homeschooling began to evolve far beyond the "christian education" aspect. and 18 years later, here we are, still at it...

    and yeah, most days i think homeschooling IS crazy. the other days i think it's insane. :-)

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  5. I can remember thinking the same thing about homeschooling. My husband was the one pushing it on me! He joined this crazy email group when our oldest was 3 years old. I remember being mad at the time. Then one day when I looked out my kitchen window I saw a neighbor sending her baby off to Kindergarten. I started to sob. At that moment I knew we would not go that route. And I later learned that my husband had been praying for me to change my mind! I love that part. Anyway, I am glad he did.
    Jenn

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