The number one question I get about homeschooling my four children is a simple “why?” The question is usually followed by an irritated face and an irrational comment regarding his/her own inability to homeschool due to the strangling that would most likely ensue. At which point in the conversation I almost always want to make a sarcastic comment about this person’s parenting style, but I usually refrain.
I’d like to go ahead and debunk every myth that has been thrown at me about homeschooling. I do not homeschool to shelter my children from the big, scary, world. My kids know as much, if not more than, most children in regards to sex, drugs, alcohol, politics, and all the other hot button discussions they might miss on the playground.
I do not homeschool because I’m fearful of what might happen to my kids in the public school system. The same things that happen there can happen in my neighborhood, my church, a restaurant, a movie theater, or even my own house. I do not homeschool because my children are socially awkward or mentally restrained in any way (although I do applaud those mamas with special needs children who diligently school their children at home; you’re amazing and extremely underpaid).
So why do I homeschool?
Homeschool Reason #1: Influence
Have you ever heard this statement: “The first way you learn something is the way that sticks with you”? It’s difficult to reverse the first time you learn about a given topic. The first perspective you’re given is the one that apparently influences you the most. Anything that you hear about a specific topic after the first time must contend with the original way it was presented to you. For example, the first time you heard about sex might have been awkward and/or elusive. You can probably still remember it today. If you felt weird, ashamed, or scared of sex the first time you learned about it, chances are that it took you a while to break free of that (or maybe you still struggle with it).
I am not a perfect mother, teacher, or person by any means. I don’t claim to know all the right answers about anything. However, I do know someone who is perfect. In lieu of drastically varying opinions in our world today about sexuality, religion, and identity, I’d like God to have the biggest influence on my children. Homeschooling allows time and flow for that influence. I don’t want to shelter them, I want them to be prepared for the calling on their lives, to influence their surroundings, to be the salt and light of the earth.
Homeschool Reason #2: Freedom to Discover
Being schooled at home allows freedom to be schooled in so many different ways. I won’t go into all of the learning styles, homeschool styles, etc. because there are a million blogs about those various methods. My kids have been able to choose curriculums that work for them and we have learned a lot about how they learn. It has benefited them greatly. However, one of the most important freedoms my kids have been given is the freedom to find out who they are in a safe place. We look at lots of different careers, ministries, purposes for breathing, and they are on a journey to discover why they are alive.
I get to walk them through deciphering what the world calls success versus what the Bible says success is. My oldest doesn’t need to become a doctor just because it’s a high-paying job that also happens to help people. She should become a doctor if it’s why she was created.
My son doesn’t need to play sports to fit into a system unless that’s his ministry. My kids have the freedom and time to explore their identities with their Father while I create an atmosphere conducive to them hearing Him. I also receive freedom in the fact that I don’t feel pressured to mold them into anything specific. That’s all in His hands.
Homeschool Reason #3: Family Bonding
The bond that we have created because of our constant communication with each other, constant interaction, and basic proximity is undeniable. My kids fight but since they’re with each other 99% of the time, there is way more time spent enjoying each other (otherwise they’d be miserable). I’ve witnessed my pre-teen daughter grieving over my two-year-old son’s extreme eczema. I’ve watched her bandage his wounds and whisper prayers over him at night. I hear my daughters making business plans together or writing plays to perform in which they even include their little siblings.
When someone cries in my house, everyone is there to help that person. Sometimes that person is me, and my children pray for and encourage me better than most of my close friends. We have the privilege of working through tough things together and celebrating victories together. We’re always together. That kind of bond is becoming unbreakable. I’m not saying that non-homeschooling families cannot have healthy relationships. Please don’t read what’s not here. But I am suggesting that homeschooling has played a huge role in the strength of our family bond.
Homeschool Reason #4: It’s Fun!
In frustrating moments, I’ve taken my kids to see fancy playgrounds and shown them how many different music/art/drama classes are available on a daily basis at brick and mortar schools. But even my most extroverted child doesn’t find it appealing, at least not for now. They always talk about how much fun they have with me and with their after-school activities because they have more time to enjoy them. So we keep enjoying the good days, fighting through the bad, and exploring who they are called to be. It is HARD, it is humbling, and it doesn’t make us rich, but for us, the pros have outweighed the cons.
I agree that homeschooling is not for everyone, but if you are considering homeschooling your children and you feel lost in a sea of information, you are not alone. We have all been there, and it is scary. I encourage you to not give up! Homeschooling can be a beautiful experience for a family. One thing is for sure: it will absolutely draw you closer to the Father.
Featured Image by Santi Vedrí