Someone asked me on Facebook if I could tell her the reasons we homeschool. There are so many reasons, I’m not sure I can list them all! I’ve written posts in the past about why we homeschool, but I think it’s a good question to come back to now and then because as we continue to homeschool, I find there are more and more reasons to keep homeschooling instead of sending our children to public school.
To give some background, here are the reasons we began homeschooling in the first place:
- When I was pregnant with our first child, my husband and I met some homeschooling families in our neighborhood. At that point, we didn’t even know homeschooling was possible. We immediately thought it was a good idea because we felt we could probably do just as good of a job teaching our children as the public school does, and maybe even better. We remembered many negative aspects of our own early education.
- My husband and I love reading, learning and exploring the world, and we wanted to pass on this love to our children by creating a positive, loving and creative environment where all questions are honored — not by forcing them to sit all day and do busy work.
- Both of us felt that a good education should be tailored to the needs and interests of the individual child. Traditional school cannot do this.
- Both of us feel that when kids are forced into groups all day with their peers, many of them “aspire to the lowest denominator” as I mentioned in a previous post. Homeschoolers are exposed to people of all ages and are encouraged by role models who show them a world of possibilities.
And here are the reasons that we continue to homeschool:
- As I began homeschooling my son, I did a lot of research about homeschooling and also what public school looks like today. I found out that children in the youngest grades are forced to do academic work before they are developmentally ready for it. Also, free play has been greatly reduced, which is detrimental to a young child’s development.
- I also read and heard a lot about how the testing in schools is stressing out teachers and students. They mostly “teach to the test,” and free play, art, music and other important subjects have been greatly reduced, if not completely taken away.
- As my children grow, I have seen them flourish in their homeschool environment. My eldest son is intelligent and creative, but he’s also quiet and thoughtful. Instead of being stifled in school all day, he has lead me on an exploration of science, building crafts/pottery, and music as well as many other subjects. Likewise, my younger son is also intelligent and creative, and he has had a long-term interest in birds. By being homeschooled, they have time to dig deep into their interests instead of being rushed to the next topic. Also, they both enjoy taking community classes and camps and meeting with small groups of friends for extra long play dates. (Kids who go to school don’t have time for that!)
- Both my boys have become extremely interesting people! They both enjoy books and learning. They love watching documentaries everyday. They’ve learned about the whole world through these documentaries and our trips to museums and other interesting places.
- My boys have shown me that most kids just need a facilitator to help them pursue their interests. They don’t need “teachers.” They are their own teachers. They teach each other. They teach me!
- Having said that, we still do academic work, but it only takes 2-3 hours per day, and the rest of the day we can do the things that we love. As I mentioned before, my boys each have had very interesting and creative projects over the years. (Click here to learn about some of them.)
- My kids get plenty of free time and all the sleep they need. I do too! We are not stressed out trying to get them to school on time every morning. (Although we do hustle on appointment days!) We don’t have to stress over homework either.
- We have a flexible schedule. We can go on vacation when my husband is off work (his vacation conflicts with public school), and we can go on field trips during the week when places are less crowded. I can also take my eldest son to classical concerts during the week (he loves them), which we wouldn’t be able to do if we had to wake early to go to school the next day.
- Homeschooling has created close bonds between us and our boys. The greatest compliment I ever got was from a facilitator at one of their summer camps. She said of my boys: “They love each other so much. It’s such a joy to watch.” I am not sure they would be this close if they were forced away from each other all day to go to school.
- I’ve been able to tailor each child’s curriculum to his abilities and learning style. My eldest son didn’t learn how to read as early as he would have been forced to in school. I think this would have been detrimental to his self-esteem. Instead, we took it slow, and he learned how to read when he was ready. Now, he enjoys reading to himself!
- I am also able to teach them things that I think are important whereas traditional school may skip or only touch on briefly such as our connection to nature or about other cultures. I read books to them by authors that I think are important for them to hear. One example is the Birchbark series by Louise Erdrich that we’re reading now.
- We discovered a year and a half ago that my eldest son is a gifted musician. By homeschooling, he has more time to dedicate to his practice, and he has time to study music history. He can do all this without sacrificing sleep or play time. And he’s doing this because he wants to and not because it’s part of a silly curriculum that doesn’t work for him. And now his younger brother is playing piano and enjoying it too. Our days are filled with music…that alone is reason enough to homeschool.
I’m not sure I’ve covered every reason we homeschool here, but I hope you get the gist of it — we’ve been able to foster a loving, encouraging, and creative home environment where learning is part of our everyday lives. Learning does not happen in a box or a school building. It happens all the time. When we give the boys plenty of time to do the things they love to do, they are more willing to do “the work.” When kids are honored and treated respectfully, they aspire to high places! This is why we homeschool.
Here are some previous posts related to this subject that you might like to read too: