I thought you might be curious why I homeschool but before I start I want to say there is no judgement if you don't homeschool. I certainly don't believe homeschooling is the only way or that it is for everyone. In fact, in our home we are taking homeschooling one year at a time and it might not be the only way we do our kids education. However, I would like to clear the air a little on behalf of homeschooling because when people hear the word "homeschool" a lot of preconceived notions jump into their heads of what "homeschooling" is and why people homeschool. Part of me wants to come up with a new word for homeschooling because there are so many negative thoughts attached to it (any suggestions?). If we lived in Europe I could say my kids were taught by a private tutor and everyone would be in awe and think we were rich!
I think most people believe that the primary reason people homeschool is because they are scared of the "world" and are being "over-protective." While the world is an issue for me it is not the primary reason I homeschool. I am homeschooling not because I am trying to run away from something rather I am trying to run towards something.
As you probably gathered, I think my kids are pretty special (in fact I think all kids are special). As a former teacher I have had experience in traditional classroom settings. As a result, I personally have some issues with the current education set-up in America. In a classroom of 20 plus kids the individual can not be fully appreciated. Maybe I wasn't a fantastic teacher but I always felt like I was teaching to the "middle kids" the "advanced" kids suffered because they were held back waiting for the others and the "lower" kids suffered because they always felt like they were behind. If you were a "middle kid" school was probably okay for you.
The other problem with a traditional classroom setting is that all kids are being sent through the same filter and all the gifts and talents of the individual are being lost or at least they are not being cultivated to their full extent. As I said earlier, I think all kids are special and have gifts and talents that are individual to them. Our current education system leaves a lot of people feeling invaluable because their personalities don't excel in a traditional classroom setting.
What I love about homeschooling is that we can take the time to cultivate our kids individual talents. I only have two kids but let me tell you they can be as different as night and day. James would fit well in a traditional classroom because he loves books, learning and producing "the right answer." Mercea is only 3 but I can already tell she would probably struggle in a traditional classroom. She is very kinesthetic and a dramatic individual (even as I write this James is on the computer and she is dancing around the room on her tippy toes singing and dancing). I already think it will be "difficult" trying to teach their 2 very different personalities and there is only 2 of them not 20 of them!
My hope and plan with homeschooling is that I will be able to allow time for them to develop what they are good at. James has already shown a bent towards writing. He has already written a book called Darby Goes on Safari and now on his very own idea he is currently "writing" the Bible. One day he asked me for a journal and started writing in it the Creation story, then he retold the story of Cain and Abel and he now has started Noah. It thrills my heart but I honestly did not tell him to do this, he asked to do it and he is the one who pulls it out whenever he wants to write. I know if I had him in school, he would not have the time to do these things because by the time he got home, we would eat dinner, then there would be homework... We do have official "school time" at our home but my kids do have plenty of opportunity to be creative and to pursue and cultivate the desires of their heart.
Another reason I homeschool is because I think life is about a lot more than what we spent 12-16 years learning about in our current educational system. The perspective I learned from the educational system was to get good grades so I could go to college and become a successful career woman. What I did not learn in school was what it would take to be a good wife and a stay-at-home mother. I did not learn that I would be spending 90% of my time caring for other people and doing monotonous activities such as laundry, cleaning and helping kids grow up. I did not learn that when I had kids my life would turn upside down and I would be filled with an incredible love for these kids that would make all the things I thought were important not nearly so important anymore. If I had done college the way a lot of people had I could have ended up with $30,000 in school loans that would have forced me to need to work to pay them off. I wouldn't have been able to afford to be home with my kids. "Luckily," I was able to work and pay my way through college and I chose to live at home so I didn't rack up a ridiculous amount of debt before the majority of my life began.
I now have the opportunity to speak into women's lives and it is very sad to see how many women are unhappy right now. Those who choose to stay at home often feel invaluable because they are not "producing" something seen as valuable in our society. They went through a school system where they were rewarded for what they produced and now they are at home, where the rewards can be few and far between. They are now confused on how they are valuable in the this world. Then there are those women who choose to work and they feel guilty because they have a huge heart for their kids (which no one told them about) but they either don't know how to be home with their kids or they can't afford to be with their kids and so they live in turmoil everyday.
Homeschooling is beneficial to breaking this negative cycle because we time to can place other values in our kids. It is my sincere hope that James will allow his future wife to stay at home if she desires. He will have seen a model for this and he will have learned the financial planning and sacrifices that need to take place in order for this to happen. I hope Mercea will also desire and be able to stay at home and this won't be a foreign, scary or overwhelming concept to her. It is not that I am against college or that I don't expect both of my kids to attend college but I do want them to have a full perspective on life and not to think that having a job and making money defines success. The large amount of America ~ I guess even the country itself is in huge debt trying to achieve those ideas of success we learned about having in school but what has been lost in America is what really matters ~ relationship.
Well, I could go on and on with more reasons but I hope you noticed that there are many life-giving benefits to homeschooling and that it is not all about hiding in fear from the "ideas of the world." People state that homeschoolers are being sheltered and won't be prepared for the real world. While I do hope that one benefit will be that they were spared some unnecessary heartbreak I do not intend for them to be ignorant about the cruelties of this world. Rather I view one of the benefits of homeschooling is that they will be training for battle in the real world. An analogy that I have come up with is a homeschooler is like being trained to be a professional boxer. How is a boxer trained? By throwing them into a ring with other people who don't know what they are doing and let them keep swinging at each other until one is left standing ( and hopefully it will be my kid still standing)? Or is a successful boxer trained by working with an expert for hours on end and by practicing on inanimate objects? Then when the boxer is fully trained he is released into the ring and he fights and fights well. I hope my kids will be well trained fighters because I believe we are in a world at war but I don't believe that they have to fight in the "ring" until they been well trained to fight.
So that is some of the reasons why I homeschool. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest!