Here are a few more reasons why I chose home education–in no particular order.
Reason #7: I don’t like to drive and I am horrible at keeping to a tight schedule.
I have a very large family. I shudder at the thought of trying to keep up with the activities and school schedules of all of my children if they were in public or private schools. I am not fond of driving, and I am horrible–literally awful–at keeping to a tight schedule. The few times I have tried it, it has stressed everyone out.
Granted, I know it is something that most people can get used to. I think I am just not one of those people. I knew a long time ago that if it came time to have to drive to and from and manage the school schedules of three different schools, my brain would probably implode. So, I realized early on that homeschool was a great fit for me because we make our own schedule and if something comes up, we don’t have to be stressed out if we are not able to do it.
I remember when my children were preschool age and I made the mistake of driving by an elementary school as the parents were lined up waiting for their kids. I just don’t have the patience or the fortitude to do this:
This probably makes me sound like a bad mom who wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice time in the car and keeping endless schedules for her children’s growth and learning. And, maybe I could do better in this area. However, I also feel that, as I said before, each family has its own unique mission and strengths. So, instead of focusing on how much better a lot of moms are at that kind of thing, I try to focus on my actual strengths and see how they play into our family mission. It turns out that none of my children enjoy running around and tight schedules, either. So, we try to do more but with less busy-ness, if that makes sense.
Reason #8: Socialization
This may seem like an unusual reason for choosing home education, considering it is most often heard as an argument against it. But, hear me out.
My husband and I have both observed throughout our lives that public education seems to lean (either consciously or subconsciously), toward encouraging children to associate only with peers their own age, or within a very close proximity toward their own age. I have also noticed that with the advent of extra-curricular activities, children and their parents seem to gravitate only to the other families who are involved in their same activities.
We have found, as homeschoolers, that most people are just too busy with all of the school scheduled activities that they don’t have time to socialize with anyone else.
In my own public school experience, I longed for conversation and learning from those who were much older than me, and I really enjoyed being around others younger than me, as well as around those my own age.
I have observed with my own children that other children think they are unusual because they don’t “hate” their younger brothers/sisters, or because they enjoy taking care of younger children, or they love to give the older people in our church congregation big hugs. In fact, they are sometimes called “weird.”
I won’t go so far as to say that there is some sort of agenda in the social experiment of government funded education to create a society that is so cut-off from others (especially, it seems, parents), but this does seem to be a residual effect of age-segregated schooling.
I have also observed that because of the normalization of being away from parents and relying on peers as a support system instead of family, most children seem to become more and more distant and segregated even in their own families as they spend more and more time in public schooling.
Of course, this is a generalization, and does not always happen. However, I felt that my children would have more opportunities for healthy socialization among all age/gender/ethnic/cultural groups in a homeschool setting, rather than another option.
Reason #9: Spirituality
I hesitate to write about this aspect of my decision making process, because I don’t want to be misunderstood. I recall the sentiments expressed in a Washington Post article on homeschooling in September 2011:
“The thought that it’s just right-wing Bible thumpers with 12 children, or left-wing hippie goat herders who’ve moved to the country to live in their Birkenstocks, has been around a long time, but it’s far from reality,” Ray said.
I don’t want to be thought of as an extreme caricature of either of these things, and I am glad that the sterotyping has lessened over the last few years. I actually believe that most people decide how to educate their child based on some aspect of spirituality, whether it be praying to Mother Earth, in obedience to the will of their ancestors, or as a feeling of obedience to God.
I also believe that most who choose home education do have a desire to see their children have more spirituality in their life, whether it comes from quiet meditation, study of nature, or study of the Bible. I have found that the choice of home education offers me more opportunity to foster a spiritual depth in my children, even if only by virtue of being able to have time to meditate without the distractions of peers, trash talk, electronic devices and other things that are generally known to be a part of public schooling.
I am a Christian, and believe in the principles of Christianity. I also believe that the Bible has taught us that we should not teach our children anything without acknowledging God. In our current situation in schools, God is not in the equation. There has never, it seems, been a time when God has been more vehemently opposed in a teaching setting than our current age.
I have always taught my children that the source of all light, truth and knowledge is heaven. I have tried to teach them that they can best learn anything if they are close to heaven. I remember discussing this with my then 4 year old son. He responded with a wise insight:
“Well, if children can’t pray in public schools, and they can’t talk about God, then how do they really learn anything?”
It was a good question. And it made me think. Of course, children in public or private schools can learn, and they can be close to heaven in their hearts. There are many, many teachers who are also spiritually minded who are intuitive and kind and sensitive. However, it seems to me that it is far easier to learn in an environment that is naturally spiritual and safe, and inviting to deep thought, quietude and meditation.
Those are some of the main reasons I have chosen home education. I would also like to explore some of the arguments I have had with myself regarding the advantages of a public education as well.