Top 10 Reasons to Homeschool
As I approach this topic, I realize how ridiculous it is to assume that I can write about “THE” Top 10 reasons to homeschool. One of the main reasons to homeschool your children is that you can be at the helm. You can do it for whatever reason you want in whatever way you want, so for me to assume that I could come up with the definitive top ten reasons seems kind of silly. My top 10 reasons are top ten for me. There are many homeschooling families I know whose reasons are vastly different from mine. There are, undoubtedly, similar veins and similar convictions behind the reasons that people choose to homeschool but if you took a moment to do the math on all the different reasons, it could get quite staggering. Though there is no way to know the number of homeschoolers (even in the U.S. alone), we can safely assume that there are hundreds of thousands of great reasons to homeschool even if we all only have one thing in common on our top 10 list.
In order to lend a voice other than my own to the subject at hand, I decided to gather a bit of information from other sources. During a recent field trip, I did an informal survey of some of my fellow homeschooling mothers (on a pontoon boat of all places — we were on a nature cruise, of course!) and I asked them why it was that they had decided to homeschool. Some of their answers were funny. Some were sober. The common thread however was that all of them were passionate about why they were walking this road. We talked at length but here are ten of the reasons that stuck with me from our conversation:
- “I want to be the one who sees the “aha” moments in my children. I don’t want to have to hear about what they learned in school that day (if they even remember to tell me). I want to be a part of that, witness and encourage it. I can’t outsource those moments. I’m selfish like that.”
- “I didn’t want my kid standing in line all day! We went and visited several schools before we made the decision to homeschool and I noticed something that all of them had in common. Everywhere I went, I saw endless lines of kids! They were waiting in line for their teacher to pick them up from one class and go to another. They were waiting in line to eat lunch. They were waiting in line to go to the bathroom. I started to wonder, ‘How much time a day did they spend standing in lines?’ I also heard the hauntingly familiar “We’re not going anywhere until everyone is in line quiet and is standing still!’ and I was instantly taken back to my own school experience. Standing in line was one of my least favorite things to do when I was in school, I didn’t want my kid having to do that all day!
- “I’ve been in the teaching world. I know how the school system works. I know how it takes an act of congress to get curriculum changed if something’s not working. I wanted have the authority to say, ‘You know what, this is not working for you, is it? Let’s do something different’ and not have to wait until failure upon failure revealed that this was not the route to go. If we see that something is not speaking to our homeschooled children, we have the freedom to go another route. I think that’s huge.”
- “If anyone’s going to be indoctrinating my children, it’s gonna be ME.”
- “I want my children to grow up together. I want to provide an environment in which our family was not separated for the majority of the day, 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year. Homeschooling allows my children to grow up together. That’s important to us.”
- “I want to be the one to answer my child’s questions about life and about the world. I want to know their thoughts, their worries, their big ideas. My children are my greatest treasure and I want to cherish the time I have with them.”
- “I want to know what my children are being taught and the perspective from which they are being taught and I don’t want to feel like I have to go and un-do things that they’ve learned. Children spend 14,000 seat hours in schools. FOURTEEN THOUSAND. How on earth could I really be involved and aware of what’s being poured into their hearts and minds when they’re gone from me and under the influence of hundreds (even thousands) of others? It’s implausible to think that even if I were the president of the PTA or room mother of the year that I would be as involved as I want to be so instead, I teach them at home.”
- “I am an adoptive parent. We went halfway around the world to get these children home. Something about sending them away for the majority of their childhood just didn’t seem right.”
- “The school systems here are not to our satisfaction and private school is not economically feasible for our family.”
- “What if you were looking at a brochure for a school that claimed it offered: ‘Class ratios as low as 1:1, individualized education plans tailored to the strengths, needs and preferences of each child in the program. Weekly field trips to nature centers, state parks, art museums, historical sites. Classroom instruction that is in line with your family’s world view and core values. A flexible schedule that allows for family cohesiveness.’ Would you jump at the chance to put your children there? I know I would and that’s exactly what we did. Homeschooling lives up to all of those claims.”
So there you have it. Not necessarily “THE TOP TEN”, but very wonderful reasons nonetheless. Are you thinking of homeschooling? What are YOUR reasons?
Julie Clark is a writer and content contributor for LessonPathways.com, an innovative new product that maps online educational resources into ready to teach units. She is a homeschooling mother of three children, executive assistant to her husband, a blogger (TheClarkChronicles.com), and Foster Care Coordinator for a nationally acclaimed mental health agency.