Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I Homeschool

First of all, I want to start by saying this is not an indictment of anyone else's choice in how to school their children. The title of my post is Why I Homeschool, not Why Everyone Should Homeschool.

When we first started on this homeschool journey, The Boy was a toddler. Before having him, I had been a teacher for 6 years. Then I taught one more year, while he was in a home daycare. I hated leaving him every day. I hated that I spent more waking hours with other people's children than I did with my own. I hated missing out on what he was doing every day. Robb and I decided that I would quit teaching at the end of that year to stay home and be a full-time mom. We also decided that, rather than sending him to the Christian school at our church for preschool, I would do preschool with him at home. My bachelor's degree is in early childhood education, and Robb reasoned that it made more sense for me to teach him at home since I have a degree in early childhood and teaching experience rather than pay for preschool. Our plan at the time was preschool at home, then we'd send him to Christian school.

I don't remember exactly when that plan changed. I do remember talking with Robb about not wanting to send The Boy (or any of the others who have joined us since) to school. I enjoyed teaching them too much to want to give that joy to someone else. I also felt strongly convicted by God that we were doing the right thing.

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Reading this, I thought I can't do this if they aren't with me during the day. (Again, I'm not saying that this verse is telling everyone to homeschool. I'm just letting you know why I was convicted to homeschool.) My strongest desire for homeschooling is not to create future rocket scientists, but to have my children grow up with a love for the Lord and a desire to live for Him and serve Him.

I mentioned earlier that I taught school for 7 years before coming home to be a full-time mom. My experiences teaching in public school have also contributed to my decision to homeschool my children. During those years I taught with teachers who enjoyed making life as difficult as possible for the students in their care. One, in particular, took pleasure in the fact that over half of his students failed math for the year because his tests were so hard. To me, that is actually more of an indication of substandard teaching than it is of creating a challenging test; had he taught the students adequately, his students would have been more successful. The possibility of my children encountering teachers like this, who could potentially squash their desire to learn, makes me shudder.

Not all of my public school co-workers were like this, however. A great majority of them had a passion for teaching, and I pray that any of you who send your children to school are fortunate enough to have teachers like these teaching your children.

This is why I choose to homeschool my children. It saddens me when I mention to someone that I homeschool and they begin to give me their reasons why they do not. It is not my place or my desire to judge anyone's choice in how best to educate their children, and I never want anyone to feel they need to justify their decision to me. I do want to say, though, that if one feels the Lord is calling him or her to homeschool, then He will also give them the ability to do so. I am more than happy to sit down with anyone considering this educational path and answer any questions (or attempt to anyway - I do not claim to have all the answers).

I am not the perfect homeschooling mom. I have faults just like everyone else, but every day, as I look around at my children learning and growing, I realize that this is the best decision for our family.
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