We recently had friends visit that we hadn’t seen in almost 20 years. Their children are grown now, and with six children of our own all at home, we’re definitely outside the norms of polite society. Of course, their inquiring minds want to know, why homeschool?
Now mind you, they didn’t ask in that negative “what the heck are you thinking,” kind of way. There was genuine curiosity in their question. I believe they truly wanted to know and understand.
But here’s the thing…I didn’t have an answer for them.
There isn’t one big reason I can point to and say this is why we homeschool.
As with most of life, small decisions over time form our journey, and for us, homeschooling was similar. So instead of telling you the reason why we homeschool, it might be better to explain all the popular ideas about homeschooling and why they don’t apply to us.
Frustration With Public School
It seems many people begin homeschooling after encountering frustration with the public school system. Perhaps it’s bullying that isn’t addressed, the labeling of children, or ignoring their learning differences, it seems all of these issues are often cited by parents deciding to begin homeschooling.
However, my oldest child is 16 and her only time spent in a public school has been to take a proctored exam for a dual enrollment class at our local community college. My children have never been to school. They didn’t even go to a preschool or mother’s day out program.
I did attend public school and did well even though I saw the absurdity of many aspects at a young age. Though my opinions did change somewhat when, in my mid 20’s, I was a substitute teacher for a brief time. This was 2000, and I can’t put my finger on much in particular, but it made me uneasy.
So although many people can point to a negative experience for their child in school as a reason for homeschooling, it isn’t our reason.
I think this reason is not as common as society likes to believe. Yes, many people homeschool out of religious beliefs, but I don’t believe that is the particular reason for as many families as the media would like us to think.
Faith has a place in the lives of many homeschool families, just as it does for many public school families. However, it is usually one of many reasons a family may decide to homeschool.
My Children Aren’t Geniuses
Of course, I think my children are unique, I’m their mom! But, in actuality, they’re just people with quirks, differences, and personalities.
I don’t homeschool to get them into college at age 12. I don’t homeschool because they’re musical/mathematical/scientific prodigies. I don’t homeschool because they’re headed for the Olympics.
They’re just kids, I’m just a mom, and we homeschool. The end.
So Why Homeschool?
So you’re probably reading all this and wondering why on earth I would choose to homeschool? I must be crazy, right? I very well may be a slight bit crazy, but aren’t we all?
As my husband and I were in the car yesterday, we were talking about our decision making over the years and how we arrived at homeschooling. To be honest, he wasn’t on board immediately, but my oldest wasn’t even two yet, so I had some time.
Around this time we moved to the Washington D.C. area, and we hadn’t been there long when there were news reports about children needing to bring food, blankets, and a change of clothing to school. What?
Yes, if there were a lockdown, they would keep your children all night, and you wouldn’t be able to get them. Well, this didn’t sit well with my husband, and he was suddenly on board.
And here we sit 15 years and five more children later, without a single day of school attendance.
As we talked about homeschooling more, he said he knows why I homeschool, because I love liberty. Ahhh yes, liberty. I often have spoken of the freedom in homeschooling, but homeschooling itself is an act of liberty.
Liberty, Freedom, Tomato, Tomato
Liberty and freedom, those mean the same thing, right? Our modern world tends to use them interchangeably, but are they indeed synonyms without any nuances?
I think nuances are significant, and we have two words for a reason.
I’m not a linguist, but these words are now used interchangeably when they aren’t necessarily synonymous.
Patrick Henry didn’t say “Give me freedom, or give me death.” The Declaration of Independence doesn’t say we have unalienable rights to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.
Freedom has become the rallying cry of America, by both our government and our populous, but think about when the word “freedom” is used. Is freedom often used concerning our duty or as license?
I would argue that freedom is often trotted out as the cover for bad ideas and an excuse for bad behavior. How many teenagers haven’t said, “well, it’s a free country,” with a roll of their eyes? This has all made freedom sound a little cliche at times.
On the other hand, liberty is a more active, thoughtful word that implies doing what is right. Liberty is more concerned with using our freedom in a way that promotes the betterment of all of society, not just to amuse and entertain individuals.
So it’s with this new outlook that I approach homeschooling. It’s not just about the government reinstating fundamental freedom they took away almost centuries ago; it’s about practicing and retaining our liberty so that we can maintain it in all areas of our lives.
Why Homeschool? Children Are Born Persons
So if you can follow through all the musings above and gain anything from those random thoughts, great! I’m not sure I’ve even said it that well. However, I will leave you with this final thought as to why we homeschool.
Children are born persons. ~Charlotte Mason
If you’ve read this quote from Charlotte Mason, and believe it in the depths of your heart and mind, school becomes a pointless, and sometimes harmful, institution.
Children are born persons and fully endowed with humanity. They are not lesser than, nor inferior to adults. They don’t belong to the state, and honestly, they don’t belong to us either. They are ours to guide and raise for a painfully brief time.
May we use our short time to encourage and experience the world with our children, instead of keeping them in an age-segregated institution until they reach the age when the world won’t be annoyed by their presence.
The Countless Reasons We Homeschool
I could go on and on about all the reasons we decided to and have continued to homeschool, but they’re all kind of vague when discussed individually. However, when you look at the totality of the reasons, it just makes sense.
If you would like to dig a little deeper into the ideas behind our homeschool, check out my Homeschool Mindset series that outlines 10 major beliefs I have about education and homeschooling.
So now you’ve heard a little about why I homeschool, what about you? Leave me a comment below, I love to hear the experiences of others.