As every book and blog will tell you: homeschooling is a very personal decision for your family. There are many reasons people choose to homeschool and not all homeschool families look the same. The world at large thinks the decision for homeschooling is primarily based on religion and moral concerns called into constant question by peers and curriculum. While this is true for some, it is not the case for everyone. Some families don’t believe the institution of American education is working (looking at our international rankings and it’s hard to think that it is). Others simply want to be there for the learning moments of a child’s life. We have a little bit of everything in our mix.
Why We Decided to Homeschool:
–I’ve always wanted to. I struggled to earn a good education in my public school days. I relied on my parents to provide extra challenges, and my father, specifically, to guide me toward literature and music that an educated person shouldknow. I wanted them to learn about more than 3 wars. I wanted them to learn to discuss and defend ideas. I know how hard school can be for someone who wants to learn, and I didn’t want that for my children. When Tyke 1 came of school age, I also realized that being a boy, he would face extra pressure to hide his academic talents. I wanted no part of that.
“I will review the tapes, but to be honest, it’s usually the kindergarteners.” In a school and society that promotes zero tolerance my 5-year-old was blamed for the situation.
–Bad experience within the school system. My son has a peanut allergy that is classified as moderate-to-severe. Basically it means he can smell peanuts and not have a reaction, but if peanut residue touches his skin, he breaks out in hives. If he ingests it, his mouth and tongue swell and he also has hives. This was my biggest daily hurdle sending him to school. I never knew if he would be safe. The school placed him in a class, though, where the teacher also had a peanut allergy. It took a fight to get him in there, but I felt more comfortable. She knew how to read labels, and what things weren’t “safe.” It was a false sense of security. Sure, he didn’t sit at a table with kids who had peanut butter snacks, but the teacher herself fed him M&Ms even after he told her they weren’t safe for him. She convinced him that since they were safe for her, they were safe for him. He came home with hives.
In addition to health concerns, we also faced an all-too-common issue: bullying. Tyke 1 wasn’t being singled out among his classmates. He wasn’t starting fights or acting odd. It was a problem with the bus. The fourth graders decided to gang up on all of the kindergarteners. He and his friends had lunch money stolen, two kids were punched in the face. Tyke 1 was lifted from his seat and thrown back into the chair, and much more. After talking with the bus driver several times and reporting it to the bus garage, I went to the principal. His response was something I will never forget. “I will review the tapes, but to be honest, it’s usually the kindergarteners causing the trouble on the bus because they don’t know how to act.” In a school and society that promotes zero tolerance on school grounds (which includes the bus) my 5-year-old was blamed for the situation. It took my husband driving to the school and directly confronting the school officials to bring about change.
–Beliefs. I want to be able to incorporate our faith into every day life. I do not want my children receiving failing grades for papers that logically argue against the Big Bang Theory in favor of Creationism. I don’t want them having to fight school officials so they can pray before they eat. I still want to teach the Big Bang Theory. I want them to be informed of many theories, but I don’t want them forced to believe something so contrary to our faith. I want to teach my children awareness and respect of other people’s religions but respect does not mean forgoing your own practice to allow for theirs. Instead, it means learning from one another and observing differences in light of common courtesy, the Golden Rule, and keeping in mind an opportunity to show God’s love instead of humanity’s judgement.
These are just some of the reasons. The list seems infinite.
I hope by explaining our story, I have sparked a renewed conviction in some, and maybe started a conversation for others.