Some of you may know that I have been a homeschooling parent for the past thirteen years. We will overlook how old that statement makes me feel, and move along to the fact that thirteen is going to be our lucky number. This will be our last year. My older son graduated 3 years ago, completed a certificate program in audio engineering, and has set out on his own path in his own place. Our youngest has just settled into his senior year of high school through an accredited online program that offers a diploma and is currently looking forward to heading off to learn how to be a helicopter pilot. There really are no words to express how proud I am of both of them. But, I’m not here to gush. I’m here to share a peek into why we chose homeschooling.
When I first started out, it never failed. I would say that I was homeschooling and at least one person within earshot would give me “that look”. It was a look that managed to display distaste, mild outrage, doubt and an underlying desire for someone to just make me stop because that “homeschooling thing” shouldn’t be allowed. I even had one person go so far as to flatly say that I was abusing my children by not sending them to public school.
This negative judgment has slacked off over the years. Part of the reason is because we’ve been at it for so long that it’s obvious we won’t listen. Mostly, it has to do with the number of people entering the homeschooling ranks. Concerns about safety, curriculum, and exposure to negative influences have made the choice to teach at home much more attractive while online and correspondence programs have opened up easy access to outside teachers. This has brought homeschooling much closer to a mainstream educational choice than it once was. It’s nice! I can now say “We homeschool.” in the same tone I say “We eat lunch.” instead of feeling that I might need to spend time justifying my choice to strangers.
That being said, I would like to share our main reason with you. Why? Well, because I’m curious about your choice and your main reason. Between public schools, private schools and homeschooling, there are most likely as many reasons to pick each as there are families making the choice. I think it will be interesting to see you share yours.
So, I have a one word answer for why we first made the decision to homeschool: Time. We wanted more time for our family; more time for activities; more time to travel; more time for life.
When my children rode a bus to school (Mason was in until 3rd grade and Chance was in for the first two months of kindergarten), they left the house at 7:04 in the morning and returned home at 4:38 in the afternoon. There there was homework. Their father worked out of town a lot during that time as well. We were left trying to cram a week’s worth of EVERYTHING into 2 exhausted days. When I realized that there was another option, I did my homework, made necessary plans and then embraced homeschooling like it was a life preserver. Maybe it was. The decision was as simple and as complicated as that.
There have been other benefits that have happily surprised us. There have been difficulties that hit us from out of the blue and caused serious doubt. Homeschooling is a lot like life that way. From the end of the trail, I can honestly say that I would do it all over again if I had to do it all over again. That thought alone makes the bad days worth it and the good ones that much better.
So, now that you know my biggest short answer to my biggest why, tell me about yours. What path did your family find best for your own children, and why was it best? Don’t be shy. Your answer may help someone else find their best solution, and we all need the best solutions we can find because our kids are the ones who will be running the world in all too short of a time.
Being a homeschooling parent for 13 years and an independent author/illustrator makes a person learn quite a bit about a lot of things. Now it's time to pass it on!