By Dana Wood
A few years ago, while I was balancing the activities and academics of my youngest four children, starting to work part-time, and trying to run a household, a friend and I were trying to coordinate some activities. She doesn’t homeschool. As we struggled to find time to make things work, she said, “If you are so busy, why don’t you put your kids in public school? After all, you live in a better school system now.” She must have seen the shocked look on my face, because she quickly apologized and we went on with our conversation.
That conversation stuck with me and I asked myself, why do I continue to homeschool? I am tired. I have been doing this for more than 25 years now. I have about ten more years to go before I send my last child out into the world. Isn’t it enough that I have graduated seven from my homeschool? Can’t I call it good and move on?
The answer to my ponderings has been a resounding NO! In the same way we like home-baked cookies better than store-bought, we love home-grown education better than mass-produced. Here are four reasons why we will continue to homeschool to the very end.
Number 1 – Homeschooling has become a lifestyle. We just do it! We have moved from bringing the public school home, where everyone sits at desks and listens to me lecture, to more independent learning and more one-on-one as needed. My kids know that we have a schedule of the day and we follow it. School is kids following mom around if they need help, and at a certain point in the morning, it is “Mom Reading Time.” Education has become more than textbooks and more about following your passions with a few “must do’s” thrown in. Much easier to handle.
Number 2 – I love the time spent with my kids. I love learning new things with my kids. I love reading to them. I love working with them and living with them. Not that there aren’t days when the bus passes by my house and I don’t think, “A day to myself would be wonderful!” But I know that I would miss more than I would gain.
Number 3 – I know what my kids are learning and what they are not. There are things my kids struggle to learn and things that are easy for them. I know what they are. When they need the help, I can find creative ways to teach them. When something is easy for them, I don’t have to waste a lot of time with busy work. We move on quickly until it gets hard, then we slow down again. Individualized learning. I love it!
I also know what they are not learning. There are many who are trying to educate our children with things that are not part of our value system or are just plain wrong. We can choose to address those things in age appropriate ways or decide it is not worth our time. Our choice!
Number 4 – And last, but not least – because the Lord has told me so. I have a sure witness that homeschooling is best for my family. With that witness I know that, even with all the time challenges, that things will turn out, if I put my children first. The Lord knows my challenges and my children. If I am prayerful and follow the promptings I receive, all will be well. What a comfort that is!
I recommend that you ask yourself why do you homeschool. If you don’t know the answer to that, you better figure it out! Life and school will be enhanced if you know why you do what you do. You can stand strong and not be tossed about by the winds of public opinion, especially when that public opinion is a family member who thinks what you’re doing is crazy, or worse! You will know better.