I want everything for my kids. I want them to have adequate clothing and shelter. I want them to have strong relationships with family and others. I want them to have a future free from unnecessary financial and emotional stresses. I want them to have a quality education. I’m sure you want all these things for your kids too!
But how can we know the best way to provide a quality education for our children? There are public schools, charter schools, private schools, distance education schools, homeschools. There are so many options and so many positives and negatives in each! How can we choose between them?
What it comes down to, ultimately, is asking yourself: What does my family need? What does my child need? Which one will serve those needs best? We all deeply love our children and there is no one correct method of schooling for all people. We must always remember to extend grace and understanding to those who have chosen a different path.
My path, for the foreseeable future, is homeschooling. These are the reasons we have chosen this for our family:
- My teaching background.
I’m a trained teacher and even though I no longer wish to use that training in the school system, I feel well-equipped to teach my own children. I was also given the blessed opportunity to homeschool another family for five years and learned to love the opportunities homeschooling provides.
What? She wants to homeschool FOR socialization? Yes, and this quote I read recently really sums up my feelings on the reason well: “For some reason it is assumed that collecting approximately twenty-five same aged children under the paid instruction of a teacher for six hours a day is the best way for young humans to learn the standard values and behaviors of society, hence, to become ‘socialized’… segregating their children away from their families and the community at large is a condition that creates inherently unnatural socialization. In these situations, children become intensely peer oriented. When peer culture becomes paramount, young people resist maturing influences such as parents and adults. Unfortunately, peer culture can be cruel, exclusionary and unpredictable. This forces children to adopt cynical attitudes as self-protection even in the early grades” (Laura Grace Weldon). I don’t know how I will accomplish my goals in this area yet but I have the end in mind – children who will feel comfortable interacting with people of all ages and in various contexts.
It is understandable that teachers in the school system must follow a carefully developed curriculum. It is a huge responsibility to educate a whole generation of kids and prepare them to enter the world, fully equipped to handle whatever will come their way. The downside of curriculum requirements, a scheduled school day, and a large classroom, is that freedom must be sacrificed. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can speed up and slow down as required. You can take time to allow your child to pursue their interests even if they do not necessarily meet a formal curricular outcome. You have the freedom to set a flexible schedule, taking breaks and field trips as necessary. You also have the freedom to have your child work at various grade levels as their abilities allow. My daughter is currently in kindergarten. In some areas, she is very much at the kindergarten level. In some subject she ranges from a grade one to grade three level. Homeschooling will allow her to work at a pace in line with her current level of development rather than pushing her faster than she is able to go or holding her back when she is ready to move on. Flexibility and freedom are some of the greatest gifts homeschooling has to offer!
- Quality Time
The ultimate reason we have chosen to homeschool is that we cherish quality time with our children. If I were to send my child to school, she would be there approximately 32.5 hours per week. She would sleep around 70 hours per week. That means that my child would be unavailable to me for almost two thirds of her life, and that is if we have no other extracurricular activities or commitments. The Lord has blessed us in this season to allow me to stay home and I can think of no better way to use this time than to invest deeply in these precious little gifts I’ve been given.
What do you love about the educational path you have chosen for your children?