Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why We Chose to Homeschool

My homeschool book bins for Jman and BG

When I tell someone we homeschool our children, there is usually a list of questions to follow.  I've had a few people ask me why we chose to homeschool, and I'm going to share that answer with you.

First off, I'll start with my husband's and my education background.  I grew up going to public schools my entire life.  I enjoyed school, in fact, I loved high school and college.  I had a great experience.  My husband went to public schools as well, except for Seminary and his other graduate classes, in which he attended a private Christian school.  He would say he enjoyed his schooling.  

We first started talking about homeschooling after hearing stories from friends that were teachers, and other people that were still in high school.  They would talk about kids doing drugs in class, having alcohol in water bottles, the lack of motivation and respect in classrooms, as well as the lack of knowledge one would think kids would know in high school.  We do realize that these could be one time incidents, but the fact that they even happened in public and private schools raised flags on our radar.  

I was still not convinced about homeschooling; my husband was more for the idea than me, until I did some volunteer time at an elementary school in a Title I classroom in north Minneapolis.  North Minneapolis is not one of the nicer neighborhoods in Minneapolis.  The school was in a low-income neighborhood and would be considered a rough neighborhood.  The children I helped were way behind in their reading.  It was a daunting job.  The regular classrooms had over 30 kids in them, and the teachers were not able to spend quality time teaching each subject to each child.  This caused many problems for kids that couldn't keep up or learned in a different way than what was being taught.  The kids were also sent home with massive amounts of homework.  I couldn't believe the size of the 1st and 2nd graders backpacks!  I don't remember having a lot of homework that required taking textbooks home.  After finishing up my volunteer time at that school, I felt more called to homeschooling than ever before.  I do believe God placed me there to feel compassion for those children, pray for them and work on guiding my heart towards homeschooling.

The main reason for our family deciding to homeschool is our values.  Nate and I both decided that we want our children to be filled with Christian values as their hearts and characters are being developed.  I am always amazed at how much they pick up from listening to others speak and watching others interact.  They are little sponges and I want them soaking up Godly virtues.  There was a first grade teacher in Minneapolis that was openly conversing with his students about his homosexual relationship. After hearing this, I knew that I didn't want someone else responsible for my children's education.

We also want our children to get the attention and help they need, when they need it.  I am able to pick up right away when they are having difficulties or getting frustrated.  This will help in the long run, making school enjoyable now and nurturing a love for learning.

As an added bonus, we like having the flexibility to take family vacations when we want to, and use them as specific learning experiences.  There is always a time to learn.

We feel so blessed to have the opportunity and freedom to school our children from home.  It is so awesome to watch the "light bulb" go on as it clicks in their minds, a privilege really.  It is an adventure, with ups and downs, excitements and disappointments, but always with an atmosphere of love.


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