One important thing to do when you are homeschooling- and to reevaluate periodically as you continue to do it- is to come up with a few solid reasons why you homeschool.
Isn’t it enough to just like homeschooling? To just want to do it? Well, quite frankly, yes. That being said, you may find that it’s helpful to further explore the many reasons you enjoy homeschooling.
When you know why you homeschool…
It can help you have purpose. Having a strong purpose keeps you on track during the nitty gritty, day to day stuff of homeschooling. If you know that you’re doing this so that you can learn together as a family, or so that you can accommodate a special need, or because you had trouble with a public school, then you can turn all of those reasons into a rock-solid purpose that can help guide your daily activity. Your overall purpose with homeschooling should inform your daily goals and attitudes.
It encourages you on the hard days. When things go askew, when the kids (or parents) have abysmal attitudes, or when you just want to quit– knowing why you homeschool can give you courage. It can help you to remember the big picture. It gives you the strength to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and just keep going. (For more on this, check out this post on developing a homeschool mission statement.)
It can help defend your choice. While this really shouldn’t be a problem, you will most likely have to defend your choice to homeschool on a semi-regular basis. Whether it’s the doctor or your sister or your great-uncle Billy at the family gathering, at some point somebody is going to challenge your choice to homeschool. When you really know why you’re doing it, it becomes easier to defend your choice without worry or overthinking.
Why we homeschool
Why we homeschool is something that I’ve had to think on and reevaluate many times, especially as we’ve faced logistical and educational challenges through the years. Honestly, it started out because I just wasn’t happy with our other options. Our local public school stars in the area’s opioid epidemic and has huge class sizes. The private schools are expensive to attend, and, unfortunately, low in resources. I didn’t want to send my kids to any of these places.
However, over time, I’ve begun to move from a negative reason for homeschooling (I don’t like the alternatives) to much more positive reasons (why we enjoy this path). I’m sharing some of our main reasons for homeschool below, though there are certainly many more!
Schedule Flexibility: When we first began homeschooling, we were self-employed and often working at night and on weekends. This made traditional schooling rather undesirable, as it would force us to be away from our kids during the only hours they were home. Homeschooling provided a flexible alternative that allowed us to enjoy days at home with them. In fact, the adaptability of homeschool was one of the primary reasons we chose it.
Beyond accommodating less common work schedules, homeschooling also works beautifully around family vacations, traveling, errands, field trips, new babies, sickness, job changes, relocation, and other changes in your normal routine. It can remain continuous as the rest of your life shifts through all its phases.
Individualized Education: When I look back on my time teaching in schools, I realize now that I clearly remember the really good students and the really bad students. I don’t much remember the average student, and in fact, I think it’s entirely possible that they often get lost in the mix.
Homeschooling allows me to focus on exactly what my kids need, when they need it. If I need to go more slowly with math, it’s not a problem. If my child would benefit from reading at a more challenging level, I can go right ahead and give him a harder book. Homeschool is not limited by the size of the class or the normal parameters of “grade level” expectations.
Holistic Life Experiences: I never liked the separation between school life and the wide range of real life experiences that most adults experience. Even if you work a day job with very little variation, all adults know that real life asks a lot more from us than just showing up at work each morning.
Grocery shopping, housecleaning, home repair, car trouble, taking a meal to the mom with a new baby, attending a funeral, going on a road trip, raising an animal, building something, driving, starting a business, sewing a dress, learning to cook, banking, being a good friend, getting to know your family, spending time with both old and young, taking walks outside… these are all experiences that may or may not happen with regularity in a school building, but come with the territory when homeschooling.
I like to think that homeschool is a little bit more “real life” than the average traditional school.
Other reasons to homeschool
These are just a few of the reasons we homeschool. But there are so many more. Here are some other common reasons for homeschooling:
- More family time: Homeschool parents generally get to enjoy more of their kids’ childhood because they just aren’t away from the family as much. Siblings get to know each other better, and kids get to know their parents more.
- Positive environment: Parents can work to create an setting at home that encourages a child’s natural creativity, strengths, and abilities. They can work to build a strong family relationship and a safe space for learning. What’s more, the home is generally free of the common public school worries: peer pressure, comparison, bullying, etc.
- More varied socialization: It seems like folks are always worried about those poor unsocialized homeschoolers. However, I find that most homeschool kids are socialized perfectly well- just differently than public school kids. They tend to spend time with a wide variety of age groups in many different places.
- More time: When you’re not in school, there is less need for homework and less wasted time. No need for passing out papers to 30 people, interrupting to sign hall passes, or the obligatory pep rallies. At home, you just focus on your work, then when you’re done you’re done. It’s for this reason that homeschoolers tend to have more free time than their traditionally schooled counterparts.
- More freedom: you can choose your curriculum, your field trips, and freely study topics of interest. You can homeschool when and where you like, so school can happen at home, on vacation, at the library, while running errands, or anywhere else you dream.
What appeals to you the most? What would you add to the list?
Why you homeschool
The reasons someone might choose to homeschool can be as varied as the people who do it. The reasons can change over time, and there will be seasons in your life that the reasons don’t make sense anymore. That’s okay. There’s no shame in adjusting your reasons- and even your school choices- as your family grows and changes. In fact, that’s part of the beauty of homeschooling.
So today, think a bit about why you homeschool. Write it out, make a sign, share it with a friend, or share with me in the comment section. I look forward to learning from you!