I recently received an email from a lady who is taking a journalism class and looking for some input on an article she will be writing on homeschooling. Here are some of the questions she was asking about homeschooling and MY answers to those questions. I apologize in advance if some get a little long winded ;).
What are some of the reasons you decided to homeschool your children?
Originally, my reasons were purely academic. Even though we lived in a pretty good school system, Public School is designed to keep all children on the same page. Chelsea was getting into trouble at school because she was bored with what they were doing and I was told in a conference that they were "not allowed" to let her read more challenging books because then she would be too far ahead the next year. I still think that individualized learning is a great reason to homeschool, but my reasons go much deeper than that now. Lack of peer influence is another big reason, but being able to use a Christian Based Curriculum at home is my biggest reason. I am able to teach my children the "Truth" in everything we do. Every subject that is taught is from a Christian perspective and you can't do that when your children are in public school.
How do you react to the critics of homeschool who believe children will suffer socially if they are in a homeschool?
First of all, what is the main purpose of "school." Is it so our children can be educated, or be "socialized?" What kind of "social" interaction do you remember from school? Bullying, peer pressure to conform, self worth being based on looks/money are some of the socialization I remember. I am very happy that my children are missing out on those things and Thank God for that every day. We do have plenty of positive social interaction with other friends, homeschoolers, through 4-H, community service, and church activities. Since they are not stuck in a room with only children of the same age, my children are able to relate to and interact with people of all ages. They also have very good relationships with their siblings.
How do you think your children will benefit from having a homeschooled as opposed to public school education?
The lack of peer influence that I already mentioned is a big benefit as is the ability to provide a Christian Education. At home, you can tailor the education to the child in a way Public School will never be ale to do. If you have a 3rd grade child that is weak in Math but excels in reading you can use 1st grade Math and 5th grade reading materials. If you have a child that is fascinated with a particular area (like animals) you can focus their education on their passion. We can provide many hands on learning experiences and field trips. At home we don't teach our children what to think but instead teach them how to think. We are not teaching them to score high on a standardized test, but instead are educating them, preparing them for the world, and ultimately eternity.
There are parents who despise the public school situation their child is in, but still do not homeschool because it would place a heavy burden on them and keep them tied down to educating their children. What is your opinion on this?
When I started homeschooling, I had a 3rd grader, a 3 1/2 year old, 20 month old, and newborn. I was already committed to being a SAHM for at least 5 years until my youngest at that time would be old enough for K so that was something that really didn't concern me. We decided that we would take homeschooling one year at a time. I think that being a parent does require a lot of sacrifice. The benefits of homeschooling outweigh the sacrifice for me 100 times over. It isn't always easy but is always worth it. You may need some time to yourself so you don't feel tied down. Date-nights with your spouse, shopping with friends, homeschool support groups, co-ops might provide you with some of the break time you may need.
Many people have criticized the intellect of mother's who homeschool their children and assume the mother doesn't have a college education and isn't a qualified teacher. What is your opinion on this?
My children were given to me by God and He feels I am capable of teaching them everything they need to know. There is not one person on this world that knows them better than I do (not even my husband although he comes in a close 2nd but he has to go to work 50 hours a week) and that makes me the most qualified person to teach them. I do have a college degree but do not feel that a piece of paper is something that makes you qualified or not to teach. I know many people that are more educated than I am and would not be able to spend one day teaching my 7 year old how to read. There are many educated people in the Public School System that should not be spending their days teaching. Now, if I have a child that has an interest in something I know nothing about there are different ways we can handle that situation. We can find an "expert" in that area, take online classes, and/or gather and study everything we can find on that area/subject and learn all we can about it. In this technological age we are in, everyone has access to all kinds of information at their fingertips all of the time.