When I was really starting to get discouraged about all the homeschooling research I had read- and how much more I felt like I would need to read before I was truly satisfied with my decision- I asked my husband an important question. “What do you need to know? What research do I need to find to convince you this is the right choice?” I’m so glad I asked. Because his answer was very simple. “I don’t really care about the research,” he said. He wanted reasons to homeschool.
“What I want to know is, why do you want to homeschool?”
Immediately, the dark cloud of worry over my head evaporated. Oh. Duh. It’s so simple. “Why do you want to add this on to your responsibilities?” He asked.
Admittedly, this is slightly complicated.
The reasons to homeschool are myriad. Mine cover everything from my own desire to keep learning, all the way down to the kinds of things I want my kids to learn, and the kind of people I want them to be. So, in preparation for the looooong conversation I will be having with him, here it is: the test run.
Maybe you’ve thought about these things yourself, but you’re not sure how to put them into words. Or you’re not sure where to start. I hope this will be the article you need. Eventually, I plan to write my husband a paper, and create a sort of mock “template” for you to use to plug in your own personal reasons and information about why you want to homeschool.
So, here it is:
My personal Reasons to Homeschool List:
- I can figure out my kids’ learning styles. And then I can learn about how best to teach those learning styles. After that, I can make customized, engaging, perfectly tailored lesson plans to give my kids the best chance at understanding any given concept.
- If those concepts are taking longer to sink in, we can slow down. I can pace our school year to include LOTS of wiggle room. If we need extra time on any subject, we can take it. If we need different resources, different curriculum, a tutor, or just plain need to cover a subject a second or third time, we can. There’s no pressure to meet any kind of deadline, we can go at our own pace.
A quick sidebar:
When my son was in first grade (at our local elementary school), I asked at a conference about the social studies curriculum planned for that school year. The teacher’s response was so sad. “All the first grade teachers decided not to teach social studies this year,” she said. “Because the expectations for reading and math are so high, we need to focus our attention on those subjects.”
And when you have a classroom of 25 kids, I have no doubt those kinds of decisions are a necessity. And I’m not for a second denigrating the unbelievably difficult work of being a public school teacher. I have a whole lot to say about public school, this is not the time or the post. But I never have to make those kinds of decisions. I never have to feel like I have so much I need to accomplish in our math curriculum that we have to put geography on the shelf. Or any other subject. I can give every unit the time and attention it deserves. I can build us a school year that creates the kind of careful, detailed lessons that will really give my kids a deeper understanding of the topics that they are most interested in!
And that’s # 3 on my list of reasons to homeschool.
A few more reasons to homeschool:
4. I can’t wait to feature incredible women and people of color in our history curriculum, to give them their due import. I am most excited to give my kids an appreciation of the many, many amazing people they might not have the opportunity to learn about in school.
5. We don’t have to follow the traditional September-June school year model. There’s no need for a certain number of “learning hours” or “unit days”. We can build a schedule that works for us. We’ll take time off when we need it, we can do mini-lessons on weekends with daddy, or take a vacation in the middle of the school year, and we will have no one to answer to but ourselves.
6. We can decide when we want to get into tricky subjects like sex education (and all the stuff that surrounds that wonderful topic).
7. Talking about building a custom schedule, I can make room in the kids’ lives for all the things they might become passionate about. We can do all kinds of awesome extra-curricular activities, from instruments, to art or dance classes, computer coding, Legos, engineering, STEAM, sports… you name it, we can do it!
8. The opportunities to do lessons in unorthodox ways- from teaching class outside, teaching lessons during chores, doing math or history during bedtime stories! It’s also unbelievably appealing to think about teaching things like baking (science!), money management (math!), gardening (more science!), etc.
When I think about the people I want my kids to be…
There are many skills I want to teach my kids. Some of them, I don’t think they can get from a traditional classroom. I want my kids to be independent, spirited, inquisitive, and self-directed. They can be the kind of learners that can ask a question, and know exactly where to go to find the answer (P.S., asking the Google Home doesn’t count!!!). I plan to give them a love of learning. With luck, they will be unafraid to go down a different path, a less-traveled route to success. If I can succeed, I truly believe our kids can achieve their fullest potential. They can walk the road of life, and be wildly successful on their own terms. The gift of an education is a gift that keeps on giving, forever.
So, what are your reasons to homeschool?
I want to give my kids that gift. I don’t think there’s any greater purpose I could serve in this life, than that of a “mother life teacher”. I’m uniquely suited to do it, I believe. This is a calling of mine, and I know it won’t be easy, but it will be so, so worth it.