Why Homeschool Series: Reason #1


I am in my 13th year of homeschooling, and as my oldest graduates this year, I’ve been reflecting on our educational journey together and the reasons why we chose this path. I know that homeschooling is not for every family. But I have found through the years that, whenever I mention to any new acquaintance that we homeschool, the most common response I get are the reasons why they don’t homeschool. I don’t expect any such explanation and have never felt that one was necessary. Just as I appreciate the freedom we have to choose our way of education, I equally appreciate that every family has their own unique personality, goals, and dynamics. Nevertheless, I’d like to write a series of articles about why we do homeschool.

First, a word about the goals we’ve established for our homeschool experience:

1)      Introduce them to all areas of learning so they get the opportunity to see what they are naturally good at and/or enjoy. I don’t require my children to make good grades in everything. As long as they are introduced to the knowledge and try their best, we have met the goal.

2)      Although I want my children to remember plain, basic knowledge, I don’t require them to memorize loads of things which are useless and which I know they’ll soon forget. What’s more important is that they learn how to find information when they need it or want it, a far more crucial skill for life.

As for our reasons, there are probably about as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. In this series, I will address those that are particular to our family.

The first is the one we list on the official homeschool affidavit filed with the school district every year, “religious reasons.”

When my oldest son was eight, we were doing his language arts one day and it had to do with a story about Jesus. I stopped mid-lesson and said, “You know, if you were in public school, you couldn’t have this lesson about Jesus.” He looked dumbfounded and asked why. I fumbled for words to try to explain it but realized I didn’t have a good answer that would make much sense to an eight-year-old. But it got me to thinking, how could we, as Christians, teach consumer math without teaching about tithing? How could we teach science without teaching about the creation, or health without talking about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Ghost, or history without teaching about the divine inspiration of the Founding Fathers of our country or God’s hand in all of history? How could we teach literature, music, or art without addressing the God-given talents of so many writers, composers, and artists throughout history? Having attended a Christian school from fourth through twelfth grade myself, I had never actually seen those subjects taught without a gospel influence and, frankly, don’t know how it’s done. In our family, the gospel and education just naturally go together, and we would rather not have to set aside our beliefs during six of the most important hours of the children’s days.

~to be continued~



Breaking News: Mom Establishes Rules for Child

Sometimes I feel like we’re already living in some weird, futuristic world that used to be the stuff of science fiction, you know, the world Hollywood portrays as being dark, overcast, and colorless, and where unthinkable laws and selfish practices abound. Our future is now decided by a generation of folks who barely know when, where, or how to vote, and when they do vote, their decision is based on, How will this affect me personally…in the next five minutes?

I have a theory about how this came to pass. We speak highly of the Greatest Generation, those hardy souls who struggled through the Great Depression and World War II with persistence, strength, and ingenuity. Naturally, they didn’t want their children to suffer as they had, and they worked hard to make everything easier for them. As any parent knows, it’s an understandable desire. But unfortunately, a couple of generations down the line, and we end up with a culture who believes they’re entitled to things, and if they suffer it is always someone else’s fault and they must be compensated.

The inherent brilliance of Americans has led to amazing forward leaps in technology, while simultaneously creating a generation of young people who are well-connected in cyberspace but increasingly more disconnected on a personal level. In cyberspace you can be rude, disrespectful, anonymous, and regress to humans’ basest instincts.

This is a world now where a mother can establish detailed rules for her 13-year-old son’s cell phone use, and this event makes national news, seen to be as astonishing as the technology about which she’s establishing rules. She’s being praised (and yes, I agree, good for her); people want copies of the contract.

Some will say it is newsworthy because her contract was 18 points long. Okay, granted, neither my parents nor my friends’ parents ever wrote down the rules for us, but I bet if they had, there would have been far more than 18 points.

So on the one hand, I’m sad that such things make the news these days, but on the other hand, I applaud the contract-making mom for taking a stand for good parenting and drawing attention to the fact. Hopefully, many parents will be inspired, and it will be a step in the right direction.  

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