Monday, November 9, 2009

Why homeschool?

A reader asked me this question recently, as well as a couple of friends in conversation. I decided it was time to post about it, so that there is some place I can refer people to when asked this question. The reasons we chose homeschooling are many, it can be summed up in, “because it was what felt right for our family in general, and our kids specifically”, but broken down, these are the main reasons it felt right for us (disclaimer: these are the reasons it works for OUR family, homeschooling is not for everybody, nor is it the only way to achieve the results I list below, so please don’t read this as a judgment on what may work for you):

- ensuring a strong spiritual foundation in their lives, character development (see this post for more detail), and helping them to establish a world view based on the equality of all people, respect for (and interest in) cultural diversity, and a respect for and desire to protect this beautiful world we live in.

- protecting them from what goes on in schools (I don’t need to elaborate here, we all went to school ourselves…)

- academically we can do so much more with them, we can follow their passions and interests, work at their speed and abilities, all with the advantage of one-on-one attention from parents who know them far better than any teacher (no matter how perceptive and involved) ever would, and who care deeply about their development.

- to foster a love for learning

- the ability to offer our kids more hands-on learning, in multiple settings, for example, out in nature. Related to this, the ability to include life-skills in their education, such as housework and cooking, and when they get older, managing finances and so on.

- flexibility – we have to do “school” a certain number of days a year, but we are not bound to any specific schedule, so those days can happen when we want them to (you need to look into your specific State laws, though).

- time for the boys to have plenty of unstructured play time, which is so essential to early development and learning.

Our family is only starting on this journey, so our focus right now is on the early years, and that is all I can speak to, since I have not explored in-depth beyond those years (though we hope to homeschool all the way through high school, this will depend on whether homeschooling continues to work for all the members of our family). For more details on the specifics of homeschooling in the early years, I recommend reading this post in FIMBY (a blog I enjoy). Renee really covers a lot of what we are trying to do with our homeschool, so it seems easier to just refer you there. If you would like a selection of books on the subject of homeschooling you can find them here.

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