Whether or not to homeschool our children was never a difficult question for my husband and I to answer. We knew that we would and were intentional about discussing how we would. We set goals and decided that if we were going to do it, we were going to maximize every opportunity that it presents.
Initially, many did not understand, appreciate or support our decision for a number of reasons. They were valid reasons. All of which had been carefully considered and thoroughly discussed by John and I. They were also some of the very reasons we decided homeschooling was the right choice for our family.
So here I am presenting the reasons we were given not to homeschool and how those reasons influenced our decision to homeschool.
Their concern: Some were concerned about the fact that teachers are licensed professionals who have studied, been tested and declared qualified to teach.
Our reason: We both agree that teaching is a specialized and very important profession. We both have a background in education. I am a licensed teacher with 9 years of experience in middle and high school. My husband tutored high school students and lectured at the university level. Considering our experience, we felt that we actually qualified into homeschooling quite well.
However, one does not need a background in education or even to have done well in school to succeed at homeschooling children. What is needed is passion, perseverance, persistence and discipline. Homeschooling is by no means easy, but anyone with these four things can do it and find great success.
Their concern: Some people expressed their concern about the stress added to the parent-child relationship after spending so much time together.
Our reason: One of the common discussions I had with other teachers during my time in education was how little parents actually knew their children due to the limited amount of time spent with them. It was often sad and frustrating to see how out of touch some parents were with their own children. This also gave other people a hand in shaping the minds, hearts, values, beliefs, and personalities of their children.
Granted, both parents not working outside the home is not an option for most families, but it results in a lot of time of separation. It takes a lot for parents who are already tired, stretched and drained to find the quality time needed to establish a bond strong enough to remain their children's greatest influencers. While we have no desire to control our children, we want to be the greatest voice of influence in their lives as they learn to make their decisions.
Is it easy? No, but that is mostly because of my personality, not my girls'. It is because of the areas in which my own character needs to be developed, not theirs. It is worth it? Absolutely! The time I get to spend with my girls learning their personalities, shaping their values, guarding their hearts, and helping them develop a strong foundation of faith in Christ is priceless.
Their concern: A person who loves me very much expressed concern about the sacrifice I am personally making by giving up the opportunity for a career and the financial sacrifice to our family.
Our reason: I'll have to admit that this was a difficult consideration for both myself and my husband. The challenge was not the financial sacrifice, but choosing to release the sense of accomplishment and self-worth often found in one's career. When I considered the matter of self-worth, I had to go back to how and for what God designed me. Could I truly find my self-worth in helping someone else achieve what God has given them to do? Could that be more rewarding than being a full-time mom and teacher to the children He gave to us? Could anyone else really take this job as seriously as I can? Could anything be more rewarding than investing my time and skills into the next generation? I had to seriously ask myself, when it's all said and done, what am I looking to have said of me? "She was a good employee or boss" or as King Lemuel wrote of the Proverbs 31 woman:
"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”"
Their concern: "Aren't homeschooled children a bit socially awkward?" "Keeping them out of school won't allow them to learn how to interact with other children their own age."
Our reason: When we began discussing the homeschooling option, I did not know about all of the co-ops, programs, tutorials, associations, leagues, clubs, etc., available for homeschooling families. What we did know is that by opting to homeschool our children, we can expose them to opportunities to interact with people of all ages, backgrounds, races, and the like, in different scenarios and various activities. The potential is endless.
Their concern: Another valid concern was that failing to enroll them in public school would restrict their opportunities to participate in clubs and sports. Most important was the fear that homeschooling would have a negative effect on their chances of college acceptance and scholarship options.
Our reason: We found that by homeschooling our children, we could provide them with a well-rounded education and expose them to many opportunities that the rigors of public school cannot allow. As far as sports and clubs, in our area, there is nothing that they could do in public school that they don't have access to as homeschoolers and more. The possibilities are limitless for us.
Concerning the matter of college acceptance and scholarships, most of those conditions of acceptance are based on ACT or SAT scores, which many homeschoolers do well on. Homeschoolers are not limited to time or public school schedules and standards and can volunteer, participate in various clubs, sports and activities, work a job, and take college credits as they choose.
Here is a link to an article published in 2011 by OnlineCollege.org that speaks to this matter more thoroughly. The article, 15 Key Facts About Homeschooled Kids in College, tells how homeschooled children often enter college with more college credit, often score higher on the ACT, and are more likely to graduate, among other notable things.
Let me say this, just because a child is homeschooled doesn't mean that he or she is better behaved, more intelligent, will be more successful or has a greater love of learning than others who attend public or private school. Homeschooling is not an option for everyone and it's not the best fit for every family. Families must prayerfully and honestly decide what is best for each one of them and their needs. Talk about it. Pray about it. Do your research and be honest with yourselves. It is a lot of work and takes a lot of commitment. If you have not already, join some homeschool FB groups and read more blogs. The homeschooling community is strong and is a treasure to parents new to homeschooling.
However, if you believe in your heart that this is the best choice for your family, but are afraid to take the step because of a fear of failure, lack of information or due the opinions of others, I suggest you do 4 things. Pray and get a vision from God for your family, do your own research, join some homeschool social media communities and see if you can find your "whys" in other people's "why nots."