One of the most common questions I get asked is why we homeschool. Why did we choose this life? Is it faith, values, academics? Before I explain some of our own motivators, let me share a bit of my story. I was homeschooled along with my siblings. In my growing up years there were four of us really close in age and we all did school together. My mom was an AMAZING homeschool mom–the kind that I compare myself to even now wondering how I could improve. I tried school out for half of grade 2, for grade 6, and again in high school. School for me had a lot of questions… “WHY did I have to do it that way?” It felt like we wasted a lot of time, I remember being done and waiting and waiting for the teacher to help someone else or explain something to them. I was bullied in grade 6, made fun of, ostracized. And I felt totally displaced and insecure in high school. I LOVED being homeschooled (click to read more about my experience). My family were my best friends. I built relationships with them that I would never have had otherwise. I was a homebody and I never felt uncomfortable or pressured or awkward at home. I never felt judged or unsure of myself or stupid. I felt SAFE. Every day. I could wear what I wanted to wear without a second thought, I could make mistakes, I could learn what I wanted to learn about, and I got to do it alongside people who loved me.
It was one of the great highlights of my childhood. The school part came easy to me, I ended up advancing two grades by the time high school came around. I went to our local high school and graduated when I had just turned 16 years old. Homeschooling prepared us for life in a way public school could not. I think a lot of that stemmed from the fact that instead of being put in a fish bowl of only children our own age growing up (which is unnatural when you think about the real world AFTER high school), we learned to communicate and express ourselves and be comfortable around people of all ages. My parents had us volunteering at local care homes, many of our homeschool friends were much older or much younger than us, and we did a ton of field trips and activities outside of the home.
When Jonathan and I first got married, we talked a lot about homeschooling. He thought public school was fine, I mean he turned out okay! We debated back and forth a LOT in the early years. But it all changed when he started working more closely with the schools around us (he is a police officer up here in Canada). By the time our kids were old enough to really start thinking about school, he was the complete opposite. He has become my strongest supporter, my biggest advocate. On the days when I question if we are doing the right thing or if I can handle this, he keeps me going and reminds me why we do this. He is passionate about our decision to homeschool and does what he can to support that decision.
My Kids are Free to Learn and Grow at their Own Pace in their Own Way
So that leaves us with my own reasons why, other than the fact that I loved it and saw the benefits of it personally. Do I think they get a better education one on one instead of in a classroom ratio of 1:24? Yes. Do I think they are building closer relationships with their siblings and with us? Yes. But those aren’t my primary reasons. I honestly think my kids would do very well in school. And school is less about the education as much as it is about learning how to learn and developing a love for it. In light of that, my decision is based on the here and now, elementary school: the early years.
Because they are homeschooled, in their day to day environment, my kids don’t ever have to feel dumb, inadequate, unsure of themselves, embarrassed, self conscious, bullied, unsafe, or confused. They are comfortable 100% of the time. They are safe and secure in who they are and are free to express themselves in any way without fear of rebuttal or what people will think of them. Does this mean I protect my kids from the real world? Absolutely not! At this age, they still experience all those things in various groups or outings. Such as group classes they are involved in, friendships outside of our family, church, heck even the playground! They have felt bullied or dealt with kids that they just didn’t know how to handle. They have dealt with peer pressure and been embarrassed or unsure of themselves. That is life, that is childhood. But it is not in their face every single day. And because of this, they are incredibly sure of themselves and self-confident.
Taking the Time to Grow Closer as a Family and Ground my Children in their Faith and Values
Another primary reason we choose to homeschool is to ground our children in their faith. To give them time to form roots, ask questions, experience it for themselves before they go into a school environment where it becomes a religious vacuum. Not just the basics of our faith, but our values. In this day and age, everything is under re-evaluation, including basics like gender. I am all for gender equality, but now we are transitioning to the Gender Spectrum (click to read more). “Boy” and “girl”, that just creates confusion and stigma. Now there is a spectrum and your child is free to explore where they fit on that spectrum. You don’t want to go to the “boys” bathroom? Then go where you feel comfortable! This is approved and being implemented in schools across BC. I want to teach my children MY values, not the governments. I want to instil what I believe, I want them to be confident in who they were created to be, a boy or a girl. Not told that those don’t exist.
Our values and faith will not be taught in the public school setting nor accepted. Where does that leave my children? Caught in between two opposing worlds?
I homeschool because I saw the many benefits I personally received from it. It IS a sacrifice. I’ll admit the odd jealous twinge when I see mom’s drop their kids off at school and meet for coffee or go shopping. But in the end, I KNOW it is worth it. I don’t know if we will do it forever but I am willing to trust that God will lead us in this and what is best for each of our children.
Why do you homeschool?
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