Friday, June 25, 2010

"Why? How can you stand being around them all day?"

The reactions I get from people about homeschooling range from laugh out loud funny to downright rude. The biggest question is why in the world I would do this.

Assumption 1: My family and I are overly religious.
Yes, we are religious. We do attend church on a regular basis; however, it is not why we homeschool! Providing my child with a religious education is a definite plus, and one that I do take advantage of. Frankly, though, I could give my child a Christian upbringing without keeping them home for school.

Assumption 2: We are trying to keep our kids sheltered away from the "real world".
No, it's not us to stay locked away. My kids are involved in community activities. Both attend storytime, and my eldest takes baton classes. They interact in the "real world" by helping Mommy shop, run errands, pay bills, etc. The Bible says we are in the world but not of it. ( We are supposed to be out and about. We are just not supposed to live as if the Bible and God never existed, like so many in our society do.

Assumption 3: I am one of those helicopter parents who won't cut the cord.
No way!! My kids go to friends' houses, spend the night with family, go on vacations with other fmaily members, etc. I have no problem sending my kids elsewhere (and with other people) for fun and education activities. In fact, my eldest my be experiencing Disney World for the first time without Daddy or I! (That I have to admit has be a little freaked. *wink*)

Assumption 4: The school in my area must really stink.
Not at all. Both the public and private school options around here are very good! I personally know many of the teachers in both environments, and they are wonderful teachers who love their jobs. The local public school is where both DH and I graduated from, and we both feel we got an excellent education.

So, why do we homeschool?
It's for academic reasons and more importantly is something God has called me to do!

Studies are all over the place out there that show how important student-teacher ratio is, and the lower it is, the better. Well, I have to ask. Can you get any lower a ratio than 1:1? My eldest child has my full attention. No classroom teacher can say that about their students!

I was also dealing with typical "terrible twos" tantrums over not-so-typical reasons. My daughter's tantrums were over her inability to read and write her name. I personally didn't want to start educating her at 2, but this is about my daughter. Not me. She was ready to learn at that age, and I felt I'd be doing her a disservice by telling her "no school until you're 5".

DH and I were also less-than-pleased with some of what we saw in a group education setting. Kids were forced to work at the pace of the slowest person. They were not encouraged to work at their full potential and even punished when they tried to do things at their own pace. We didn't want that for our child. It didn't seem fair to hold her back because another child in the group was catching on as fast. On the flip-side of that, we would feel awful if any of our children were holding another back because they needed extra time to understand a concept.

I love that my child can work at her own pace, flying through topics that are easy and taking extra time on topics she needs help with. She can choose what topics to study (from a list of options I give her). I have time for extra learning opportunities that she may not get elsewhere.

Probably most importantly, God has called me to do this. I knew somewhere between my freshman and sophomore years of high school that I wanted to homeschool. I pursued my degree in education (starting out focusing on biology and mathematics and finishing up in elementary) with the thought of homeschooling in the back of my mind.

Well, there you have it. We homeschool because God has called me to it and so that our kids can have the best education possible. I love my kids like crazy and being around them all day is pretty easy (most days).

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