Why We Homeschool

SEP 30, 2005

We homeschool for a variety of reasons:

1) Religious
Our public schools have abandoned prayer and teaching of God. They teach evolution as if it is fact. Many schools are going with the trend of not even recognizing Christmas and other Christian holidays. (It is called winter break, etc.) I want my children to grow up with a solid foundation on God, for nothing would exist without Him.

2) Safety (of body and mind)
You surely have heard of the raging violence within our schools. Schools have become dangerous physically for children to attend. Children have to pass through metal detectors to go to school. Mentally, school is dangerous as well. Let’s face it: children can be cruel to each other. I grew up with the label of nerd, 4-eyes, etc. attached. Doesn’t do much for the self-esteem. I want my children to know they are accepted and loved as they are. There will be plenty of time for them to learn the cruelties of this world.

3) Academics
According to the Third International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS), test scores of 5,400 seniors in 210 public and private high schools were compared with seniors in other nations in four subjects: advanced math, physics, general math and general science. Among 16 countries, U.S. seniors outperformed only Austria in advanced math. In physics, U.S. seniors ranked dead last. The sad thing is at the 4th grade level, students performed competitively with other nations but declined rapidly by 8th grade. Only 10 percent of high school graduates qualify for even entry- level jobs.

I do not want my children being taught about such things as diversity, sex education, etc. In one local school district for which I have printed their scope and sequence, they introduce sex education in 3rd grade! 3rd Grade!! My child will be only 8 years old! That’s next “school year”!! In a school setting, I expect the basic academics to be taught (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic). Morality and values are a parent’s job to teach. Unfortunately, in this day and age, alot of parents are too busy with work and success to have time to teach their kids… so schools have taken over this important responsibility. I don’t want morals and values taught by a teacher whose own morals and values may be vastly different than mine. This is not one area of life I wish the schools to teach my children.

Another academic reason is that kids do not perform at the same level for every subject. For example, my 7 year old would be in 1st grade in public school. Homeschooling she really is performing like this: Math – at a 1st grade level, Science – at a 3rd grade level, History/Geography – at a 2nd grade level, Reading – at a Kindergarten level, and Writing – at a 1st grade level. No child performs at their grade level through all subjects. Frankly, our child would be labeled “Special Ed” because she is “behind” in reading. So she would be kept behind in other subjects that she does excel in simply because her reading is not up to par. Homeschooling lets you tailor the lessons so that each subject is leveled at their ability.

Finally, a last academic reason is that my daughter learns best through one-on-one, hands-on, visual learning. A teacher has 24+ children to teach… she can only realistically teach using a main learning style – usually this is an auditory learning style. Lectures. My child does not learn well at all using this method. She learns best wiggling and moving about ; sitting still in a classroom definitely does not allow this kind of learning! She also learns the most using her hands and seeing things. She’s a kinesthetic and visual learner. That’s why you may see posters and lots of projects completed in our homeschool room. Colorful worksheets and educational computer games appeal to her. They give her the opportunity to experience the information in a very real way. I have picked curriculum that best lets her learn in these ways. Schools do not have the ability to tailor the learning environment to my child in this way.

4) Socially
The biggest question I get asked is… “What about socialization?” Last time I checked, sitting in a teacher-controlled age-related classroom is not socialization. Nor is learning who has the latest style of clothes, who made the cheerleading/band/etc team, who is dating who, or (worse) who did whom. Learning how to relate to others of all age groups and different situations is socialization. Mikayla has social time with her friends (other homeschoolers) 2 times a week and other times as interest allows. We are a part of several local homeschool support groups and go on field trips with them. Last year, we went to the Apple Orchard, Organic blueberry farm, 1800’s German log house, and a candle making business. This year we have already gone to a Sled Dog Racing lesson and toured an animal hospital. We are planning on another Orchard field trip as well as other exciting events as they are planned! She has also been to picnics and skating parties sponsored by various homschool groups. She talks with our elderly neighbor as well as have sleepovers with her best friends.

These are our personal reasons – not meant to offend anyone who does send their children to public school. However, we find this is what works for our family and what we believe in.

I’d like to go on a bit more if ya don’t mind…
(anyone who knows me knows I could write a book! talkative )

We teach:
Bible, Character Values, Handwriting, Reading, Math (to include simple geometry, time, money, and fractions), Science (earth, space, life (plants and animal), human, and physical), History/Government, Geography/Culture Study, Art, and Music. Some subjects we might miss a day of because another subject got too interesting and we didn’t want to stop! (Can’t do that in school, huh? Once the bell rings, learning stops.) Check out our current school year to find more specifics on the subjects we are learning and curriculum being used.

Homeschool support groups are a main source of support. We can vent, ask questions, etc. I am a member of Restoring Education and Cherishing Home (REACH), Oakland County HomeSchool Group (OCHS), Homeschool Blessings, Macomb Christian Homeschoolers, and Michigan-Macomb County Homeschoolers. I am most active in REACH, while I lurk alot on the email groups for OCHS and Macomb homeschool groups. I post and am starting to be a bit more active in the Homeschool Blessings group. I belong to both secular and Christian-oriented support groups. I have alot to learn from the veterans of homeschooling of different styles as well as from the secular and non-secular groups. There are parents who have been in the trenches of homeschooling before homeschooling was even legal. They now have sons and daughters in college and graduating college. How awesome to hear that their children turned out “normal”.

Homeschooling is legal nationwide although the law varies from state to state: in some states, there are strict regulations concerning homeschooling and in others, they are very lax. Some states require parents to have certification while in others, not. Some states require yearly testing while others do not. It is up to each individual state as to what involvement is necessary of homeschoolers. Frankly, I pray involvement is kept at a minimum because that is why we keep our kids home to homeschool – we want to teach what (and how) we feel is necessary for our kid’s future success as a contributing member of society. There is the Home School Defense League (HSDL) which lobbies and protects our rights. clap

I don’t have teacher training or certification but I know what to teach my children. I teach the basics. I gear some lessons to my daughter’s interests: for example in cultural studies, we learn about the land & climate, animals, people, culture (i.e. celebrations, art, music, food, etc.), history and spiritual side of each country. But my daughter LOVES horses, dogs, and cats. So we look up what breeds originated in that country! Gets her more interested and she learns how to look information up in a reference book! ;)

There are many different ways to homeschooling ranging to “unschooling” to “classical education” (very lax to strict). I lean towards structure and curriculum because that is what my daughter responds best with. I use prepared curriculum for Handwriting, Reading, Math, Science, and History. If my youngest learns best through the unschooling approach, then homeschooling allows for this flexibility.

When my children progresses to harder subjects, I expect them to learn mostly by themselves and for those subjects they have trouble with, I will get a tutor or have them take dual-credit classes at a local college. I say “teach themselves” because during the early years, I try to teach them how to learn. That is the most important skill for they will be learning all of their lives: at jobs, at new hobbies, etc. So they need to learn how to learn. Thankfully, my husband is an engineer so I have help with upper math and science subjects! :D

There are also several organizations that provide external outlets – here we have an intermural girls and boy sports league (basketball, football, soccer, and baseball/softball) and a music organization (choir or orchestra).

As far as wanting to go to a regular school after being homeschooled, mine is too young still to have that opinion. I have talked to some “homeschool” graduates. I got to talk with one young lady last summer. She was 17 years old, very articulate, and knowledgeable. Not once did she miss public school. She felt she got to experience more of life than she would have going to school. She has several close friends, she was set to go to college that fall, and had a healthy self-esteem. She didn’t miss prom or other school “rituals”.

Since the main thing people ask or have concerns with is about socialization, I want to revisit this topic for a moment. My daughter has a group of 5 girls she has playdates with once a week. We also go on field trips and so on with other kids. We went to a homeschool roller skating party last October – 87 homeschooled kids from 4 to 18 years showed up! Public school is not “socialization”. Spending 6 hours a day under a controlled setting with your own age group is not socialization. I think true socialization is learning how to get along with people of all ages from 1 to 99! When our kids get on their own – have jobs and such – they will have to interact with all kinds of people. My daughter interacts almost daily with kids her age as well as our elderly neighbor and our middle aged neighbors. She is not shy to anyone. And she knows how to hold a decent conversation with anyone. Through her play group, she has learned that others have different opinions as her and has had to learn how to think about others and listen to them. She can be bossy and self-centered, but through her playgroup friends, she is learning that others may not always want to do the same things as her and they may actually be very vocal and adamant about it! It is a tough lesson for a 7 year old!

At first, it was scary to start homeschooling, but once you start, and with a good support network (even if it is only online), most anyone can homeschool. I was scared stiff when I first started (last summer). But now I am more confident. I have seen the standards the local schools have set and know we are meeting or exceeding them by far.

Well, I have gone on long enough!
I tend to get on my soapbox about homeschooling!

But I do hope this explains our thoughts on homeschooling well enough!

Originally written May 21, 2005 as a post on TheBabyWearer.com parenting forum
Added on to September 30, 2005.

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