The most asked question that my husband and I get asked is "why?" Why do we homeschool? It is an answer that has many facets and did not come to either of us very easily. In fact, when the idea was presented to me I was heading back to college myself in pursuit of my law degree! I was rather skeptical of the idea due to the one "real" experience I had with it while growing up. My mom's friend homeschooled their youngest daughter. Needless to say, it didn't leave a good lasting impression of what homeschool was all about.
When I started attending Second Baptist Church I noticed that many families were teaching their kids at home! It was like that for the Awana program too. Weird. I noticed that these kids were so well behaved and articulate. Certainly not like the child that I saw when I was growing up. The homeschool bug eventually bit my mother in law who started talking about all the benefits to homeschool. I became a bit more interested after she gave me a book to read. I didn't want to be "that" family, you know what I mean?
My husband didn't like the idea for all the same reasons that I gave. The idea then got put on the back burner and I concentrated on my college education and career. I was basically a non-existent parent for a fairly long stretch of time and then I became pregnant with baby number five! That is basically when it hit me. What kind of a mother am I being to my children? During my pregnancy I was so sick, tired, and desperate to figure out what I should be doing with my life. Miraculously, God was obviously speaking to my husband and he was all of a sudden on board with the idea of me staying home and teaching them! WOAH! What a whirlwind of nervousness and excitement! I began conducting even more research into what I was doing now! I prayed, asked opinions, watched people, prayed, googled, joined groups, prayed, read books, prayed...and then prayed again! I prayed so hard until finally God said "Amy, YOU KNOW you can do this!"
So why? I wanted to be a mother again. I was gone so much of the time that my mother in law and the public school system were raising my children. I didn't want that for my kids because it wasn't necessary. We also feel that God instructs us to teach our children in our home. The Bible says:
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Psalms 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
While the public school system in our area didn't mind our children reading the Bible or talking about God in class, we wanted to enrich their lives with even more of God's teachings here at home. We were also beginning to discover the cruelness of other children in the public school and their ability to cause problems for our children. My children were picking up bad language, inappropriate humor, were around violent children and other such issues. While homeschool does not prevent, or shelter, the world's abuses, we are able to limit the exposure that our children have to endure it before they are equipped or mature enough to handle it!
We were also watching our son get shuffled through the system. He has a real hard time reading, spelling, writing, etc. however, he kept getting A's and B's on his report card. How can you get all D's and C's on homework, tests, etc. but get an A on a report card? It doesn't make sense. When we brought my then fourth grade son home, he tested at a second grade level! How can that be? Well, I will venture to say that my son was falling through the cracks. The teachers were obviously not equipped to notice one struggling student out of 30. They are not able to just stop the whole class until every last child understand each and every concept. However, at home....I can!
Do my children have friends? Oh brother....while there are "dry" spells during flu season, they see their friends more than ever before! My husband answers the question like this: "Let me put it this way, I am way busier now than we were when they were in public school." So the answer is, yes, they have friends from all different backgrounds, cultures, ages, interests, etc. They are not lumped together all day long with the same age group of kids like in public school. The have dance class, gymnastics, swimming, Awana, voice lessons, co-op, PE, musicals, and periodic field trips with other homeschool families. Think my kids are bored? Friendless? Think again!
Anyway, why? It is quite simple, we chose to live our life as a family, and grow together as a family instead of the way "normal" society thinks we should!
Now the flip side to our story is that we still have one child in public school. My oldest daughter, Amanda, will remain in public school. Certainly not by my choice, but my ex husband's. Case law in Illinois states that it is in the best interest of the child to remain in public school if that is what the child is accustomed to doing before the divorce. Amanda was not homeschooled before or during the divorce, so public school it is for her. She wants desperately to come home, but, her dad will not hear of it. For now. I'm not done praying about it! =)
So, there you have it. We homeschool our children for many reasons. Am I anti public school? No, not really. The system as we see it is broken and no amount of money will fix it, so I am thankful to have most of my children out of the government system of doing things. Do I think homeschool is for everyone? NO WAY! There are some people out there that shouldn't even consider it! The decision should be between you, your spouse, and God.