Educational Choices… Why We Continue to School at Home

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It’s no secret that in our parenting journey we’ve made different educational choices than many. We’ve homeschooled consecutively for 16 years. During those years, Eric spent 4.5 years in public school and graduated from our local high school. Emme spent her middle school years at our local Christian academy and her senior year at our local career center. Both kids had great experiences and I wouldn’t change any of it for them. Ellen continues to be home and it’s been great for her.

I continue to say that there is no perfect educational choice. Each choice has its own pros and cons, and each child has their own unique needs.  Every parent is endowed with the privilege of rearing their offspring to the best of their ability. What works for one, may or may not work for another. Personally, I’m grateful to live in a country that allows me to make educational choices for each one of my kids.

However, I’m continually asked a million obscure questions about homeschooling. I think most people are simply curious as to why we have chosen this path. I don’t mind answering their questions and I enjoy the conversation that ensues. Sometimes, including at my latest job interview for a totally unrelated position, people are very defensive in their questions. It seems that our choices of education for our own children offend them. I’m not sure why the 3 Es educational journey matters so deeply to them. Regardless, I will continue answers questions like this:

Why do you continue to homeschool when there are so many great options available?

This is a loaded question that I could expound on for days. I’ll spare you the diatribe. Mostly I’m learning to turn this question back around and make it rhetorical. It seems the majority of people who ask me this question have only experienced the one educational choice they made at the beginning. Which begs the question–  “and just how many great options have your kids experienced?

But, again I digress. So, in no particular order, here are 4 reasons why I continue to homeschool.

I consider homeschooling a great option.

I dare you to sit down with my kids and ask them about homeschooling. Ask them what they consider the pros and cons to be. Ask them what their favorite memories are. I’m quite certain you’ll hear things about the ACFL (After Co-op Football League), Co-op, “Anna’s Prayer,” school days in the camper, career days like auctions and surgeries, and pj’s, snuggles, and stories on the couch. I’m equally certain you’ll hear about science-gone-wrong, math tears, reading tears, and mom tears. As my kids are answering your questions and entertaining you with their stories, please listen closely. Hear the joy in their voice, see the twinkle in their eyes, and watch the animation with which they speak. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and for us, homeschooling was a great option.

I regard homeschooling as far less political.

Hear me out, please. Homeschooling kids aren’t caught in a political nightmare of choosing sides (one example here). I agree that horrible situations occur with homeschool families (one example here) and it disgusts me. Situations like that are not political, they are evil. Yes, all homeschool kids are subject to their parents’ political beliefs, whether they agree or not. I would argue that students who go to other schools are subject to other’s political beliefs, often several different political beliefs at one time. I’ll stick with homeschooling my kids and letting them choose their own political beliefs as they mature and understand.

I know that homeschooling is more economical.

Seriously. Yes, I buy my own curriculum. Here’s the rub. In my state, if your child attends a traditional school, the parent “rents” the textbooks for the year and the student then returns the books on one of the last days of the school year. I paid as much to rent my son’s books for one year as I did to purchase one year of curriculum. The difference is that when I purchase curriculum for my homeschool,  I use it for more than one student. I don’t send it back on the last day of class.

There are other expenses besides book rental. Traditional school also comes with various and sometimes ambiguous fees. Sports fees, field trip fees, tech fees… it all adds up. So, instead of paying those fees to the public school, I treat myself to a coffee now and then and I still spend less money.

I like my own schedule.

When my kids were in traditional schools, the school calendar determined what we did on any given day.  Our family calendar was no longer the compass for how we spent our time. Suddenly, I had to confer with the school calendar before I could schedule something else. Yes, I understand that the school needs a calendar to function well and eventually I got used to it.

Honestly, I place a very high value on my time with my kids and when someone else tells me what I can or cannot do on any given day, I get a little put-out. Homeschooling allows me to spend my time with my kids and be in charge of my schedule. Quality and quantity time makes me happy.

 

 

 

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