School Choice Series: Why Homeschooling is Our Choice

School Choice Series: Why Homeschooling is Our Choice

I do not consider myself the poster mom for homeschooling. I mean, there’s no secret homeschool manifesto tucked away in a drawer somewhere, outlining my world-dominating educational plans!

Instead of a manifesto on homeschooling, I do have a small, handwritten 5×7 card stuck to the front of my refrigerator. Its contents, written in my own imperfect scrawl, are simply this: “Why We’re Homeschooling”.

I didn’t write it for the world, but for myself, as a reminder on the days when I wake up and don’t feel equipped to be a teacher. It’s for the days when it’s gloomy outside and we’ve all got colds, for when our plans are unexpectedly canceled. I wrote it for when we’re struggling through a challenging new math concept and I need to adapt.

I keep it there for the hard days.

Because whether you’re homeschooling or not, parenting has its hard days. And we need reminders of why we make the choices we do, why we persevere and fight the good fight.

Without further delay, here are my reasons to homeschool:

  1. To build strong relationships with my kids centered around Jesus Christ

Teaching my kids at home gives me the incredible gift of both quantity and quality time with them. As parents, we’ve all felt that sense from time to time that childhood is breathtakingly short. I get to be a first-hand observer of their childhood for most minutes of the day. I am so thankful that many days I get to spell my love for them T-I-M-E.

A life-changing faith, I believe, is one that doesn’t simply happen in a church on Sunday, but permeates every part of my life. We’re at our most authentic when our belief intertwines with the truths we learn about the world around us. I love that my kids and I get to marvel over the universe as we study astronomy – and marvel at the One who made it at the same time.

2. To process life as a family– both the beautiful and difficult.

As parents, it is our tremendous privilege to be our children’s nurturers, coaches, mentors, and finally friends as they grow to adulthood. My husband and I love being our children’s first conversation partners and sounding boards about the countless things we learn as we grow up.

Many parents who send their children to school during the day also are very successful at processing life with their kids, too. But at times, I feel I have an advantage in that I can discuss questions in the moment with them.

3. To teach toward my children’s strengths and help them discover their gifts

Because we homeschool, I am able to match curriculum and subjects to my children’s unique learning styles and pace. We rarely feel as though we’re wasting time; our time spent learning is efficient and productive. I’m able to see almost immediately when one of my kids doesn’t understand a concept and can explain it from another angle.

We value teaching our kids critical thinking so that they can learn to see both sides of an issue and weigh pros and cons. As my kids begin to explore their talents and interests, we’ll easily be able to cater our curriculum and their extracurricular opportunities to those passions.

4. To have flexibility to travel and explore while connecting with and serving those around us

Because we set our schedule, our family is able to say yes to more opportunities. Like so many parents, we love giving our kids experiences that open their eyes to the world around them. We intentionally look for ways to serve those around us, because I firmly believe one of the best lessons my kids can learn is that it is better to give than to receive. Or, that in giving, we actually do receive much more in return.

So, that’s why we choose to homeschool.

Occasionally, I’ll speak with a mom who finds out that we homeschool, and I can see insecurity move like a shadow across her brow as she stammers out a reason why their family “just can’t do it”.  Know that just because I homeschool, I’m not judging you because you don’t! That would be like saying “I highlight my hair, so why don’t you?” Instead, my response is always this: “Aren’t we so blessed in Iowa that we have so many incredible educational choices? Our public schools are outstanding. Our pariochial schools are wonderful. And we have a healthy, supportive homeschooling environment.”

Because homeschooling isn’t for everyone. But it can be a really great choice for some families, just like mine.

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