I’m feeling rather philosophic this morning and was contemplating some of the reasons why I homeschool photo © 2007 sue | more info (via: Wylio)
Brendan, but moreover, why I believe it’s the right thing for this stage in my life. I’ve got friends who don’t homeschool, and that’s cool for them – but I couldn’t do it. I read their statuses on Facebook about having a quiet house or time to themselves and I realize: I could have all of that, too. Time to do laundry unencumbered. Quiet in the mornings instead of hearing babbling over LEGO pieces. A peaceful lunch by myself or time to go hang with girlfriends in the middle of the day. Grocery shopping alone.
The thing is, I don’t want any of that stuff. I will have time in my life for them – when I’m done raising Brendan. I had that time before I had him – 7 years of infertility: longing, wanting, and waiting for the noisiness and activity of a kid. I will have those things once he’s grown and on his own. I don’t want them now. I can wait, because I know I will miss the discussions at the washer and dryer, the chattering over LEGO, the noise (sometimes intensity, if he’s tired) in the mornings. Grocery shopping will be a solo activity again in a mere 9+ years.
I can wait for those things again.
I homeschool because I feel called to this lifestyle. I homeschool because I want to be involved in my kid’s education. I want to learn with him, to see the lightbulbs go off in his head when he understands a new concept. To hear him develop in his vocabulary, to see his handwriting improve. To hear him say, “Multiplication?! Oh, that’s EASY” when he hits a new section in his math program.
I homeschool because life is so much learning that doesn’t take place in a formalized classroom with standardized tests. Brendan learns fractions in math, yes, but also in the kitchen we we make bread or baked oatmeal or granola. He learns science when we combine ingredients in cooking and use raw honey that has pieces of honeycomb and other hive-bits in it and talk about what an amazing thing it is that these little insects produce such an incredible product.
I homeschool because I don’t want to farm out his learning to someone else. I know that not everyone feels equipped to do this and that’s perfectly okay. But I am equipped – and even if I’m not fully ready in some subjects, there is fantastic curriculum out there to help make me more prepared.
I homeschool because I want to enhance my relationship with my kid and be The Main Influencer in his life for as long as possible. Kids learn from other kids and develop values from where they spend the most time. Parents who don’t homeschool have 3000 (discretionary) hours per year to influence their kids; I figure homeschooling at least doubles the available time I have to influence my son with the values that we find important. And just for the record, churches have about 45 hours (generally) in a year to influence kids. So taking my kid to church faithfully isn’t going to impart values that I want in him if I neglect my part of the equation.
I also homeschool because although there are great teachers out there (and I’m blessed to be friends with many of them), the educational system in the US is broken right now. Kids are learning to take tests and states like Michigan are lowering the curve so that more kids are ‘doing fantastic!’. I want Brendan to learn ancient and modern history, to learn an appreciation for music and art, and to learn to love learning – and none of those can be done within the context of teaching to the test. As my (wise) friend Jenny says, “The pendulum in education will eventually swing back to something healthier than this, but we are on the far-side of that pendulum swing right now.” For better or worse, it’s where education in our country stands right now.
I was reading over at That Mom‘s blog and happened across her concept of Relationship Homeschooling. It’s geared toward the Christ-follower who homeschools, but it’s really where I want to live. I want the relationship my kid has with God and with us to be as strong as possible, and homeschooling allows me to do that. I wouldn’t feel guilty if something drastic happened and we had to go to an institutional school setting, but for this time and space in my life, I’m doing what I’ve been called to do.
And that’s why I homeschool.