Why do you homeschool?
It’s a good question to ask, because why you do it in the first place will ultimately determine how you go about it. Years ago, we lived in a town where there were a lot of homeschoolers. A disproportionate number of them were doing it because they couldn’t afford to send their children to a private school, and it showed.
Once there was a financial opportunity to send the child to a private school, they took it, often interrupting studies mid-year, because Option B was “better” than Option A. In their minds, homeschooling was the least of two good options, and because it was just a temporary fix, they never plunged into it wholeheartedy, or joyfully, and they missed all the good things that can come from the experience.
They also never gained the confidence that is so crucial for parent teachers to develop, if they’re going to do this successfully for the long term. To gain that confidence, you have to walk into the room with the idea that what you’re doing is good, right, and worthwhile, and while it may not be the only option on the table, it’s the right option for you.
Obviously, we live in a world with color and grayscale, as opposed to black and white, so there will be no ONE reason why you homeschool, in the same way that you have no ONE favorite color or ONE top TV show or ONE best friend, to the exclusion of all others. But you will have a series of reasons of varying levels of importance, and they are the basis of why you are opting to do something so countercultural in the first place, something that draws attention from and comments by others, something that can easily put you on the defensive if you’re not comfortable and confident with your motivation.
Your reasons, also — while they may mirror some of the reasons why other people around you are homeschooling — are not identical to theirs, and it’s important to get a grasp onto this as well. Otherwise, you may be overly affected by someone else’s way of doing something, and what works for them, won’t work for you.
Let’s take this as an example:
Many people choose to homeschool for religious reasons: they do not like the absence of religious discussion, in any form, in the public school arena, and they want to raise their children with spiritual instruction incorporated into the total school curriculum. Family A, which feels strongly about their beliefs, purchases curriculum primarily based upon how it aligns with their value system, and Bible study is an integral part of the daily work load.
Family B, while they are spiritual as well, homeschool primarily because they do not like the strong peer-oriented culture of the public school system, and they want to raise their children to a sense of independence. Designated Bible study is not a critical part of their daily work load, and the curriculum choices that Family A uses may not work for Family B.
Neither one is “right” or “wrong,” just different. While they can discuss — perhaps animatedly — their individual choices and ways of doing things, they can easily pressure one another, or be pressured by one another, into making choices that don’t work for them, by sentences like these:
If you don’t integrate Bible study into your daily studies, then you do not have a complete academic package.
Bible study wastes valuable time that could be spent in other academic areas.
Two different belief systems, two different ways of going about it — and two extremes, incidentally. Most of us will fall somewhere in the middle.
But the important thing is, you have to know where you fall, or you will, literally, fall.
So why do you homeschool? It’s a good question to ask, and answer, before the new year begins.
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