Five Reasons Why We Homeschool
Love of Learning
I want to raise children that say “I love reading” and “I am good at math.” I want my children to believe that learning happens all the time, not just in the hours at a school desk. I never want them to ask, “Will this be on the test?” or “Do we have to learn this?” I want them to experience the flow that comes from full engagement and intrinsic motivation. I want them to constantly have a list of things they can’t wait to learn more about. I want to be there with them when their eyes light up with delight as they learn to read, multiply double digits, or successfully identify the prepositional phrase.
Effective Use of Time
Even the strongest supporters of public school agree with the criticism that time is not effectively used in public school. Waiting in line, waiting for the group, waiting for materials, waiting your turn. All children, even kindergartners, have nearly the same length of school day, despite differences in emotional and physical needs. We can structure our day so that the schedule meets the needs we have. We can take a nap, take an outing, have a break for physical activity or keep on learning.
Why cram all your living in the four hours after school and before bed? Why cram all the fun of summer into the short summer vacations? A more balanced lifestyle is possible by mindfully planning your owns time. Homeschooling means time for childhood play and childhood pleasure while achieving essential goals
Meaningless worksheets and check-the-box activities with jump-through-the-hoop milestones are not part of our life. We do things that matter. We follow our interests passionately. We demonstrate our thorough learning through a portfolio that describes us as humans, not just test scores. Imagine teen years with apprenticeships and specialization that involve her best talents. Imagine childhood building rockets and creating dollhouses. We have the chance to spend our time on things that matter.
Freedom to Customize
I want to teach my children subjects they are ready for when they are ready for them. I want to customize the learning to suit their aptitudes and abilities. If they are ready for multiplication at age 6, that’s when we’ll teach it. If they still need fraction review for three years, we can do that as well. This is focused on their individual needs. I can consider them without asking for a committee’s approval. No holding back. No pressure to stay up to the class.
I can surround my family with people that are optimistic and cheerful and a joy to be with. We don’t have to endure bullies. We don’t have to endure medicore (or worse) teachers. I can choose where we learn and who we partner with in our learning.
This is usually the reason most people raise against homeschooling. Many believe that we need to be forced into diverse groups as part of our learning. We need all kinds of people in this world, certainly. I am teaching my children that it is possible to regulate your growth through regulating your environment. An essential life skill is learning to find your tribe and learning to thrive in your situation. I am teaching them to tailor their situation to emphasize their strengths.
Originally Published in VOICE September 2014