(or why FEAR is not an option!)
Gotcha with that title, didn’t we? You’re probably thinking , “But wait, I thought this was a homeschool blog!” Well, it is. Read on to find out where we’re going with this.
The reasons to homeschool your children (or not) are probably about as many as the number of families that choose to do so! Everyone has their reasons, and our family was no exception. After all, you have to believe in something pretty strongly in order to step out of the stream of “normalcy” and do something as countercultural as educating your children at home. It’s hard work, it’s messy (literally!), often stressful, and usually a whole lot more expensive than sending the kids off to public school.
So why would anybody choose to do this? Well, before we get to that, I’d like to bring up a few reasons that did not affect our decision. Sometimes I think folks make assumptions about why people homeschool (like paranoia or fear). I want to clear up some of those misconceptions first, before we get to the really good stuff!
Non-reason #1: I had a terrible school experience myself.
Nope. The truth is, my husband and I both had great school experiences. We had lots of fun (maybe sometimes a little too much fun)! We were both athletes, got good grades, had lots of good friends and a few close friends, got accepted into good colleges, and made it through high school (and college!) with our Christian beliefs intact. We even learned some stuff along the way and turned out as literate, intelligent, thinking people. Not much to complain about there.
Non-reason #2: Public school standards are terrible.
I don’t believe that either. It’s true, I can get pretty fired up when I start hearing about all the ridiculousness of Common Core, but the truth is, if a student has a desire to learn and there are teachers who desire to teach, they can do that pretty much anywhere. I know some really smart, articulate public school students, and I know some public school kids who seem pretty…dumb. [am I allowed to say that???] But the same is true for homeschooled kids. The danger of a dumbed-down education are just as real at home as at school, although perhaps in different ways.
Non-reason #3: My kids will be the victims of bullying at school.
Our kids are pretty tough. They know their identity is found in Christ, not in what someone else says about them. And there’s five of them and they all know karate. Enough said.
(please, please please do not take this as belittling the victims of bullying, or minimizing the problem. I realize it can happen anywhere, to anyone, including my own kids. But the world is full of bullies, school or no school. It is our hope to raise children who know who they are and Whose they are, deal with "problem" situations, and know how to handle diversity and disagreement when it arises, so as not to become the "bullies" themselves.)
Non-reason #4: Teachers don’t teach and they don’t care, they just want a job with free summers.
Ha! Have you looked at teaching salaries? And the amount of time teachers put in outside of school hours? I know a lot of teachers, and they definitely are not doing it for the salary. In fact, most teachers I know who are actually trying to support a family either have a spouse that works too, or they have to come up with a second source of income. As much as they hate having to jump through all the hoops of box-checking, standard-meeting, and standardized test-taking, the teachers I know are really passionate about what they do. They wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.
Non-reason #5: My kids won’t be safe at school.
Guns. Bombs. Bullies. Gender-confused bathrooms. Sex. Drugs. You could go on and on thinking about all the potential dangers kids might encounter at school. But I truly believe our God is bigger than all of that. Would I worry? Probably. The truth is, bad things happen, and they can happen anywhere, not just at school. We just need to focus on preparing our kids for whatever dangers they might encounter in life, and trust the Lord to care for them, wherever they go.
There you go…5 reasons we did not consider in our decision to homeschool. Hopefully I’ve been able to clear up some misconceptions about why people choose to educate at home. These reasons are probably factors for a lot of families, but they really weren’t for us. At the root of many of those 5 reasons is FEAR. Fear that my kids will get hurt, or not get a good education, or fall away from their faith. But early on in my parenting experience, the Lord really impressed on me that I cannot follow Him while making decisions out of fear. There could be any number of valid reasons for making any decision, but FEAR is not one of them.
So what exactly were our reasons? Honestly that’s a little harder to define, because those reasons encapsulate a whole worldview…an entirely different way of looking at things. That’s what I am going to attempt in the next post!
Take the next step:
Have you ever made schooling decisions out of fear?
Were there fears you had to overcome in your decision to homeschool?
Are you still thinking about homeschooling but you have fears about what that will look like? Let me know in the comments!
You can also find this post at Hip Homeschool Moms!