DISCLAIMER: These posts are simply an attempt to explain to you why we chose to home school. They are not an attempt to try to convince you to do the same, nor are they criticizing your choices. This is God's call on my life. I am answering it.
This is a question that I answer almost daily. As you can imagine, when I meet new people, or when people I know find out that I home school my kids, I get a range of responses. My favorite response is: " Wow! That's great! I admire you for that!"
I do get that from time to time.
But most of the time it goes more like this: "Why in the world did you decide to home school?" and " I would rather have my kids in school, they would drive me nuts if they were home with me all of the time." or " I just don't have what it takes to teach my kids everything they need to know." or my least favorite: "What about socialization? How do your kids learn socialization skills?"
I can surely understand all of these responses. I probably had the same thoughts when I first heard of home education. I try to take the time to explain my reasons, but there are so many, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin!
I think the logical place to start in my case would be a better education. No, I am not so arrogant to think that I am better than all of you teachers out there who have studied the ins and outs of education. But I will say with all of the confidence in the world: I know my kids far better than you do. I know their strengths and their weaknesses. I am able to spend one on one time with them daily. I know when a certain curriculum is not working. I spend a lot of time trying to analyze learning styles and attempt to adapt my teaching style to each of my students. You have to admit, this is impossible in a class of 30 or so.
Home education has come so very far in the past 25 years. There are so many resources out there to help almost any parent educate their children effectively. In fact, my Rainbow Resource catalog is bigger than my last phone book! There are also resources for children who have been labeled as learning impaired, ADD, ADHD, Autism, etc. These children can be extremely brilliant, yet not thrive in a school setting. Each and everyone of these kids need one on one instruction with someone who loves them and are firm yet extremely patient with them. I have one child who could possibly be labeled ADHD if I would let the medical establishment get a hold of her, but I am also aware that she is extremely bright and needs a firm and patient touch. She excels in areas of math and science, and I am proud to be able to encourage her on in her interests.
When I talk about education, I can't help but be a little greedy. I am desperately enjoying teaching my children history. I hated history as a child because I found it as dry as cardboard. History now happens to be one of our family's favorite subjects. We make history come alive with maps, projects, and recipes from certain time periods and cultures. I am learning so much ~right along side of my kids. That is just priceless to me!
Many people ask what we do with subject that we do not feel confident to teach. This is where the home school co-ops come in. I know that there are mothers out there who have done a fine job without co-ops, but they can be a big help in some instances. My children attend co-op classes once a week during the school year. This year, they are both in art classes taught by a trained artist. They are also each in science classes. As they get older, they might transition to a high-school oriented co-op where they can take literature or science with the necessary labs. It might seem like this defeats the purpose of home education, but consider the fact that they are home 4 out of 5 school days.
Last but certainly not least is the time and training that my kids get in God's Word. I have heard so many parents of school kids complain that they do not have the time to spend in the Bible with their kids. Homework, extra curricular activities, parents work schedules, are all reasons they list for not being able to help their kids memorize scripture. However, our first and foremost priority to our kids is to teach them about God. The Bible commands that we as Christians instruct our children in the ways of the Lord! How can we do this without spending time in His Word? We love the AWANA program at our church and use it as a guideline for scripture memorization. This is not our sole resource, but our kids enjoy it very much.
Stay tuned for my next post when I will tell you what I think about socialization. :)