I went through several versions of the title for this post before settling on that one. Usually I like something pithy or snappy [or both] but nothing quite hit that perfect sweet spot of clever, pithy perfection, so straightforward it is.
Which actually works out nicely with the rest of the post, because my reasons for keeping my kids’ education “in-house” are pretty straightforward . [Though, once we have another car, it’s doubtful that we’ll spend very much time actually in the house…]
- It’s less stressful for me. I’m a strongly opinionated person, and I really like things to be done just-so. I have strong feelings about how I think my kids should be taught, and I don’t think anyone will disagree that our current education system leaves at least a little bit to be desired. Generally if I think someone else is doing a less-than-perfect job of something and I think I can do better, I
stomp offgo my own way and just do it myself. Even if it still doesn’t turn out perfect, at least I have the satisfaction of having had it done MY WAY. [Moohahahaha.] So combine my loving-yet-control-freakish ways with something I care about more than anything else in the world, and you can see how outsourcing my kids’ education just isn’t really a great fit for me. Having them home frees me up from worrying about/not knowing what my kids are being taught [here in MA, parents have no legal right to know what is included in school curriculum], media hype about school violence, teacher unions, kindergarten readiness, etc… though in our town it doesn’t really liberate me from the tyranny of school bureaucracy. Maybe we can move away before 1st grade registration next year… [crosses fingers]
- They’ll get a custom-tailored curriculum and more personal attention, with less total “class” time. Even the best, most loving and attentive teacher with a teeny class of 10 cannot give the same amount of attention and care to one young pupil that one single teacher with one student can. We pick a system that works for each kid [they might take to different programs differently], work on each day’s material until they understand or at least have made progress, then we’re both free to go when he’s done. Neither of us has to worry about 7 hours of homework to be completed after the 7-hour school day [GAG], we can go as fast or as slow as they want without having to wait for or catch up with classmates, and… at most it takes 90 minutes per day. WIN.
- Nobody cares more about my kids than I do. Sure there may be [and already are!] many who love and care deeply for my children, and there’s something to be said for being part of a great community and support system. But when it comes down to it, nobody in the whole world has a greater vested interest in how my children develop than I do. I have the time, the resources and the motivation to do it myself, so why not do it?
- It fits both my secular and spiritual paradigm. I’m a person of faith. It makes up a huge part of my person, my lifestyle, my world view, my political convictions… you get the idea. But being that I am in that weird no-man’s-land that is faith-influenced-but-science-based education, home educating gives me the freedom to teach secular and scientific truths from a VERY moderate perspective. Most [if not all] schools have their approach and paradigm that influences their education patterns – public, private, charter and home schools alike. Having my own school for my own kids frees me up to impart that world view to my kids in just the way I like it – see #1 about me liking things “just so”.
- Weekly field trips and Fridays off = very yes. I’m in charge of the curriculum – you better believe I’m going to make it AWESOME! [And yes. Lots of geekery is being imparted on those trips and days off.]
**Bonus: Home educating is well-suited to our family dynamic. I love hanging around and playing with my kids, and so does my husband. They love hanging around and playing with us. We’ve test-driven home-based learning during preschool years and it’s worked really well so far. We all like being together and learning together, and when asked if he wanted to go away to school, our oldest looked crushed and begged not to be made to go. I mean, I don’t know about you but… I’m convinced.
Basically what it comes down to is this: we homeschool because we want to. I could list off a bajillion and one reasons why it’s amazing, and recite details from articles and studies done about it, but frankly… most people who homeschool do it because they like it! Just like any other parenting decision, I’m doing my best to be deliberate in the choices I make for myself and my family, rather than just going with what I’m handed. I know plenty of parents and families who happily attend and love their local public school, and they do it because it’s what makes them happy and is what they feel is right for them – and that is AWESOME! My kids and their kids get along great and there’s unicorns and rainbows and skipping in circles holding hands and going to class wearing a Darth Vader mask and Superman cape and… all kinds of lovely stuff.
What kinds of choices are you making for your family that give you satisfaction? What times have you “lived deliberately” and had a great experience? I wanna hear!