Even though more and more families nowadays are choosing to homeschool, it is still the less popular choice (at least, in our social circle), and so we are often asked about homeschooling from other curious people.
The number one question we’re asked is why we chose to begin homeschooling, rather than sending our kids to school.
Well, for us, there is no short answer to this. There are many reasons why we’ve chosen to homeschool.
But first and foremost, I must explain that the primary reason why we started homeschooling is because we felt called to do it.
It’s something I had been praying about on and off for years, and then finally, at a specific time in our lives, God clearly impressed upon me His answer.
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WHY WE CHOSE TO BEGIN HOMESCHOOLING: OUR JOURNEY
When my husband and I began having children, we had mutually agreed upon sending our kids to our church’s private school. It was a big expense, but one that we felt was worth it.
My husband himself had attended that same school (only up to third grade, however, as the school was new in the stone age back then and only offered up to grade 3).
We wanted our children to be taught in the same loving atmosphere and Godly environment as our church and thought this would be a perfect fit for our family.
And it definitely was, for a few years.
STARTING PRIVATE SCHOOL
When our first child (our first son, Nathan) began school, he was enrolled as a kindergartener at our church’s private school, just as we had planned.
Nathan did extremely well in kindergarten, and really enjoyed it! He was excited to start first grade and did well that year, too. By the time he was beginning second grade, his younger brother, Matthew, was starting kindergarten.
And for one year, both boys attended the same lovely private school at our church – one in second grade, and the other in kindergarten.
However, this was the year where things started falling apart.
PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL
Nathan really struggled in second grade.
Because the school was short on teachers and the student enrollment that year was low, Nathan was in a classroom that consisted of three different grade levels – 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade.
That was a challenge in and of itself, but the real struggle came when the more rigid, one-size-fits-all learning environment in this classroom clashed with his more free-spirited, creative thinking, abstract learning style.
While a good number of Nathan’s classmates did well with this, he crumbled under the pressure of that type of atmosphere.
But, as we smart mamas know, every child is different, and every child learns differently.
This was simply not the right academic setting for Nathan. And, of course, adjusting the school’s curriculum and method of teaching to accommodate each and every student’s unique learning needs is an impossible expectation for a classroom setting.
So, feeling God tug at my heart, I realized it was time for me to adjust.
FINDING THE COURAGE TO ANSWER GOD’S CALL
The idea of homeschooling had definitely been on my heart and my mind for quite some time, but I would tend to dismiss those thoughts over the years.
Surely, I wasn’t cut out for homeschooling, right? I’m not a teacher. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the patience. It’s not the right time in our lives to begin homeschooling.
Those are all the excuses I would give whenever the thought of homeschooling came to mind.
But at this point in my son’s schooling….I knew it was time.
I knew he needed something different.
He was struggling, and his heart was hurting. He was beginning to call himself stupid, which made my mama heart hurt.
Because of his late October birthday, and our decision to enroll him in kindergarten when he was 4-turning-5 instead of 5-turning-6, he was the youngest in his class.
And so, at only 7 years old by the time he finished second grade, he was already getting burnt out from school and losing his desire to learn.
This isn’t the way learning should be. I wanted more for my kids. I wanted them to enjoy learning, especially when they were this little.
So, after praying long and hard, and asking God to guide me, I gave in to His calling for my family and brought my sons home after the end of that year to begin homeschooling them.
And I’ve never looked back. I’ve never regretted my decision for an instant.
HOW THINGS TURNED AROUND
Once I brought Nathan home and we started homeschooling, he absolutely thrived and flourished with this new curriculum and this new way of “doing school.”
His spark and joy for learning returned, and he realized that no, he is NOT stupid. He just learns a different way than how he was originally being taught. And that’s okay.
Homeschooling was simply the next logical step for us during that time in our lives. God answered my searching prayers and gave me the courage to take this leap of faith and begin this crazy journey.
And now…well, homeschooling is something that just feels right. It’s become second nature to us, and our hearts are finally at peace.
Deciding to answer the call of homeschooling has blessed our family in a number of enriching ways.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING
My son struggling at school may have been the catalyst that began this journey, but him thriving in our homeschool is only one of the several benefits we’ve enjoyed as a homeschool family.
HOMESCHOOLING GIVES US FULL CONTROL OF THE CURRICULUM
And speaking of curriculum, one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the freedom to choose my children’s entire curriculum.
There are so many options out there, that it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming.
But lots of options are a good thing! It means that I can find exactly what’s right for my children, and tailor their education to their specific needs.
And if we try something and it doesn’t work out well, there are tons of other options out there for us to try.
Being able to choose my children’s homeschool materials also means that I know exactly what they are being taught.
As parents, especially Christian parents, we are always concerned about what sort of things are being put in front of our children’s eyes or impressed upon their minds (and their hearts).
Being able to carefully choose which books and other learning materials we will use means that we can be confident that what our children are using and the lessons they are learning are Biblically sound and true.
There are so many wonderful homeschool curriculum options available today, that we have no problem finding enriching, Christian-based materials to use in our homeschool.
HOMESCHOOLING ALLOWS EVERYONE TO LEARN AT HIS OR HER OWN PACE
My boys both tend to have a bit of trouble with spelling, but they are terrific in math and science. They are very logical thinkers. And yet, my older son is reading way above grade level, despite his spelling struggles.
Living in New York state, we are required to report them as enrolled in a certain grade level, but other than our homeschool reports, I don’t ever tend to think of my kids as in any particular grade level.
Why box them in like that?
Depending on the subject, they are each learning by using materials in several different grade levels. They are able to learn at their own pace, and as long as they are making progress, I’m not worried.
We don’t compare our kids to each other, to their peers, to where they “should” be within their grade level – but rather, we compare them to themselves, and observe their individual growth and academic progress.
HOMESCHOOLING ALLOWS FOR MORE ONE-ON-ONE TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES
In a traditional classroom at a public or private school, there are not many opportunities for students to have a lot of one-on-one teacher time.
For the most part, with the exception of after-school tutoring and such, every student has to keep up with the same pace as the entire classroom. Because of this, struggling students are often left behind.
With homeschooling, I have the flexibility to give my kids as much one-on-one time as needed.
For one thing, I only have 4 children – not a classroom of 20 or more students. Managing the education of 4 kids is a whole lot easier and leaves a lot more opportunities for one-on-one teaching.
And if one of my kids is struggling with something, I have the time to work with them to make sure they understand the material before moving on.
HOMESCHOOLING OFFERS FLEXIBILITY WITH SCHEDULING
One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling that we have enjoyed is the flexibility. We can choose to homeschool however, whenever, and wherever we desire.
→ Want to homeschool only 4 days a week, and take Fridays off? Go for it!
→ Want to homeschool year-round, taking many breaks throughout the year? No problem! (By the way, there is a popular schedule some people use called “Sabbath schooling,” where you can homeschool 6 weeks on, with the 7th week off. Read more about how this works here.)
→ Want to start in the late summer, and finish in early spring? Do it! Nobody’s stopping you.
→ How about taking time off due to illness, a family vacation, or a new baby in the family? Go right ahead!
→ Would you like to start early in the day, and have the whole afternoon free? Or, perhaps you’d prefer to let everyone sleep in a bit, and do school all day long, at your leisure. Either way is fine.
YOU are in control, and YOU have the freedom to choose what your homeschool schedule will look like.
This was so appealing to me because it offers flexibility in scheduling that no other schooling option can provide. I don’t need to check in with anyone or get permission from anyone in order to adjust our schedule.
For example, if we need a certain time of the year off for a family vacation, like earlier this year when we took our kids on a long road trip to Florida, we just plan accordingly and adjust our schedule so that we fit our school days in around the planned vacation time.
As long as we meet the numbers of days required per school year, as per our state’s regulations, then we can schedule our time in any way that we want.
We, unfortunately, live in one of the highest regulated states in all of the US, when it comes to homeschool laws. But it still doesn’t stop us from being able to have a ton of flexibility in how we choose to schedule our homeschool days, which is such a wonderful perk of homeschooling.
Oh, and did I mention that this flexibility also allows for us to homeschool wherever we want to, as well?
We have a dedicated room in our house that we use for homeschooling, but we have also been known to work at the kitchen table or read together while cuddled on the couch (or spread out on pillows on the floor, as my younger son loves to do).
On beautiful days, I like to take all the kids out on our deck and have our homeschool day outside.
The sky is the limit when it comes to how, when, and where you decide to homeschool on any given day. The freedom of flexibility is such a blessing.
HOMESCHOOLING ELIMINATES ENDLESS HOURS OF HOMEWORK
I am not a fan of homework. I simply don’t see the point (at least, not for elementary-aged students).
Children spend 6+ hours in school each day, with only short breaks for lunch and recess. They are then expected to continue working on classwork in the evening, at home, when they should be using this time to play, burn off energy, be active, relax, and unwind after a long school day.
Evenings are family time in our home.
We all have dinner together, we talk with each other, we have devotional time together, we do baths and nighttime routines, reading, and of course, a bit of play time.
And that’s how evenings at home should be.
Extra work brought home from school, in my opinion, only takes away from that precious family time.
Many articles have been written about this topic, including an excellent one here.
And this article, which explains what happened when a school decided to assign family reading time in the evenings in lieu of homework, is another interesting read.
Additionally, studies have shown that elementary-aged kids should not be assigned homework until later on in their academic career, and even then, it should be a minimal amount.
Once we chose to begin homeschooling, we soon realized that the “school” part of the day – the part where we actually sit down with workbooks, or watch videos, or read – is essentially a quite short portion of the day.
But the learning doesn’t just stop once we finish school for the day.
We spend much of our time playing, running around outside, going for walks, cooking and baking in the kitchen, exploring our creative sides through crafts and music, and so much more. Some of the most thought-provoking questions have come from my kids over the dinner table or while tucking them into bed at night, leading to some very rich and educational conversations.
And thus, the learning continues, at all times of the day — without the need for hours of mundane, repetitive homework.
HOMESCHOOLING PROVIDES MORE FAMILY BONDING OPPORTUNITIES
I often hear other people say that they can’t wait for summer to be over and school to start so that their kids will be out of the house and they can have some “me time” all to themselves.
I completely understand the need for parents (especially moms) to have some time to refresh and recharge, but when my kids were gone for the greater part of each day, I honestly missed them!
I enjoy being home with my kids and being able to be the one teaching them each day. I cherish the time spent with them, especially considering that these years with our children are so fleeting.
Like the saying goes: “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Yes, I am completely wiped out after a long day of rising early, working as an online English teacher, homeschooling my kids, working on my blog, keeping up with the housework, making meals, and doing bedtime routines.
But I know that this is a season of life that will go by so quickly, and before I know it, my kids will be grown.
It’s hard work, and yes, the days are long, but it’s fulfilling, enriching type of work.
I get to be there, watching my kids sound out and read their first words. I’m there when that “lightbulb moment” happens and the challenging math problem they were struggling with finally clicks in their minds.
And best of all, the memories we are making together as a homeschooling family are priceless!
I can honestly say that since we’ve started homeschooling, our family is so much closer.
We are together for most of the day, we read the Bible together, we read books together, we learn and discover together, we create together, and the best part (from a mama standpoint) is watching my children encourage and help one another.
All of my children are different ages, but yet they all help each other learn and grow. It’s a beautiful thing.
HOMESCHOOLING SAVES OUR FAMILY MONEY
This may or may not be true for other families, but for us, the decision to begin homeschooling ended up saving us thousands of dollars a year on private school tuition.
Could we have enrolled our children in public school and saved even more money? Sure.
But we had prayerfully made the decision years ago that public school was not something my husband nor I were comfortable with as a viable option for our kids’ education.
The private school at our church was a wonderful, yet expensive, option that worked well for us for a little while.
But once we started homeschooling, we were shocked to find out just how little we needed to spend in order for our kids to receive an excellent education from home.
Of course, there are very pricey homeschool curriculum options out there, but we were able to find quality materials that were very affordable – much more affordable than the private school tuition we had been paying.
And as an added bonus, we are able to sell our lightly used books and materials (the non-consumable ones, of course) at the end of the school year, to help make up some of the expense.
HOMESCHOOLING GIVES US MORE TIME WITH THE LORD
Lastly, but most importantly, homeschooling gives my kids (and myself) a lot more time with Jesus.
We start every day with prayer, worship singing, and Bible study (which always turns into amazing Biblical discussions).
I carefully choose our curriculum to make sure it all aligns with God’s word. All of our curricula is purchased through Christian companies, as well.
It’s super important to me that every subject in our homeschool in some way ties back to our Creator. Without Him, these subjects, these books, ourselves, and everything in existence wouldn’t be here. It only makes sense to include Him in all subjects, rather than leave Him out.
All of this time spent in God’s word, in worship together, and allowing God to be present in each of our lessons wouldn’t happen if my kids were away at school.
You won’t find all of this in public schools, and I am so grateful that we live in a country where I am free to choose a Christian-based and Biblically-sound homeschool curriculum for my kids.
Our days are enriching, and the Christian theme woven throughout each of our lessons are such a blessing.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!
The (very detailed) answer as to why we chose to begin homeschooling.
We homeschool for all of the reasons listed above and we have reaped such incredible rewards from doing so.
God certainly knew what He was doing when He called us to become a homeschooling family, and I am so very glad that He did.
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