Why We Choose to Homeschool Our Kids
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Every homeschool family is unique. Their culture and traditions are not the same as other homeschool and traditional school families. Some families homeschool for religious reasons, while other families homeschool for purely educational reasons. And some families choose to homeschool for family life reasons, for instance if mom/dad has a demanding job. Today I am going to share with you why we choose to homeschool our children.
So before I begin, I want to let you know every state has different laws governing homeschooling. Some states are very liberal, like Michigan. While other states have more strict laws, like Massachussets. If you are currently homeschooling or interested in beginning homeschooling, you should always check the laws according to your state.
Everything I share on Homeschool Edition is based on Michigan state laws. Please ask a representative in your local school system or your state’s Department of Education if you have any legal questions about homeschooling.
At first, I didn’t want to homeschool.
It took me two years to make the decision to homeschool. Our second daughter Mj was having a challenging time in 4th grade. My husband Travis and I worked hard the entire year to get her the help she needed. We met with her teacher, principal, and even other education specialists. We discovered she was behind in math, reading, and science. But unfortunately, we felt the school was not very helpful.
After many frustrating meetings, my husband wanted to pull our daughter out of school and homeschool her. At the time, he was active duty Army and I was teaching part-time. I knew nothing about homeschooling. It was very foreign to me, and I was against it so I told my husband, “No way!”.
In hopes of helping Mj, we moved to a different school zone. The new school helped her in some ways, but she was still very behind. It was at this point, I started rethinking the option of homeschooling.
Homeschooling for religious reasons.
We started our homeschool journey in July 2013. I decided to also homeschool my older son, who at the time was in 7th grade. Our first year of homeschooling was for merely education reasons, but as we entered our second year, we decided to implement religious studies in our homeschooling.
Homeschooling is not just teaching your child at home. It is a lifestyle. And if we were going to make it a lifestyle, why not include teaching our children how to read the Bible, how to pray, and what faith means?
Now, we have Bible Study once a week, and my son is taking an Old Testament Survey course through Monarch. For my preschooler, we read The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories and Christian workbooks.
Homeschool provides more flexibility with our work schedules.
When we first started homeschooling, my husband was active duty Army. His schedule was unpredictable. Sometimes he’d work regular hours and other times he’s have to work longer than usual. There were times he had to go the field (a routine training mission where the Soldier is “in the field” for days or weeks). And there were times he had to pull 24-hour duty. Travis’ Army schedule was never the same. So homeschooling made it a little easier for us because we could change our school schedule to fit his training schedule.
Now that Travis is a civilian, his schedule is not unpredictable like it was when he was in the military. He still has a pretty busy work schedule, though. Homeschooling allows us to create a school schedule that fits his his busy work schedul.
For example, sometimes Travis shift changes from day schedule to night schedule. When he works days, we focus on completing school during the day time while he is at work. But when he works nights, we change our school schedule to an evening schedule so we can spend more time with him during the day.
Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to focus on special education needs.
Homeschooling allows us to tailor a learning style or need to the need of our child.
- When my daughter needed more time to focus on her math, homeschooling gave us the opportunity to focus on her math needs without time constraints.
- When my children need more enrichment with a particular subject, I can identify the need and assign material on a higher level.
- If my children find a topic they would like to learn more about, they enjoy exploring the topic more in-depth. There are no worries of getting off schedule of a mandated curriculum because we include the extra time in our school schedule.
“If Mom/Dad find a private or public school which they feel is a good fit for their child, then the parents should stick with their education plan. You have to do what is best for your child. Homeschooling is not for everyone and that is okay! There are so many great educational programs and techniques available for families.”
We love field trips!
Another great reason we love to homeschool is we love going on field trips. Many schools have either limited funding or are pressed for time to go on field trips. I remember when my son was in public middle school, his grade level was only able to go on one field trip. Time constraints were a big factor as to why field trips were very limited. But with homeschooling, we can go on more field trips throughout the year. And the best part is, the kids are always learning something new when we go on our trips!
So far this school year (as of October 17, 2016), we have been on eight field trips. The Fall semester isn’t even over with yet! We have more field trips planned for October, November, and December. One of the things I love about going on field trips is exploring our community. Since we are fairly new to the greater Detroit area, field trips give us a great opportunity to learn more about our new home.
Read my post about 5 Reasons Why Teens Love Field Trips!
We don’t believe in standardized tests.
Standardized testing can be a sensitive issue because some parents are for it while other parents are against it. There are pros and cons to standardized testing, but I won’t get into those reasons on this post. 🙂 I think you have to do what you feel is best for your child. If you feel standardized testing is beneficial to your child’s education, then you should implement standardized testing in your child’s education.
But if you feel standardized testing is not necessary, then you should either choose a school which does not use standardized testing or homeschool. (Again, each state has different education rules for homeschoolers taking standardized tests. My state, for instance, does not require standardized testing.)
With all of that being said, Travis and I do not believe standardized testing is beneficial to our children’s education. We believe there are other ways to assess our children’s learning. I assess each child’s learning in various ways: activity quizzes, lesson tests, writing assignments, hands-on-learning activities, one-on-one discussions, and other techniques. I also maintain my children’s grades (the teens only) in a notebook and a computer-based data base. This way I can refer back to my notebooks and computer records to check on their progress and more.
Homeschooling is not for everyone.
It’s true; homeschooling is not for everyone. I have friends who think it’s really cool that I homeschool my kids, but it’s not for them. And that’s okay! I think that if a family wants to try homeschooling or feel called to homeschool, they should give it a try. But if a parent finds a private or public school which they feel is a good fit for their child, then the parent should stick with their education plan. You have to do what is best for your child.
So with that being said, I am not against public education. I believe there are many good public schools in the United States. There are also many wonderful educators who work in the public school system. (In fact, I am friends with a few wonderful teachers.) I also believe there is a strong need for public education because not all families are able to home educate, for their own personal reasons. I respect families who choose to educate their children through the public school system. Again, you have to do what is best for your child and your family.
Why did you choose your desired method of education for your child?
**Special Note: I am not an expert on home education or education law. I’m a mom who loves to home educate her kids. 🙂 You should always consult with an official educator or member of your state’s school board when seeking information on home education.