Monday, September 28, 2015

Why We Homeschool

When I first had kids, homeschooling wasn't even in my vocabulary.  I didn't know any homeschoolers.  I had never thought about homeschooling.  In all honesty, I didn't even know it existed.  When your kids got old enough, they went to school.  That was just the way it was.  My first was in daycare and preschool while I finished up my degree and worked.  I was on my way to an MBA and planned on busting through some corporate ceilings!

Then life happened.  Isn't that the way it always is?  Over the course of about six months, God really opened my eyes up to what He wanted for me...for my family.  He turned my heart towards my home and my family and away from the world.  

We started homeschooling after my husband's company transferred us to Korea.  There really weren't a lot of educational options for a 6 year old who didn't speak fluent Korean in a small town over there.  We were either going to have to board him and pay $10,000 for first grade, or homeschool.

My husband is South Korean and came to the US to study.  His host family in college were homeschoolers. They were my first introduction to this lifestyle...a lovely family with strong connections and solid faith.  Mike and Linda made it look easy, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I was completely over-confident.  This wasn't going to be a long-term thing, so surely I could pull it off without any hinges. He was an early reader, intuitive with math and science. Even if we "lost" a year or so, he'd be ready to enter at grade level when we came back to the states.  

Then I fell in love.  All over again, I got to know my son.  We shared experiences.  We had fun.  We fought.  We cried.  We laughed.  We learned.  Together.  It wasn't always easy.  But we were together. That was important to me.  That was important to him. 

I always loved teaching.  When you teach something new to someone, I believe there is an experience created.  A memory.  Those "Aha" moments brought us closer.    

It also made me a better mom.  I could no longer hide things.  He witnessed a LOT more of my life than before.  So I had to stay on my toes.  I learned to be patient, because, well, I didn't really have another choice. This is often an excuse I hear from others as to why they don't homeschool..."Oh I don't have enough patience to do that."  Guess what...neither do I.  But His strength is made known in our weakness.  Patience is like a muscle.  You have to exercise it to grow it.  And yes, homeschooling gives you plenty of opportunities to develop that muscle.  But it is an important muscle to develop.  One we're actually called to develop, so if anything, lack of patience could be a reason TO homeschool.  :)  See what I did there?  

So, while our homeschool started out as a practical solution to a temporary situation, fourteen years later here we are...still homeschooling.  And it has NOTHING to do with where we live. We've added a few students to our school over the years as well.   

We homeschool because...
  1. We can.  It is a blessing to be able to do this.  It is currently legal to homeschool in the U.S. and there are MANY opportunities for homeschoolers to participate in different programs, communities, and co-ops.  Our environment is homeschool friendly.  My kids have WAY more opportunities to pursue the things God has called them to because we do homeschool.  We can get our actual school work done in a couple hours a day (as opposed to the seven to eight in a traditional school) and then we have more time to pursue extra-curricular or dive deeper into subjects they are really interested in. They certainly aren't missing out not being in a public school.
  2. Socialization is better for homeschoolers.  Seriously.  This whole socialization topic is ridiculous. Schools don't teach our kids to socialize.  How many times in your adult life have you sat in a room with 30 people who are exactly your age and your level to work on something or learn something? Our traditional schools were actually modeled after a Prussian schools system that was designed to indoctrinate students and build loyalty to the new king.  Scary.  Homeschool kids have so many more opportunities to learn life skills, including socialization.  At home, they usually have siblings to deal with.  Definitely opportunity for conflict resolution skills there. Plus, parents can involve them more in the daily running of the household.  They could learn to pay bills, do their own laundry, take care of a home, grow their own food, cook their own meals, even prepare meals for their family.  And outside of the home, there are a plethora of opportunities.  My kids participate in youth sports programs two to three times a week.  We are part of 4H where each of them actually hold an office in which they were voted in for by their club members.  They take classes at local studios for dance, music, and taekwondo.  We also participate in Classical Conversations where they come together once a week with other students from like-minded families who are using the same curriculum to provide accountability and strong relationships as they grow and learn together. They are not lacking in opportunities for socialization.  In our area, the toughest thing for homeschoolers to learn to do is say no to outside activities.  There are lots of GOOD things out there. With co-ops, enrichment programs, guitar lessons, taekwondo, church, field trips, and more...just trust me, socialization is EASY. 
  3. It is the best option for us.  Our second son has a learning style that would not fit well in a traditional school environment.  Being able to grow and work with him on his terms has allowed him to flourish.  Four years ago, he would have been considered below grade-level in reading and writing.  He is now above grade-level for both.  I honestly believe this is due to the fact that at home, I did not have to label him or put him in special classes to catch up, I simply taught him and encouraged him at his level.  And he learned without doubting his capabilities or having a crutch to lean on because of a label.  As a homeschooler, all of my kiddos can work at their own level, whether it's ahead or behind.  They don't have to feel the stress of staying with the pack and can pursue things that interest them if they finish their work.  My oldest has been able to spend more time on his passion, music.  And my daughter isn't surrounded by the everyday pressures to fit in.  And all of them get to develop a relationship with their youngest brother who if they were gone all day, would barely get to see them!
  4. We spend WAY less time on academics, and get better results!  Instead of waking everyone up at the crack of dawn and rushing everyone out the door, shoving breakfast in our face in the car, only to spend seven hours shuffled around from room to room, then to come home for two to three more hours of homework, my kids get to work at a pace a little less frantic.  They wake up at a decent hour, but if we were out late the night before for a church event or with friends, or to see a super cool lunar eclipse, they might sleep in a bit...and I will get no calls from an attendance office.  We wake up and have a leisurely breakfast, read our Bible, play with their little brother, and settle into some school work.  We get our work done, and we get to do life together.  
  5. My family and my kids' spiritual foundation is more important than my career.  I don't mean this as a slam to anyone.  Honestly.  Everyone's situation is different.   I have a degree and have been very successful in the professional field.  I could contribute significantly to my family's finances.  But I do not feel called to do so.  Thirteen years ago we had to bury a child.  That will forever be a part of me and every decision I make.  Time is fleeting.  Things of this world will burn up and be gone forever.  But the investments we make in our children regarding their faith and Christ's love for them will live on.  My children are royalty, heirs to the throne of Christ.  Their education should be that of royalty and it is worth the sacrifices my family makes regarding finances, time, and my career.   
Of course there are many reasons to homeschool, but these are our top five.  It's not because we hate public schools or public school teachers.  I actually commend teachers because their job is REAL and TOUGH.  We don't homeschool because we're elitist, thinking we're better than anyone who doesn't homeschool.  It's a choice we've made.  It's not easy every day.  Some days and months and years are hard.  But the pay-off is immeasurable.  


  1. Wow April! Absolutely right on point! Don't think anyone could have said it any better! Thank you for taking the time to share this. I know that many families feel the same way and spend so much time defending their reason for homeschooling to other people who just don't get it. This pretty much sums it all up. The only thing that I can add is I wish we would have done this years ago. My children had great teachers when they were in school however the time that we have gained together as a family is immeasurable!

  2. Thank you for articulating it so well for all of us. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

  3. Thank you April for beautifully communicating the reasons many of us chose the path of homeschooling. Thank you for reminding us about what matters most. Thank you for encouraging us to press on even when it's difficult. Most importantly, thank you for using your life, experiences, and gifts to bless others!

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