There are a few moments in life that open up a whole new chapter. Sometimes these sneak up on you but often you choose to go down a new path. You may choose to go to college or start a business, get married, have a baby, move to a new city. When you make these decisions it’s not like choosing what to wear in the morning. These choices can take a LONG time to work themselves out in your mind. And that’s a very good thing. Sometimes what seems like a great idea is, upon further reflection, not REALLY what we want at all.
It gets even stickier when the choice you’re going to make will affect another person for the rest of THEIR life. But that’s a parent’s job: to make choices every day in the hopes that they are the best choices possible for their child(ren).
And so, on that note I’m using my blog as a tool to announce the biggest decision we’ve made in a very long time. I do so knowing full well that there are some people whom I love and respect very much that will think we are making a horrible mistake. I ask those folks to trust us. This is NOT something that we’ve jumped into lightly or without consideration. We have researched and discussed and asked questions and prayed and repeated that process over and again. And then a wise friend told me, “make a list of 100 reasons. If you can’t come up with 100 reasons why you want to do this you are not committed enough. You will need to refer back to that list on bad days and you’ll be glad it’s there.” This sounded like a LOT of reasons to me. I’ve never had 100 reasons to do anything. Mostly I just kinda go along doing what seems right at the moment. So I sat down, together with my husband, and in about 1 hour, without much difficulty at all, we came up with
100 REASONS WHY WE ARE CHOSING TO HOMESCHOOL OUR DAUGHTER
*STOP HERE! If you are judging us with horrible thoughts right now, please carefully read our reasons. We place a high value on the availability of school for all children and, for that reason, understand that public school is priceless. Not every parent can or should or would want to homeschool. We have a great deal of respect for those professionals we have dealt with in our local public school system. They all (well, with one exception who shall remain nameless) obviously love the children and are giving them the very best of themselves. We understand the social issues involved in having our child’s elementary (and longer?) years be different from the cultural norm. We really honestly do. But these 100 reasons (listed in no special order) trump that for us. Some of our reasons are very frivolous and silly (#90 and #96). Some of them are very selfish (#1, #34). Some of them are heavy on our hearts (#3, #89). No single reason alone would be enough for us to leave a public school system that really has served us fairly well over the past 3 years. 20 or 30 or 40 of them wouldn’t be enough. But ONE HUNDRED is a lot of reasons. We also recognize that these reasons are valid for a 7-year-old, but probably not for an older child so it is something that will need to be revisited over time. And so here they are…
1. Because we like to spend time with our child and would like more.
2. Because our child wants to be homeschooled.
3. Because we want her to have the opportunity to explore her passions in great depth.
4. Because we want to teach Mary to choose healthy foods and eat them SLOWLY and WITH ENJOYMENT.
5. Because we want her to have several hours each day to explore her imagination and play – not just a 20 minute recess where she’s not allowed to run too fast or swing side to side due to liability concerns.
6. Because we don’t want her to spend so much time comparing her possessions to those of other children her age.
7. Because we think that 7+ hours of school plus and hour on the bus is too much time for a child to sit and listen (as opposed to playing, questioning, exploring, etc).
8. Because after the 7+ hours we have to force her to do an hour of homework which seems even worse.
9. Because we want our family to be free to travel when and where we like.
10. Because, with Daddy’s work schedule at his new job, he would never see her again if she were at school until 3pm each day.
11. Because the one meal we can eat together, as a family, is lunch.
12. Because we want to teach her to be responsable to the environment in practice, not just through lessons.
13. Because we want her to learn practical skills like cooking, gardening, sewing, etc and there is little time to teach her when she’s away at public school all day.
14. Because, sometimes, life makes you stay up late and we want her to be able to sleep in or nap when her little growing body needs to.
15. Because they watch a lot of classic movies in music class and we want to be the ones to experience those with her.
16. Because they watch a lot of movies in music class and we want her to actually learn to play/sing/appreciate music.
17. Because the district cut art class.
18. Because we don’t want her to have to deal with the repercussions of being in a large class with a few “naughty” children that monopolize the teachers’ time.
19. Because an elementary age child should NEVER be stressed to the point of tears over homework and test scores but she often has been – starting in Kindergarten.
20. Because we hate sending her away to school when she’s feeling sick, but not “sick enough” to keep her home.
21. Because we hate sending her into a building full of children feeling “a little sick” but not “sick enough” to stay home.
22. Because we think that Physical Fitness is something that should be a part of a person’s life more than 45 minutes a week.
23. Because our child, who is a great reader and writer, should never have to slow down to wait for other children to catch up.
24. Because my child, who struggles with math, sometimes needs more time and attention than her teachers can give her.
25. Because our child has learned words and concepts from teenagers on her bus that she doesn’t need to know (or can’t really understand) at the tender age of 7.
26. Because we want our child to have a broader, less politicized, view of history than she will learn in public school.
27. Because we don’t want our child to use anti-bacterial hand soap several times a day.
28. Because we think it’s unhealthy that our daughter sits in a swelteringly hot classroom in the middle of winter.
29. Because we live in an awesome community surrounded by awesome communities with a near infinite amount of resources to use as teaching tools.
30. Because the whole family will get to learn and grow with her if she’s homeschooled.
31. Because we want religion, spirituality, prayer and meditation to be a regular part of our child’s education.
32. Because we want to foster our child’s differences that she may harness them and direct them to the greatest good of her fellow man. Not just learn to be exactly like everyone else.
33. Because, when REAL disaster/crisis/tragedy strikes (ie – the tornadoes that struck a nearby town 2 years ago) we want her to know that it is not only ok but RIGHT and GOOD to drop EVERYTHING and rush to the aid of her neighbor.
34. Because it will make me feel like the years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars I spent on my own education weren’t a total waste.
35. Because I learned advanced math. I NEVER used it (told you so!). And forgot every bit of it. But no one ever taught me how to balance a checkbook or calculate the interest on a mortgage and I don’t want my child to have that same experience.
36. Because homeschooling isn’t marriage. It’s not a life-long commitment. We can opt out if it isn’t working for us.
37. Because we want to know IMMEDIATELY if our child is struggling with a problem or social situation – not after it has reached a crisis state.
38. Because we think people learn more by experiencing something (ie. a visit to a farm is more memorable than a lesson about “where veggies come from.”) and it’s not reasonable to expect a teacher to schlep 35 kids all over the countryside several times a week.
39. Because we think intuition is a valid and valuable tool in the human mind that is suppressed by “institutionalized” learning.
40. Because it will push me to be a more organized person.
41. Because, seeing my organizational skills, my child will learn to be organized.
42. Because, some days, watching the morning news together, and then having the time to discuss it, can be a more valuable education than an entire day in a classroom learning to figure the degree of angles in a triangle.
43. Because we believe strongly in the implied power in the sciences of noetics and quantum physics and this isn’t taught in public school.
44. Because we believe a child should have the opportunity to ask every question they can and public school teachers don’t have time to deal with that, so curiosity gets suppressed.
45. Because one of the smartest, most accomplished scientists of all time said, “imagination is more important than knowledge,” but public schools focus almost exclusively on the development of knowledge at the expense of imagination.
46. Because we want our daughter, who has a very entrepreneurial spirit, to have time and energy to experience the creation of business and the power of free enterprise.
47. Because we believe a 7-year-old should be able to dress like a cowgirl or a princess or a ladybug or an alien and not have to conform to a dress code. She’ll learn to conform soon enough.
48. Because, with internet and virtual learning, she can learn from a much more culturally, philosophically, educationally diverse group of teachers than she will encounter in a local public school.
49. Because we don’t like putting our child on a bus, driven by a stranger, every day. But especially on days that are foggy, snowy, icy, etc.
50. Because many of the people we respect most in the public school system have told us that, if they had young children, they would not put them in public school.
51. Because public school teachers, no matter how good, smart, loving, patient, etc must conform to the state standards no matter if they agree or not.
52. Because sometimes our child is “naughty” and teachers have neither the time nor authority to properly discipline her.
53. Because public school is all about conforming to get good grades to get into college to get a “real job” but the modern world doesn’t work that way. Ask any college graduate working as a Wal-Mart cashier. Or any high school drop out running a multi-billion dollar international corporation.
54. Because EVERY study done shows homeschool children achieve higher academically.
55. Because EVERY study done shows that homeschool children are better socialized (fit into society more successfully).
56. Because EVERY study done shows that homeschool children have a greater sense of civic responsibility.
57. Because we want our child to learn how to use a computer to do more than play games.
58. Because we want our child to know how to do things without a computer.
60. Because it’s more important, we believe, for our child to know how and where to find information than to memorize facts for a standardized test.
61. Because we never want our child to go through the experience of “feeling stupid” for not understanding something without a little help.
62. Because our child wants to be multi-lingual and she doesn’t have the opportunity to learn another language at her grade level in public school.
63. Because we don’t want our child exposed to sex, drugs, violence, etc any earlier than necessary.
64. Because time is valuable and public school wastes time (bus rides, moving between classes, waiting in line, etc).
65. Because we think it’s a bad idea to “stop learning” for 3 months out of the year, but a good idea to have lots of fun experiences all year long.
66. Because some of the most mature, intelligent, respectful, strong-minded teens I know have been homeschooled since early childhood.
67. Because we want her to know that being a dancer (painter, musician, house-wife) is just as valid as being a doctor (teacher, accountant, etc).
68. In the event of a crisis (tornado, fire, etc) our child would be with us and we could make sure she’s as safe as possible.
69. Because we want our child to be able to think for herself, not just respond to a stimulus like one of Pavlov’s dogs.
70. Because our child is a unique individual and deserves a uniquely designed education.
71. Because we, as parents, want a greater say in what she does and does not learn.
72. Because some teachers are burnt out and just putting in their time and we don’t want our child to be “just put up with.”
73. Because we have to buy all of her school supplies, pay for her field trips, etc. We might as well put that money toward something we feel we can get the most use from.
74. Because I really hate packing lunches and snacks every day.
75. Because we can teach her how to appropriately deal with bullying, harassment, etc.
76. Because it will give the whole family the opportunity and motivation to explore nearby (and maybe far away) museums, gardens, parks, historic buildings, etc.
77. By homeschooling we are not doing things the “normal” way but we are teaching our child that there can be more than one good way to achieve a good end.
78. Because there are abusive adults in positions of power and we want to protect her from that as much as possible.
79. Because we want her to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all the innocent, beautiful parts of childhood for as long as she can.
80. Because we want to avoid exposure to the annual outbreak of lice in the public school system.
81. Because the world, society, and technology are very different than they were 50 years ago but the style of teaching in public school is much the same.
82. Because, in the local homeschool association she can join the band in 3rd grade instead of waiting until 5th.
83. Because the government has screwed up most everything they have ever touched, so why would I trust them not to screw up the education of my child?
84. Because Hitler said, “The State will take youth and give youth its own education and its own upbringing. Your child already belongs to us. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this community.” “Let me control the textbooks and I will control the State.”
85. Because US Federal Judge Melinda Harmon said, in 1996, “Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.”
86. Because shopping for classroom supplies is fun.
87. Because our child has a passion to be in community theatre and their rehearsals run very late at night.
88. Because we both hated school and did the bare minimum to get through and we don’t want our child to feel the same way.
89. Because public schools require “lock-down drills” due to the very real threat of gunmen and/or terrorists in the building.
90. Because the cheapest time of year to go to Disney is October.
91. Because homeschooling is “green.” There is less transportation, less utility use, less paper…. way way way way way less paper.
92. Because we want our child to understand that learning can be done anywhere, any time, at any age and be self led or assisted. It doesn’t only take place in a classroom with a teacher.
93. Because we have the feeling that our child has important things to teach us. “Unless ye be like a little child…..”
94. Because we believe that people absorb the energy of a place and public school, very often, does not have a positive energy.
95. Because we want our child to have “Bible” as a school subject.
96. Because one of our child’s favorite restaurants has great Tuesday lunch specials and she rarely gets to enjoy them.
97. Because our child’s baby brother is growing up fast and we don’t want her to miss it.
98. Because our family is always happiest when we are together.
99. Because, if we know what our child is learning about, we can integrate that into life in so many ways for a more well-rounded and memorable learning experience.
100. Because we are pretty sure we’ll be good at it.