This fall marks the beginning of our fifth year as homeschoolers. We could never have guessed, when we started, where this journey would take us or how awesome it would be for our family. We have seen our daughter blossom and grow and we’ve all learned far more than we expected about the world and ourselves.
I’m not going to lie. Our daughter started sixth grade last year. I think I was laboring under the delusion that, removed from the drama of school life my adolescent child would poop rainbows and cry glitter. Yeah… not so much. Puberty is hard. It makes a person crazy. Parenting a crazy person is tough. Being their parent/teacher/principal/etc is nearly enough to drive a person to drink.
Did I think maybe it was time to give us a break from each other and send her back to school?
I did. Daily.
But I didn’t do it, because we had this list.
This list came about as something to cling to when the bad days come. Before we ever started homeschooling, a friend advised us to make a list of 100 reasons. “If you don’t have 100, you probably don’t have enough,” she said. “The day will come when you’ll be asking yourself why you’re doing this and you need something to look back to.”
And, really, if I’m being honest, there was maybe one hour a day that was quite stressful. It usually revolved around math.
I can put on my big girl pants and deal with one tough hour a day. Bonus: a new reason for the list (see #__).
If last year was landmark for our daughter reaching “middle school,” this year is a big deal because our son is starting kindergarten.
We’re pretty chill when it comes to kindergarten. He has school books and we work in them every day but his days are centered a lot more around playing and exploring his world than sitting at a desk, studying. He’s starting to read and understand basic math and counting skills. As long as he keeps moving forward we’re content with that for now.
It is important to me to make it understood that this list is not meant as a criticism of those who have children in public school or of the school district in which we live. I thank God that we live in a nation with CHOICES. We can choose what is best for our own families at any given time. For us, for now, that’s homeschool.
You’ll notice that some of our reasons are very serious. Some of them are quite silly. Some of them are totally focused on our children. Some are selfish on my part. They’re all reasons. They all played a part. Would I homeschool, just because I think public schools waste paper. Of course not! Read, knowing that not all of these weigh on our hearts equally.
The list has changed a little every year. Originally, there were one hundred reasons. Over the years, some of those reasons have become invalid and other reasons we’d never guessed at became important to us.
Without further ado…
100 Reasons (+18) Why We Homeschool
1. We love spending time with our kids and would miss them if they were gone all day each day.
2. Our daughter wants to be homeschooled. Our son doesn’t know anything else.
3. We want our children to have the opportunity to explore their passions in great depth.
4. We want to teach them to choose healthy foods and eat them SLOWLY and WITH ENJOYMENT (not gobble down processed lunch during a 20 minute break).
5. We want them to have large windows of time each day to explore their imaginations and play – not just a 20 minute recess where they’re not allowed to run too fast or swing side to side due to liability concerns.
6. As much as possible, we want to avoid having them compare their possessions to the possessions of others.
7. We think that 7+ hours of school plus and hour on the bus is too much time for a child (or an adult, for that matter) to sit and listen (as opposed to playing, questioning, exploring, etc).
8. It seems to us that homework, after 7+ hours of school, seems excessive and unproductive.
9. We want our family to be free to travel when and where we like.
10. With Handsome Hippie Hubby’s work schedule he would never see them if they were at school until 3pm each day.
11. The one meal we can eat together, as a family, every day is lunch.
12. We want to teach them to be responsible to the environment in practice, not just through lessons.
13. We want them to learn practical skills like cooking, gardening, sewing, etc and there is little time to teach those when they’re away at public school all day and such things are no longer a part of the curriculum in our local schools.
14. Sometimes life makes you stay up late and we want them to be able to sleep in or nap when their little growing bodies needs to.
15. They watch a lot of classic movies in music class and we want to be the ones to experience those with them.
16. They watch a lot of movies in music class and we want them to actually learn to play/sing/appreciate music.
17. J-Rex can’t sit still. He can’t. It’s physically impossible for him. He wiggles and figets and taps his feet, even when (especially when) he’s totally focused. We don’t want him to feel “naughty” because he’s a busy little boy.
18. We don’t want them to have to deal with the repercussions of being in a large class with a few “naughty” children that monopolize the teachers’ time.
19. Most of their closest friends are homeschooled.
20. We hate sending them away to school when they’re feeling sick, but not “sick enough” to stay home.
21. We hate sending them into a building full of children feeling “a little sick” but not “sick enough” to stay home.
22. J-Rex’s little body struggles with vaccines and he’s behind. Putting him in public school could create health issues for him and those around him.
23. Our daughter, who is a great reader and writer, should never have to slow down to wait for other children to catch up.
24. Our daughter, who struggles with math, sometimes needs more time and attention than her teachers can give her.
25. We were unhappy with many of the things we saw or heard about happening on the school bus when our daughter was in public school.
26. We want our children to have a broader, less politicized, view of history than they will learn in public school.
27. We don’t want our child to use anti-bacterial hand soap several times a day (though we are trying to teach both of them to embrace the use of regular soap.).
28. We think it’s unhealthy that children sit in a swelteringly hot classroom in the middle of winter.
29. We live in an awesome community surrounded by awesome communities with a near infinite amount of resources to use as teaching tools.
30. The whole family will gets to learn and grow when we’re “doing school.”
31. We want religion, spirituality, prayer and meditation to be a regular part of our children’s education.
32. We want to foster our children’s differences that they may harness them and direct them to the greatest good of their fellow human. Not just learn to be exactly like everyone else.
33. When REAL disaster/crisis/tragedy strikes (ie – the tornadoes that struck a nearby town a few years ago) we want them to know that it is not only OK but RIGHT and GOOD to drop EVERYTHING and rush to the aid of our neighbors.
34. 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. I learned advanced math. I NEVER used it (I 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 children to have that same experience.
36. Public schools in our district have cut resources for art teachers, and we believe in the power of artistic expression.
37. We want to know IMMEDIATELY if our children are struggling with a problem or social situation – not after it has reached a crisis state.
38. 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. We think intuition is a valid and valuable tool in the human mind that is suppressed by “institutionalized” learning.
40. Homeschooling forces me to be a more organized person.
41. Seeing my organizational skills, my children will learn to be organized. (It’s a great theory, isn’t it?)
42. 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. We believe strongly in the implied power in the sciences of noetics and quantum physics and this isn’t taught in public school.
44. 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. 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. 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. We believe a child should be free to express themselves in all sorts of silly, crazy, creative ways through their play and dress and public school places a great many restrictions in these areas.
48. With internet and virtual learning, they learn from a much more culturally, philosophically, educationally diverse group of teachers than they would encounter in a local public school.
49. We don’t like putting our child on a bus every day. But especially on days that are foggy, snowy, icy, etc.
50. 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. 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. Sometimes our children are “naughty” and teachers have neither the time nor authority to properly discipline then and/or the teachers’ definition of “naughty” and the accompanying discipline are different from what we teach at home.
53. Public school in America is designed to create success in an industrial age economy, but the industrial age is over.
54. EVERY study done shows homeschool children achieve higher academically.
55. EVERY study done shows that homeschool children are better socialized (fit into society more successfully).
56. EVERY study done shows that homeschool children have a greater sense of civic responsibility.
57. We want our children to learn how to use a computer to do more than play games.
58. We want our children to know how to do things without a computer.
60. We feel it’s more important for our children to know how and where to find information than to memorize facts for a standardized test.
61. We never want our children to go through the experience of “feeling stupid” for not understanding something without a little help.
62. We are able to introduce foreign language studies at an earlier age as homeschoolers.
63. We don’t want our children exposed to sex, drugs, violence, etc any earlier than necessary.
64. Time is valuable and public school wastes time (bus rides, moving between classes, waiting in line, etc).
65. 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. Some of the most mature, intelligent, respectful, strong-minded teens and young adults I know have been homeschooled since early childhood.
67. We want our children 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 children would be with us and we could make sure they’re as safe as possible.
69. We want our children to be able to think for herself and know how to question authority (even us) without being disrespectful.
70. Our children are unique individuals and deserve a uniquely designed education.
71. As parents, want a greater say in what our children do and do not not learn.
72. Some teachers are burnt out and just putting in their time and we don’t want our children to be “just put up with.”
73. We want to put the money spent on school supplies, field trips, etc to go toward those items we believe will be most beneficial for our children.
74. I really hate packing lunches and snacks every day.
75. We want to be the ones to teach our children how to appropriately deal with bullying, harassment, etc.
76. Homeschooling gives the whole family the opportunity and motivation to explore nearby (and sometimes far away) museums, gardens, parks, historic buildings, etc.
77. By homeschooling we are not doing things the “normal” way but we are teaching our children that there can be more than one good way to achieve a good end.
78. There are sometimes abusive adults in positions of power and we want to protect our kids from that as much as possible for as long as possible.
79. We want our children to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all the innocent, magical parts of childhood for as long as she can.
80. We want to avoid exposure to the annual outbreak of lice in the public school system.
81. 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. In homeschool band, our daughter has had the opportunity to learn five different instruments so far, and she is playing music the public school doesn’t play until high school.
83. 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. 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. US Federal Judge Melinda Harmon said, in 1996, “Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.”
86. Shopping for classroom supplies is more fun when you know you get to keep them and use them.
87. Our child has a passion to be in community theater and their rehearsals run very late at night.
88. My husband and I both hated school and did the bare minimum to get through and we don’t want our child to feel the same way.
89. Public schools require “lock-down drills” due to the very real threat of gunmen and/or terrorists in the building.
90. The cheapest time of year to go to Disney (and many other places) is October.
91. Homeschooling is “green.” There is less transportation, less utility use, less paper…. way way way way way less paper.
92. We want our children 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. We have the feeling that our children have important things to teach us. “Unless ye be like a little child…..”
94. We believe that people absorb the energy of a place and public school, very often, does not have a positive energy.
95. We want our children to have “Bible” as a school subject.
96. We want our children to embrace failure with enthusiasm, and learn how to use it to move forward. School punishes failure.
97. Our daughter learns a little more every time she helps her brother learn something new. Our son learns every day when he hears us teaching his sister.
98. Our family is always happiest when we are together.
99. If we know what our children are learning about, we can integrate that into life in so many ways for a more well-rounded and memorable learning experience.
100. We are pretty sure we’re doing OK with this homeschool thing.
101. Through the homeschool association they can take all kinds of lessons (music, sports, theater, etc) we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.
102. Through the homeschool association they have multiple opportunities to visit with and be of service to the senior citizens in our community.
103. We travel for business often. As homeschoolers, there is much less conflict between our trips and our children’s schooling.
104. Our five year old is learning some subjects at a far younger age, because he is around when we are teaching his sister.
105. Planting season is before school lets out for summer and harvest doesn’t finish until well after the new year begins. They would miss both if she was in public school.
106. Boys. We know we can’t shelter her forever but…
107. We’ve learned that our daughter puts up fierce resistance to certain parts of schoolwork. No one was telling us that before, but now we can work on breaking down some of those barriers and help her learn a healthier approach to dealing with the less pleasant chores in life.
108. Our daughter’s base of friends, after four years of homeschooling, includes a much wider age range of people. She is learning to interact appropriately with those much younger and much older than herself in a healthy and positive way.
109. Homeschooling has helped our whole family learn to be better stewards of our time and resources.
110. Homeschooling has given us extra opportunities to share some of our favorite books, movies, and music from our childhoods with our children.
111. Our children has had great opportunities to participate in classes with people of a wide range of ethnic, racial and regious backgrounds through homeschooling – far more so than in public school in our tiny community.
112. Our daughter loves to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November (National Novel Writer’s Month – visit Nanowrimo to participate with us!). She would struggle with the time to do that if she were in public school.
113. There are no snow days in homeschooling so we don’t need to spend half of the lovely summer making up for classes missed when it was too cold to leave the house.
114. As homeschoolers our children get to help deliver Meals on Wheels throughout the year and we love that they have the experience of serving their elders in that way.
115. You know those statistics about, “only 1% of people with a cold get hospitalized.” That’s our son. Homeschooling gives us some (admittedly small) amount of control over what gets dragged into our house.
116. Our daughter loves playing on the homeschool volleyball team.
117. Our children are becoming very adept at figuring out how to learn something on her own when she has an interest or need.
118. Our daughter often attends meetings and conferences with adults and interacts with them with amazing maturity. She would not be able to go to such events as often if she were in school all day.
119. Homeschooling isn’t marriage. It’s not a life-long commitment. We can opt out if/when it stops working for us.
120. Life’s too short for all work and no (or little) play. Homeschool days are always full of play!
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!
Want to REALLY know what my busy typing fingers have been working on lately? Visit my author page for oodles of short stories and all the latest info on the Heaven And Earth Series!