Parents choose to homeschool for many different reasons. In my case, I feel that by bringing my son home he has a better environment for learning, better individualized instruction to meet his needs, more opportunity to develop a love of learning, and a greater outlet for socialization.
I Choose Homeschooling for the Environment
When I think about the kind of environment in which I want my children to learn, I think of the best possible environment: one where people are kind to him, for the most part, and where he can learn academic subjects without the added confusion of emotional conflict.
As an inhabitant of the world, he will encounter his share of difficult people. Although there is no way for me to avoid letting my son be exposed to people who berate, belittle, and speak harshly to him, I believe a public school is probably not the best environment in general. (See the 2011 NCES report on bullying and crime in the schools. Note that these are statistics for students ages 12-18. I did not find statistics on bullying in the younger grades.)
Does this mean I keep my child home because I am afraid? No. I send him to co-op; I would send him to school if I felt it was right. But honestly, I feel like the home environment is the best learning environment available for him right now.
I also love that we can, in our home environment, enjoy so much flexibility. We can learning when we’re most ready to do so, not simply because the clock says “math time” or “writing time.” We have the chance to learn all over the community too, not just at home.
I Choose Homeschooling for the Individualized Instruction
Although I have no problem with the Common Core State Standards, they meet the average student where he or she “should” be. How could the needs have been met for my kindergarten-aged son, who was reading at a fourth grade level and doing 1st grade math? A classroom teacher does not have an enviable job. The same teacher is responsible for dozens of children at multiple levels. Homeschooling allows me to tailor my children’s education to the level that they need right now.
I Choose Homeschooling to Foster a Love of Learning
True, I love my child, but homeschooling is not just about loving my child. I also homeschool him to foster a love of learning. I loved learning as a child, and I was not homeschooled. However, I know what he asked about last night at dinner, for example, and I can incorporate that in to my daily school plan. Because my children have individualized instruction, I can slow down and speed up my instruction to follow his interests, to let him delve into subjects and revisit them “out of order” of any particular curriculum. I hope this helps him develop a love of learning.
I also find that following the “rabbit trails” of what we are interested in (i.e., the random wonderings through out the day) means that learning is tons of fun! I love finding the answers for things I’ve always wondered about. I feel that if I learned to love learning in this way when I was young, I would have loved science, for example. Instead, I felt I was learning to take a test.
I Choose Homeschooling for Good Socialization Chances
I also homeschool my child because I want him to be well socialized, and I don’t think the environment (see above) of a formal school will necessarily do this for him. I am constantly amazed at the frequent concerns I get from other parents who ask “what about socialization?” when I first mention that I’m homeschooling.
I feel that homeschooling gives my child far more time to socialize than my children’s friends’ schedules. They are often tired after school, so cannot play. One set of friends did not get home from school until nearly 4 p.m. every afternoon in elementary school! My understanding is that boys get antsy in class and then act out their frustration. On the other hand, my kids and I are in multiple homeschool groups that frequently meet for either classes (the co-op group) or play dates and “field trips” together. Some weeks I feel I must limit our social engagements so we’ll get some school in!
Besides, the best possible socialization I believe my young kids can get right now is with their siblings. My older kids need to learn to get along with a little person who messes up their plans! Their developing friendship is a star point in our homeschool socialization. Because of our many involvements, my son is becoming adapt at meeting, playing, and conversing with people of many ages, not only kids in his particular birth year in his particular geographical area.
Many positives could also be said about public or private schools. These are just four of the reasons I have chosen to homeschool my son: the environment, instruction, love, and socialization. And we’ve found that we’re always grateful to start homeschooling again!
Why do you choose to homeschool?