Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why We Homeschool: Part One

When we came to the decision to pull Camilla out of her wonderful little Christian school halfway through Kindergarten last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people in my circle were very supportive of our decision. Even the teachers at Camilla’s school were understanding. Several had homeschooled their children for a portion of their education. A lot of my friends already homeschooled or were considering it, and if they weren’t doing it themselves they appreciated the sentiments which led us to the decision. But once in a while, I’m rudely awakened by incredulity from one person or another. I suddenly realize that, while I like to think of myself as someone who can be friends with people from all walks of life, I must be surrounding myself with like-minded people to a great degree. So, here on my blog, let me share our reasons for homeschooling. I need to be honest and admit that it was mostly my decision. Todd and I have a rather egalitarian relationship. I would never dream of making a big life decision for myself, let alone our children, without his approval. But this homeschooling idea was my baby from the get-go.


Let’s start at the beginning, though . . . before I had children I did not think I would homeschool them. Todd went to public school and he turned out fine. (Better than fine, actually!) I wanted to write. I didn’t see how I could possibly be a writer if I was homeschooling our children. I had seen my mother homeschool me and my younger siblings, and it is a job, with a capital J. Not only that, I had also watched a lot of my homeschooled friends stray from their faith—or give it up entirely—once they reached adulthood. Many homeschooling parents choose to homeschool because they think it will make their children turn out the way they want them to. Yet, it didn’t work. I had a front row seat to that reality. So, why would I homeschool? All that work with no results!

Point number one: We do not homeschool for “religious reasons.”

God doesn’t ever say in His word that Christians need to teach their kids at home. Some people will come to the conclusion that God wants them to homeschool and that’s fine. What is not fine is coming to the conclusion that everybody needs to homeschool. Homeschooling your children will not save them or protect them from the world. Choosing to homeschool in order to control your children and their future is, at best, a questionable motive. Lots of italics here. My apologies.

C.S. Lewis said something wonderfully freeing in his book Mere Christianity:

“An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons—marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”

I believe this applies quite well to homeschoolers. We’ve given up (for a time, or forever) outsourcing education for our children. We have many good reasons for this. But the moment we start saying school, in and of itself, is bad, or looking down on people who send their children to school, we have taken a wrong turn. We get all caught up in the morality of home education, when it’s actually one of several perfectly moral choices.

After much prayer, last January, I came to the conclusion that God was okay with me using whatever methods I chose to educate our children at the present time.


Next time I’ll delve into what are my reasons for homeschooling.

7 comments:

  1. I've been thinking about this, and kinda sad that I gave up after Kindergarten and sent mine off to school. How do we ever know we made the BEST choice for our families?

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    1. We don't! We just pray a lot. Maybe there is more than one right choice. Thanks for reading and commenting, Olivia!

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    2. BTW, I really like that Lewis quote.

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  2. Though there are a lot of great resources that public and private schools have, as a social worker in training looking to work in a school, I have come across a lot of dangers that kids can get involved in within school systems. I also know that peer pressure can many times pressure good kids into bad stuff. You said that morals were not your reason for homeschooling and that homeschooling will not protect them from the world. How do you protect your kids from getting into bad stuff if they are around it everyday at school, similarly how do you avoid over-"protecting" your children while homeschooling? I'm really curious about this topic. Ethan and I have talked about this and don't know what would be best for our children when we have them someday. We've talked about public vs private vs homeschooling, and find ups and downs to all three. This is a very interesting subject and I would love to hear what people have done that have worked within any of the three choices.

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    1. Hi Linnea! Thanks for the comment! These are great questions. I wish I knew the answers. I think they're different for each family and maybe even each individual child. I know there are dangers and peer pressures within schools. But I also don't think it's good for our children to be completely sheltered from danger and pressure. I don't think we should throw a five-year-old to the lions, which is part of why we initially chose a small Christian school for Camilla. My opinion is that you really have to be involved with your children whether they're home schooled or attending school. A couple years ago, Camilla told me about a situation going on at preschool and I felt like she was able to share it only because of the relationship we had. It's tough to make these decisions, for sure. If it's okay with you, I'm going to post these questions on my Facebook author page to see if anyone else has feedback.

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  3. Love this Alison, very well written. I agree with all of your sentiments as it so happens. Still don't know what we'll end up doing when Avi reaches school age. I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate how you approached the morality aspect of schooling choices. There really isn't one absolute RIGHT or WRONG choice. There is also no such thing as an absolute guarantee that our kids will "turn out" the way that we want them too. I love that there is no 100% fool proof/guaranteed formula for parenting. It keeps me on my knees! I am so thankful that you addressed that as so many of us, myself included get hung up on that. :-)

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