We have been keeping a bit of a secret (nope, not baby related 😉 ) and are very excited to share with everyone: our family, friends and beyond — we are homeschooling the boys indefinitely.
Let’s rewind a little back to about 8 weeks ago when we made the decision to pull them from preschool. Deciding to pull them from PreK was based off several reasons which I don’t want to go into here, but it’s safe to say two things: 1) it had NOTHING to do with the teachers — there were and are AMAZING. 2) the issues we experienced there are not exclusive to that school.
Once I pulled them we started doing school things at home, and I realized, hey this isn’t so bad and we’re saving a boatload of money now (just an added bonus). That led me to researching more into homeschooling, our public school system, curriculums, talking to friends of mine who homeschool, and my husband and I began the discussion of the possibility of homeschooling the boys and what that would look like.
We came upon several reasons why this is the best decision for our family, and here’s just a few of them.
(Disclaimer: I understand everyone has their own reasons for their schooling choices, these are OUR reasons for homeschooling, please keep comments respectful.)
1 // God
This is the number one reason: I am called. Really I could stop here. Over the last couple years I felt God tugging on my heart about a number of things — big things that have been life changing. And I’ve trusted Him in those decisions. WE have trusted Him in those really big life changing decisions. And at the end of it, He has always done what I knew He would. Made a way when there wasn’t one, given us strength and hope on the bad days and led us down a path we would’ve never seen ourselves down 4 or 5 years ago. I mean 5 years ago, we were newlyweds with no plans of children and all the plans to travel the world and live our own lives with little responsibility. And now here we are with three babies, me quitting a full-time job and on the horizon of one of our greatest adventures.
There are a few pieces of scripture that capture exactly how I know this is what I’m meant to do. I want to make sure they start their days with Jesus and I can’t realistically be able to do that when we’re rushing to get out of the house every morning to get to school on time.
2 Cor 10:5 says “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
- If they’re gone 80% of the day, how can I be sure their minds are being captivated in Christ?
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
- I had to let go of what the world has taught me about educating my children (we’re taught public school is the one and only way your children will excel and be educated) and form my own opinion of what that looks like. I don’t answer to the world, but to Christ alone.
Again, it came down to time: how can I teach my kids if they are not with me during the everyday? If when they get home they’re cranky and exhausted by being at school all day and NOW I’m trying to enrich their hearts with a Christlike foundation? How can I hide God’s word in their heart if most of the opportunities happen when they are at school? How can I truly impress upon their hearts if I only see them at dinner and at bedtime?
2 // Possibilities
The possibilities and opportunity to grow their spiritual health, their character, their heart, their academics, their social lives and our family dynamic seem limitless with homeschooling. The traditional family of times past has disintegrated. The importance of a strong family bond has nearly disappeared. I see so many children in broken homes with instability because we as adults are so caught up in the things that don’t matter. We get caught up in our businesses, our jobs, our “me time”, running our children from activity to activity, being BUSY — we forget that it’s important to just spend time TOGETHER. Homeschooling is going to afford us this. The precious commodity of family time that I’m not willing to give up. Our kids don’t want more things or more things to do — they want our TIME. Of course, I have thought, “man if they were to go to public school I could get so much done! I’d have so much more time on my hands!”. But I am reminded with each passing day, week, month… that these years go by so, so fast. And in the grand scheme of my life — 18 years with them (okay, let’s round up to like 22 because most of them don’t leave at 18 😉 ) is a very short amount of time in comparison to my entire life or theirs. I never want to look back and think I wish I had spent more time with them. And the few hours a day after school that I would get? It’s just not enough for me.
3 // Academics
Like I said, I’ve done a lottttttt of research on this. And this particular portion made me nervous at first, but after combing through lots of research I found that homeschoolers typically rate 37% higher than public school students. The average homeschool 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average (according to a Rudner study… I personally know an 8th grader who is currently doing this!). At home, I can make sure we have subjects that grow them, enhance them, and challenge them, go at the right pace for each child, have one-on-one (not 1 on 25ish+) teaching, and I can tailor our curriculum to their needs.
4 // Social Skills
This is one I admittedly had the most reservations about at the beginning, but after doing a little discussing with some other homeschooling friends and looking up “what is socialization?” I realized this: Do I want my children to have friends? OF COURSE! Do I think that them spending time with 30 other 6 year olds is going to “socialize” them? Nope.
“Go to your local middle school, junior high, or high school, walk down the hallways, and tell me which behavior you see that you think our son should emulate.” — Manfred B. Zyskthis
If you’ve ever looked up the word “socialization” it’s not exactly what you may expect. After looking at it and thinking how it would apply to my children we determined that there aren’t many things I want them to conform to. I don’t want them to conform or adapt to what our society needs (spoiler: that’s what socialization is). I do want them to function in our society, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I want them to be like everyone else. Jesus teaches us to be in this world, not of it.
And of course I want them to spend time with friends and be in activities. We are going to ensure they’re involved with things outside of our home (we’re getting involved in an awesome co-op in the fall). They will still be playing sports (if they choose — we’re doing t-ball in the spring!), they’re already involved at church and will continue to do so. Most of my homeschooling friends who have older children have said their children’s friends all come from church or from their co-op’s. And THAT makes my momma heart happy.
Proverbs 22: 24-25 “Do not make friends with the hot-tempered, do not associate with those who are easily angered; or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”
5 // Long Term Goals
My husband and I had to look at the big picture and ask ourselves what we want our children to be as adults. We want them to be strong in their faith, have a firm knowledge of the word of God, we want to train them up in the way they should go, so it may go well with them. We want strong, healthy, confident, educated children who live boldly and loudly in their lives — living out their faith and showing others what that looks like. We want them to go courageously and compassionately into the world fearless of failure, but respective by nature and humble by spirit.
I can’t imagine asking a teacher to do this for me. And honestly, I’m not sure they’d even be allowed to do those things in compliance with the public school system. I mean, I’m not sure I can do all those things either, but I know that God has placed this on my heart for a reason and I KNOW He will lead me through this, lead us through this and I have the confidence I can do it without having to put my trust in a stranger to raise up my child.
And finally, it comes down to this — I want to protect them a little bit longer from this scary place we live in. A world filled with cellphones and pornography and grotesque behavior. I can prolong the begging for a smart phone or whatever the new tech gadget is, I can continue to grow the sibling bond they already have because we’re in this together and not “Oh you’re my younger brother. You’re not cool anymore.” We won’t have to worry about school schedules (yay for taking a Disney trip in the middle of the school year because we CAN!), packing lunches, bad teachers or poor administration offices. Oh and we don’t have to spend a bajillion dollars on new school clothes and school supplies every year.
So that’s it. There are a few reasons why we are choosing this. And while I know it’s not popular opinion and I know not everyone agrees. That’s okay because you don’t have to. This is a very vulnerable post for me because I never in a million years would have ever seen myself going down this path. I never imagined I would be willing and excited to homeschool my children. However, I know when I have a call from God that I need to follow it, not resist it. We know this is what’s best for our family and we are SO EXCITED for this amazing journey!
Thank you to our friends and family who are supporting us in this decision. It means the world.