Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why I Do and Do Not Homeschool

Some of you may know and some of you may not know that our family homeschools. It isn't exactly something that I broadcast to someone as soon as I meet him/ her. I much prefer for that knowledge to sneak up on someone, rather than having him/her form an instant, incorrect stereotypical snapshot in his/her mind as soon as I mention this little family tidbit.

Yea, I know and have probably heard most of the homeschool stereotypes, and they drive me absolutely crazy. Just to get it out of the way, right now (and I know this blog will probably irritate those on the left and the right):

Yes, I homeschool, and . . .

. . . I do not wear denim jumpers. I have actually spent most of today barefoot with a freakishly dark toenail polish and modeling a comfy pair of fitted Levi's.

. . . I am not a religious zealot. Yes, I am Christian and raise my children as Christians because doing so makes me and them much better people than we could be on our own. Even though, I have my own set of beliefs, I also firmly support other people's rights to their own beliefs.

. . . I believe in evolution. Yes, I think that God created the world in whatever way, time, and process that he chose. If he chose evolution, go for it.

. . . I am raising my daughter to be an independent young woman who can take care of herself. Nothing drives me crazier than to hear a woman say that she should be submissive to men- don't think so, not happening over here. Just because I spend most of the day home with my children does not in any way mean that I am any less of an independent person than a woman who drops off her kids at the bus stop on her way to work.

. . . I am pro-choice. Enough said, my point is don't jump to conclusions about people based on cursory information that you may know about them.

. . . I am a political moderate. I have voted for Clinton, Bush, and McCain, but do not subscribe wholeheartedly to either party. I have no problem with gay marriage or any other civil rights issue. I do, however, disdain big government and excessive spending. As you can see, I don't comfortably fit in either political party. But I do have a novel idea- bipartisanship.

. . . I listen to normal music. Today my kids and I were rocking out so much to Kings of Leon in the car that we actually took a wrong turn going to the soccer field which we have driven to many times. Later, after my oldest was out of the car, I then switched over to First Wave classic alternative (Curly Girl hates the station and refers to The Cure as The Disease) and later in the evening caught a great version of a 10,000 Maniacs song on Coffeehouse.

. . . I read all sorts of everything all the time and read Harry Potter and lots of other books to my kids. I'm definitely an equal-opportunity reader. That being said, I do watch what my kids watch, listen to, and read. My personal guidelines limit the kids' exposure to inappropriate language and sexual content.

. . . I expect my children to attend well-known universities, not small schools which cater to a small sub-section of the population.

So, you may ask, why do you homeschool?

. . . Academics, academics, academics. Before homeschooling my kids, I taught 4th and 5th grades in public and private schools. After boring myself teaching to standardized tests and seeing Curly Girl become more and more bored and disenchanted with school, my husband and I made the radical decision for me to leave the classroom to teach the kids at home. There is actually a much longer story here, but one that is best told on a personal level. The short version- IMHO, we're selling our kids short by not demanding more of them academically, especially bright kids who are being dumbed down in less-than-stimulating classroom settings.

. . . Flexibility. I love being able to take vacations at non-peak times of year (The kids and I had a blast at Disney's Blizzard Beach in early December.), adjust our schedule for real-life interruptions and activities, and take field trips to museums and nature trails whenever we want. While Curly Girl has been involved in a community theatre production over the last few weeks, it has been a blessing to be able to let her sleep in a bit later after late-night rehearsals.

. . . Passions. I truly, truly hope that homeschooling will allow my children to find their passions. Car Guy loves learning about engineering and architecture. Curly Girl is so enamored with fashion design that we are going to try to line up some sort of design course for her next year. As my children grow older, I hope to arrange internships so they can check out careers in which they may be interested.

. . . So my children can be children. Before continuing let me assure you that my children are receiving a more-than adequate education- even though they don't spend 7 hours a day behind a desk and another 2 hours at night doing homework. 7th grade Curly Girl recently rocked the SAT, and Car Guy can talk your ear off about axles, horsepower, and car models. I say those things not to brag, but to tell you that time spent sitting in a classroom does not always correlate to academic achievement. My kids roll out of bed about 7:30am and start school around 9. We usually end between 12 and 2, then the kids usually have time to play with Legos, draw, read, practice piano, etc. before heading out the door to soccer practices, swimming, theatre, and whatever activities they have going on that day. This afternoon, they shot hoops together outside enjoying the beautiful spring weather. At night, we usually hang out as a family, read together, etc.- not fight about homework or slap together teacher-assigned school projects.

So that's the deal with our family and homeschool. Every family has their own story, however, so please don't jump to conclusions when you learn that someone homeschools. While many homeschools and homeschoolers may look different than my family, I completely support their legal right to structure their homeschool in the ways they see fit. I support their right to their beliefs, as I hope they support mine.

Along this same topic, here is another great post about why an individual family chooses to homeschool:



  1. I don't know. That denim jumper is like a badge you earn after a certain number of years invested, I think. :)

    We homeschool, too, and the stereotypes do get annoying. We're Christian and I would generally say we do homeschool "for religious reasons," but it isn't like that. You say that and people picture you in some isolated little camp reading nothing but the bible and never getting out.

    Anyway, great post!

  2. Excellent.... I think you are right on. Amen :)

    Although, my oldest might poke needles in his eyes if he was home that long, I have often wondered about #2 and #3.... still wondering ...actually

    Lovely read, deliciously argued :)

  3. Glad to see you are back. Enjoyed this very revealing post.

    As far as the "submissive" issue...I heard a talk one time that being submissive is stepping back so that God can slap your husband. Often we try to step in and try to fix our husbands, and I think this is God's way of saying - you can't do that, only I can. I try to remember that when times are tough. God doesn't say be submissive, lose who I created you to be. It doesn't mean squelching your personality, foregoing your gifts or losing your independence. Frankly, I am kind of happy at not have the weight of bearing the complete and total responsibility before God of making sure there is love in our house. Can you tell this was a thorn in my side for a while? I have done a lot of scripture study on it. It is a beautiful picture when done correctly, but what part of God's design isn't!

  4. I was too lazy to do one of these posts yesterday, and simply "ditto"-ed PW's post. Love yours as well! Guess it's time to get around to mine....(sigh)

  5. I love, love, LOVE your post! One of my favorite parts: "time spent sitting in a classroom does not always correlate to academic achievement."

    Sounds like we homeschool for approximately the same reasons. And I don't have a denim jumper either. (Well, I did, but I gave it away as soon as I started homeschooling and realized it had certain connotations in this world!)


  6. Outstanding!
    I've been homeschooling for more than 5 years and for various reasons, none of which have to do with my religious preference. I don't blurt out that I homeschool as it seems to be a conversation stopper or I'm subjected to someone's criticism (ignorance) of homeschooling. My stadard answer to "why" I homeschool is that we are a Navy family. This seems easier for the masses to digest.
    I always find it so interesting that we have to justify what we're doing for our children. I occasionally point the "why" question back at those who seem to think I'm deranged for choosing to homeschool. It leaves them puzzling for a responce to my question. A couple of times, it really pissed the person off. Oops. So, I'm not the "social norm". "Why" does the general public care how I choose to educate my children as long as they are safe, healthy and happy?

    It was great to stumble onto your blog. I'm new to blogging myself but I've truly enjoyed your site. Thank you.

  7. As your husband, I totally love what you do and mean to our family. You are the glue that holds us all together....even if you don't "submit" to my every whim....XXX OOO. BTW...we have the coolest kids!!!

  8. I could've written your post nearly word for word except for the part regarding abortion (I believe life is sacred from conception through natural death) and my preferred music is country rather than rock.

  9. Great post, Angela. I have always had great respect for homeschoolers, Unfortunately, I'm fairly certain I would not enjoy it. Having said that, I know several people who do homeschooling, where there children take classes a few days a week at various homeschooling centers. It's a nice hybrid, I think.