Because We Can
As a home educator, I’ve been asked why we home-school by those who are genuinely curious. They often are considering the option to homeschool themselves or are admirers of anyone who educates their children at home. I happily discuss our experiences and thoughts with those who really are curious in a non-judgmental way.I’ve also had the subtle and the not so subtle accusations from a few that just make me think, “Did they really just say that?” with as much stunned disbelief and sarcasm as is available to me. If you homeschool, you know what I mean. Those vary in degree and ridiculousness. I’ve probably heard just about every “opinion” you can imagine. Let me just show you what I mean.
One that probably sits on the top of the list is that we’re we are overprotective. Really….Are they serious!?! Just how is homeschooling being over-protective? Until about 100 – 150 years ago, almost every child was educated at home. Did parents teach at home then because they were overprotective? Hardly! They did it because they wanted their children to be educated…..to be able to read, write, cypher and know about the world they live in. Just look at the truth for a moment. Those who were taught at home have turned out to be some of the greatest innovators, inventors, literary and cultural icons and leaders in our history. That’s not a small thing, in my opinion. And for the record, protecting one’s child comes with the territory. It is a reality that we must look at in today’s world. What another may see as overprotective, I see as wisdom. If our choice to educate at home means we’re being overly protective in the eyes of some, so be it.
Going hand in hand with this one is that we must be afraid of this or that and that we are depriving him of life and learning about the real world. That one just really amuses me. Evidently these folks think we (my family) are living in a pretend fantasy world filled with marshmallow clouds, candy cane forests and rainbow pooping unicorns. While it is true that we take our assignment of protecting our child seriously, we don’t shield him from the realities of the world or negative things in life in an unhealthy way. We just choose to present them in a way that we feel is morally right, true to our faith and age appropriate as well as mental maturity appropriate.
Then there is the “Oh, you are one of those people.” with the insinuation that we are somehow weird. Ok, I’ll give ’em that one. I probably am a bit weird by their standards. No matter. I like who I am and I like who my husband is. I like who my child is becoming as he grows and matures too. Weird is in the eye of the beholder, you know.
And of course, I can’t forget to include the “you’re a religious nut” looks and comments. First of all, I’m a Christian, born again by and through the blood of Jesus Christ. My faith and lifestyle is about relationship and trust, not religion. It’s not about denomination either so don’t even go there. Secondly, It’s true that we (my husband and I) are not in agreement with much of what is advocated in today’s society from both a moral and biblical standpoint. But we are not now nor have we ever been “religious nuts”. We are children of the Most High and the only true and living God, who are covered by His grace and humbled by His mercy. We are no better or no worse than anyone else. We’ll leave it at that.
How about this one? “Aren’t you afraid they will fall behind?” Hmmm…..Behind what or who? The majority of the public and private education establishments are turning out a high number of graduates that cannot even do simple elementary math without a calculator, have a reading level that is below the so called standard, cannot spell worth a hoot, do not seem to be able to write with correct grammar, do not know the geography and history of the US or the world and are basically not ready for higher education. They can regurgitate information but what have they actually learned and mastered? In my opinion, the focus is passing the standardized and required tests so that state and federal funding remains intact or is increased. Learning doesn’t seem to be on the agenda. Even universities are now seeking homeschool graduates because they are academically solid and more well rounded all the way around. I’d say that publicly schooled kids and in many cases, private schooled children are the ones who have fallen behind the homeschooling community.
Some of my favorites would be the “When do you get time away from you child?”, “How do you put up with being with your child 24/7?”, “When do you get free time?”, “Don’t you need time to yourself?”, or “When do you and your husband get time alone together?” Well, let’s see. I’m a full time parent and proud of it. I waited for many years to be blessed with my child. He is my priority. It was sort of understood that once I became a parent, free time or time to myself would be minimal. It was a given that time alone with my husband would be less spontaneous and less frequent. I don’t “put up” with my child and I don’t want to get away from him. I love him and enjoy him. In another’s eyes, I may have given up many of those things, but in exchange I got hugs, cuddles, sweet memories, amazing love and the greatest blessing I have ever received. I understand that the season will come when I will no longer be “on duty” 24/7. And I know when that time comes, I will miss this season of raising him.
How about the one that gets joked about the most in the homeschool community? We are taking away the opportunity for socialization. Uhhh….OK? Might I be the first to inform you that you socialize pets, not children? Humans interact and engage. While I’m at it…..you do know that interaction or what you are calling “socialization” is frowned upon, discouraged and that kids more often than not get in trouble for this when they do it at school, right? And you must know that there are other opportunities for interaction such as church, group activities, participating in sports, and even the grocery store, family gatherings and the like? Tell me….where did you go to school again?
Then there’s the one that I really had to get past. This one was like a slap in the face each time it reared it’s ugly head but is now funnier to me than you can imagine. I’m sure this extended out to include my husband but it felt as if it was a bull’s eye shot directed straight at me. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not qualified to educate our child because I don’t have a teaching degree. And that I was not educated enough because I didn’t go to college. Excuse me!?! I know of some with teaching degrees that have absolutely no business in front of a classroom teaching anyone, much less kids. As for not going to college….SO! As if a piece of paper somehow makes a good teacher or constitutes being smart. I don’t know why some think a degree is an adequate and ultimate measure of qualification or intellect. News Flash! I have a brain and I know how to use it. In fact, I’m very smart and even more importantly, I’m teachable. And furthermore, I’ve been teaching others (children & adults) for more years than I can count in some way, form and fashion. Sooo…that just doesn’t fly, hon! Case closed!
The reality is that my husband and I were our son’s first teachers and that didn’t stop when he reached school age. We’re qualified to teach him because we know him well. We have an inside track on how his mind and interests flow and can take the time to broaden his horizons, delving into those areas in a way that a certified teacher in a public or private school with 25+ students can’t, but probably wish they could Yes, it’s true that neither of us have a degree of any kind from a university but we are intelligent and have a common sense approach to life. We have continued to learn throughout our life and are not uneducated or dumb by any measure of the word.
The fact is, our child is flourishing academically with above grade level capabilities and has retained a love of learning. He freely expresses his individuality with a wide variety of interests and a willingness to explore them. He uses his imagination in fascinating ways and dreams big. These are qualities that seem to be missing in many children that I’ve seen in recent years.
While public and private schooled kids are spending 7-8 hours in school classes, then another 2-4 hours at home doing their take home assignments every day with mom and/or dad sitting down to teach…errr….I mean help them, my son spends 3-5 hours max on his lessons with me or his dad by his side and the rest of the day he is free to be a kid. By the way, we teach/learn to mastery in this home academy……so we make sure he gets it before we move to something new, no matter how many days that takes. In addition, we live a lifestyle of learning everyday and with every opportunity.
I’ve had frequent opportunity to see for myself that my son is very well adjusted and balanced in social settings . He knows how to behave and interact with people of all ages and gender. He has character and manners, is respectful and courteous, honest and adventurous.
He doesn’t see or set limitations on himself that shouldn’t be applied because we don’t set or example limitations before him. There are no molds here. We encourage him to fly above the trees and see from a different perspective than what the world deems as acceptable. He actively participates in both my business and his dad’s business, going with us to events and client meetings or deliveries, helps on an age appropriate level and enjoys it. I don’t think he is suffering with a lack of anything.
All these comments and questions used to bother me. They don’t any longer. You know what they say about opinions. Umm Hmm. I have settled in and refuse to let the thoughts and mindsets of others influence or upset me. Frankly, these sort of “opinions” have become a source of entertainment to me as well as a matter of prayer. Now, whenever anyone comes up with loaded questions about why we home educate, I’ll just smile and say, “Because we can.” I know that regardless of what others think, this is the right choice for us and it is what’s best for our child. And I’m grateful that we have this option.
I’ll be quiet now. I really must get back to living and learning anyway. Thanks for reading and I hope you share this article if you found it a good read. Please let me invite you to stop by the At Home Woman community on Facebook and chime in with comments about this article, or homeschooling and education in generally. You’ll find a link to this article posted to the page there.
Enjoy your at home world!
- Homeschoolers May Excel Better Than School Bound Children (mamasbagoftricks.blogspot.com)
- The Homeschool Choice (r16sixteen.wordpress.com)
- What Schools Can Learn from their Homeschooling Counterparts (eyesonheaven.net)
- A Minor Rant & Why We Chose To Homeschool (thenormanators.com)
- Why would ANYONE choose to homeschool? (girlfriendscoffeehour.com)
- Why We Homeschool (anotherhatchettjob.wordpress.com)
- Are Homeschoolers “Weird”? (r16sixteen.wordpress.com)
- The Definition Of Socialization (kidzedge.com)
- Love of Learning (cultivatingtrio.com)
- Is homeschooling right for your child? (abc15.com)