I have a lot of friends that homeschool. I really admire people who homeschool. I do not homeschool but I sort of fit the stereotypical "profile” of a homeschooler. I have seven kids, am deeply religious, do not work outside the home, and I absolutely LOVE spending time with my crew. My husband is a minister. Many people assume I DO homeschool and are surprised when I tell them I do not. I am asked fairly often why I do not homeschool.
I have a pretty good biblically-based reason for not homeschooling. My husband was not “on board” and I am in submission to him. We usually agree on everything and we make decisions together but in the end, if we disagree on something, his choice is the one that matters. Is that hard? Yes, sometimes it is hard. Am I unhappy? Absolutely not. He is, by no means, a dictator. He loves me as Christ loves the Church. I am confident He would die for me or for any one of our children. The very few decisions we have disagreed about over the years have only reinforced for me (in the end) that God’s plan for a man and a woman is the best plan. Shawn makes the decisions that he feels are best for our family and he always has our eternal salvation on his mind. He was confident we could raise our children to be faithful Christians (even with that “horrible handicap” of a public education.) After all, both of us attended public school, were raised in the church, and remained faithful to God, so he knew it could be done.
I read a blog article a week or two ago by a homeschooling mom. She listed the reasons she does NOT homeschool. I think that is the second one I've read that explains why a homeschooling mom does NOT homeschool. In other words: she homeschools, but for different reasons than the ones listed. The article was very well written. I read homeschooling blogs and enjoy homeschool Facebook groups from time-to-time because I can apply what I learn even though I do not homeschool my kids. Sydney has a learning disability and I’ve gotten some great ideas from homeschoolers. Plus, homeschooling just interests me. Remember, I wanted to homeschool but was not able. If Tate’s transition to Junior High had not gone well, Shawn and I were going to reconsider public school for him. The transition did go well and Tate is doing much better than we had anticipated. His classmates treat him very well and I am in constant communication with his resource room teachers. Tate is learning a lot and he loves going to school too!
I do see the reasons my husband knew (long before I did) that homeschooling was not the best way for us to go. Ours would not have gotten the better education at home and my husband was wise enough to see that. I still believe homeschooling (for most) is BETTER than a public education! I do not need convinced!
I said all that to say this: If one of the reasons a homeschooler does NOT homeschool, is to constantly try to prove to me that their child is getting a better education than mine, then why do some constantly tell me that their child is getting a better education than mine? Why is it that almost all the articles I see about the demise of America due to public education are posted by homeschoolers? I am Facebook friends with many homeschoolers (or I was before this post) so don’t think I am picking on you alone if you post articles bashing my kids’ public education.
I do not need to see a new article each day about the common core. I know the common core is not a good thing. The educators in my kids’ schools know the common core is not a good thing. The parents and teachers whose kids ARE being affected are fighting against the common core mentality. My kids will be affected if the common core is adopted so I am staying informed. I also know that many bad things happen at public schools. I am often in my kids’ schools. I see some things I do not like. I see a lot of things I do like too. I believe my kids are getting a good education. I believe they are well grounded in the truth (religiously) and are able to handle the things they encounter each day.
I am aware that there are school districts in large cities where kids are not safe and kids are dealing drugs in the halls. I know there are districts where we could not (would not) send our kids to public school. We live in a small town, in a rural area, in the Midwest. My kids’ graduating classes are usually around 100 students. My kids are safe at school. They are learning. Their teachers are WONDERFUL. Six of my seven kids have had the same teachers for kindergarten, first, and second grade. Another teacher will have had six of my seven kids by the time my last gets through grade school. I have the email addresses to most of the junior high and high school teachers memorized.
I’ve never had a teacher that did not honor our wishes regarding religious beliefs. Music teachers have accommodated us when my kids did not want to sing religious songs with instrumental accompaniment. My kids have respectfully argued with their junior high and high school teachers when it came to biblical matters. By the time my kids are in high school I think they can effectively defend their beliefs. Most of the time evolution has come up the teachers have confided in me that they also believe in creation so they did not push the theory of evolution at all. If I homeschooled my children I would certainly explain evolution to them so they could be “ready to give an answer.”
I try hard to be an encourager. I encourage my homeschooling friends. As a matter of fact, I have told more than one young mother who was considering homeschooling to DO IT. If at all possible, their husbands are fully on board, and they have the desire, I tell them it is the best way to go. But from now on I am going to ask a favor of them. I’m going to ask young mothers who homeschool to never lead their children to believe that MY children are getting a shoddy education or that my family is not pleasing to God. My kids have gone to bible camps with peers who are homeschooled. My kids have been told that public schools are evil and parents who don’t homeschool are sinful. My kids’ “friends” had to have heard it somewhere. I asked a dad once if he believed it was sinful to send kids to public school and he said “yes.” Have I known homeschooled children who are uneducated? A few. Do I know homeschooled children who are getting an amazing education? Many!
I've been pondering a lot of things lately. I can't say this wrong or I'll make a lot of people really mad. (If I haven’t already accomplished that.) But, if one of the goals of a homeschooler is NOT to make me feel guilty for NOT homeschooling, then why all the negativity about public schools all the time? If I were posting articles on my Facebook wall that listed the drawbacks of homeschooling, I would lose some friends I’m sure. Some of my homeschooling friends always seem to be on the defensive anyway. I can’t figure that one out either. Hold your head high and raise your kids the way you think is best! Don’t constantly try to defend it and justify it to others. You are making the better choice!
If you homeschool, please know my goal was not to offend you or to contest your choices. Like I said, I do believe homeschooling a child is a really good decision. And, I LOVE hearing your stories! But, I hate it when you put down my kids’ schooling.