I have received a couple e-mails recently regarding the decision our family has made to homeschool. This certainly is not a new question that we have received, but I thought I might address it here on my blog, since I'm actually writing in it at the moment. I will forewarn you that I am about to write regarding our beliefs - while I do not intend to offend anyone, I will not "sugar-coat" our beliefs.
Perhaps one of the most practical reasons that drew us to homeschool is the fact that we are a military family. My husband is active duty Air Force and has every intention of retiring from the Air Force after 20 or so years, which is another 5.5 yrs from now. Though by being in the Air Force, we do not move very often, the potential to move is always there... and we never know where or when. This means that in the middle of a school year, we could find our family relocating to a new state. Not only would one school not be teaching the exact same curriculum as another, but the skill-level would probably be totally different as well. Schools here in the south move at a much slower pace than those in the north!!!
Another reason is we want a handle on the children our children are around, and the behavior of our children. Many people comment about the "sponges" children are when it comes to learning "facts," yet we seem to fail to remember that they are also "sponges" of what they see and hear. The first spanking I recall as a child was repeating verbatim what my father had told me to tell my older sister. This included a swear word. While I do believe that children need to do as they are instructed (such as not cursing), I also believe that they need to be around examples of what is expected of them. No two families are going to have the exact same beliefs on what is right or wrong for children to do or say. Without proper training and close monitoring, it is an unfair burden on a child to expect them to do as you wish when they are around others that do not evn come close to your expectations, on a regular basis, at a young age. One of our favorite books is called "raising Godly Tomatoes." In it, she compares children to tomato plants. You cannot plant a tomato plant and expect it to grow straight and strong, and to be productive without some support, structure, and staking. So it is with our children.
The primary reasons, however, is due to our personal beliefs regarding WHAT our children should be taught and by WHOM. I'm going to talk about the latter first. We are a Bible-believing, Christ-following family. We take the Bible very literally. In Deuteronomy 11:19, we are instructed to teach our children. No one knows our children better than my hubby and I. Each of our four children (soon to be five) have different personalities and learning styles. By teaching our children at home, I am able to tailor their lessons to their individual needs. Our oldest is very much so a kinesthetic learner. I have had to switch her math and spelling curriculum a few times in order to find ones that fit her learning style. If there is something hands-on for her to do to go along with what she is learning, she retains the information. Public and private school teachers are unable to do this with each subject and/or lesson. For example, we have begun using All About Spelling for K's spelling. This allows her to move letter tiles to spell her words. By doing this, she is grasping the word families. Can you imagine in a regular classroom setting, them giving each child a set of letter tiles to spell their words? Of course not! So now, rather than struggling with her spelling, she is enjoying it. Math is the same way! She is learning much better with Math U See, using math manipulatives, than she ever did with any of the other curriculum we tried - including ACE, Saxon, and Singapore!
Perhaps the most vital reason, though, is WHAT we want taught to our children! Evolution is a bunch of baloney. God created this earth and everything in it. Our children need to be taught about Christ through each of the subjects we tackle. Our science curriculum is based on Creation. Our history curriculum combines what was happening in the secular world at the same time as what was happening Biblically. For example, did you know that Ruth and Naomi were only about 50 years historically behind the Legend of the Trojan Horse? Our purpose on earth is to bring glory to God. How can we expect to do this when we take God out of our lives??? He is to be Lord of all our lives, not just part of our lives. This past Sunday we just heard a sermon on this very topic. Our pastor explained it like a house with many rooms. If you purchase a house and are given the keys to your new house, but are told there is one room you absolutely must not enter, and you find it locked and impossible to get into, would you be satisfied with that??? Of course not! You had bought the entire house, not just a select number of rooms. In the same way, Jesus Christ paid the price in full for us... he owns all of us, not just select rooms or parts of our lives. Our children are not ours - they are Hi - and they need to be taught about the God that Created them, loves them, and prayerfully owns them 100%.