Why homeschool? Well, obviously because I'm trying to turn my children into narrow-minded social outcasts with no interpersonal skills! And also because I think denim jumpers are super sexy, and you know that's the homeschool mom's uniform, right? ;-) (Read the description; it really does say that it's sexy!)
Of course that's not the reason! :-P Yet that's the negative image many people have in their heads when they think of homeschoolers. Here are a few of the real reasons why I've decided to homeschool next year.
Individual, Personal Education: I know my children better than anyone else. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I know how they learn best. I know where they excel and where they struggle. I know their temperaments and personalities. I know their interests. And I am capable of teaching them in ways that fit them best. In a classroom, only a limited amount of that can occur; there are so many children and only one teacher, and it's just not feasible for a teacher to tailor his or her teaching to each and every individual child.
Real Socialization: If you've ever talked to anyone about homeschooling, you know that the socialization issue is one of the hot topics. It seems to me, though, that the public school model of grouping 20+ same-age kids together for 7 hours a day is not representative of real-life socialization. Sure, it's good for kids to hang out with other kids their age-- but it's even better for them to be around all different age groups, from babies on up to the elderly. Homeschooling doesn't mean kids won't spend time with other children their own age, but in most cases it does mean that they'll be exposed to a variety of people. That seems like positive socialization to me! This is how the rest of us live our lives every day, so I'm not sure how this would not prepare kids for real-world interaction. This is real-world interaction.
Learning for Learning's Sake: This is not the fault of public school teachers, so I hope you don't think I'm picking on them. I'm friends with several teachers and I think they're amazing people! Unfortunately, the way the public school system is set up requires so much "teaching to the test." Schools are expected to deliver certain test scores, and when you're trying to cram in all the material needed for the students to score well, you just don't have time to slow down and emphasize the process of learning. Kids are natural learners; they are inquisitive and curious, and they want to know all kinds of things. But after a few years in school, many start to think of learning as a boring chore that you have to sit down and do. When really, life is learning, and it's naturally rewarding if we would just let it happen.
It Feels Natural: I've chosen a certain kind of parenting because I believe in it wholeheartedly. When I view discipline as teaching and guiding my children, and when fostering a healthy attachment is very important, it only seems natural for homeschooling to flow out of that.
Time: I'll be honest, I hate what the public school schedule does to our family. Elijah has to get up way too early, he's gone for several hours, and when he comes home, we have just a few hours to squeeze in family time, homework, dinner, and any other evening activities before bedtime comes along at 8:00. When he's home, we're able to follow a schedule that fits our family better. Schooling can flow naturally into the rhythm of our day, rather than our day being dictated by the school's schedule.
Connection: When Elijah's away from home for 7 hours a day, we start to feel really disconnected from each other, and this shows up in very obvious ways in our relationship. So many people feel frustrated with their kids and think they'd never be able to stand spending all day with them, but I've found that when I'm able to spend more time with Elijah, things are actually much better. We feel connected again, we have time to relax together, we learn together and pursue interests, and our home actually feels much more peaceful. The difference is very noticeable.
So those are just a few of my reasons for wanting to homeschool. I know that these reasons may not resonate with everyone, and that's fine. We all have to follow our hearts and do what's best for our own families. There have been times where I truly don't believe homeschooling would have been the best fit for our family-- but right now, it is, and that's what we're going to do. :-)