Why We Teach Our Children at Home (part 1)

Like so many conservative christian crazies -er, I mean, mothers, I chose over a year ago that I wanted to homeschool my kids. There are plenty of reasons for it, and many myths that I would love to shed light on, and many reasons why homeschooling is spiritually a good idea.
As usual, my plan is to both bore and offend you until you keel over with blog-induced paralysis.
Just kidding.
If you find yourself often suffering from blog-induced afflictions, I don't know why you would be reading any.

Moving on...

Allow me to touch on some of my personal reasons for homeschool. Bear with me, it may get tedious.

  • The school system here is severely lacking (much like most school systems elsewhere) on a purely educational perspective, let alone spiritually.

    Although I am fortunate that there is much Christian influence via Believing teachers at the school (including my husband), there is just not enough Christ to go around for my liking. I have also noticed a trend with children going from middle school here in Hoonah (the tiny Alaskan town I live in) to high school in another city - which means *off* the island. Many parents have to make a point of going and visiting their children during the school year. This is considered the "preferred" alternative to the Hoonah school system. Many students have to play catch-up when they get to college after they have finished their high school education here. 
  • I am called to raise my children - no one else.

    I personally find the idea of sending my children away, at the age of 5, for 7-8 hours a day for twelve years to be ridiculous. To me, that is expecting someone else to raise your children. Please don't take offense, and start trying to justify to me why you send your kids to public school. I'm simply stating what it feel like to me. I feel that if my child is spending more time gone than here, I'm simply not the biggest influence in their lives at that point. Not to mention, why have children just to send them away the entire time they are growing up? Is it just because that is the societal norm now? I want my children home, with me, where they belong. Not sitting somewhere trying to accomplish two hours worth of work for eight hours.
  • Mother knows best.

    I can't expect someone who does not know my children as intimately as I do to know what is best for them. I know that public school works just fine for many temperaments - mine is not one of them. When I was in school, I was not being challenged or pushed at all. I was mostly ignored and not at all appealed to, and in the end, I was very much left behind. Teachers do not always know how to cope with children who are different. They also can't slow down for children who are slow to learn or move ahead with children who are more advanced. They are forced to put everyone on an even keel, no matter what. It's difficult for teachers to pick out what's best for individual students because it's 20 against 1 in most classrooms.

  •  The Bible implies as much.

    “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut.6:6

    I interpret this scripture to say that we are to teach them in the ways of the word of the Lord always, at all times. I can't see successfully teaching my children the word of God to the degree he desires if they are not even home for 8+ hours a day.

    For more in-depth glances at the Biblical impression to homeschool, *PLEASE* check out Erika Shupe's blog post on Large Families on Purpose about homeschooling. Seriously, read it. I'm gonna quiz you on it later.
  •  Freedom
    I can do whatever I want. If we want to take a day off, I can. If we want a field trip, we can go somewhere. If I want my kids to learn something spur of the moment, it's doable. If we need a vacation, if we want a park day, if there's an emergency, if we want to have a movie day all day.... It goes on and on. I'm not obligated to be a victim of the five-day-a-week, eight-hour-a-day grind. We have the flexibility to do what we want, when we want, and how we want. It's beautiful.
In addition to having my own reasons (which really do exceed what I've covered here, but less words can be more in some cases) for choosing to homeschool, I have encountered countless arguments for the inferiority of homeschooling. Some of them bring up *possibly* valid points while others are just downright insulting.
 I'm sure you've probably heard at least one of these, even if you've never expressed any interest in homeschooling.

  • I would never homeschool because I think these children are deprived the opportunity to learn social skills.Sigh.... seriously? I think I already covered this in a piece of blog last year:"Socializing
    A hot topic among large families is socialization. Part of this may be due to the high rate of homeschooling large families.  People assume that a large family that homeschools is just going to be full of children that are hermits in social situations. 

    From my own experience (in my own home and around other large families) this is just not the case. Think of it this way; children that go to school learn how to interact with other children their own age. Their exact age, in fact. They don't mix and mingle very often with different age groups at all. And as far as that goes, they usually follow the same group of peers through their entire school career. 

    In a large family, however, each child is exposed to the varied age groups of his/her siblings. They learn quickly how to interact with more than one person at a time, how to interact with varied temperaments from early on, and since mom cannot drop everything to settle every little dispute, they learn to be problem solvers. They don't learn to share from their caregiver drilling it into their head to share, but instead, out of necessity.
  • Your kids will be weird.

    So, this one might be true. Wink-wink, I'm joking. For real though - my kids are going to be "weird" not for lack of socialization but because the bible called us that already.

    1 Peter 2:9
    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

    We are not supposed to conform to the world and be like everyone else. I have no problem with my kids being "weird" by that standard. There was one person, a "christian" woman, who requested that if I homeschool, I don't let me kids be "weird homeschooled christians." I found the request to be strange in itself, and walked away shaking my head at that one.
  • You have to be a well-organized person with lots of patience, experience, etc.

    These are things that everyone should strive to be, to a degree, but I assure you, I am *not* any of these things by nature. The little bit I have accomplished is entirely thanks to transformation by the Holy Spirit - and it can happen for anyone.
  • You can only teach your kids as much as you know - you have to be smart to homeschool/Parents are not qualified like teachers.Anyone with an iota of common sense can teach. If your own education is lacking, you will have to use the teacher's manual more, and you will have to look up more material for accuracy but there is no reason you have to be a college graduate with a degree to homeschool. I only went to school until I was 14 and I have every intention of homeschooling my children for their entire educational careers.
  • Your kids will miss a lot/what about extracurriculars and sports and electives and...For one thing, I look at what I got to "experience" in public school. I know that not everyone has a terrible experience, but just generally there were violent fights, a lot of bullying, teacher favoritism, negative influences, socialization aside and distracting from education, some drugs and sex, and many other circumstances that I definitely do not want my kids exposed to outside of a controlled atmosphere. Sure, there was year-book signing and ... um... lunch time? I don't know. I really can't think of any positives that outweigh the terrible things. And I've heard it's gotten worse since I was in school. As far as sports and electives, we can teach our children quite a but ourselves. My husband and I know basics of dance, basketball, baseball, football, wrestling.... and there are some sports taught at summer school (where I am happy to say that most of my favorite Believing teachers volunteer!). Last year they learned gymnastics, swimming, and soccer. There are also many public schools that still offer eligibility for homeschool students to participate in music classes and sports teams (the music teacher plays the organ during worship service at my church, and another homeschooling mom who takes her children to music class is....my pastor's wife!).
  • Your kids need to be taught about other religions/It's not good for kids to only learn about the bible/Religion should be kept separate from education

    I am sad to say, this was actually brought up several times on a homeschool debate that I had the "pleasure" to be involved in. I have every intention of teaching my children about the basics of other religions - in the correct setting and when they are old enough. Aside from that, why would I not want my children to learn everything they can from the bible? Being a Christian is not just some fun pastime that our family uses to annoy people.Worshiping the Lord and being obedient to Him is our sole purpose. So yes, we put a lot of emphasis on the Bible and religion.
  • Homeschool students don't do as well academically as public school students.

    This one is slightly laughable seeing as how it has become common knowledge that homeschool students test higher than public school students overall, but this was also brought up several times in the aforementioned debate.

    Outstanding Results on National Tests

    Homeschoolers score highest on ACT

    Do Homeschoolers really do better on tests?

    Study finds that Homeschoolers test better....

    And my personal favorite: Homeschool Academic Achievement

  • As christians, we should send our kids to school to minister to others. I disagree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. There is so much scripture that argues this mentality.

    2 Corinthians 6:14
    Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

    Psalm 1:1
    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

    Proverbs 13:20
    He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

    Jeremiah 10:2
    Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    Matthew 12:30
    Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

    1 Corinthians 15:33
    Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.

    Psalm 26:4-5

    I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I consort with dissemblers.
    I have hated the congregation of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.

    Public school is not about ministering to others - it's about peers and forming friendly bonds. In any public school setting, this would happen much more frequently than any ministering. I just don't see a good scriptural argument for ministry as an excuse to send your Believing children to public school.
    Here is a really interesting forum thread on Puritanboard.com about being Friends with Non-Believers. I think it brings up a lot of valid points about socialization and ministery.

    I think I have formally exhausted the subject of homeschooling for now. I have every intention of following up with another post in the future about *how* we homeschool and many other juicy tidbits that you never knew you cared about. And possibly still don't.

    Again, I encourage you to read Why do we do it? From the Large Families on Purpose blog. It was initially what sparked my own interest in homeschooling, and I'm so glad it did!


  1. I agree with most of your blog, and love it. I would love to have the chance to home school my children, as well as spending more time with them, but unfortunately I am the only adult in my home, not that I have particularly chosen it to be that way, and am also the only source of income :(

  2. That's definitely a difficult circumstance. I certainly wouldn't expect someone in your situation to drop everything and home school, but if it's something you really want and feel it is in accordance with the Lord's will, you can pray for him to 1) reveal a solution or open a door to help change the situation and 2) pray that He will provide a means for it to come to fruition. God can do anything, even if it's something our human minds would not conceive!


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