Our Decision to Homeschool
For parents who are trying to decide whether or not to homeschool a child, or multiple children the choice is personal, and should be based on what works best for the family. There are many ways to homeschool and I will touch on a few models in future articles. Moreover, there is no one way to homeschool. The best advice I can offer to parents considering the homeschool path is to do your research. Evaluate all options and learn about teaching theories. Most important, study how your child learns. The best aspect of homeschooling is the freedom to teach using techniques that best fit how your child learns. I am not going to lie…homeschooling is not easy, and may not be suitable for every family.
This article is one in a series of four over the next few months describing the mission of one family to establish a 6-8-grade, college preparatory homeschool for three children. Subjects of future articles include: How to Homeschool, Socialization, and Homeschooling Law and Resources.
Choosing to become a homeschooling family is rewarding and challenging. Of course, as responsible parents we all want the best for our children. Sometimes the best for our children means making alternative choices beyond mainstream mediocrity. For my husband, the decision to homeschool was easy. The go-getter that he is, his thoughts about the proposed adventure was—just do it. Becoming home educators placed me in a fluxed state, wavering between steadfast confidence in our ability to provide a quality education to absolute fear of complete failure. I would be the primary home educator and most responsible for making sure our middle school children made consistent academic progress, and learned more than they would in public school.
Multiple factors led us to evaluate the educational journey the children traveled in a city-burban, public elementary school. It took us a few years to let go of the illusion that the schools would take care of educating our children, thinking our roles as primary educators ended when we stopped reading Dr. Seuss to them, and they to us. However, anguish over their lack of progress based on their age and grade increased each semester while the academic and social skills planted in them before kindergarten began to dissipate.
Through observation, research and analysis, we illuminated troubling areas about their development, and how the school system was failing our children. Taking a proactive stance to a growing problem meant re-prioritizing our life goals to make sure our children received a useful education. We weighed the options: private versus public school, catholic versus private and public school. We considered the economic effects of having a one-income family.
Our belief in the “family values” doctrine the media was so fond of repeating at the time was not filtering down to the three human-beings-in-training that were in our care. Teaching our kids more than just survival skills amidst the roar of a material drenched world and family values rhetoric became our primary goal beginning in the early to mid-1990s. Our children needed an intervention from the auspices of curriculum and social dogma unable to keep its promises.
In a society, increasingly requiring advanced technical skills and critical problem solving abilities, we trusted our intuition and took action to provide them with an alternative, quality education.