Answering “Why do you want to homeschool?” is difficult because it’s a lifestyle not conducive to a one-sentence summary. We wanted a place to which we could direct inquisitive minds and remind ourselves of our vision when push comes to shove! Though we can’t speak for everyone who homeschools, here’s what we might say if you asked us why we want to.
1. We want to homeschool because the opportunities to disciple our children are great. Perhaps they are exceptionally misbehaved, but I find myself giving instruction and administering correction dozens, if not hundreds, of times every day. God has given this responsibility to parents (Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 29:15; Colossians 3:21; Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6: 6-9; Proverbs 1: 8-9; Proverbs 19: 18), and we simply cannot be the ones training them up in the way that they should go if we are not with them.
We want to be able to stop in the middle of studying the human eyeball and praise the Lord for His glorious Creation; memorize Proverbs with our children and reference them when we struggle with cheerfulness, obedience, and diligence; sing Psalters at mealtimes; lay aside our bookwork to visit grandparents; converse with them about anything that’s heavy on their hearts; and work to resolve issues as they arise instead of saving them for later.
2. We want to homeschool because we like being around our kids. Most days end by crawling into bed exhausted and emotionally spent, but I am also fulfilled and confident that there is nothing I’d rather be doing then interacting with my own children. On very bad days, it usually just takes a trip to the grocery store by myself to remind me that I really do enjoy the warmth of their giggles, incessant chatter, and questions about everything from how babies are made and what flies eat, to why I put bananas in our smoothie, and why we need four wheels on our van instead of three, more than the uncomfortable silence of being alone.
3. We want to homeschool because we want to integrate life with education. In the middle of the day, I want to teach math at the grocery store, figuring out the price per unit and assessing which brand is a better value; how to round numbers up and down to make easier calculations; how to estimate a bill’s total and how to give correct change to the cashier; we want to take them to retirement homes so they can learn history from elderly men and women who are eager to tell someone their stories, and to the Creation Museum in the middle of the year with the whole family.
We want our son to have the time and freedom to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit, if the Lord blesses him with one, and learn how to run a business; for our daughters, we envision them being able to efficiently and comfortably manage a home with joy. This comes with practice, and practice takes time. Time that we would be hard-pressed to find if they were away from home 8 hours a day.
4. We want them to learn about God’s beautiful gift of sex from us and not the crude version from their peers; we want them to understand what the role husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, church members, and citizens of our country are by being part of a family that does things together rather than having a textbook tell them where their place is in society. We want them to know that family is the basic building block of society, not an artificial, individualistic, age-based structure.
5. We want to homeschool because we want our son to be able to release his energy constructively. Most boys don’t need the Ritalin they’re prescribed; they just need alternatives to sitting quietly at a desk. If he is capable of reading better by hanging upside down from a tree branch, or memorizing spelling words while running laps, or getting excited about mathematical concepts by building a CNC router, then we want him to have at ‘er.
6. We want to homeschool because there are hundreds of resources available that cater to the individual learning habits of our children. Each of our children is uniquely created by God; they have different strengths and weaknesses and are an eclectic mix of different learning styles. There is no one-size-fits-all curriculum that is equally advantageous and homeschooling allows us to forgo “labeling” by using multiple methods simultaneously.
7. We want to homeschool because it’s a proven method of education. Statistically speaking, homeschoolers fare well above average in every area of life from grades and social interaction to political involvement and preparedness for real life. Though numbers are not a deciding factor in our decision, we are encouraged to know that our children don’t have to be jeopardized academically by staying home.
8. We want to homeschool so we can be good stewards of the resources God has given us. Because of where we live, the best Christian school in our area would involve over two hours of unproductive bus time every day (public schools are not an option for us) and statistically speaking, homeschoolers spend an average of $500 per child each year compared to $9,963 per student by the government, yet their education is much more satisfactory in every measurable level.
9. We want to homeschool because we want our children to have the time to involve themselves in ministry. “We can’t come/participate because Johnny has school tomorrow and Susie has homework,” seems like a sorry reason to excuse ourselves from mowing an elderly couple’s lawn, inviting neighbors for an evening tea, singing to someone in a nursing home, babysitting for a mother in an emergency, or praying with a young woman at a pregnancy crisis center who needs to know there’s hope.
10. We want to homeschool because He who has called us is faithful. We can’t even comprehend the grandeur of this task and we’d be lying if we said it never overwhelms us. But we have reason to step forward in faith because it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. His compassions fail not. They are new every morning and His faithfulness is great (Lamentations 3: 22,23). We couldn’t survive a day of homeschooling in our own strength; we trust the Lord who called us to the momentous task of training up our children in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6) to provide us and our children everything we need for both life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
Though there are 10,000 more reasons that make us passionate about our children’s education and inspire us to keep writing and speaking about homeschooling, this is our own family’s conviction, and not a method prescribed for everyone. The Lord convicts different people in different areas and no one but you is capable of answering “Why do you send your children to a Christian school, or public school, or homeschool?”
Do you have a vision for your children’s education? How did you come to choose a particular method?