“Why do you homeschool?”
Is a question I’m asked more times than I can count. Usually, what’s loaded in this query from a curious onlooker is more than just the why to my homeschooling journey.
Rather, they are really interested in much more. They’re also asking about the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of it all. Because “homeschooler” is just one of the many titles that compliments my role as a mommy, I’ve wanted for some time now to write a blog that clearly lays out this answer. In this “Why Homeschooling” three part series, I will answer: Why I chose to homeschool my children, What homeschooling actually is and How do I happen to pull this “feat” off day after day.
With no further ado, here’s the answer to “My Why”.
In 2012, I made a conscious decision, together with my husband, to homeschool my then almost five-year-old daughter. I had no clue that choice would lead me on a journey that has blown all my plans for my life out of the water!
But, if I may back up just a bit, in 2002, I entered undergrad on a mission to become a pharmacist. However, I soon switched course following an eye opening first semester as a freshmen in which I couldn’t even get out of Biology 101! At that point, it was made crystal clear that you would not be seeing me anytime soon behind the counter of your local CVS pharmacy!
After which, an unexpected interest in the Psychology electives I was taking put me on a different path. Following graduation, in 2006, I entered a Christian Counseling master’s program. I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was going to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.
I’m happy to say, that psychology and counseling were more my speed. And I did graduate with my goal still in mind. I soon accumulated various social services and counseling work experiences to get me there. First, as a Case Manager in North Philadelphia, then as a drug rehabilitation partial-day program intern in Center City.
After a couple of smaller gigs in-between, I finally landed a job as a Mobile Therapist in Montgomery County. At the time, I was very pregnant with our third child and I found myself going from client home to client home providing individual and family counseling.
It was at this particular point in time, we had a rising preschooler in our midst. The looming question of where she would go for school was fresh on our minds. We knew we weren’t comfortable putting her into a public school setting as she had never been away from us even to go to daycare. So to go from that cocoon to a troubled school district, despite the best efforts of some hardworking teachers (a few of which we have the pleasure of knowing), was something were weren’t willing to do.
Not only that, the thought of private school was far from our minds as finances for our young family had always been a pressing issue for us. We simply could not afford it.
I had met only a handful of homeschoolers in my lifetime but never cared to investigate beyond what I perceived was the family’s awkward social skills. And the concept of wearing pajamas all day while doing math problems was foreign to me.
Plus, after watching my mother tirelessly serve for 40 years as a public school teacher along with my own amazing experiences as a product of the public school system, I had a standard in mind of what I wanted for my kids. It was all I knew. Homeschooling seemed distant at best and weirdly antisocial at worst.
But, what could we do?
We needed to make a decision with the school year quickly approaching. The idea of home education was starting to seem like more of a possibility since two very close friends were homeschooling their own children.
They were not weird. Their children were ANYTHING but awkwardly social and more than that, they were good kids. Though slightly intrigued, we also had no clue where to begin or how to even sign up.
As God, in his divine leading would have it, we stumbled upon an advertisement for a “How to Homeschool” seminar in our neighborhood. And my hubby and I thought, “Well, why not go to hear more, what was there to lose?”
From the moment the first speaker began breaking down the statistics of how most homeschoolers measure up to their peers in standardized testing, there wasn’t even a comparison!
What’s more, we found the options of how to exactly homeschool your child are endless.
If you need a more specialized course of study for your struggling child, have at it. If you want to homeschool year round only taking a few longer breaks throughout a 365 day period, go for it! If your exceptionally gifted child gets bored easily and enjoys pushing themselves to the limit, who says your 13 year old can’t begin taking college courses?
What Curtis and I took away from that homeschooling workshop in Northeast Philly was we could make homeschooling exactly what we needed it to be for our child with no reservations.
I know I’ve laid out the more practical reasons for my why but now let me switch gears to zero in on the spiritual factors that ultimately led to this decision.
My husband and I have both committed our lives to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and put ourselves under his authority. The Bible calls this discipleship. We are life long disciples of King Jesus!
With that being said, He has called us to raise children to know and learn about who he is.
There are amazing parents doing a phenomenal job raising their young ones to follow Jesus, whether your children attend a “traditional” brick and mortar school or if you homeschool!
There’s many ways parents can do this, and, if you are a follower of Jesus, he would call you to the same great, holy and lofty task to raise disciples.
I like to call this parenthood discipleship.
When we finally decided to take the plunge into the world of homeschooling, we chose to carry out this call to discipleship while using just another means of God’s grace to do so. For us, its been through the vehicle of homeschooling. Homeschooling as just another tool to accomplish that purpose.
So when we are asked, “Why do we homeschool our children?” the only answer I can give is “Why not?”
Thanks for reading!