Friday, January 14, 2011

Top 40+ Reasons for Homeschooling

I remember when I first started homeschooling that the reaction I got from some people was skepticism,  I even had an ex-teacher roll her eyes at me.   I think I felt guilty about not having him in school & concerned that I could even do a good job at it.

My son is the one who asked to be homeschooled so when people asked "why do you homeschool" I put the blame on my kid in a way.  "Well, he wants to be homeschooled" & I would spout off the reasons why "he" wanted it.   He was really distracted by the unruly children in the classroom, couldn't concentrate because of it...., & I left it at that.

So, I homeschooled him from second through fourth grade.  Then he asked to go back to public school for fifth grade.  I thought well, it is the last year of elementary school & if he is going to go back, now would be a good time so he could adjust before going off to middle school.

I was nervous when I took him for placement testing because I didn't know where he stood academically with the other kids.  The teacher called me in the room with a look of amazement & said, "Well, I don't know what you did but whatever it was you did a great job with him".  Turned out he was about a year ahead of the other kids, plus he was a young 5th grader...about 10 months younger than most.

So he was enrolled & really did well in school.  He was a popular student, made the all A's honor roll (1 of 3 in his class), plus I saw a difference in his attitude.  He became more independent which I thought was good since he is an only child.  I missed that he didn't need me so much but I was proud of him.  He gained confidence & loved everything about school. 

So I was surprised when the winter break came around that he asked if he could be homeschooled again.  One part of me said "WooHoo!", but the other side of me was concerned if it would be right for him because he seemed to be doing so well.  I delved into his reasons & once again "misbehaving children" popped up.  I had a feeling there was more but could never really to get to what it was.

So I removed him from school & we went to visit his teacher one last time to sign some papers.  Before we left she said, "Well, at least you will miss the big essay test coming up next week".  My heart stopped...was this why he didn't want to go to school...because of the State testing that was coming up?  I knew he would do well on it but did he think he would fail?

I remember when he was in 1st grade being stressed out over the a 1st grader!  I always told him that I didn't care what he achieved on those tests as long as he was doing well otherwise.  I thought it would take the pressure off of him, but it didn't because the schools kept the pressure on. 

So, that may have led to why he wanted to be homeschooled...I don't think he will ever tell me though.  Now he is in 7th grade & I found a homeschool group that has a group of middle school aged children & he is really happy there.  I am starting to realize that I want to homeschool him now all the way through high school but also realize that I needed to really evaluate why did "I" want to homeschool him.

Everyone has there own personal journey as to why they homeschool.  Here are several reasons that may fit your situation (in no particular order).  They do not all pertain to me because "one size does not fit all" in homeschooling.  However, maybe they will help you pinpoint your reasons so you can explain to the nay sayers who ask "Why do you homeschool?".

1) No school shootings (if I had a gun there are some days it could happen...LOL).
Dinosaur Backpack2) You can sleep in (that works really good for us).
3) No "lunchables"...more time to fix a healthy lunch.
4) Fewer back injuries ( from heavy book bags).

AME Sleepwear Boys 8-20 Lego Stars and Lights Coat Pajama, Black, 85) You can wear whatever you want...yeah for pajama days!

6) can do school wherever you are.  This works great for us because we travel a lot.
7) Improved family relationships.

Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day8) Can focus on child's interests.  This is a big one for me!  I stick with a curriculum for most subjects (especially math & language arts), but I like to veer to things he is interested in for science & history.  He was a huge Civil War buff when he was younger & absorbed everything on the subject.  We even took him to Gettysburg for the Pickett's Charge re-enactment...he loved it!  We also did an extra Pirates & Early Explorers course when he was in love with pirates...thanks Johnny Depp!  For science we did an extra Oceanography course because he was interested in nautical archeology, & now we are doing an extra Anatomy & Physiology course just because I think he really needs to learn about his own body & how it works...he loves it too!

9) Flexible this!  We just had a family reunion in Florida this past October that we would have missed if he had been in school.  Instead we went & had a chance to visit the Everglades & ride an airboat!
10) Providing moral training (not the school's morals but yours).
11) Can learn everywhere you go.  This is great for us as well since we travel a lot.  We do school in the hotel on our travels but we take one day where we will go & explore the area that we are in.  They may have a lot of interesting things going on or it may just be a small town with a local history museum, but we always take the opportunities that present themselves.
12) Parents learn too!  I do like this aspect because I get to re-learn a lot of things that I forgot plus learn new things they didn't have when I was in school.  My friends tease me & say they can see me going to college with him & learning archeology...I could do that! 
13) I want to be the one to see the "aha" moments.
14) Kids don't have to stand in line.  I thought this was funny because that is one of the things that my son complained about, not that he had to stand in one but because his class would not stay in a STRAIGHT line...this really bothered him.
15) You can change the curriculum if it is not working...this is something the public school cannot do.  They cannot customize to fit each individual child.
16) No outside indoctrination.  This is important if you have certain religious beliefs.
17) Growing up with his dad.  My husband works a second shift schedule & never saw our son on school days or Saturdays.  With homeschooling he can spend the mornings with his day & then start school plus travel with him on business trips.
18) I want to answer life's questions.
19) I want to know what & how he is being taught.  Even though I was a hands on parent, when he went back to 5th grade I wasn't sure what he was learning.  He would bring homework home but I wasn't sure of the applications they were looking for so I had to leave it totally up to him.  Turns out everything he brought home he had already learned in 4th grade homeschooling so we wasted a year of learning.
20) I want to spend the most time with him, not a stranger.
21) Public schools are suffering right now & private schools are too expensive.
22) You want your child to succeed whereas he is a number to the school.

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style23) No matter what anyone says, you are qualified to teach your child!  There are so many resources & curriculum you can follow if you don't feel comfortable with putting together your own.
24) On average they outperform peers on standardized tests.
25) Better social skills.  Totally opposite of what was thought because they learn to relate to all age levels, younger & older.
26) They accomplish more school work in a day than the public school.
27) Special needs children.  I have a couple of friends who homeschool because of this.  One has a mental injury that occurred during birth (head tongs) & another friend of mine has a son who is highly allergic to dairy which is in everything!  It would be possibly fatal for him to attend school...he cannot even be touched by a child who has not washed their hands after eating a cookie.
28) Work at your own pace....focus on mastery learning & not grades.  This is something I struggle with because I always felt he needed to know what grade he made on things, so I still do that but not as much as I used to.  As long as he is completing the work & passing the tests at 80% or more that is a good judge for deciding to advance with his work.
29) You are the major influence in their life.
30) Bonding.  Like I said earlier, when he went to public school I saw him pull away from us a little...not a bad thing.  When he came back home he came back to that closer bond which felt good.  I don't want him to lose his independence of course but it is nice to see him "want" to look to us for things & not outsiders.
31) Can teach your faith & beliefs.  This is important for us because we are Christians.  We use a Bible based curriculum which is nice because it incorporates God into the lessons.
32) Have the ability to say who your child is friends with.  I am not overprotective but I do want to have a say as to who my child is friends with.  I want to know the parents of the children he hangs out with. It amazes me how many kids wander the neighborhood with no parental supervision & the parents don't even bother to check on where they are or who they are with.

Appreciating Art (Misc Homeschool)33) More creativity, like art.  With so many programs being cut from the schools & the schools focus on passing tests, creativity has been lost. 

34) No mad morning dash...woo hoo!
35) Time to explore.
36) Fewer clothes.  It's amazing how many pairs of jeans he can get by with...just add a few shirts. 
37) Having access to the parks, swimming pools, libraries, movies, etc. during off hours while other kids are in school.
38) Short distance to school.
39) Learning through life lessons...personal nutrition, money management, discussing the daily news.
40) Learning to LEARN, not just learning to pass the tests.  This is one of my biggest reasons for homeschooling.
41) More access time to the computer.
42) More reading & literature.
43) More time to take piano lessons, skateboard, play with friends, etc. instead of doing homework in all of  his free time.
44) Shelter.  I know I cannot shelter him his whole life but I can make sure that he is prepared for it when the time comes. I know what he can handle & what things I can let him do on his own because I am his parent. Each child comes to independence at different ages & you can gauge that as a parent.
45) Better behaved.

College-Prep Homeschooling: Your Complete Guide to Homeschooling through High School46)Better preparation for college.  I have a friend who homeschooled her two boys until 10th grade & then they wanted to go to highschool.  So she enrolled them but they realized that they were so far ahead, were bored with the curriculum, & were more advanced behavior wise.  So after 2 months she took them out & had them tested for college.  They passed the tests & went on to community college...bypassed the rest of highschool.   That was something I had never even considered before & it amazed me!  I don't know if my son will be ready for college that early but if he is what a great head start we will be giving him in the world.

I understand that not all parents can or want to homeschool their children.  When my son was in public school I felt it was right for him at that time.  When I homeschool him I feel it is right for him as well.  I don't think either is bad as long as your individual child is learning to the best of their ability.  I do not judge parents who send their kids to public school & I in return do not want to be judged for homeschooling mine.

In summary let me leave you with these questions?  If you could find a school that had a class ratio of 1:1, had individualized education plans, weekly field trips, & a flexible schedule, would that be beneficial for your child?  These are all reasons I homeschool but the # 1 reason is because I love it!