curriculum choices, scheduling, record-keeping and "socialization" (I'm not capable of placing that word outside of quotation marks, just so you know ahead of time). :) I'll wrap it up by answering some common concerns. These posts probably won't answer every wondering of every person, but it's a place to start!
Part 1: The Reasons
Of course, there may be as many reasons to choose home education as there are families who do, so I'll just focus right now on the reasons my husband and I choose to educate our son at home.
1. Because it works for us for this school year. We re-examine our choices each year, and, so far, home education has been the best choice for our family. We know families who have some of their kids at home while their other children are at public/private school some years, and all the children are at one or the other during other years. It all depends on the needs of the individual children. It's a very personal choice between a family and God. I always feel uncomfortable when people pull some verses out of Deuteronomy and say that means God wants everyone to teach their children at home. Yes, those verses are very supportive and encouraging to homeschool families, but they have never struck me as a command to homeschool. To me it comes across as arrogance for someone to play the role of "God" and tell every parent they should be homeschooling, especially based on a few verses that don't actually say a child can't learn anywhere but home. My hope is that, whether home, public, or private, a child is in the school that his/her parents have chosen after seeking the Lord's guidance, and that there is a good amount of time the parents are spending wisely with their children.
2. Because it's flexible. My husband works with troubled youth. He never has a normal schedule. He and Little Mister have a strong bond, which remains strengthened because of the amount of time they are able to spend together. If Little Mister had a traditional school schedule, he would see very little of his daddy. This would be heart-breaking for both of them, not to mention the wisdom Kevin has the opportunity to impart on LM during these impressionable years--absolutely priceless.
3. Because I like to teach and learn along with my son. I've always been a teacher at heart. My education was in teaching. My experience is in teaching. My passion is teaching. Now, these are not requirements for educating at home (I may address this in a later post), but they sure do motivate this mom! And to relearn things I've forgotten, or learn things I never knew in the first place? It can't be beat, discovering those things through the eyes of a child. Today was our third day of 4th grade, and I've already studied with LM some awesome events in ancient history and observed some, um, really "cool" bugs and stuff in science. I love seeing the "ah-ha! light" go on in my son's eyes.
4. Because he wants me to teach him. Every once in awhile, LM will say, "I wish I could go to 'far-away school' for one day, just to see what it's like." He's curious about that. But he, at this point in his life, has no desire to spend a year, or even a semester or a week, at "far-away school." Though he would never have the final say in a decision like that, his input definitely factors in.
5. Because he's not ready for "far-away" school. Little Mister, academically speaking, could probably thrive a year or two ahead of his chronological age in a traditional school setting. But there is SO much more to life and maturation than academics. I don't want to go into his "issues" here on a public blog, but he has some maturing to do in other areas of his life--some of the most important ones, really--that are best addressed by those who know and love him most, his parents! Our precious son didn't have the best start to his life, and still works through some of the baggage from that. Kevin and I feel strongly about helping him with those things while he is still young. At home is the best place, right now, for me to keep him challenged academically while helping him along in other vital areas of his life. You don't send a toddler out to walk on a busy street by himself just because he's going to have to be able to do that someday. No, you train him, help him learn self-control and responsibility, and work up to walking on busy streets! :)
6. Because we want to instill in him Godly values. Now, again, I'm not saying this can't happen without a home education. Please don't misunderstand me here, or form an opinion about my views that isn't true! I am not of the opinion that all Christians should homeschool. Totally not for me to say. But, since the Lord has impressed upon us to teach our son at home, you'd better believe we are teaching him the Word of God. Obviously, we can't make him believe it. That's a choice every individual must make for him/herself. But he does believe it, so we are giving him tools to strengthen his faith. We are also teaching him to discern between truth and false religion and false doctrine. He may not be at home with me all the way through 12th grade and, let's face it--the public schools in general do indeed teach things that are absolutely wrong. He needs to learn to know the difference, to think about things and measure them against Scripture instead of just taking them in as fact.
7. Because we can. We don't take this privilege lightly. We know there are some who would l.o.v.e to teach their children at home but can't because of circumstances in their lives. We know there were precious families who, years ago, paved the way for us to be able to teach LM at home legally and effectively. We are grateful for all the strong curriculum choices we have (though that makes it overwhelming sometimes--choosing!) to keep him challenged without me having to come up with everything on my own. We are blessed to live in an area where there are so many home educating families. The support and opportunities are endless!
So, those are the reasons in a nutshell (or whatever). :) Any questions? Leave a comment and I'll do my best!