Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why I Homeschool

When my dh and I decided to homeschool, back when our oldest was 2-1/2 or 3 years old, our primary motivation was academics.  We decided we could cover more material better at home than the school could.  This conclusion was prompted by my reading the Little House series of books again and noticing how much more Laura knew than I did, even though I had been a top student through 13 years of public school and four years of college plus a couple more years getting a masters degree, and Laura didn’t even go to school regularly.

Now that we’ve been formally homeschooling for three years, I have different reasons for homeschooling.  Primarily it’s about ideas.  As Charlotte Mason says, ideas are the mind’s food.  Ideas, not information, are the critical component of any education.  Each book or other resource we select must contain no ideas that are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.  Each year, as I read the materials my children are reading or hearing, I am reminded of the importance of the ideas in each work–they are forming my children’s worldview in subtle ways constantly.
I’m also homeschooling so that we can have more time together as a family.  As my kids get older and begin to have more activities outside our home, I am grateful that we have so much time together each day, learning together and playing together.  Soon enough they will be leaving our family, and until then I hope to build strong relationships and influence their development so that our family will be a resource they rely on when they need it even after they have left home.

I’m homeschooling so that I can meet each child’s educational needs individually.  I have one child who will be a late reader, and in another school environment I would probably have to hold her back a year at least and put her in special programs which for this particular child would not have positive longterm effects no matter how I tried to soften the blow.  Since we are homeschooling, I can work on her reading while we move ahead in other areas where she is more than capable.

I am thankful that we have the opportunity to do this, and that the curriculum we are using (AmblesideOnline) has such high quality books and materials so that we don’t have to go out and invent our own schedules and booklists.  Thank you to all the Advisory members who worked so hard to put this package together!

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