Why are We Homeschooling?
There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschooling families. So what made us wake up and decide one morning in December to homeschool a 10-year-old kid that had been in outside-the-home daycare or education since he was 3 months old? It actually didn’t occur nearly that quickly. We first seriously considered homeschooling NDEW in second grade. I know that there is no such thing as a “typical” child and that each child has a unique learning style, and their own unique blend of strengths and weaknesses. When NDEW was in second grade we started to understand just how unique his particular blend was. In future posts I’m sure I’ll go into this further as it will play a big part in our particular homeschool plan, but let’s just say right now that NDEW doesn’t have a “cookie cutter” bone in his body. When he was in second grade, we started what has become a several year testing process to tease out what his strengths and struggles really are and the person who conducted that initial testing was the first person to suggest to us that homeschooling might be a good option for NDEW at some point. I’ll never forget her saying “I think you all might find that, at some point, NDEW’s needs aren’t able to be met in a typical schooling setting and that homeschooling might give him exactly what he needs.” While we didn’t act on that advice then, that conversation definitely got us thinking about the possibility for our family. Two years later we decided that it was the right time to make the move.
Again, at some point I’ll go a little more into the story of what all happened during those two years, but I do want to make sure I make this point clear-our pulling NDEW from public school at this point in his education does not reflect negatively on his education thus far. NDEW has had great teachers. He’s had wonderful administrators. He has gone to fantastic schools. He’s learned a lot. As we’ve read about helping kids transition from public to homeschool we have come across more than a few articles that seem to equate public school with the antichrist. In some ways I can understand where this comes from. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about homeschooling and I do know that some families have faced lots of hardship and hurt at the hands of the typical school community. On the other hand, as products of public school educations, and (for me) being a part of a long line of public school educators, hubby and I aren’t going to go there. School teachers, especially public school teachers, are some of the hardest working people on the face of the earth. They are constantly asked to do more with less. They are often put in situations where they cannot do what they know would be best for their students due to student family situations, lack of resources, or bureaucratic red tape. Their goals are constantly changed on them, often mid-stream, by someone in the district office, state house, or federal government. Are there teachers who have absolutely no business being in the classroom? You bet. Are there parents who have absolutely no business being the primary educator for their child? I would say yes to that was well. I think we have to have many different educational options available for students if we are to ever have a chance of truly educating every child, and I firmly believe that both homeschooling and public school should be among the available options. There will never be an effective “one size fits all” approach to education.
For NDEW, at this point in his education, we feel that we are better able to provide him the focused support he needs in certain areas as well as the advanced challenges he needs in other areas at home, compared to what he would be able to receive in a public school setting. Will this be the case from now on? Who knows? We are not putting a time limit on our homeschooling journey. We aren’t going to say that we’ll homeschool NDEW for the next year only or all the way through high school. Just as we knew when the right time was to make the switch to homeschooling, we trust that we will know when or if it’s time for another switch.