Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why Homeschool? Part 2

In April I attended my first homeschool conference. It was a wonderful experience for me personally. I already had an idea of what I wanted for my soon to be kindergartener. But after my sessions and browsing the curriculum, I was able to decide on what I feel is going to be the best and easiest for our family. 

I didn't think it would be so easy. So many said it will be overwhelming but with my background in education, I didn't find it so overwhelming. I knew what would work for my kids and what wouldn't. I don't say this to brag to those who don't find it so easy, but to tell you how thankful I am for all those hours spent in a classroom, studying in my room, testing, and volunteering in different schools.

I walked away Saturday afternoon feeling confident in our choice to homeschool and with another long list of reasons to homeschool. Here are the main ones I felt I needed to add to my first list reasons to homeschool.

  1. Minnesota has just passed an anti-bullying law. We can all agree that bullying is wrong but you can't legislate behavior. It has to be taught in the home. This law is dangerous and takes away parents rights and invades private property. The lawyer discussing the law told parents to teach their kids this phrase if ever taken into police custody before talking,"Call my mom." The main problem with this law is that the state can discipline the child how they see fit rather than the schools are parents.
  2. Homeschooling provides flexibility, schools do not. My oldest is a very motivated learner and flies through her work. She has a desire to do more then one lesson a day. My other two aren't quite as motivated. My middle needs confidence in what she's doing or she shuts down and stops trying. She is very smart. If she can observe and then try when she is ready, she is very successful and maintains what she learns. Homeschooling gives me the chance to pick and choose curriculum that works best for my kids. If it doesn't work I have the choice to pick a different curriculum. If you have a child who is struggling in school and hating it, there is no choice in different curriculum. Since they are accommodating so many students they have to pick what they feel will work best for most.
  3. Testing. After working in the schools and seeing the changes in law which increase the amount of standardize testing, it makes me so frustrated with what we have allowed our government to decide for our kids. Just before the testing, teachers take a couple weeks to go over what might be on the test instead of focusing on what they still need to master. They teach to the test rather than teach for mastery. Homeschoolers are currently required in Minnesota to test once a year from age 7-16 and report to the district that they tested. Results stay in the hands of parents and have no effect on anything except maybe seeing where your child might be lacking. I am not worried about this because most curriculum I have purchased will be a year or so ahead of tests aligned with Common Core.
  4. Family connectedness. One thing I heard from several people is that homeschool conference, is that homeschooling allowed them to be a very close family. When the kids were in school all day and only home for a few hours, there was little communication between family members and little relationship building. Your kids friends will come and go but family will always be present. Those who experience strain in family relationships know first hand how precious those relationships are.
  5. Since we parents spend most of our time with our children we become the most influential model for behavior in their lives. My husband noticed one time when we were with friends how much more behaved our girls were. Ours were the only ones not in daycare. I'm not saying daycare is wrong but you can see when one adult is in charge of several children, how the behavior they imitate is not the adult but peers because they see more peer behavior then adult. This is the same in public schools. I want my kids to be respectful to others, caring, generous, hard-working, diligent, and so much more. I truly believe they cannot learn this as well in any other environment but our loving home. 
 As you can see I learned a lot about why homeschooling is so important for my kids and my family. God gave me reassurances I needed and I saw my husband go from reluctant to somewhat interested in how this is going to work. Although he'd love to save money and just send them to school, especially since we already pay for it, he is seeing more value in homeschooling. Yes we could save money and yes I could have at least a part time job, but this is about our kids spiritual well being not about our temporary comfort.