Homeschooling was never really something that I imagined myself doing, even after I had my first child. Honestly, I never really put that much thought into it.I didn’t realize that public school was actually only an option.
Then, one day, in passing conversation, my husband asked me what I thought about homeschooling in general. I didn’t really think much before I answered, and I said, ”I’ve heard homeschooled kids are a little awkward, socially.”
Then he asked me, “Have you ever known any homeschooled kids?” No, I hadn’t. My idea of homeschooled kids wasn’t one that I had formed on my own. So why did I think that?
My husband then informed me that I actually did know someone that was homeschooled. It was a coworker of his named John. I had met John on several occasions and never thought there was anything strange about him or his social skills. In fact, even though I didn’t know him extremely well, I knew enough about him to have a high opinion of him, because he had a well-deserved reputation for being hard-working, loyal, contemplative, family-oriented, and pretty funny. For a minute, I was actually surprised to learn that he was homeschooled, because what I saw with my own two eyes contradicted so badly to the idea that I had formed in my mind of what homeschooled kids become.
And so began the conversation of possibly planning to homeschool our then 4 year old son. At first, I was hesitant to think it was really something I could do. I began thinking of all the things that I didn’t remember from school. And how would I even know what he’s supposed to be learning in which grades? And, what about when it’s time to teach him the subjects that I was never great at? I was nervous to feel the weight of responsibility for my child’s education.
But after the initial shock, I began to reason with myself in a more level-headed fashion, plus my husband always has the most thought-provoking questions that really helped me think things through. For example, some of the questions he asked me were, “Do you think the teachers at school would be more devoted to our son’s education than you would be?” Definitely not. “Do you feel less intelligent than the teachers you know?” No, I don’t. “If he did struggle in any area or subject, does he stand a better chance at getting the attention he needs with you, or in a class of 20 or 30 other students?” At home, for sure.
We actually researched homeschooling studies that had been conducted nation-wide, and the results only encouraged us. We learned that the education level of the parents had no bearing on the grades and intelligence of their child/student. We learned that homeschooled kids consistently outscored public schooled kids on any given standardized test. We learned that socially, homeschooled kids were, across the board, more well-behaved and better able to carry on conversations with their elders. I was amazed at what I was learning.
And then there were the MAJOR factors that I hadn’t thought about before all of this. If he did go to public school, what would he be learning? Evolution. God is a theory. All religion is the same at its root. Sex education at an inappropriately young age, and from a stranger who has no regard for our beliefs. Social skills from other children who’s families don’t set the same standards that we do in terms of language, exposure to media, etc. We realized that if we did send him to public school, we would be spending a lot of time and energy trying to undo most of what he was learning. It didn’t make any sense to send my child to learn something that I was passionately in opposition to. And once I thought about it, I couldn’t do it with a clear conscience.
And so, the decision was made for us. We were going to homeschool. It was an amazing feeling when I realized we were going to be a homeschooling family. It felt right. The ‘burden of responsibility’ felt more like I was fulfilling a duty that I didn’t realize I had before. But it felt good.
My oldest is 10 now, and about to start the fifth grade. I could not be more thankful to the Lord for laying the idea of homeschooling on our hearts years ago. It has been such an amazing journey so far, and my children are bright, friendly, outgoing, innocent, and most importantly, sure of what our family values and beliefs are. The Lord has been so gracious in allowing us to meet other families who homeschool, with children that are older than ours, even some who have graduated. It has only encouraged us that we made the right decision for our family, because every single one of them are young men and women that I would be so very proud of if they were mine.