Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to School time; Why homeschool?

It's "Back to School" time again. A season when I experience a plethora of emotions ranging from tears of sadness when I observe mommies and their little blonde haired boys shopping for school supplies, to "YIPPEE, those days are gone!" Our family completed our homeschool journey DEC 2007, when life as I knew it radically changed. For 15 years my life revolved around our sons' daily lessons, planning for co-op days, field trips, and at the high school level, homeschool athletics. As I ponder those years, I am convinced homeschooling is so much more than a quality education. We began homeschooling our first born at the age of 5 in 1991. Back then, home education had not entered mainstream America, but its popularity was rapidly growing. We were often asked the question "why homeschool?" The year our son entered Kindergarten, our local school was an inconvenient 13 miles from our home which meant 2 hours on the school bus each day. Further, Kindergarten students rode the same bus as middle school students, a downside to our rural locale. While initially convenience was our primary reason for considering this nontraditional method of education, we soon realized other important reasons for our family's decision to homeschool.

1. It's all about the family. Our sons are 34 months apart and grew up as the best of friends. Today, at the ages of 21 and 24, they are still very close and involved in each others' lives. By the nature of the amount of time siblings spend together during the school day, homeschooling promotes sibling relationships. The same holds true for parent - child relationships. With peer influences minimized and parents closely involved in the child's education, bonds are naturally strengthened. 

2. The love of learning. By having control over the subjects taught, parents have the opportunity to instill a love of learning in their child. For example, if the student loves horses, he is much more likely to enjoy reading about horses rather than, say, cars. Unit studies allow for this type of teaching/learning and are especially beneficial to the homeschool in the early grades. By fostering a love of learning in the younger years, the course is set to enjoy school during middle and high school.

3. Keeping God in the classroom. The homeschool classroom is an extension of the family and homelife where God is revered and worshipped and prayer is a natural occurrence. Religious symbols, Christmas, and Easter are not subject to intolerant rules of government schools. The freedom to express personal faith is reason enough for many who choose home education.