I typed up the below as a response to a friend who is writing a college paper on homeschooling. I've been wanting to blog about our reasons for some time. So - two birds with one stone!
Our #1 reason for homeschooling is to instill our morals and worldview to our kids. If I am sending them to someone else for a majority of their waking hours, whose worldview would it be logical for them to adopt? I know myself as a parent, and I would not be disciplined enough to help them "unlearn" all the things that go against what we believe. Mainly because unless I am there every day (which I'm certain I would not be allowed to be), I would have no idea what they are being taught.
Many of our friends say, "Well, I came through the public school system, and I'm fine with the education I got." For us, it's not about whether they'll learn more at home - although they will, because 1 student to 1 teacher is always more effective than 1 teacher to 20+ students, even if the mom does not have a teaching degree.
What bothers us about public education is the things that they learn that have nothing to do with academics. Things like promiscuity, homosexuality, pornography, drugs, drinking, disrespect for adults, peer pressure, bad attitudes, and the list goes on. THOSE are the things we most want to protect our children from.
An argument is that if our kids want to live in "the real world" they're going to have to learn about those things at some point. Yes, they will, but if I educate them at home, I can control when, where, and how they learn about it, and what to do when they encounter it. That way they are ready to respond to it in a way that honors God.
But we also disagree with a lot of things that ARE actually taught in the classroom - mostly evolution and atheism, an ideology that seeps into all areas of education. Again - if everyone in school says these things are true, but only my parents say they're not..... Who are our kids going to tend to believe?
Paul and I have the unique experience of being both former students, and current teachers.
As students, we both loved the experience. Going to school at home allowed us to focus on what we wanted to, and not be forced to spent excessive time on things we didn't.
My own experience was that I had "other options" for things that I didn't get. Foreign language was required, I think, but after trying 4 different languages and sensing there was some type of "mental block" against thinking in another language, I was allowed to do sign language, which I grasped easily and still remember to this day. Most public schools have the option: Spanish. Or French. Or fail.
With math, I had a similar experience. I am a music/literature/art brain, and math wasn't easy for me. Why should I be required to take Calculus and Trigonometry? I took Practical Math and Bookkeeping, which I use in every day life. Want to know how many times I've needed to use what I learned in Algebra and Geometry? Ha.
Going to school at home allowed me to make my own schedule. I would only do a half day on Fridays and spend the afternoons taking private music lessons. Or I could do two days worth of lessons in order to have a day off to go spend a day with a friend. I could spend 10 minutes on Spelling and Vocabulary, and 90 minutes on Math. We didn't start until September, yet still finished in April, because we didn't have ridiculous half days, teacher conference days, teacher preparedness days, snow days, and the like. We got to know my Grandparents better than any of the other grandkids, because we were able to be there, helping them on their farm and house projects.
Now as a teacher, with our oldest in Kindergarten, we get all of his schooling done in 2 hours, usually. That includes Bible, Math, Reading, Science, and Music. It goes so fast, not because we're not doing a good job, but because that's all the time we need. He's not being held back by a bunch of other kids who aren't quite at the same level. In public school the level of learning is determined by the slowest (and I don't mean that derogatively) child in the class. The Kindergarten kids that could be learning at a 1st or 2nd grade level can't jump forward, because they have to wait for little Johnny to "get it." THEN the whole class can move forward. Obviously, you wouldn't have that with homeschooling.
So what does he do the rest of the day? He plays! Kids, especially boys, learn best by seeing, feeling, DOING. Not sitting in a classroom. He gets loads of Vitamin D from sunshine. He gets to take a nap when he needs one. He thinks, imagines, and sings. He enjoys life. He isn't forced into a mold. Our kids have awesome relationships, because they get to spend so much time together. They know and love one another.
THIS is what we think is best for our children. THIS is why we homeschool.