As I write this, it’s 8:17 am, and the kids are still sleeping. We have had a super busy few days: bedtimes have been pushed back, they’ve been playing outside, Daddy was home for his days off, and there is just a physical need for more rest. I have enjoyed a lazy coffee this morning, watching the sun rise after my handsome hubby went off to work. I can either wake the kids up and continue on with our schedule for the day, or I can indulge them, and let them catch up on some zzzz’s.
I get to choose.
That’s my favourite part. Me, as the God-ordained mother of these precious little ones, gets to choose how our days will flow, where we will expend our energy, where we will invest our time, and how slow or how fast we will learn our lessons. Some, we learn quickly; some, we need to invest hours and days until we are completely satiated.
So why is this our family’s choice- to keep our children at home? The reasons are probably not what you think.
- TIME: The average school day, plus busing is over seven hours. Once you add in getting ready for school, and meals- and never mind extra curricular activities- most of their day; and in essence, their year, would be spent with other people. They would spend most of their time with children in the same age group, and with a grown up who I have only met in cursory circumstances. My handsome hubby is off of work on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so we take Monday off instead of Saturday. We can adapt “school” based on our life. When we had a trailer, we could pick up and go whenever we wanted; either taking school with us, or knowing we were ahead in our books anyways. We are usually done our lessons in April or May, this year with a new baby and a myriad of life and family circumstances, we won’t be done until June. I don’t mind, this means we were able to take time off when we needed it.
- EDUCATION: If you read through most public school text books, it is not the same as it used to be. Many of my friends are teachers (and I want to be one, if life allows me to go back to school!) and yet they homeschool for this reason. I remember reading a few good literary novels a year, whereas we can read triple this amount at home. There is no limit on how long we cover a topic, we can go deeper and deeper until we’ve felt that we have ourselves experienced periods in history. We can study places until we feel like we’ve lived there. Once they understand math concepts, we review often and periodically, but we don’t waste hours doing the same things over and over again- we go further. If we are stuck on something, like the multiplication facts (x7 and x8!!!) we camp there until it’s understood and a reflex. I don’t care if they can guess or give the right answer on a test, I want them to be able to tell me in their own words why something is the right or wrong answer, and apply it within their life.
- LIFE: We can learn how to cook nutritious and frugal meals together, how to care for our home and all the work it entails. If their days were spent outside of the home, they would know more about “playground rules” than how to take care of a baby; more about surviving through long days indoors than how to take advantage of beautiful weather. I want to live real life with our children.We love making meals to help people recovering from illnesses and hard times. We have gone through stints at the local “Wise People’s House” (read: senior’s center) where we go visit. I’m thankful that I can take them with me to funerals and grocery stores, government buildings and banks.
- JOB SATISFACTION: I say this tongue in cheek. Absolutely, homeschooling is hard work, and does involve a degree of sacrifice, but I am so thankful that I have received the gift of watching two very high energy boys learn to read. When the light goes on in their eyes, and they start reading books of their own choosing, there is nothing like that feeling. In my opinion, everything they learn is by the grace of God- I sure don’t feel very patient some days! But I am so thankful that I get to be there as they learn and grow, and that I’m not on the sideline, hearing it from someone else.
- RELATIONSHIP: I love watching our children take care of each other when they are sick, and choosing to play together. They are the best of friends, but they certainly fight. I can teach them (over and over and over and over and over) how to resolve conflicts and live peacefully. They don’t just get to decide to not be friends with each other. They must live together, so they have to find ways to get along. I am able to equip them with words and tools (over and over and over and over and over). I can make sure that the relationships with each other are being nurtured, and us parents can have a strong bond with them, because of the sheer amount of time we spend together. There is nothing like stopping a spelling test to talk about friends that have died, or chatting over lunch about funny times. We make so many memories together.
- DISCIPLESHIP: Yep, I went there, and I know a lot of people do not have the same calling as we do. I believe that spending these long years of short days is so important as we raise our children. I want them to learn our faith along with us. I want to fulfill Deuteronomy where it says to “teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” I don’t believe I can successfully disciple our children when the majority of their life is somewhere else. If that is offensive, please hear that my intent is not to judge or injure, I am just following in obedience to what I think is right.
We do not homeschool because of:
- Fear- I am not afraid of bathrooms (and who is in there), school shootings or bullying. I am thankful that it’s not really an issue, but I believe God takes care of our children, wherever they are. If they have to go through trials and hard times, I will rest in knowing He has a good plan for our children.
- Statistics- at first I added this to the reason why we live this way, but I changed my mind as I don’t believe any of them are a marker to a successful life, in and of itself. But, for the record, homeschooled kids make more money, seek higher education, are more involved with social and civic organizations and duties, and are less likely to be on government assistance than their public schooled peers. In a public school setting, middle to higher income children always do better on test scores- it’s just a statistical fact. However, home educated children all average higher than public school peers, regardless of their family’s income (which is interesting, because more homeschooling families live on the “smaller side” of family income- usually but not always, they’re a one income family, and they usually, but not always, have more children.) Here’s some great resources, if you care about this type of thing. I found it interesting, but this isn’t our primary motivation. Homeschooling in Canada has a 40 year history (unless you count the thousands of years before public schools were established in the 19th century).
If any of this seems like a blast or an affront against the public school system, please understand my heart. I am so thankful that the system is there, for those who choose to use it. I have no issue with our family tax dollars supporting something we don’t use. If I could allocate more to schools and less to other things that our government spends money on, I would! I am just sharing our primary motivations to provide another viewpoint, and to show that there are other options for raising children. If I can inspire someone else to think long and hard before making a decision in their children’s education, rather than just going with the flow of life, then I want to do so! If you choose to send your children to school, that’s absolutely wonderful for you. Just know, that in the end, it’s a choice, and you alone as the parent get to make it.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
May you learn lots today, wherever you go.