When my husband and I got married, we often discussed what we wanted for our future children. When it came to education, we decided that what we had to offer, as humble as it may be, would be a superior alternative to what public school could provide. There are many reasons we believe this having to do with the society we live in, the needs and rights of a child, and our mission for a peaceful and bonded family unit.
Our initial reason for homeschooling was to give our children more freedom and respect than we had as kids. We believe children have the right to explore their interests and have time to learn about them. We want them to be able to take extra time learning concepts they find challenging and to go full speed ahead at whatever they have attention and an affinity for. If as children we have freedom and support, our unique interests and capabilities are discovered and our skills are honed—and this valuable process can be started long before the age of 18. All adults long to achieve competence, independence, and pride in themselves and their abilities. They all should be able to think for themselves, too. Homeschooling allows us to support our children towards that end more easily than if the public school system is working against our family by taking up the majority of our time, squashing our children’s freedom to choose, and teaching them to blindly follow orders.
Insulating our children from certain aspects of society was another main motivation for our homeschooling. We readily admit that we want to shield our children from much of popular culture’s toxic influence. Kids from many different families all meet at school and a child will be exposed to things parents don’t want them exposed to either verbally, physically, or via a device. Not all adults at school share our values. We believe children must be guarded from perversion and degeneracy and subjects that should not concern them while they are children. What does it matter what our children learn if they are exposed to information and images that may damage their development, brainwash them, or scar them for many years to come? In that case even a woefully inadequate but wholesome homeschool environment is far better. A child needs to remain healthy and intact to function optimally as an adult. A key priority for my husband and I is to protect our children’s innocence. Every family has different criteria for how to do this but with homeschooling we get to decide, versus some adult we haven’t had the opportunity to vet.
We also want to maintain our family bonds and secure everyone’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Homeschooling helps in various ways. For one, we get more time to instill our values and live them as a family. Also, as the stay-at-home parent, I am constantly observing our children and this helps my husband and I be aware of developing concerns. We don’t have to rely on school staff to notice a problem in our child and wait for them to notify us. Also, we escape the morning and evening rush associated with keeping up with the typical school schedule that is undoubtedly stressful for many families. We’ve learned that our level of stress highly corresponds to our children’s so we appreciate how homeschooling gives us more time for everything. It’s also hard to quantify the value in the random yet priceless interactions I have with my kids during the day. I like being there when they need me and my husband appreciates having peace of mind in regards to the children during the day. He says he feels free to focus on work, which is advantageous to both his safety and performance. Homeschooling allows us to more easily provide an environment conducive to good physical health, too. This means home-cooked meals that no one has to scarf down in a hurry. It means the freedom to go outside for fresh air, sunlight, and exercise when the mood strikes. We also want our kids to have many opportunities for learning how to use their own judgement throughout the day so that they develop agency and maturity over time.
For my husband and I, the main benefit to homeschooling is about more than academics or skills learned, it’s the respectful and supportive environment in which to raise a child to become capable of achieving his or her full potential. We would encourage others to consider that perhaps they too can homeschool, if they want. We’ve learned over the years that one cannot stop a child from learning. The question is, what are they going to learn? Our children’s interests point the way and we figure out how to support them. It has been less difficult than we imagined at the start and far more rewarding.