First and foremost, I need to start this post out by saying that I am not writing this to say that homeschooling is best and all the other ways are less than. This post is simply about my family and how we came to our decision to home school.
Since I can remember I have always wanted to have children and be a stay-at-home mom, and praise the good Lord it is what I am doing now. Long before we had Silas we had made the decision that we wanted to home school our children. It has always been something we have felt like the Lord is calling us to do, and in this one aspect of life we have decided to go all in. If you’re wondering what this mean, it means that even though our son is only 20 months old we are firm in this decision that won’t truly be seen for another 2-3 years. When we tell others our decision to home school we get responses like, “You may change your tune when you have more than just one child” or “Ha. Just wait until he is old enough to go off to school. You might change your mind.” We understand why people might say this, however this is a non-negotiable decision. Of course, if I am struggling with how to do this I would seek help from someone who also home schools and more than likely get involved in co-ops for him. The point is, for our family, this is not a try it out and see what happens decision.
Do we think there is something wrong with public and private schools as a whole? Absolutely not. As parents, we all have to do what is best for our family and for our children. Some are unable to home school because both parents have careers and so they put their child in public or private school. Some parents wish it was possible for one to stay home and home school but because of finances they can’t so they place their child in a private school. Of course, there are some who believe homeschooling hinders social skills and some of the other stereotypes associated with homeschooling and place their kids in public school, or maybe even private school. We must all make hard decisions for our family and they are always made out of love and the desire to do what is the very best.
I do think there are some huge stereotypes about homeschooling that I want to address and respond to, specifically for my family and our child and future children. When people hear that someone is homeschooling it is not uncommon for them to think at negative things like: Your child is going to be a sheltered and unsocial.
First of all, I think people use the word sheltered with a negative connotation, as if being sheltered is a horrible thing. I feel like this stereotype might be partially true but needs to be clarified. Yes, part of why we are choosing to home school is to shelter our child/children from some of the things in the outside world, especially in the school system. I just have trouble entrusting my child(ren) to the government and school systems for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Perhaps it’s a bit of a control thing as well, but I want to know what my son is being exposed to as well as the freedom to learn in a way that is conducive and most effective for him. Every child is different, so therefore every child learns differently and I feel like when you place 20-30 children in a room together and present the material one way and expect them to learn one way it can really hinder their experience and their ability to learn effectively.
We only have our children for a limited time before we must let them go, I intend to use the time I have with them to be as fruitful as I can, which means spending the majority of my time with them. Children spend 1,600 hours in school a year over the course of 40 weeks. If you take that number and calculate the amount of time they will spend in school from kindergarten to graduation that is 22,400 hours in 14 years, our kids are only seeing us for a few hrs a day before bed. That time includes running around for sports, homework, dinner etc, and is therefore very little time for quality time together.
This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty, or change their decision in schooling, it’s just personally for our family we aren’t willing to miss out on that much time in teaching them the beliefs that we want them to have when it is time to go out into the world.
My intent is not to shelter them from all things worldly, doing that is almost impossible and I don’t want for my children to have a difficult time adjusting when they go off to college. However, it is important to Steven and I that we have the control of what our children are exposed to and that they aren’t exposed to them before they are ready. We recognize the fact that it does not benefit anyone to place our children in a bubble,keeping them from the realities of the outside world, but we want to spend as much time as we can training them up to become daughters and sons of the Lord and equipping them with all that they need to be great citizens and followers of Christ.
Since home schooling takes place in the home people believe that these children never interact with others and will therefore be unable to socialize and adjust to the real world when it comes time for college or to get a job. I hope that by now people are becoming more aware of the fact that there is a home school community and that although these kids may not attend public school and be around peers for 8 hours a day, there are plenty of ways for them to socialize. They can play sports on rec teams, interact with their peers from church, attend co-op’s, play dates, summer camp, join clubs, and the list can go on and on. Our children will be home schooled but will be given many different avenues to make friends and grow in their social skills and the same is true for anyone who home schools.
In addition, because we are choosing to home school they will have more opportunities to talk to people of various ages which will aid them in being social with more than just their peers. These opportunities may not come along as much, if at all if they were to attend public or even private school and I believe that so many children lack the ability to be social with people who are not the same age as them.
As I have said multiple times now, this post is not intended to tell others that they should home school or that homeschooling is best. Just sharing about my family, and our decision. I am so excited to see what homeschooling looks like for us, The Dent Family. I am in love with the freedom that is provided in homeschooling and the ways the Lord will bless our family in honoring His call for us in this decision.