Why did we make the switch? Most families that I knew who homeschooled just always knew that was what they wanted. Not me. One of my friends smirks when she reminds me that I actually told her (she homeschools) that there was NO WAY I could ever homeschool, I would probably die if I had to spend all day teaching my kids, I mean who has that kind of patience? But, when we came to the place where I had a child about to enter into middle school and who wasn't getting some of her academic needs met, not to mention that our family's moral values were in direct conflict with what was starting to happen in many peer groups, we decided we needed something different.
To be perfectly honest, though hubby and I knew we wanted something different, homeschooling was still not on MY radar. It was definately God's leading that caused us to make that choice. I know many people say that they know God has led them to do something but I know this to be true for our family because I resisted the calling for so long before I finally relented to what he was calling us to do. In other words, it was not my idea. That being said, I love it. I believe that my kids do most days too.
So, why do we homeschool? We homeschool because it affords the children we have to learn at their own pace. I have some who excel in certain areas and others who need a bit more work, but no teacher will be more invested in their learning and success than I will. No single teacher will read book after book on learning styles and teaching mannerisms to figure out what is the best approach to take with each of my children. This is not to say that teachers would not like to do that if they had the time, but the reality is that a teacher has a class of anywhere between 15-30 students. With that kind of class size you cannot tailor each lesson to each child's most optimium learning style. We also choose to homeschool from textbook curriculum, not computer based online school. I am that mom who still likes to limit media time.
We homeschool because we can be sure that our children are learning what we feel is important. When we learn history, we do not learn a watered down version that is politically correct. We read and learn about what really happened. We also can allow our children to learn concepts not taught in public schools any longer, like the simple fact that our country was founded upon Christian prinicpals and with Christian ideals. We can pause and go deeper into a subject if it really perks our children's interests. We can spend several days doing science experiements and art projects that may be too costly for a class to do but we have the time and resources to do.
We can do field trips to see and touch places rather than just reading about them in books. The most ironic thing about homeschooling is that I am learning just as much and more than my children are. And I already hold a bachelors degree! I found that history doesn't have to be boring, Math does not have to be totally incomprehensible, and life sciences can be really fun!
There are other things that were not initally reasons for homeschooling but are added perks. My children are very close. My teenager actually likes being around her siblings most days. My younger children play together and my toddler is included in everything. This benefits many areas. If my older children were in school 6 hours a day they would not have the relationship they do with their younger siblings because they just would not be around as much. Our family would not be as close because we would all be doing our own things and I would not be as in tune to what my children are learning and where they excel, and struggle as when I am the one responsible for teaching them. My children in turn are learning through life experiences. I remember taking a class in high school about child development and carrying around an egg to learn about responsibility and child care. My children can experience this every day hands on. The children learn cooking, budgeting, household management and responsibility through just daily living. We also incorporate learning into our everyday lives in such a way that it is seamless. We don't always need a textbook as we treat almost every opportunity as a learning experience.
There are challenges to homeschooling, not every day is a great day and I do not always do everything right. However, no teacher will be as invested in my children's success as I am, ever. No other teacher knows every aspect of my children's character, temperment and personality like I do, and no other teacher loves my children as much as I do.
What about the future? What about college? Am I worried my children will not get as good of an education at home as they would if I sent them to school? At first I was, but no longer. Standardized testing has shown that my children are excelling and their passion for and love of learning has demonstrated that we are on the right track. (Especially since this was not the case prior to our decision to homeschool) My oldest is currently enrolled in a community college earning dual credit (high school and college) for math classes she is taking. All of my children are excited about starting school and what kinds of things we are going to do/learn this year. I'd say that is a good start!