Why We Don't Homeschool
People who know me from my blog often think I homeschool. And I definitely do lean in that direction. On days when my daughter is home from school, I am amazed at how much we can accomplish: learning, experimenting, playing, exploring local attractions, practicing piano, and spending time with friends.
The ability to tailor my children's education exactly to their needs is a big part of my desire to just pull them out of school and enroll them in Mom's Academy. Just look at “Dance Moms” phenom Sophia Lucia. Sophia's mother revealed on a recent episode of “Dance Moms” that she homeschools so her daughter can spend two hours a day on stretching alone.
The other mothers grumbled that their girls put in a regular day at school before they finally hit the studio in the afternoon. The extra time Sophia uses to develop her talents and pursue her passion definitely gives her an edge.
And then there is the whole social issue. Yes, I want my children coming into contact with new ideas and values... but I am concerned that they come into contact with them at such a young age without me there to help them process these new experiences. I know my kids are going to be exposed to consumerism and poor body image and violence and bullying…but at least while they are little ones, I don't want to have to wait seven hours to explain why playing spin the bottle at age 6 is not a good choice. And I don't want to have to explain at the end of the day when she is tired why we shouldn't judge people by whether or not they spend $50 on a polyester one-shoulder top or why playing and growing are more important than dieting and make-up.
There's a growing trend towards homeschooling. Although only a tiny percentage of Americans homeschool (just 4%), that number represents a 75% increase since 1999, according to Education News.
Families have diverse reasons for choosing to homeschool. Although 83% cite some concern about religious or moral instruction, even more are concerned about the school environment (88%) and a whopping 73% worry about academic standards, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. People homeschool because they believe they can provide a safer environment, a better education, more moral or religious instruction, more attention to a child's special physical or intellectual needs, or greater enrichment.
Some families just want to savor this short period of childhood.
Depending on who is counting, somewhere between 900,000 to 2,000,000 children are currently being homeschooled in the United States. So, I would guess that there are approximately 900,000 to 2,000,000 reasons why people homeschool.
So, why don't we homeschool?
Primarily because my daughter wants to go to school. She likes riding the bus and making friends she would not otherwise meet. She likes the organization of the school day because, while I am creative, I am not especially organized. I suspect she also likes spending several hours a day with girls her age instead of two little brothers who, as much as she loves them, have a tendency to pester her.
We also do not homeschool because I work part-time from home, something I would no longer be able to do if I were planning and implementing curricula for three children of different ages.
As a former teacher from a family of teachers, I do believe the school system serves an important function. While homeschooling families socialize plenty, they do so only with people of their own choosing.
Children who are homeschooled may have other teachers and instructors but, again, their families can be selective. As tempting as that sounds, I do believe there is a benefit to a learning environment that better reflects our diverse nation.
Ideally, I would like to have the option for a half-day of schooling, at least through early elementary school.
I don't think that public school is a better, or worse, choice than homeschooling. It is just the right choice for our family. For now.