Why do you homeschool?

A friend whose wife is a school teacher has been poking some fun at homeschoolers on facebook, and I had replied to a couple of his threads. He then asked me directly why we decided to do it, and I thought I might post my response here. This blog exists in part to organize my thoughts and in part to keep my memories of our lives. As I wrote that answer to my friend, I realized my memory of how we came to homeschool was already becoming fuzzy and it spurred me to get it out here before I forget entirely. So here, in short, is why we have become homeschoolers.
Oh, I just realized I didn’t answer the “why”. In retrospect it feels like a complicated thing to answer.

Our five year old is really excited about/distracted by action around him. He’s bright and when he’s interested in something he’s borderline happily obsessive. The combination can be frustrating when a teacher has a big group of kids to work with. We learned this about him in preschool and at church.

Also, as we approached fall and had a decision to make about school (his birthday being in January meant it was optional to start this year), I started researching the neighborhood schools. They aren’t horrible, not great, they have large classes and aren’t strong in reading. I had a couple of friends who homeschool and started looking into that, too. At first I thought I’d just make sure he got a good reading start.

Mixing "gamillas"- vanilla banana cookies.

I also read a book called “How to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child”, and “The Well Trained Mind”. Those began to really tip me toward sincerely considering it. That was a shock even to me.

We went to an info meeting about a virtual public school but much of their system really is just like public, including grades from teachers and needing to complete subjects in grade level lock-step. Also, they wanted us to log 6 to 8 hours a day, which with one-on-one attention is just dumb in kindergarten. My impression was that it is mainly for people having trouble in public school.

Then I went to a huge homeschool conference here in portland. I could not believe the diversity of families there. Everything from head-covering mennonites to freaky tattoed people (that’s us). There were so many transracial families, too. I remember being struck by that. Last month when we had our social worker interviews for the adoption she also mentioned how huge adoption is in the homeschool community. I think that’s awesome. It was a beautiful thing to see.
The other kind of diversity I saw at the conference was the wide wide range of curriculae. There are some excellent statistics on homeschooler achievement, but I know it’s not the academics that are generally criticized. The socialization factor has also been debunked, but I’m thinking it’s more the insular nature of families with crazy ideas/ideals that you’re thinking of…

PJ's are the best.

Anyway, sorry to ramble but it was a curvy road. I love it now that we’re doing it. We’re in a “Classical Conversations” group and that is incredible. Very broad.

This is Toby's group, memorizing the history sentence: The war of 1812 gave confidence to the US to write the Monroe Doctrine, warning Europeans not to attempt to colonize the Americas.

After writing this response to my friend, I looked around for some good statistics on homeschool graduates. The statistics are overwhelmingly positive.


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