Here I am, typing on this blog, while my kids are working independently on their school work. I can’t help but second guess myself a million times during the course of our day. Am I doing what is best for them? That question is always in the backburner of my mind.
Some days, we get a really late start. I may turn on the television, (something educational) and let them unwind for a little bit before we get started. Other days, we are working from 7:15, until mid-day or later. I guess maybe it is the public school mentality that I have been consumed with for the last 30+ years (first as a student, and then as a teacher), but I feel like I am not spending enough time on school. How is it possible that 15 minutes on Math is all my daughter needs to learn about angles? She struggled in the public school setting.
When I have these moments of doubts, it’s important that I remember the why. Why am I homeschooling in the first place? Obviously, something wasn’t working in the public school setting. That’s not to say that my children didn’t have amazing teachers. They did. They had some of the most amazing teachers, that I was blessed to be able to call my co-workers. Despite them having these teachers, two of my kids still struggled. My daughter scored a novice, and an apprentice on state testing last year. Every diagnostic assessment she took from first grade on, had her scoring below grade level. She was placed in intensive group settings, many times with behavior problems, and her needs still weren’t being met. Our why for her, is so that she can feel successful, to build up confidence, and be able to perform on or above grade level.
This is led me to look at the reasons why people homeschool. After talking with many different people, I have found a variety of reasons why people homeschool their children. Not all of these reasons are good, mind you, but most are. I actually had a parent tell me, on social media, that one of the reasons they are homeschooling their kids is to evade social services. Apparently, this person had several complaints filed from the school, for neglect, so the parent pulled her daughter to avoid it from happening again. I don’t know this woman in person, but I could probably venture to guess that her child isn’t getting an adequate education during her homeschool experience.
Even though there are some bad reasons for homeschooling, most are good. The number one reason that I have found for parents wanting to homeschool their children is that they didn’t feel as if their child was making progress in the public school setting. Like me, their children were struggling, and losing confidence in themselves. They needed more individualized instruction to help them be successful.
Another reason many parents choose to homeschool is that they have problems with the faculty in their children’s school. I have had people tell me stories about their kids mistreatment. I wish I could say that these stories were untrue, and in some cases they may be, but unfortunately there are some people who are not in education for the right reasons. There are some teachers who are mean, and spiteful. They are teachers who pick on, and bully students.
Anxiety is another reason that I have heard many people use for homeschooling. This is one of the reasons we are homeschooling my son and my daughter. Both of them struggled academically, yes, but they also developed anxiety about being at school. My son’s was so severe that he developed migraines and would miss hours of school a day being treated for them. My daughters became severe after the Lakeland school shooting in Florida. She would cry and beg me not to go to school. As someone who lives with anxiety daily, I understand how this affects a child academically. It’s hard to concentrate on anything, when you are so anxious that you feel like you can’t breathe. It’s important though, that if you are taking your child out of school for anxiety reasons, that you are doing something to help with it. Therapy, medicine, relaxation techniques, etc.
Violence and bullying are other reasons some people homeschool their children. Our world has become increasing violent. Mass shootings are becoming more prevalent. Many parents are homeschooling to keep their children safe. I will be honest and admit that this is true for me as well. My daughter was being bullied, terribly. It was hard to see her going through that. Can I shield her from it for the rest of her life? No. Do we take a chance on being a victim of violence every time we leave the house? Yes. While this is one of the reasons I am homeschooling, it is not the most prevalent. I know that I can’t shield my kids from everything in this world. I can’t keep them from being bullied, and I can’t keep them from being hurt. I can try my best, but I also don’t want to raise them to fear the world. As much bad as there is, there is just as much good. I want them to see that as well.
There are so many other reasons why people homeschool their children. Too many to name. Regardless of the why, we need to understand that most of us are in this for the right reasons. For some students, public school is the best option. For others, home school is. In all domains, homeschool or public, we love our kids, and want what is best for them