I consider myself to be a retired homeschooler. I use the word “retired” because my kids are all grown and have graduated from college. So, while I’m not retired in the normal sense of the word, I’m no longer teaching my kids at home. Perhaps I’ll be teaching my grandkids some day, but they live a little far away for that.
My three children (two girls and a boy) were not “model students,” although they were all bright enough. But like many other children, they would rather goof off than study. Still, they all did well, and in fact, my son graduated a year early from high school. It just didn’t make much sense for him to do another year at home, when his junior year of high school was doing all college-level work.
I’m proud of my children and who they have grown up to be. Both my girls are teachers, and my son is a computer geek of computer geeks, working on designing and maintaining computer networks for a major petroleum company. The girls are married, while my son just hasn’t found the right girl yet. He’s going to need someone as geeky as he is.
I say all that to say – I’m glad we took the time and effort to homeschool our children. I’m convinced that they received a superior education, as well as turning out to be model citizens. They are good people, with good moral values, who are working to pass those values on.
I attribute a lot of my success in raising my kids to homeschooling, a decision we made before the eldest was ready to enter kindergarten. Had I sent them through the normal public school route, I’m not sure they would have come out the same. That education would have affected them in some way or other, turning them into different people than they are today. How different is the question; and it’s a question that there’s no real answer to.
There are many reasons to homeschool your children, but here are a few I would like to offer.
You Can Control the Influences They’re Exposed To
Our children are like sponges, soaking up everything they encounter. The problem is, there’s a lot of garbage that they end up soaking up too. Whether that is the foul language of their friends or revisionist history, it’s going to affect how they think and who they grow up to be.
There are those who would try to say that you have no right to control what your children think or are exposed to. That’s hogwash. One of your greatest responsibilities as a father is protecting your children from those influences. The state doesn’t own your kids and the teacher does not know better.
You Can Tailor Their Education to Their Individual Needs
The public school glorifies the herd. It essentially tries to create cookie-cutter students. Granted, that’s impossible, but the very nature of a classroom situation tends towards that direction. It’s just not possible to care for the individual needs of each student. Whether your child is a genius, a prodigy or a lazy student, they’re going to receive the same education.
Each child has their strong points and weak points. Educating your children at home allows you to select and fine-tune your children’s studies for their own particular needs. You can make educational decisions based upon their individual interests, giving them a head-start on life. You can also take extra time with areas they struggle in, helping them to overcome.
Bible Class Can be Part of the Day
In the early days of this country, the Bible was probably the number one textbook used to teach. Children learned how to read from its words, soaking up a lot of biblical knowledge along the way. If you’re a Christian, that’s important to you. You want your children to learn the Bible and know what it says. More than that, you want them to know the Lord.
As a homeschooling family, you can choose to make Bible class a part of every day, just like math and reading. Your children can have the opportunity to learn the Bible much better than you did as a child.
You Can Give them a Superior Education
Two of the keys to a quality education are the teacher to student ratio and parental involvement. Homeschooling offers a perfect opportunity to optimize both of those. That results in your children receiving a better education. They will learn better and they’ll do so in less hours per day.
That extra time can be utilized to teach your children other things, rather than just as play time. Teach your children to garden; help them start a business; encourage their artistic talent. Find something where they can learn what others aren’t learning, something that will help them with life.
There’s a Much Higher Chance They’ll Excel in School
There have been a number of studies done showing how homeschool students are superior students getting better grades at home, in standardized testing and in college. In fact, some universities have even gone so far as to develop homeschooling recruitment quotas, because of how well those students do in school. It makes the college look good.
While excellence in college isn’t a guarantee of success in a career, homeschooling students generally have a characteristic that translates into that success. That is, they are more focused on actually learning the information and being able to apply it, than just getting good grades. That makes a huge difference.
They Won’t Receive Leftist Indoctrination
I don’t know where you fall on the political spectrum and I don’t want to offend you, but the reality is that our schools are controlled by the political left. There are many more left-leaning teachers in our schools, from elementary through graduate school, than there are right-leaning. With that being the case, it’s no wonder that so many of our young people graduate from school thinking that every perverted human desire is acceptable, and that we should be a socialist nation.
If that’s what you want your children to believe, that’s your decision. But if you don’t, you might want to remove them from that atmosphere, to one where you can teach them what you believe.
Protect Them from Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is a big thing as children are growing up. Putting them in a situation where they are surrounded by other children, without the balance caused by adults who care about them, is a sure way to allow peer pressure to control them. I don’t care if we’re just talking about buying the right brand of tennis shoes or how young they can become sexually active, peer pressure is going to lead them to places where they are better off not going.
Homeschool children have peer pressure too, but it is of a different sort. Their peer pressure comes from their parents, their friends, other homeschoolers and their church. Those are not all perfect, but they have a standard of life and thinking that will bless your kids rather than tear them down.
Everything Can Become a Learning Opportunity
Most homeschoolers turn everything into a learning opportunity. A light bulb went out? Let’s break it open and see what’s inside. Cat birthing kittens? Let’s experience the miracle of birth. Time to bring in the harvest from the garden? Let’s learn how to can food. It’s all useful knowledge.
Because of homeschooling, my children had the opportunity to live on the road with me in our motorhome for over three years. During that time, we visited more science museums, historical sites and living history museums than most people see in a lifetime. We took advantage of that opportunity and it served my children well.
Opportunities Offered by a More Flexible Schedule
Speaking of opportunity, homeschooling allows you to take your children to things you otherwise couldn’t. Maybe you won’t be living on the road, like we were, but you have your own opportunities in life. With your children being homeschooled, you can take them to work, take them to the dairy and take them on business trips with you. Everything has the opportunity to turn into an opportunity, if you want it to.
You won’t have to take vacation in the summertime either. Rather, you can take vacation when it’s convenient for you and be able to take your children to attractions, when they’re not crowded. That will allow you to get more for the visit, or to put it another way, more bang for the buck.
They Won’t be Limited by the System
The public school system really doesn’t deal well with gifted and talented kids. Many schools where it is necessary to “mainstream” everyone, don’t even have a gifted and talented program. That means that children with above-average intelligence are not being challenged. They never reach their potential in school, because the work is too easy for them.
I well remember this, as it happened to me. I was a horrible student in school because I wasn’t challenged. It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I really started learning. Through my school years, I mostly just skated.
They’ll be Better Socialized
One of the things people say against homeschooling is that children won’t be properly socialized. That all depends on what you mean. If you identify “socialized” as someone only being able to deal with others their same age, then that’s true. But if you mean being able to deal with society at large, homeschoolers beat out those in public schools, hands down. f
How many children do you know who can carry on an intelligent conversation with an adult? How about how many are even willing to try and do that? Unless they are homeschooled, it’s unlikely you know any. But homeschool children do so all the time; they don’t know they should only talk to people their own age.
You’ll have a More Close-knit Family
Finally, homeschooling gives you the opportunity to have a close-knit family. By homeschooling my children, I was an integral part of their lives each and every day. We did many activities together, both academically and for fun. Things like going to the mall weren’t about my girls getting away from me to try on clothes, they took me with them, to see what I thought of the clothes they tried on.
No relationship can be close without spending a lot of time together. Yet the average family today is lacking in family time. You rarely find them sitting around the dining room table, enjoying a meal together. Yet for the homeschool family, almost anything can become a family activity, drawing the family together and making them close.
Are you a homeschool family? Or do you plan to be? Share with us in the comments below.