Friday, October 22, 2010

Why are you homeschooling?!

While I have been asked (only once), "Why are you homeschooling?!" this post is to answer my own questions, "Why am I homeschooling?" "What do I want for my kids?" "What is important to our family?"

First there are a few practical reasons that have a lot to do with my own personality:
1. I really like to have Luke at home with me.
2. I like freedom. It would bug me to be accountable to attendance policies. Also, the schools I'd be most interested in sending my child to are a good twenty minutes away and to get him there before eight o'clock each morning would be difficult and not worth it. And I'd spend a lot of my life driving. I would like to postpone the chauffeur-era of my life.
3. I think the public schoolday, especially for kindergartners, is way too long. And at our neighborhood school (which I've heard is a great school, an arts magnet) the day is even longer. And they do not have regular recesses, which for me is a deal breaker. Free and unstructured time is essential, in my opinion.

Then there are these, more philosophical reasons.
Reasons I Homeschool My Young Children:
I want my young children to be at home more than they are away from home.
I want to ensure that my children read and write for real and meaningful reasons (even and especially while they are still learning to read and write.)
I want my children to grow up outdoors as much as possible.
I want the time to help my children find and develop their talents, without taking time away from important family rituals, like dinners together and family outings.
I want my children to play. I want my children to avoid schools where play is crowded out by insubstantial substitutes, and is not given significant, consistent time.
I want my children to be cared for, looked after, but not smothered by supervision or a multitude of well-meaning, but seriously stifling rules.
I want my children to be taught gently.
I want my children to grow by being nurtured in a friendly, even loving environment.
I want my children to learn things that are interesting to them.
I want childhood for them to be unhurried.

Each of the above desires is rooted in both my personal mother-sense, but also by what I learned in college from professor-practioners. But, I am finally understanding that mother-sense came first, before the science of teaching. The best early childhood classrooms emulate the home. While doing the dishes tonight, I thought of example after example where this is the case with widely accepted best practices in pedagogy. The home is the first and most natural place for a child to learn to read, to serve, to tally, to problem solve, to sing, to dance, to experiment, to cook, to build, and even to get along with others.  And the best, most appropriate classrooms for young children imitate, as much as possible, that natural and caring learning environment. I really do believe that early childhood matters and can set a trajectory for life. So, I want Luke's early childhood years to be as positive as possible.
As kindergarten approached, I didn’t feel capable of finding that best, most appropriate classroom for Luke. But now that I’ve kept him home, I’ve realized that I was looking for a home away from home –which can and should and does exist in lots of great classrooms, because of warm and gifted teachers! But, I’ve realized that I don’t need to find a home away from home, I can just provide the home.

There is one last reason I homeschool and it is probably the most pertinent: I have a desire to homeschool. And the desire is growing. At this time, it feels right for us.


  1. Carrie--I love this blog. Can I stalk it?

    Every once in a while I seriously consider homeschooling, but-obviously-for whatever reason, eventually decide against it. Now, though, I'm unhappy with Anthon's situation at school, and am seriously considering it again. That boy requires so much of me, though, that it makes me nervous about being able to handle it. Any advice?

  2. There are so many resources online. My favorite place is Simple Homeschool. And Curriculum Choice is easy to read and follow and I like the lay-out. (see my sidebar for links)

    I've always left Luke alone for chunks of the day, now when I really need to just be alone, we have "independent time." Naming it seemed to help him deal with it better than me just saying, "I just need to be alone right now!" I bought books on CD for him to listen to and always -like you- have writing materials available. but there are lots of things Luke can do on his own without my supervision.

    I know we are two peas in a pod, and you don't really crave big groups of people, but it might be really helpful to find a co-op you like. Sometimes people offer classes or swap teaching, or even create mini-schools that are half a day or one day a week.

    One of the things I was anxiously anticipating was that we'd be together too much. That hasn't really materialized.