originally posted April 21, 2006
I plan to expound on these later, more or less to develop a defense for our choice. If the public thinking I do on the matter helps anyone else to come to this decision, then great. Some things may be italicized as topics for me to go into greater detail on later.
1. The type of education we want for our kids is not affordably available in our area. The two schools closest to our criteria are pricey and do not have the full package. One is not a classical school and the other is not a Catholic school.
With homeschooling we can have all of our criteria met. Why classical? Academic defense of homeschooling ... What do the numbers say?
2. We believe that within the family is where a substantial majority of quality time should be spent during the formative years of life. The most deeply secure people we know were homeschooled and solid family life is at the heart of that security. We further believe that the primary objection offered by homeschool detractors -- that of socialization -- can be readily dealt with, especially in light of the increase in homeschool familes and outside activities available to children and teenagers. So what about socialization?
3. We believe that the primary goal of education is the final goal of eternal life thus religious formation is serious business and best delivered by parents who have a tremendous desire to see the salvation of all of their children attained. What does the Bible say about this? What does the Church teach about this? What about Catholic schools and CCD?
4. We care more for the well being of our children and are more capable of responding to the unique needs of our children than any teacher, or village for that matter, ever will.
5. Kids in school situations suffer from a lack of prolonged contact with nature, especially in the younger years and especially boys. Boys were not meant to sit still in masses of desks for long periods of time. The natural exporation built into young children needs an outlet. Furthermore, at least within public schools, physical education and exercise is becoming more and more limited in order to meet academic requirements dictated by local, state and federal law.
6. Homeschooling kids have an advantage when it comes to knowing what day to day family life is about and how to deal with it when they are grown and have families. Daily living and basic tasks are skirted in the school systems. I know they taught us how to balance a checkbook in public schools but that is about a thousandth of what goes on from day to day in a family.
7. Homeschooling increases family unity. Quality time is undeniably increased. There is no way a school situation can compare. It also creates a habit of helpfulness. The sacrifice of making a homeschool work requires all children in the family working as a team to ensure the continued learning of the other members of the family. In every essay, article or book I read on the topic, the one thing I always come away with is the understanding that sacrifice is involved. This nurtures selflessness and results in adults who are constantly looking outwards (servants of mankind).
8. Physical development, especially in the middle school years, is best kept at home.
9. Bullying is detrimental to proper emotional development. Before criticizing the idea of keeping kids away from bullying, consider the following -- How many bullys do you encounter in the workplace or in everyday adult life? How much of dealing with actual confilct in life is not possible within the confines of typical sibling rivalry? It is not normal behavior and outside of your sphere of influence there is far less that you can do about it. Within the home and within the neighborhood the communication lines are more transparent and things can be done to minimize children spending inordinate amounts of time worrying sick about going to school the next day. School is for education, not for learning how to suck it up.
For that we have sports and sports parents :)
10. Homeschooling allows for flexible scheduling and an increased ability to incorportate extracurricular activites. About all that wasted time in school...
11. Furthermore, extraordinary talents can be developed at the level required to reach the level of mastery. For example, concert pianists do not become great in 30 minutes a day after school.
12. MOST IMPORTANTLY (from a Catholic perspective) - Regular incorporation of sacraments into daily life
- daily mass
- weekly confession
- celebration of feast days
- increased devotional life
The domestic church is allowed to flourish at a high level with this flexibility.
13. You can further immerse your children in languages, fine art, classical music and classic literature than the school system will allow. Greek and Latin are not available at most schools.
14. Homeschooling is conducive to fostering a true love of learning and tailoring encouragement of such to meet the need of each individual child. In my experience, many teachers wanted to get through the day. It was the extraordiary one that fostered that love. I learned more at home than I did in school because my parents encouraged a "lifestyle of learning". Homeschooling is that lifestyle full time. I loved to learn as a child but public education sapped that desire from me until recently. Thank the Lord for my conversion process. I have read more in the past few years than I read in middle and high school combined. I had to regain what was taken from me in school but what my parents imparted to me as a child.
15. (added Oct 19, 2007
) Our rights and responsibilities as parents are least infringed upon by the choice to homeschool. See my Parental rights
post. A parent who sends their child to school suspends parental rights (control) of their child while in that environment. This opens their child to bad information, poor nutrition etc. This is true of all of society actually but if a parent wants to retain more control of this aspect of their lives in the formative years, homeschooling provides the avenue of least resistance.
I want to make it clear that this is our decision and we REALIZE that it is not a decision that everyone should make. Taking this path may reveal that we shouldn't either. We do not feel that schooling is such a detriment to a child that it will render him or her incapable of acheiving the final end that is the primary reason for our homeschooling. In our unique circumstances, we feel it is the best option. There are doubtless many people in heaven that went to school. If I thought that to be a fatal blow to anyone I would give up now. School is, after all, my heritage.