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At the bottom of this discussion, is an assortment of links to answer additional questions you may have!

Why We Homeschool...

Note:  Names and identifying information have been removed to maintain the privacy of each family. 
*** I wish I would get asked this question more often ... it rarely happens.  I would probably talk about the math curriculum and awful textbooks in public schools that led me to homeschool and then I would tell how it became a lifestyle ... even if the math curricula and other academics were perfect in school I'd still homeschool. It's about more than academics.
*** In the early 80s, I had wanted to teach my children at home.  I just figured instead of sending them to preschool and kindergarten, I would teach them.  Like a dummy, I went to the school (wrong) and asked how to get started!  They insisted that it just isn't possible to teach your kids at home, that you would "ruin" them.  It was rare at the time, not a lot of people around here homeschooled in 1982. 

I put my oldest in kindergarten, which turned out to be a horrible experience for him.  The kindergarten teacher had the kids color carebear pictures everyday, mostly.  I learned much later from one mom who was helping, that my son had not gotten his work done, and the teacher took his chair away and made him stand for a long time to do his work without it.  I was helping there one day and there was a little boy there whose parents weren't well off; the boy had on a pair of jeans that were too big for him.  The teacher made comments to me about the family being big on passing down the older kids' clothes to him.  There was a lot that happened and the teacher did end up losing her job, thankfully.

My kids both went through 1st grade.  In the spring of '85 we went to a Greg Harris seminar on homeschooling.  I am so thankful for this man's ministry.  We began to realize that our kids would be taught a lot that was contrary to our Christian beliefs.  It reminds me of what happens when you watch a lot of TV, you don't notice after awhile what they put on TV, but if you haven't watched it in a long time, you are shocked at what is aired. 

Our country has passed so many laws, etc, that even if the public school wanted to teach our children according to basic Christian doctrine, they couldn't legally.  I know it isn't possible for my kid's to have a Christian education in the public school.  I love that my children get to learn according to the truth of the Bible.  When I watch their Christian teachers telling about our history from a Christian perspective, it is such a blessing.  I feel ripped off that we didn't learn this when I was in school.  Even in their math, they are taught that God is always orderly; there is just so much more to it that just math.  Same with English, they are taught the reasons why a person needs to be able to communicate clearly in English or Spanish.  Science is of course, taught from a biblical perspective.  Every subject they learn, they also learn the value of knowing what they are taught.  We are supposed to use our gifts and talents and things we learn to serve others and to serve the Lord.  My husband puts it this way, "If God entrusts our children to us, why would we send them to Philistines to be taught?"  We are responsible for what our children learn.

There are so many plus-sides to homeschooling that about every homeschooler I know appreciates.  Lack of negative peer-pressure is a big one.  One thing I also love about homeschool is that we are so blessed to get to be with our children!  We are taught in our society that we need to be at a job, send our kids to day care, then on to school.  I am so thankful that I am allowed to be home with my kids.  I am thankful to have good curriculum to use. 

I have noticed, and people have often commented to me about this in my kids- not something great that I've done, it just happens in homeschooling:  Most kids I've met who homeschool communicate well to any age of person.  My kids talk to older people, to teen-agers, to babies!  When we go visit somewhere we've never been, if there are kids there, my kids join right in and meet the other kids.  When adults talk to them, they look at them and talk.  This is normal for homeschool kids.  The other day, my 6 yo twin sons were playing with some kids they don't know real well, the boys were probably around 12-13 yo.  Those older boys were playing with my sons, giving them "chances", not over-powering them or putting them down.  It was always said that homeschoolers would not be "socialized".  I have laughed so many times at this comment, as homeschoolers are some of the most socialized people I've ever met.  

*** We started out homeschooling as an extension of our lifestyle, and we both knew PS would not be 'right' for our first born.  With darling #2, perhaps PS would not have been as detremental, but why fix something if it is not broken.  So, when asked why we homeschooled (which we do not get asked often), I say it is an extension of our lifestyle.  People do not usually ask what that is, our lifestyle that is, and the ones that do usually get the picture.  <smiling>  It is interesting how many peole assume we homeschool because of "religious" reasons.  But can't your lifestyle be also your religion?  Isn't a religion a belief?  And we believe in being a family...oh, there is also so much more, but I had better stop now.....

*** When we first started homeschooling I was just fed up with the school system and the way right-wing politics & religion seemed to permeate every school topic throughout her school day and the way we as the parents had somehow come to be precieved as "the enemy"; so removed my daughter from the school (after I had talked to a lawyer earlier that morning about homeschooling and my lawful rights to remove my child v.s. the school districts claims to the contrary). This was in 1988. By 11 a.m. that morning I had removed my child from the school district's grasp, taken on the school administration with face-to-face confrontation (and editorial follow-ups over the following weeks), and generated a small town shakeup; and we were embarking on a lifetime commitment and adventure! My husband, who had not a clue to what I was about to do, came home from work in the evening and found his life forever altered. LOL! As you can probably tell by now I am a woman of immediate action once my mind is made up and I <<draft>> family members as we go along ... :-D

We homeschooled our own daughter, our foster 9 children over the years that followed, and my niece. We currently homeschool our grand-daughter, and she in turn will homeschool her children when she begins her life as an adult. We are hard-core HS advocates and tout  it at every opportunity. Things were culterally/socially out of control when my daughter was in PS ... there is NO WAY I'd ever let my grand-daughter enter the war-zone PS is now.

*** I started homeschooling because I felt God leading me to do it.  I had actually said it was something I would never do and many of my homeschooling friends reminded me of that!  I don't know why God asked me to do it but the request was loud and clear, so my husband and I decided to do it.  Since we are doing it out of obedience to God, we will keep doing it until He tells us to quit.

We entered the who thing somewhat overwhelmed and not knowing where to start but so many people were so helpful and encouraging.  I visited a lot of friends to see how they did it and I went to a big curriculum fair.  It was pretty overwhelming at first and it was difficult to decide what to teach.  After four years I'm hooked.  I see the results and I realize there is a whole lot more to education than what curriculum you use.  I've come to realize it is about teaching your children HOW to learn, not about stuffing them with facts.  They also learn to be self-motivated and self-learners.  A skill that will benefit them the rest of their lives.
More than the educational side of homeschooling, I love the positive effect it has had on our family life.  My children are great friends (most of the time!) and our family dynamics have totally changed.  The children's attitudes toward my husband and I as parents are different.  I can't explain it fully but there is a level of respect that wasn't there before.  I'm not talking about them  treating us with more respect, I'm  talking about how they perceive us as people.  It is hard to put into words.  As a result, we all get along better and our family life is, for the most part, very peaceful.  They seem to understand and appreciate the time, effort, and committment we have made to them by homeschooling.  They also don't compartmentalize their lives as much as they did when they were in public school.  The changes to our family dynamics was a "bonus" I wasn't expecting.

If I felt God leading me to put my kids back into public school I could deal with that as far as their education is concerned, but I would have a hard time giving up all of the time I get to spend with them and the postive affects on our family life.  It would also be hard to give up the flexibility of not being tied to the public school schedule.
I think the majority of parents want what is best for their children whether their children are in public school or homeschooled.  Homeschoolers just think they can meet the needs of their children better in a homeschool setting than a public school setting.  The reasons people leave the public school seems to be as varied as the number of people who do it.  Most parents that I know that decided to homeschool were already very involved in their children's lives so homeschooling didn't really require a big increase in effort but the benefits are tremendous.

One last thing, I think it is too bad that our decision to homeschool affects the school district financially, but it doesn't change my decision to homeschool.  If I could give them my tax dollars, I'd be happy to because I still pay them even though they go some where else.  Getting local funding back in local schools would change that.  Also, Oregon is having a hard enough time funding education as it is.  If all of the homeschoolers in Oregon suddenly put their kids back in school it would create a crisis because there wouldn't be any more money in the state budget to pay for it. The state would just have to start paying less per student to deal with the rise in enrollment.
Well, there is my two cents.  I hope it sheds some light on the subject
for those trying to better understand.

*** When I was going to college to become a teacher, I met several people that had homeschooled their children and were going back to college to become teachers in the public system. I thought,"that is what I want to do, homeschool my children!" I was not married and did not have children yet and lived in Idaho at the time, but it started me on the journey to find out about homeschooling. I would talk to people that had homeschooled and get their opinions and reasons. That was back in 1985-1987. I didn't finish my Bachelors degree - that may come later. When I got married in '88 I told my husband that I wanted to homeschool our kids and he thought that was fine although he didn't know much about it. I believe that it is my responsibility to teach, train, bring up and love my children into responsible adulthood. When my daughter was 31/2 I joined a homeschool group in St.Helens to find out about the laws and start learning about curriculum. I like to research a project and read a lot about something before I try it.

My daughter wanted to go to school like her friend, when she was about 4, so we started pre-school at home. She was happy with going to school at home and we have been homeschooling ever since. it is not always easy and every one of my children have different learning styles,dislikes and favorite subjects. My daughter is a Freshman now and the boys are in 7th and 3rd grades. Teaching your child to read is one of lifes greatest experiences and having my children home all day to enjoy is why I had children!! What a blessing! I'll say read to your children every day beginning when they are babies, and they will love books! They may prefer to have you read the books to them, but they will love the time together!

Some struggles - my youngest daughter was in third grade before she read very well, her brother basically taught himself to read at 5 and read better than her for a few years! Both of the boys are left handed, teaching them to write was interesting! Right now Algebra is a struggle. Sometimes finding time for everything I want to teach them is difficult. But seeing my children play together and help each other is awesome, when I see so many public school families where the siblings can't seem to stand to be in the same room with one another.

Would I have done it differently? NO!!! Will I continue to homeschool? YES!!!! Sometimes I want to say to parents ,"bring them to my house , I'll teach them!"

*** I usually just say I think it's better for kids. I don't get into it any further unless they are looking for a big discussion - in that case I give them an earfull.  :-)  I like to let my boy sell homeschooling - seeing is believing.

1. I actually enjoy being with my children. (This has always been my first reason for homeschooling, and I'm sticking with it!

2. I enjoy the freedom to allow my girls to live balanced lives. Working hard, having fun, taking care of themselves and others, and having time just to think for themselves.

3. I always have wanted my girls to be able to pursue their own interests, and have time to develop these interests.

4. I enjoy having close relationships with my girls, this is the most important thing. I share myself with them, and we learn together, about life, making decisions, and of course, math!

5. The real main reason why our family homeschools, is that it works very well for our family, I wouldn't have it any other way! If it wasn't working, we wouldn't do it!

I could go on and on about why we homeschool, what we love about it, and how
it allows us to live our lives the way we want to, but I have run out of
time........I have children, you know!

*** Our main reason is that we don't have time for regular school--I can think of many more valuable things to do!

* The short answer is:

1.  I've always wanted to homeschool.  I mean once I began thinking about my future children and education, I became very intrigued with the idea of a family learning, playing, and working together at home, and with other families living the same lifestyle.

2.  I did not like the idea of a cookie cutter education, where social status, intelligence, emotional maturity etc, were indicators of how well a child's school career would go.

3.  I felt the public school education had little to offer those children
who are bright, but lack internal motivaton, and I saw them as being the ones who suffer because of boredom, and lack of inspiration.

4.  I wanted to offer my kids the chance to learn based on their interests, and strengths while picking and choosing the right curriculum to remediate any areas of difficulty. 

My response was, (they are all out of school now.) "i couldn't imagine being without them, not seeing them read for the first time, learn something all on their own etc.... I loved being with my kids and watching them struggle, learn, laugh.... Sending them off to school would mean that I would never see that. Couldn't do it.
*** Because I can do a much better job of meeting my children's educational needs.
*** Why? I want my kids to have freedom to grow up as they like. I don't need the government influencing their choices, or keeping an eye on my children. You could say we are anti government. ;-)

What made me do it? The first time I thought about it was because my older two were in ps and their teachers said that they were bored silly, and with no advance classes available/and no time to give them extra work, they had to sit at their desk doing nothing most of the day. The same year, I was suppose to register the twins for kindergarten, and found out they would not allow them in the same class. They were unseperable, so dh and I decided I would hs them.

My kids have the freedom to choose if they want to homeschool, and so far, they want to stay home. I like the fact that if my kids want to take a day and camp out in the woods talking with a raccoon, they can. If they want to dissect a chicken after butchering they can. My point is, that sometimes walking outside of the box, teaches your kids more then sitting in the box all day learning the same thing as everyone else. Their thoughts are their own, their idea's are their own, and they don't have to conform to what society deems is the norm. 

 *** If I'm feeling nice I just say it's because it's the only environment my son can learn in and it allows us to have an actual family life.  If I want to confound the person or really get them thinking I'll occasionally respond that it's because I want my son to live and see his 21st birthday. He was never depressed until he went to public school and now that he's home it's barely an issue.

Obviously, those who know us realize there are a multitude of reasons we homeschool but I've found that people can't come up with arguments against these two stated reasons.  Luckily, my son is okay with this since he LOVES homeschooling and no power on earth could get him back in a school. What ticks me off royally is that people feel they have the right to even ask at all. I don't go around asking people why they do or do not have their children in the various schools.
*** I did not go willingly into homeschooling.  My daughter was in the 6th grade when they told me they would be "socially" promoting her because she had failed some of her classes.  This was after months of working on times tables, english, math, grammar, science, social studies etc at home.   We were homeschooling already and just didn't know it.  I told the school district I wanted her held back a grade so that she could catch up with what she was missing, or I would take her out and teach her myself.  They didn't.  So I did.

My oldest daughter was finishing up 7th grade.  She was identified as TAG in the 5th grade but wasn't in any special program.  I was curious what she was learning so we traded jobs one day.  I was a student and she ran my transcription business.  We both learned a lot!  I assumed that I was probably getting everyone on their best behavior because there was "a parent" present in the classroom.  I asked the teachers if what I'd seen was a typical day and they all said yes.  Frankly, I was appalled at the time spent on non-academic activities and the foul language and sexy clothes and complete disrespect of the teachers and staff.  At best, they were spending an hour or two each day on actually learning things.  So... I decided if I had to teach one, it would be just as easy to teach two!

At that same time, my son was ready for Kindergarten.  He was reading, doing math and already writing.  I asked the school what they would do to challenge him.  His K teacher and principal said, "Well, we could give him a book and have him read it in the back of the class.  And we can send him to 1st grade math."  He was already working in a second grade math book because he wanted to learn "real school".  I asked for information about the TAG program and they laughed at me.  So... there went another $5000 walking out of the school district.

The thing that surprised me the most was... my daughters were great at math!  I'd always been told calculators were invented just for them.  The school district was wrong.  My daughters quickly caught up and surpassed where they were supposed to be (jumping two grade levels in testing during the first year and 1.5 grades every year after that).  My oldest daughter graduated early from home school high school and receiving her associates degree from our local community college. My youngest daughter just enrolled in a nursing program.

My son was accepted into the community college at the age of 13, which isn't at all uncommon for a homeschooler.

So... I was forced into homeschooling.  At least that's how I feel about it. I was frustrated and angry that I had to do it.   I was also very scared. Could I teach them on my own?  The answer was a resounding... YES!

But the second most surprising thing for me is that they all developed a love of learning.  By teaching themselves.  I just set up a map of what they needed to learn.  Then we found books, resources, private teachers, etc.

It's the same with most homeschoolers I know.  They learn how to learn.  In their own unique way.  They can move ahead at their own pace when they're excited about a subject or take their time if they need to.  That's a priceless gift to give to your child.
*** Firstly, I read a book, "A Fine Young Man" by Michael Gurian, which I could not put down.  The information in that book was very compelling to make me want to bring both my boys home.  Then I read Tamara Orr's Q and A book, and after that, my research really started in ernest.

Of course, there are days when my husband and I ask *each other* why we homeschool and can't, for the life of us, come up with a reasonable answer ;-)
*** Homeschooling for me was never a choice.  I felt God leading me that way from the time my son (Brennan) was born.  It has not been easy, there are days when I just wish someone else would take over and deal with the attitudes.  But then I realize that even in public school the attitudes would have to be dealt with at home.  God is good he always brings me the support I need when I need it, and the motivation too.  I love the fact that I KNOW my children.  I love the fact that they get to choose new things they want to learn.  They both understand why we homeschool and they enjoy it.  There is no teaching of evolution as fact, there is no nasty sex ed, just biblical sex ed, there are no bullies, there is no bell to move them along like cattle and there is NO peer pressure. I thank God for giving me the direction to homeschool.  He is so wise. 
*** I just tell people "We don't have time to stay home so my child can go, and that she learns more by actually "doing"."  Seat time?  Yea, we get seat time, on the plane, in the car, on the train, on the ship.   Kinda freaks 'em out. ;)
*** Teaching our children strong moral values and encouraging them to be spiritual is such an important lesson.  And one that should not be left to a public school.  Each family has their own interpretation of that, even within the same religion.  But they do have many things in common...  Do not lie, do not steal, treat people with respect, love one another and believe in something bigger than ourselves.

Teaching my children what I believe has helped me to be even stronger in my beliefs.  Answering their sometimes difficult questions has been so rewarding for us all.

And we can also learn a lot from each other as well.   The two other co-founders of this list (Fran Rice and Carrie Card) have taught me more about their beliefs, as Christians, by what they say and do every day... than any theological or philosophical discussion (which we have also done!). And even though it goes without saying... today I will say it... I love them both dearly.

The hardest lesson for me to teach and learn, as a parent, was that I had to be willing to walk the walk in order for my children to see what I'm really all about.  It's easy to say "Don't lie!" and then be faced with a friend who just asked if her hideous haircut (that can't be changed) looks good. Sometimes walking the walk requires a bit of side-stepping!

Anyway, I'd say this theme is one that all or most homeschoolers have in common.  To help our children be the best they can be... in all ways.
*** I think mostly I am homeschooling my children because I just love being with them and we can study the Bible... something that wouldn't happen in public school. I have a choice in what my children are learning and so do they to a certain extent.

*** We are home schooling to give our children an education with Christ as the foundation. There just happens to be a lot of extra bonuses that go along with the decision. To name the main one for us, we get to teach our children our principles and value system - they aren't learning these from other children.
*** We have so many reasons for doing this, here are the main ones:

1) Being able to instill biblical knowledge, morals, and values on a
day to day basis.
2) Teaching and raising our children as opposed to letting the
government do so.
3) Children's safety
4) The freedom to make our own schedules
5) More real life experiences
6) Not having to go through the cruel teasing that seems
to come w/ P.S.
7) The wonderful homeschooled children and parents we have been able to meet.
8) Giving them an education that is geared toward how they learn and at their speed.
9) Having the time for the extra classes (ceramics, music, sports
etc. w/o sacrificing time spent with the family as a whole)
10) Growing and learning with them as they change and grow and learn.

I know there are so many more reasons and they seem to just pop into my head as we continue this path on a week to week basis.
*** Because I love my children too much to send them to the Philistines!  I want to know what they are experiencing and learning, and I want  what they experience and learn to be in accord with what the Word of God teaches.  I feel stronger about this with each new day!
*** For us, public school was not even an option.  For numerous reasons that whole realm held no value for us as a family. That system had failed my 3 oldest children because it's simply only geared to a select few (of which mine were NOT).  Also, we feel we are responsible for the education of our own children.
There's also the matter of the propaganda, the peer pressure, the educational resourses etc, etc, I think the biggest reason of all, though, is that we need to build and maintain relationships and keep communication lines clean.  That is an impossibility (at least it would be with my girls) if they were  somewhere else most of the time.

I'm also responsible to encourage them in their faith in the Lord.  Since the system is extremely anti-christ, it would make my job very difficult if they were being bombarded all the day long.  Obviously, MANY reasons!

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