Making the decision to homeschool is not a choice that we made lightly. We spent lots of time discussing the possibility and reading books about homeschooling. I had many sleepless nights in those early years (and occasionally still do). But, despite our initial reservations, I'm so glad that we made the decision to become a homeschooling family.
New to homeschooling? Find out all you need to know to get started: How to Homeschool.
Why we chose homeschooling
When our daughter was still very young (only 3) we started considering the possibility of homeschooling. She started sounding out letters early (though she didn't become a super early reader) and we wondered if she'd be bored in kindergarten because of that. I started picking up books about homeschooling from the library and came across the first edition of (that's an affiliate link -->) The Well-Trained Mind and that was that.
We had some familiarity with homeschool curriculum - we had spent a year working at an ACE Christian school so we knew of the various 'box' options for homeschoolers. But, I honestly didn't get really excited about the choice until I read The Well-Trained Mind and realized that I didn't have to depend on 'the box' - that we could forge our own path and make our own plans, individualized for our family. It was an eye-opening moment.
Leading up to that point, there were four reasons that became our primary motives for homeschooling.
Because of Nick's schedule
Nick works as a custodian for the local school board. He's done various shift schedules over the years, most of that time has been an afternoon-evening schedule. Knowing with that schedule the only time he and TJ would see each other would be weekends, we knew that a regular school schedule was not ideal for our family. We enjoy spending time together and I didn't want that relationship to suffer because of something as small as a scheduling conflict.
Because of TJ
TJ started reading early (though it took her longer than I expected to fully master) and she's a smart kid, but she's also a wiggly late bloomer and a slow mover. I had deep reservations about putting her into the public school system, knowing that she would be a little more immature than her classmates and knowing her personality. If she struggled with something she wouldn't want to be in the spotlight and ask for help. I had a fear that she would be one of those kids that would just muddle through. Added to that fact she had a difficult time sitting still (I think she finally stopped falling out of her chair around 4th grade). A regular school environment was not ideal for her needs.
Because of our faith
While this isn't our first reason for homeschooling it still makes the top of our list. Our faith is important to us and the school system here is not friendly to that faith. I was a Christian kid that attended public school and managed to keep a strong belief system but that didn't make it easy. And, society's view and the academic environment have become more hostile to a Christian worldview, even in the years since I was in school. So, we feel it's our responsibility to make sure TJ holds on to her strong faith.
Because of academics
While I'm a professed geeky, book-loving person, our academic reasons are firmly in 4th place on this list - the other 3 reasons trump even this. But, while it isn't our first reason for homeschooling, it's still important to us. I love that we can tailor fit our curricula and schedule to our needs. We can go deep on some subjects one year, have a lighter year if we need to, and have lots of free time for pursuing interest-led opportunities.
Our big dream? Buy a camper and travel for a year - taking our homeschool with us. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can do something like that!
What are your reasons for homeschooling?
Want to get a look at why other families made the decision to homeschool? Check out the posts from the iHomeschool Network bloggers - Why We Chose Homeschooling.