I spent four years teaching at the local public high school. I loved my job, I loved (most of) my students, and I truly loved the people that I worked with but when it came to making decisions about my children’s education I had a hard time with the thought of sending them to public school.
Unless you have worked in a public school AND have children you cannot truly understand how broken our education system has become. When I first started teaching I was proud that my kids were going to be attending school in the county where I taught. It was a great school system… still is. Some of the most amazing, dedicated teachers I have ever known currently teach at our local high school. It wasn’t until my son was born that I started to really see the flaws. I would sit and think, “This isn’t good enough for him.” The class sizes are unacceptable, teachers are forced to teach to a test (as they are throughout the US), No Child Left Behind has made it impossible for teachers to efficiently do their jobs, and funding is constantly being cut to programs that make our children well rounded people. You can have amazing teachers, who are hard working and dedicated, but that only takes you so far.
When I first started talking about homeschooling a lot of people asked why I couldn’t just supplement my children’s education. I considered this for a long time but it just didn’t seem like enough. All of the negatives associated with public school out weighed the positives and the more I looked into it there were very, very few negatives to homeschooling. Those of you who know me, know that I don’t do anything without researching it to death and anyone who has simply been around me knows how seriously I take parenting. So when it came to my children’s education I wasn’t going to make a decision without knowing the facts. I read books and countless studies. I talked to homeschooling families, and even talked to my fellow public school teachers. I met a only a few naysayers, most of whom knew nothing about public education, and none of their arguments were based in any fact, only assumptions about homeschoolers.
Once satisfied with the research I had to really ask myself… can I do this? Can I dedicate the next two decades of my life to homeschooling our children? The answer was obviously yes. If my mind is set on something I will go to any means necessary to achieve it and that is especially true when it comes to the wellbeing of my children. I want my children to love learning. I want them to be exposed to people of all ages, ethnicity and religions. I want them to learn by doing. I want my children to play a role in deciding what they learn. I want their pacing to be based on them (at least until the high school level classes) and not the 25-30 other student in their class or a test. I want them to see the places they are learning about… And this is why I have chosen to homeschool.
I could go on and on about the advantages of homeschooling, about the countless local programs and classes that are available to homeschool kids, about co-ops, about the studies supporting homeschooling but I wont. I am not here to convince you. My decision to homeschool really has nothing to do with anyone but my immediate family. Me choosing to homeschool is in no way saying that those who don’t homeschool care less about their children. We all do what we can to make the best decisions possible for our children and for us that is homeschooling… it may not be the same case for you but as I respect other parents’ decisions, I hope you respect mine.