Monday, January 8, 2018

1998 vs. 2018: Why We Homeschool

I am hoping that I will succeed in truly participating in this year's Virtual Homeschool Fair hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. 

This week we are all talking about The Reasons We Homeschool.  As I thought about this topic, I was reminiscing a bit about the reasons we started homeschooling, and the reasons we continue to do so.

If I could go back and have a cup of coffee with the me of fifteen to twenty years ago, I am pretty sure I'd be rolling my eyes a bit about her idealistic view of homeschooling.

But I'd also find myself saying, "Yes!  Hang onto that!" as she talked about why she was homeschooling.

We actually made the decision to homeschool before 1998.  I chose 1998 because it is a nice, even 20 years, and because I made my first homeschool purchase that year, and attended my first homeschool event too.

Back in 1996 or so, Dale was listening to a local radio talk show, where the host was interviewing people about homeschooling.  After listening to this week-long series, he concluded that we were going to homeschool.  I agreed, but mostly because I didn't think we'd ever have kids.  "Sure, we can homeschool our non-existent kids.  Whatever you say."

This is our family about the time I was coming to grips with homeschooling.

In 1997, that changed with the birth of Connor.  In 1998, William came along, and I lost my job while on maternity leave.  That was the point where I did finally own that decision to homeschool.

The reasons we decided to homeschool?

Honestly, I think a lot of it was about fear.  Fear of losing them to the mentality of public schools.  Fear of losing them to their peers.  A desire for them to be able to pursue their strengths, as clearly our boys were brilliant and would have lots of strengths.  A desire for them to learn what we thought was important.  A desire for close family relationships.  A desire to pass along our values.  I wouldn't have articulated it that way at the time, though.

Over the decades, those reasons have shifted, with some becoming more important, and with other reasons worming their way in.  I'd tell 1998 me to really hang onto the ideas about family relationships and values.  I'd reassure that me that fear isn't going to carry her through.  I'd roll my eyes about the brilliance of her kiddos, but catering to their strengths is still a reason that I have for homeschooling.  It's just that now I've learned a bit more about catering to their weaknesses too.

Now, in no particular order, I think we homeschool because:
  • We want to tailor learning to each child's strengths *and* weaknesses.
  • We want to enjoy this short time in life known as "childhood."
  • We love the flexibility.
  • We want theology and values to be a part of education.
  • We want learning to be a natural, normal part of life.

I can't help but wonder what the me of 2038 would have to say to the me now.  In twenty short years, Trina will be the age of that young me pictured above, and the boys will be even older.  I'd like to think that 2038 me won't be rolling her eyes at my current reasons.

But "me" of any year has always been pretty good at eye-rolling, so she'll probably find something.

Now, let's see what my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about The Reasons We Homeschool.


Annette said...

The flexibility is awesome

DeliveringGrace said...

I like the way that your rather negative reasons have become positive reasons to home school.

Four Little Penguins said...

Hahaha! My kids were brilliant mega geniuses when they were babies, too! And we were going to learn ALL the things... before first grade. How our perspective changes when it meets reality!

Leah Courtney said...

I love the flexibility we have!

Lori said...

What a joyful look at the reasons of homeschooling, how they grow and change and become stronger or weaker. Thanks for an honest look at the changes life brings our ways but how those changes can really strengthen the decisions we make. - Lori

Jodi said...

Debra, you are inspiring me to look back and revisit my whys. Sometimes I get so far away from all the good reasons, all the good things we have going on. Special needs schooling is not what I envisioned once upon a time.