Monday, January 18, 2010

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Homeschooling. . . . . .But Were Afraid to Ask. . . Part 1: Why Do You Do It?

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Homeschooling. . . . . .But Were Afraid to Ask. . .
Part 1: Why Do You Do It?
I was watching television this morning, and there was a commercial where an adorable little boy made his busy mother a sandwich for lunch before he climbed onto the bus to go to school. The mom watched her little sandwich maker board the bus and ride away, but I was the one with tears in my eyes. I found myself thinking, “How can she bear to watch him ride away from her?” This is probably the most basic answer to the question I am frequently asked about homeschooling: why do you do it? There are as many answers to this question as there are homeschooling families. And honestly, my reasons are complicated. I was introduced to the concept of home education when my oldest daughter was 2.
After attending a seminar on our Army post, I was excited about the idea. But life and family opposition intervened, and it would be ten years before I seriously entertained the idea again. By the time we made the bold move to pull our children from public school, our oldest was twelve years old, and the justification for homeschooling had changed slightly. Sure, the basic rationale remained: no one knows my kids the way I do, and consequently no one can teach them as well as I can. But during those years in the school system, we’d also learned enough to understand that there were more reasons to homeschool than we’d ever guessed. So while I can’t speak to why other families choose to teach their children at home, I can tell you why we do.
First and foremost, I love my children. I’ll qualify that by saying that it doesn’t mean parents who don’t homeschool don’t love their children. I’m only saying that my love for them is the primary reason I do this. I never held them back from doing anything they wanted to do, but I hated each and every minute that the school system kept them away from me—hated missing all that precious time.
When all the other parents were yahooing in joy at the end of summer, I was in a deep funk. I was depressed at losing the company of the people I enjoyed the most! And then some other things crept in, too. My children are all wildly independent, gifted and smart. While some teachers appreciated this, others were simply. . .putting in their time. Excellent behavior and considered school work meant nothing to them. It was discouraging. And at the same time, I began to see a disturbing trend in our schools. Where once the parents had been eagerly welcome in the schools, increasingly we were being asked not to “interfere”. I heard teachers telling students that they didn’t need to share everything that happened in the classroom with their parents. One teacher actually told me that what happened during school hours really wasn’t any of the parents’ business.
I came from an extended family of teachers, and I always respected the profession. I was blessed to have some wonderful educators in my life. But this was crossing the line. There were some specific issues that caused us to make the final decision. In the long run, they don’t mean very much.
What mattered was that we brought our children home, and it has been the best decision for our family. The closeness, time and irreplaceable memories make it more than worth it. So when someone asks me why we chose to homeschool, I don’t offer political, religious or social reasons. I say simply, “It’s the best choice for my family. It’s made me a better mom than I was when they were in school, and I know I’ll never regret one moment I spent with my kids.” And that’s the absolute truth.
Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 9 years to almost 21 years. She and her husband of over 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Homeschooling. . . . . .But Were Afraid to Ask. . . Part 1: Why Do You Do It?

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