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    Fall leaves

    Why I Homeschool

    By Paisley Hillegeist

    January 26, 2015

    Available languages: Français

    • Julie

      For nine years I taught in underperforming public schools and know there are more wonderful teachers in the classrooms, more than most realize. I also know that increasingly, teachers are being stripped of the ability to teach by mandated curriculum. I'm grateful I can provide a solid education to my son. During this time of transition in education as I watch the frustration former colleagues and friends face in today's classroom, a time when teachers aren't sure footed in the new practices, I am able to provide a solid education to my son. Being able to meet my son where he's at, to give a wiggly boy the breaks he needs and individualize instruction is far more than he would get in any primary classroom. We surly don't hole-up in our house and most homeschool families will attest that the challenge is staying home to complete core curriculum before heading out to extended classes, co-ops and community work. Will we homeschool forever? Maybe. Each year we lay it down before God and we know He will make the path for His child clear to us.

    • Rational Thinker

      Advocate said, "To imply that children are 'warehoused' in public schools is rather simplistic, judgmental and uninformed." While I understand you attempt to defend an institution where you fulfill personal needs in volunteering, the measurable facts are incontrovertible.

    • Advocate

      It is always interesting to hear the differences in thought when it comes to schooling. I am familiar with the varying approaches to education. To imply that children are 'warehoused' in public schools is rather simplistic, judgmental and uninformed. As someone who regularly volunteers in my children's public school, helping and assisting children from all walks of life, I am personally humbled by some of my previously assumed snooty and superior thoughts while deciding to home-school one of my children for a year. One such 'public school' experience that comes to my mind was when I was helping out with small learning groups and was assigned to a group with a young boy who would not pay attention. He was considered 'problematic.' I myself did not prefer to have this child in my group because I had witnessed his lack of cooperation. Just out of the blue one day, I asked this child if his mother sent his snack with him. He looked at me and said: "My mother died." I talked with the teacher and confirmed that, in fact, his father is raising him along with his sister on his own. Their mother passed away in a tragic car accident when he was three. In an instant, he went from that 'problematic' public school kid to that young man that I had the privilege to mother for a portion of the day. There are problems to be found in EVERY form of schooling. I have encountered home-schooled kids who literally spend their entire day in service to their mother. The 'curriculum' is posted on the refrigerator. It lists each child's rotation of daily chores. Chores that are so extensive that they basically eat up the day with not much of the Reading, Writing, Arithmetic to be found. I have encountered home-schooled kids who lack contact with those who may think/believe differently. They literally become extensions of their primary parent, which, at times, can be a grim thought. They make decisions based upon pleasing their parents as opposed to experiencing the opportunity to be in a foreign environment independently making 'good choices' based upon a building of character that comes from within and that is sharpened from interfacing with other worlds. It's all marshmallows and chopsticks until someone has to stand on their own and face the world.

    • Candy Lovett

      And to be honest, the majority of people I have met who have home schooled their children, I have found they are much smarter and have much higher IQ's than those that are warehoused in the public system

    I thank God for the opportunity to homeschool my children. I am often asked: Why, when the local schools are so good, do we homeschool? Here are some of our reasons:
    • We have the freedom to pray, read the Word of God, and discuss spiritual issues with our children as they come up throughout the day.
    • Our curriculum is highly individualized. Every child gets one-on-one time with his or her teacher daily.
    • Our children are not regularly exposed to drugs, alcohol, or sexual promiscuity. When we see it in public we are able to discuss it.
    • We have opportunities to share our faith with others outside of the pressures of the school culture, with its cliques and bullying.
    • We learn life skills together. How do you balance a checkbook? Mail a package? Do the laundry? Cook? Shop for the best deals? Build a chicken coop? Butcher turkeys? All this is part of our classroom.
    • We have the time to pursue a Christian approach to relationships. Reconciliation and love are at the heart of our school day. Character comes first.

    Historically, homeschooling has been the norm. Jesus would have been primarily taught at home. Most of our country’s founding fathers were home-educated. In fact, only in the last two hundred years have people considered letting the state school their children. My children have been entrusted to me by God for a short while. Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21 KJV). My kids belong to God, not to the state.

    That said, we have not forgotten the children in our local school system. Nor are we trying to keep apart from the community. We have been involved, as a family, in afterschool programs such as theater groups. The children and I sing for residents of a retirement home and hand out food with the local food bank. Being homeschoolers does not mean that we drop out of the world. On the contrary, we’ve found that homeschooling frees our calendar to better serve, and to be involved in ways we never could if we were tied to a public-school schedule.

    I respect and admire people who involve themselves in the local schools as a part of their ministry and outreach. My husband was a high-school math teacher in the barrios of East LA during the first part of our marriage. We met because we both shared a passion for working with the younger brothers and sisters of gang members and introducing them to Jesus.

    We each walk our own path with Jesus. He may call some to homeschool, some not. But I believe with all my heart that the most powerful good I can bring to my community is to raise my kids in the way that will best help them to become the men and women that God has created them to be. That is why we homeschool.

    For a counterpoint, read Catherine McNiel's article, Should Christians Abandon Public Schools? Then join the debate by commenting below.

    Paisley Hillegeist and her husband Jon live in Connecticut and have homeschooled their three children, ages 14, 11, and 9, from the start.
    Image from Wikimedia Commons.

    A home-schooled boy building a structure with marshmallows and sticks.
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