Your eyes have been opened to the reality of today’s public schools. You’ve looked at local private schools and found them with waiting lists or simply beyond your budget. Now what? Do you take the plunge and homeschool your children?
My wife and I homeschooled our four daughters from K-12 over a 19-year period. Yet we began with one child and took it one year at a time. Here are seven reasons to homeschool your children now:
1. Control. When you educate your children by homeschooling, you gain full control over their education. No more mandates from the state, the local school district or classroom teacher.
King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Through homeschooling, you can ensure your children receive a Christ-centered education. What you value most can now be taught to your children.
2. Curriculum. With control you can choose what will be taught to your children. You can experiment with what works best for your family and even vary courses by child.
We began homeschooling our eldest daughter in 1992. We began teaching her to read using the Hooked on Phonics game. That didn’t work and neither did the Spaulding Writing Road to Reading. Finally, we tried “Sing, Spell, Read and Write,” which combined singing, a game board and booklets. This program worked great for us. Our daughters learned to read while developing a love for music.
3. Cost. The education of your children is priceless because it sets the stage for success for the rest of their lives. Yet your out-of-pocket homeschooling expenses can vary widely.
You can use free and paid online curricula available. You can purchase textbooks and workbooks. You can mix and match curricula from different publishers. You can also pay to join a homeschooling co-operative.
Homeschool Co-ops today include learning classical languages, physical education and much more. There are many formal and informal options available. There are “Homeschool Pods” where families join together to hire a teacher to do the teaching. Ask other families what they are doing. Search online. Go to homeschooling conferences. There are teaching supplies and curricula to fit every budget.
4. Commitment. Many children in the public school get passed from grade to grade despite an inability to read, write and compute. “Holding someone back” is severely frowned upon as harmful to a child’s self-esteem. With homeschooling you can slow down a lesson to help a frustrated child or speed things up to prevent boredom. Your child can be a grade ahead in one subject while catching up to grade level in another.
You know your children better than anyone. You can help them dive deep into a favorite subject while not neglecting other subjects. You can set high expectations and help them achieve them.
5. Career and College. Beyond the financial cost of education is the time cost of education. A typical day in the public schools can last eight to 10 hours. Time is spent getting to and from school, waiting in lines, going from class to class, assemblies and more. A lot of time is just plain wasted.
Homeschoolers often complete their academic work in four or five hours a day and even less for younger students. Younger kids have more playtime. Older teens are freed up to get a job, pursue a hobby or even launch a business while in high school.
Our daughters loved music and formed The Emmons Sisters band in their teen years. They had fun entertaining audiences at concerts in the park, county fairs and bluegrass festivals. They also developed business skills, recorded CDs and learned to make money teaching music lessons.
6. Conviviality. Homeschooling is fun. You get to spend more time together. You get to take day trips to the coast and call it a field trip to study seashells. Our first homeschool group had Friday park days to get together with other homeschooling families. After moving to Oregon we joined a homeschooling group that organized Monday ski days at Mount Ashland. Like many homeschool dads, I managed to take off a lot of Mondays during the winter months. It was a blast.
The fun really began when we helped launch a Homeschool Speech Club. Preparing and delivering effective speeches required stronger researching, writing, memorization and oratory skills. The positive peer pressure led to amazing communication skills and lifelong friends.
7. Connectiveness. It’s been said, “a family that homeschools together, stays together.” This is not true for all families, of course. Yet homeschooling lets families learn together and support each other in ways traditional schools do not. Children are not split up into schools and classes based on age.
I’ve presented just seven of countless reasons to take the plunge and begin homeschooling. You will give your children a customized, well-rounded educational experience on which they’ll build their lives.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Where can you get started? You can read this and past issues of the Eagle for homeschooling ideas and resources. You can also visit OCEANetwork for free online help getting started homeschooling in Oregon. Find them at myeagle.us/or-get-started-homeschooling.
Richard Emmons is the publisher and editor of the Josephine County Eagle.