Why DO I Homeschool?

NC Zoo Geyser


When I was first introduced to the idea of homeschooling,  I truly thought it was the most ridiculous concept in the world.

It was so countercultural that I found myself struggling to wrap my head around it.

It was laughable, really.

Because how could I, a single individual, be an expert in all things and teach every grade level?

How could I possibly replicate the school environment and its many offerings at home?

I would be depriving my child of a proper education.

My children would miss out on all the fun group activities and events.

Homeschooling went against everything I knew and understood to be true about education and future success.




Homeschooling challenged my notion of what being a mom looked like too.

In my mind, I had always imagined the “school years” kind of going something like this…


A mom wakes up sleepyheads, dresses them, and shoves breakfast into little hands as they run out the door.  

A mom drops her kids off at school (because it’s the loving thing to do), runs errands, does laundry, cleans house, grocery shops, and she might even squeeze in a little workout, if time allows.

A mom volunteers to help out in the classroom and accompanies her kids’ classes on field trips.  She attends special assemblies and award ceremonies.  

A mom shows up with birthday cupcakes and occasionally eats lunch with her offspring in the cafeteria.  

A mom greets her youngins with after school cookies and milk.  She listens to the highlights of their days. She helps them with their homework.

A mom prepares dinner, readies her charges for bed, and sets out clothing and backpacks for the following day.


This is what a mom is.

This is what a mom does.

My brain told me so.  It must be true.



And truthfully, I sorta looked forward to this way of doing things.

Sure it’s grueling.  But it’s also neat, tidy, predictable, and awfully appealing to a self-professed perfectionist like myself.

So, would I ever homeschool?

Gracious, NO!

I had only just been exposed to the cockamamie idea.

I would certainly never adopt it.

No way Jose!


Then we attended a conference (NCHE) that challenged me to see the world from an entirely different perspective.
I sat there listening with my 10-month-old baby girl on my lap, and I began to wonder.
What if everything about the way this country does school is backwards?
I didn’t wish to leave this child at the start of every weekday. I didn’t wish to hand her off to strangers.
I didn’t want to purposely cleave a closeness and trust we had so naturally developed.
I didn’t want to drop this child off simply because it’s what’s considered “right” and “best” by social norms.
I really needed to figure out what was best for our family.  Our children.
I needed to discern the right choice, not the default choice, and not necessarily the easy choice either.
This conference gave me permission to think outside the norm…the accepted.



Zoo Friend


The more I listened, considered, and evaluated this unconventional method of schooling, the more convinced I became of its logic.
These experts, they described a wonderful approach to learning.
Learning that was student lead.
Learning that occurred all day long.
Learning that developed from a child’s natural wonder and inquisitiveness about their surrounding world.
Learning that could move at the perfect pace, according to a child’s learning style.
Learning focused on a child’s specific interests and gifts.
Learning which affirmed a child.  Learning that a child could learn to love.



Music while we Write


And wasn’t that the whole point?
If a child develops a love for learning, and furthermore, if they learn to be teachers of themselves, would there be any satiating or stopping them?
I believed they would devour knowledge without realizing they aren’t supposed to like it.




I. Was. Sold.
And so my dreamy vision took form.




We would learn by doing and from experience. We would avoid textbooks like the plague.
We would read gobs of wonderful literature snuggled together on the couch.  We would understand the usefulness of mathematics by applying it in our daily lives.
We would take field trips all over the place, visiting the very landmarks we were studying in history.
Science would happen in the kitchen- where we’d discover the different properties of substances- measuring, mixing, and observing chemical reactions.
The great outdoors would become yet another classroom.  We would take peaceful nature walks and journal about our experiences and discoveries.
We would frequent museums, exhibits, and libraries.  Even the IMAX theatre would be our friend!
Learning was going to be so much fun!  Learning beside my children…was going to be awesome!


Amorphous Wonder
Sergeant Gav


My vision, however, didn’t really consider life, and how it is so good at mercilessly getting in the way.
Not necessarily with bad things, but just the general busyness of it…


All-the-livelong-day (morning) sickness, surgical extraction (birth) of a child, experiments in profound sleep deprivation (sleepless nights), colicky infants, mischievous toddlers, endless mouths-to-feed, mind-boggling messes, stressful hospitalizations, multiplying finances, laundry that procreates, incessant bickering, never-ending appointments….


You get the picture.


Pickle Puss


This homeschooling thing in a bubble, is one thang,
but in the midst of life, I declare, it’s something else entirely.
So you have this “life force”, constantly trying to derail you, when you discover,  the “life force” is really nothing compared to the internal forces you face.
The attitudes, the conflict, the stubbornness, and the laziness.
These are the forces that cause serious mama exhaustion.
Combine them with the “life force”, and that is when you’re left with a great, big, “WHY???”


Couch Snuggles
Construction 2


Because homeschooling often looks nothing like the way I pictured it in my mind in those early days. <sigh>
It’s hard, it’s exhausting, it’s downright discouraging.
Nothing goes exactly my way!  And for me, that’s especially difficult. I’m a recovering control freak, you know.
Because I,  like most other moms, LOVE  a clean and orderly house, a little peace and quiet, and some free time to grab a coffee with friends.
I love to be caught up on the laundry, the bills, and errands.
I don’t much enjoy chaos and becoming unglued.
I don’t enjoy attitudes, arguments, and aggravation any more than the rest of you.
And if you believe I have a bottomless supply of patience, you can strike that misconception straight from your mind.
Homeschooling is nothing like my original vision. Nothing. It’s harder than anything I ever imagined.
So WHY do I keep on keepin’ on?


Prepare for Eruption


No, seriously.
This is what I asked myself in early September, as I kicked off another school year (for which I was mostly unprepared),
because I must admit, there was a good bit of dread.
And this dread, caused me to once again revisit the question…
Why on earth do I homeschool??? What am I doing?????


Mad Scientists


The weight of responsibilty on my shoulders is too much.
Every ounce of success, achievement, and discipline comes down to me. Moi.
I am completely incapable of all this.
I can’t add yet another child to my workload this year,
I about cracked last year.
No, I did crack, then proceeded to scrape up my innards, secure them with a bandage, and continue on out of desperate necessity.




So yes, I paused at the start of this school year, attempting to summon the courage.
I needed to once again understand why I do this crazy thing.
I needed to convince myself it’s all worth it.
I needed to grasp the core reasons.
I needed to know the sacrifice was, and still is, worth it.


Will it Float?


Worth it, even if my dreamy vision of how homeschooling should look,
cannot realistically happen in all of its perfection. <sigh>


Designing BOATS


So I set out, straightaway, to work on my motivational speech to self.
My beginning of the year pep talk.
But first I had to decide which side of the fence I sat on.
Did I still believe homeschooling was best for my family?


Construction 1


My first realization was, no matter which path I chose (private, public, or homeschool), there would always be difficulty, guilt, struggle, and sacrifice involved.
There are admittedly positives and negatives to each type of schooling.
And let me just come out and say it right now, that my decision is in no way a judgement of your decision.  (Thank you, Robin Prado, for this insight.)
We are different people, with different personalities, different experiences, and different responsibilities.
We each have unique gifts and unique kiddos.
Our husbands are individuals with specific preferences and needs, and no two families are alike.
I know homeschooling is not for everyone and my reasons are just that, mine.
I also recognize that the goals I have for my children can be achieved outside of homeschooling.
Certainly possible to take a different route and accomplish the same end.




But without further ado, yes, I still believe homeschooling is best for my children.
And I present…
A Motivational Speech to Self:
Why I Homeschool My Kids


I homeschool my seven amazing children because I want to have a relationship with each of them.  I want to spend time with my children, understanding their struggles, their strengths, and their weaknesses.  I want to know which letter they always reverse and which subject they struggle with most.  I want to help them overcome obstacles. I want to help them discover their gifts.  I want to provide them with necessary opportunities to grow their talents.  I want to pour into them confidence, not pride.  I want to model meekness, not cowardice.


I want my children to have relationships with each other. I want their family to come first for them, not their peer groups.  I resist the notion that you need to be the same age or gender as someone else to have meaningful interactions.  If my five-year-old needs help with school (and I’m already occupied) I want another child to step up and make it happen. I want them to understand that responsibility.  I also want them to know the joy and satisfaction they can find in helping others.


I homeschool because I want to work together as a unit, not running haphazardly, a mile-a-minute in separate directions, each unaware of what the other is doing.  I want all of us to be there cheering the wrestler on to victory.  I want all of us there applauding the actress in her latest role.  I want all of us at the birthday party for the littlest minion and I want all of us doing our part to prepare a meal for the family that’s in need.  I want all of us working together to organize and clean the house. I want all of us conquering the laundry together.  This is real life folks.  This is what it means to be a family.


I want my children to value wisdom and knowledge.  I want them to understand the opportunity to learn is an immense privilege. I want them to develop a love for absorbing and understanding new things. I want them to be responsible for their own learning, never blaming or pointing their finger at someone else.  Never making excuses, but ultimately accountable for their own success. I want them to work hard at everything they do.  I want them to learn to solve real problems.  I want them to realize that nothing worthwhile ever comes without struggle.


I don’t want my kids to value popularity.  I don’t want my kids to measure someone’s worth by the way they look, the way they walk, or the way they talk.  I don’t want my children to push someone down so that they might stand a little taller.  I don’t want cruelty and persecution to become an acceptable part of their vocabulary.  I don’t want my children to sacrifice a part of who they really are to be accepted.


I don’t want my kids to be trained to please. I refuse to raise a bunch of conformists.  I want them to learn to think for themselves. I want them to read all of the different biases on a topic and form their own opinions and draw independent conclusions. I want their curiosity to abound with endless questions.  I want them to become great at finding their own answers, never relying on the mediocrity of spoon feeding.


I want to grow them up in an environment where character comes first. Where honesty is valued more than achievement. Where kindness is more important than social hierarchy.  I want them to believe that being unselfish, helpful, respectful, and loving is far more important than efficiency and intelligence.


I want my children to be reading science and history books that accurately present theory as theory, and fact as fact.  I want them to consider different explanations, perspectives, and motivations.  I want them to decide what makes the most sense.


I homeschool because I don’t believe teenagers have to be troubled, unhappy, stressed out, and misunderstood.


I homeschool because I won’t accept drugs, teenage pregnancy, and rebellion as an unavoidable part of the “messed-up” teen years.


I homeschool because I remember the warped, fake, cruel place that high school was for me.


I homeschool because I want something better for my children.


I want my children to look different.  Taste different.


I want my children to stand out as self-confident, courageous, Christ-followers.  This is my prayer.


I homeschool because I believe God will provide much grace and mercy.


I homeschool because I believe He will fill in the gaps.


I homeschool because I know He is faithful.


I believe He is enough.


I homeschool because everything else fades in importance, next to a relationship with Him.



Super Human Strength



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