Perspectives on Schooling :: Why We Chose Homeschool

0

The child is not made for education, but education is to serve the child, serve his personality, his life, his needs. 

(Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake)

Why Not

My goal for educating my children is that they will consciously be active, life-long learners. “The truly educated person has only had many doors of interest opened. He knows that life will not be long enough to follow everything through fully.” — Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” — Charlotte Mason, School Education

The way we are choosing to educate our children at this time is through homeschool. Whenever I write about or discuss homeschooling, I always feel the need to offer a myriad of caveats:

  • No, we’re not anti-public school. My husband and I both graduated from public high schools and had good experiences!
  • No, we are not attempting to shelter our children from “the outside world”. “We do children no favor if we shield them from the generation in which they must live . . . Little holy hedges are not what is wanted. Understanding the objective certainty of the truth of God gives an atmosphere that is free from fear. We can face up to people’s ideas. Questions can be asked. We can talk about them right in the open. Indeed, the child should be able to read or listen to people who hold all sorts of ideas.” — Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake
  • No, we do not think homeschooling will guarantee our children’s spiritual formation.
  • No, we are not under a delusion that our children will have higher test scores or be advanced or be more ready for college than other students. Great test scores and college admission are not the goals we have set for our children’s education. “Children have often been the chattels of the adults. Their worth is constantly expressed in terms of dollars & cents, their education in terms of their being a cog in a machine, to be made fit for the highest paid job possible. What a tragedy . . . We really do have to try to get away from our success-oriented society where people bolster their selfish egos by comparing their achievements as being better than someone else’s. ‘My job/salary/education/status is better than yours’ is an ugly and wrong thought. It is so easy to make slaves of children for these same selfish and misguided reasons.” — Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

Why

So then, if those are not the reasons we are homeschooling our children, then why are we?

  • We want to be the primary influencers in our children’s lives. “Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing-up and instruction of the children — in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more than anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman.” — Charlotte Mason, Home Education — Of course parents who send their children to traditional school are still the primary influencers over their children! But we want to maximize our time together. Which leads to another reason why we homeschool . . .
  • Sibling relationships. Our boys are best friends. And both of them care for their baby sister in different ways. I can’t imagine my days without my first grader around to help me out. He can carry the baby to another room. Pick her up out of whatever baby contraption she’s tired of being in. He can rock her. He can play outside with his four-year-old brother. He would miss out on so much of our day, and so much of his sister’s babyhood if he were at school all day. Seeing their relationship dynamics grow in various ways has been so sweet.
  • We believe education is about more than learning facts and formulas, taking tests and quizzes. All of life is education, and with my children at home there is more time for learning life skills — such as how to “cook” a box of Easy Mac! When the baby is crying, and the four year old is whining from hunger, having a seven year old who can fix lunch is a big deal! There’s also time for morning chores. Sweeping, putting things away, wiping surfaces, etc. are all things we do in the morning before we start on “schoolwork”. Morning chores would not be a thing if my children went to traditional school since I am not a morning person, which also leads to another reason why we homeschool . . .
  • Slow mornings! With a nursing infant and a preschooler who doesn’t always sleep through the night, getting dressed and ready with food packed for the day, out the door and to school before 8:00 a.m. is less than ideal!
  • And because we have slow mornings, we are all happier. We’re able to eat a hot breakfast on the mornings that we are home, jump right into school and get it all done fairly quickly so that we have free afternoons.
  • Flexibility and free time are other big reasons why we are homeschooling! Our children are so young. There is no need for them to be in school from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Since we believe all of life is learning, then yes, free time to build with Legos or climb a tree is just as valuable as completing a math page. Also, there’s more time for them to pursue individual interests. Our first grader has recently started private drawing lessons one afternoon a week. During this time I play chess, checkers, tic-tac-toe or other fun games with my preschooler. They are able to do these activities at a time of day when they are still fresh and energetic.
  • Another aspect of flexibility in homeschooling is being able to go as fast or as slow as needed in various subjects. While my oldest is a proficient drawer, he is not reading yet. We are able to take that subject slowly, at his pace. All children learn at different paces, and even learn different subjects at different paces. Homeschooling lets us customize as needed.
  • Lastly, another reason we are choosing to homeschool is for spiritual formation. As I mentioned above, we do not believe that homeschooling will guarantee our children’s spiritual formation. But, this time together is to be faithfully used for teaching them our faith. We believe this is the most important thing they can learn. 

Homeschooling - "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." - Charlotte Mason

Whether you choose public school, private school, homeschool or another hybrid type of school, all of life is learning. These are just some of the reasons our family has chosen to take the path of homeschooling. If you’re interested, keep a lookout for my next post on HOW we homeschool!

Here are two excellent books on education, regardless of which path your family is on:

  • For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
  • Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Previous articleCheers to the Parenting Years!
Next articleHow to Start a Date Night Babysitting Co-op
Meet Laura Wilder. Yes, like the author! In fact, her grandparents purchased the box set of Little House on the Prairie books for her when she was just 9-years-old, long before her last name became Wilder. She’s married to Andrew and they have three children, Anderson (7), Calvin (4.5) & Betsie (infant). They live in Leeds and she stays at home and homeschools following the Charlotte Mason (CM) philosophy. The CM philosophy emphasizes a lot of time spent in nature, which is wonderful because two of their family’s favorite hobbies are hiking & gardening! She loves to connect on Instagram. Find her @wilderfam09.