Yes, I know, it’s ironic, oxymoronic, and probably illegal somewhere, but we home-educate our children and my job as a teacher pays the bills. Conflict of interest? Lemme ‘splain.
Let’s begin at the beginning. I became a teacher before I became a husband and father. I liked watching people understand what was previously confusing to them, and I still do. I want people to know the truth, whatever they may decide to do with it afterwards. I am called to minister to young people, and I’m slightly dramatic, so I figured…wait, what? Okay, I’m very dramatic, and I like it. So teaching seemed like a good fit. And it is. I feel very at home in front of a group of teens, especially when trying to get them to understand complicated mathematics. I love solving math problems, and I love the satisfaction students get from solving them, and the confidence they have when they know that they know how to do it.
However, after teaching in public and private schools and college for 12 years, and visiting with many homeschooling parents, I have decided that home-education is the best fit for our kids, and might be the best fit for everyone’s kids. Lemme ‘splain my reasons.
1. Character is developed at home by the parents, whatever the child is exposed to in the world. This is much more easily done through homeschooling than any other education system or method. And parents who send their kids to school still have to do it; they just have less time and fewer opportunities.
2. Home education is far more flexible, able to be tailored to a child’s talents, needs, and interests without excessive hoops to jump through, or umpteen groups to get approval from. The family budget and schedule must be taken into account, but these are also more flexible for the same reasons already listed.
3. One parent teaching 3, 4, even 6 or more kids (Duggers and Bates families) is still more time with each child than any teacher in any school can give. School teachers have anywhere from 15-35 kids for an hour or two at a time, and how much can they give to each one?
4. There’s no comparison…literally. No classmates with new clothes, phones, vacations, etc. to be envious of. And with fewer classmates, there are fewer distractions in every way: less gossip, less bullying, less stress from who likes who, and there are far fewer teachers, supplies, rooms, lockers, and stuff to keep up with. This works for the parent, too. They don’t have to go talk to the teacher about the kid who’s picking on Johnny, or worry about the dented car in the parking lot of BMW’s, or make sure Susie’s clothes and papers and books are just right so she won’t feel odd with her peers.
5. Having kids at home forces them to play outside, find ways to entertain themselves, allows for them to learn how to take care of a home and each other, and makes the family unit the central part of their lives. Dinner around the table nearly every night, play dates with friends that allow parents time to sit and talk, spontaneous outings that make memories, learning how to budget and shop, how to clean, how to maintain and organize…the list of lifeskills kids can learn at home that they don’t have time to learn because of school is rather extensive.
6. Without as many distractions, kids can finish a day’s work in an hour, and a semester’s worth in weeks. Kids can get ahead in their studies, spend time abroad without falling behind, take time for remediation if needed, graduate early, spend time honing their talents, etc. They can be kids, do what they love, and get all their work done without being stressed about time management. And they get to spend time with Mom and Dad beyond the bare minimum.
7. The home-educated lifestyle is cheaper (see reason number 4), so our kids are used to second-hand clothes, eating leftovers, visiting garage sales, and making something what it needs to be instead of buying it. They have many opportunities to be creative and watch Mom and Dad be creative. School, well, we spend millions of dollars to make sure it’s all brand-new, but it teaches kids to look down on anything less. It will cost us down the road. And kids won’t have confidence to make something work for them if they don’t have the money.
This line of thought is continued in We homeschool and I’m a teacher…part 2.