Why We Choose to Homeschool

I think it best to begin at the beginning.

Obviously I’ve mentioned that we homeschool our three kids. And even though I’ve told our story to many people in person, I’ve never written about it here. 

why we choose to homeschool

So, let’s go back to the very beginning…

I remember growing up that I wanted nothing more than to get married (preferably into a big family!) and have babies. I loved babies. But after the baby phase, I had these movie visions of what it would be like to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to drive a Volvo station wagon, drop the kids at school and then have the day to myself to tidy the house, have coffee with friends, read, shop, get a manicure and then at the end of the day bring my kids home for milk and cookies at the big kitchen island.

Well I did grow up and get married (into a very large family, I might add!) and have babies. Three of them in four years. (So far so good.)

But when it came time to register the oldest for kindergarten he was three and a half and pretty small. And he was supposed to get on a large school bus with kids of all ages and ride halfway across town to go to school.

KIDS AT THE ZOO

Meg age 1.5, Jonah age 5.5, Lilly age 3.5

Not exactly what this Momma had pictured.

Perhaps we could wait until he was a little older. Afterall, where we live kids don’t legally have to be schooled until they’re six. Let’s just see.

Then we moved to another city…and a bad school district.

Yeah, we could definitely wait.

In the meantime I was teaching him letters, numbers, colors, etc. The stuff that parents have been teaching their kids for generations. After all, my Mom taught me to read before I went to kindergarten.

Then God started whispering to my heart about homeschooling. 

(Dean was on board, no problem.)

Okay God, we can try that. For a little while. While the kids are small.

MEGAN MAKING YOGURT

Meg making yogurt for science

It seems funny now to look back and think how nervous I was/we were to tell our families. But neither Dean nor I had been homeschooled. It wasn’t even on our parents radar. We were really shaking things up.

We said “one year at a time” for a number of years.

MOM AND KIDS

A day at the park, fall 2008

Then one fall God said, “Shannon, this is for good, unless I tell you otherwise.” 

And I had a temper tantrum. A hissy fit. A full-on pouting, grumbling, foot-stomping tantrum.

This is NOT what I pictured. It is not how I imagined my days for the next 14 years or so.

Of course, it’s always better when we just obey. 

Why We Homeschool

So beyond the basic “God told us to” (which is a really good reason in and of itself), why do we homeschool?

DEAN AND JONAH

Dean teaching Jonah Risk, 2014

Dean’s Angle

Dean grew up as the 6th of eight kids. He didn’t like school. He didn’t do well in school. Did I mention he didn’t like school? He wanted and still wants our kids to have the one-on-one, smaller ratio, geared to individual learning styles that being homeschooled brings. 

Shannon’s Angle(s)

I grew up the oldest of three children. I LOVED school and everything about school. I loved the structure, the books, the learning. All of it. Until I got to high school. Then three things really tripped me up.

1. The peer stuff. I looked for love in all the wrong places. I was a mess. It’s only by God’s grace that I didn’t get into more trouble than I did.

2. The so-called literature. Some of the required reading still haunts me to this day. I am totally creeped out by George Orwell’s 1984, among other books. It amazes me the stuff that high-schoolers are required to read. And then we wonder why they’re even more depressed and emotionally messed up.

3. The idea presented by many of my teachers that all views are valid, that the goal is always the top of the mountain and all roads lead there. But then, they said, stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. How confusing.

US

All of us, fall 2011

So just what do we hope to give our children by homeschooling them?

Dean and I look at our roles as parents as a great responsibility. God has given us these three specific kids to love, nurture and teach. We know them better than any other person on earth. We know their dreams, their fears and their beautiful faces from before chicken pox, bicycle accidents and pimples. 

By homeschooling them, we hope to:

  • instill in each of them a life-long love of learning and reading
  • help each of them train for their desired career and discover their individual life-purpose
  • give them a view of life and the world that makes them want to make it a better place
  • grow in them a Creationist view of the world ( the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, not a big bang, random chance or evolution)
  • give them the opportunity to befriend people of all ages, not just those with the same birth year as themselves

It’s a tall order and some days it’s overwhelming to think that I am their main teacher. 

But then I remember all the resources I am blessed to have at my fingertips (and just an internet order away) and that I have a very big God who is behind me. And if my God is for me, who can stand against me?

THREE KIDS 2013

Dressed up for dinner, Spring 2013

This is why WE homeschool. It does not mean we think everyone else should homeschool their own kids. That choice is yours and yours alone. We welcome your comments and thoughts in the comments section…but keep it kind please. No negativity will be tolerated. :)


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Comments

  1. Jen Y says

    We homeschooled our only child for 13 yrs – k-12. I wish I had been as confident as you sound! :o) But my fears & apprehensions pushed me to work harder than I ever thought I could to make sure he had a well rounded education in every area. He was able to do so many things that he would never have done otherwise.

    He turned out just fine – he’s married, working, contributing to society. I’m very proud of him & my daughter-in-law who was also homeschooled.

    One thing we did when he finished 8th grade was to give him a choice in his education. Before that we chose how he was educated. At that point we told him he could choose public or private school but that whatever he chose we wanted him to go all the way through high school with his choice. He chose to homeschool & it was some of our best years. He owned his education because he chose it himself. He appreciated the freedom it gave him & he became basically independant by graduation.

    He still comes to us for guidance or just to talk over big decisions but he knows what he’s doing. Just a few days ago he called his dad about some problems with his car & the garage they were using. His dad listened & basically affirmed all the choices our son had already made, just encouraged him to go on with what he was thinking, that we agreed with him. It was a good feeling after the conversation to know that he really did know what he was doing, he just wanted his dad’s assurance – so I guess we are still needed a little. :o)

    • says

      There are so many options and so many considerations, aren’t there? I love to hear stories of kids who have grown up homeschooled! Thank you for sharing Jen.

  2. says

    Right now, we are in public school (kindergarten) for our oldest. My sister homeschools, as do many of my friends. It fascinates me to hear other people’s reasons why the choose the schooling that they do. No type of school is perfect, but I love the home school model, but it scares me too. Thanks for being open and for sharing your reasons for homeschooling!

    • says

      Happy to share…it can be scary to think of homeschooling. I used to be scared. And we start high school for our oldest this fall, so I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous. So many options!

  3. says

    We have 2 (grown) children. I rode that fence…. With our children- they are different than night and day.
    The oldest started school in ’89 -at that time home schooling wasn’t heard of around here. Turns out we had our hands full -dyslexia. Anyone that knows -these problems are not usually addressed until 5th or 6th grade. But it was more than apparent to us something was wrong. AND I was not waiting for 5 years. I pushed and pulled and bullied (the things you do for your kids lol) special testing was improvised and the set back (that could have been terrible for our girl) turned into a blessing. She main streamed and had a special woman work with her (along with what we did at home) Mrs. Dickerson (rip) She schooled us right along with our child. Turns out our girl had a very hi IQ (which is one of the reasons she had dyslexia- they don’t process things the way majority do-) This opened a whole new world to all of us. (by 3rd grade she was at a 5th grade level–Momma Brag!!) I am glad we didn’t pull her out and send her to another school as suggested- She is very smart, very social, wonderful person, now with 3 babies of her own.
    Now the 2nd one….being number 2 He was around to learn all the stuff his sister was learning (only 3 years earlier than he would have). This caused big trouble—He was a big reader, and very inquisitive. He would do his homework and not turn it in, sleep in class, joke around in most of the time. But he got 100 or better on every test ever given. Passed the 9th grade prof. test in 6th grade. Mr Personality, everyone liked him But he was a distraction for teachers–so In 9th grade we started home schooling. —Yea Yea I Know Backwards—LOL Graduated 1 1/2 years early and went on to persue other life skills and endeavors.
    You as a parent, must do what is right for you and yours. Every one needs can be different- but we all want to end up with happy, well rounded, productive children (grownups). Keep up the good fight—IT IS WORTH IT

  4. says

    Great post Shannon! I’m looking forward to seeing more posts about homeschooling and maybe even some of your organizational/ diy homeschooling tips (I know you must have some). Since we’ve only been homeschooling for 3 years now, you’re ahead of us on the learning curve. Yes sometimes I’m overwhelmed, but most times I’m so grateful to be able to HS and to have the grace for each day as it’s needed. We know it’s what we’re supposed to be doing, and even though we too started with “a year at a time’… we’ve crossed over to “this is it-until we hear otherwise” too. It’s a little daunting, especially with a baby in the house, which essentially means another 18 plus years of this – ahhh! love your blog, it’s very encouraging and uplifting :) t

    • says

      It is a little daunting thinking of all those years, isn’t it? One day at a time is a good way to handle it. And I’ll see what I can come up with for organizational tips! LOL. Right now we’re all in jammies playing games and such – but it’s March Break so we’re taking some rest time. :) xo, Tammara.

  5. Carol says

    I felt I could not homeschool because I didn’t do very good in school myself, so I wouldn’t be a very good teacher to my kids. But, I am very blessed that my Son can go to a Christian school where gets a good education and also Biblical teaching that is taught at home and reinforced in the school. I agree public schools are very difficult for several reasons. I think it is great that you homeschool and wonderful that you are following God’s plan for you and your family’s life. You are very brave and courageous and a very good person and I know that your children will grow to be future leaders that you can be proud of. You go girl…you have got it together! Don’t let anyone ever tell you any different, after all it doesn’t matter what people think, it only matters what God thinks and it sounds like you’ve got that covered!

    • says

      We did consider Christian school too, Carol. Unfortunately the cost stopped us. But I think had that not been an issue we may have gone that route too. Although who knows what God would have said then for our family! I’m glad your son is getting a great education that suites your family!

  6. says

    Good for you!! Sounds alot like my list of reasons for homeschooling our five children. I started in 1996 and have one student left; our son, a high school freshman. In the thick of it – when things were extra challenging – I thought about quitting many times, but looking back now I know I would do it all again if I had to. (But, super glad I don’t have to :-) ). Thanks for sharing your story! God bless….

    • says

      I love your line that you’d do it all again if you had to – but your’re super glad you don’t have to! That about sums it up, doesn’t it? It’s challenging, hard, wonderful and crazy all at once.

  7. Sarah Kerr says

    I can so relate to your vision about having your day to yourself to tidy your house, relax and just have a break from all the questions, needs, etc. God has impressed it on my heart that I am to home school my 5 year old starting in the fall and I’m in the middle of throwing my own hissy fit. I know in my heart it will be best for her (and probably me too, in the long run). I’m praying for an obedient and cheerful heart right now! Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. says

    i pretty much could have said the exact same thing as you. that’s why i was so surprised when God said, it’s ok to stop now. 9 years. I miss it. I know sending them was the right thing…most of the time. It was hard to let go. But I feel like I prepared them for this step…educationally and emotionally. Most of the time. xoxo

    • says

      I remember you saying how tough that choice was, Lisa. Even though it had God’s okay. It’s always okay, when He’s in it though. Love ya girl! So happy to see your studio progress, by they way!!!

  9. says

    Shannon, I’m now a post-homeschool mom whose children are now homeschooling their children {for basically the same reasons you listed}. I can tell you first-hand that your goals are attainable and your children will move into adulthood without the ‘baggage’ that accompanies so many kids who were sent to ‘education warehouses’. I pray your family will be as blessed by your decision to homeschool as ours was. It is the best decision we made for our family and I’d do it over again. (I hate to be spammy here but I would love for you to share this at my linky party at seasoned homemaker (dot) com. – I would be happy to feature it because I want moms everywhere to know how blessed their family can be through homeschooling).

    • says

      Hi Leslie. Thank you so much for the encouragement. How awesome that your kids homeschool their kids! Thank you for the prayers – they are much appreciated (for lack of a better word). I did pop over and link up at your party. Thank you for the invite to share our story. :)

  10. audra says

    Thank you for sharing your background! I too, am in the very tippy toe beginnings of being called to homeschool! Our daughter is 4 and son, 2. And I cannot fathom how this is going to work, practically, with her need for order, and his desire for, well, chaos ( : But trusting a God who is greater than my circumstances and it is encouraging to read about families who have walked the same path.

  11. says

    I love how you just obeyed the Lord, even when it wasn’t easy. Our daughter is only 3 1/2 and God to has been putting it in our hearts to homeschool.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • says

      You did read the part about my temper tantrum right? :) We did obey. And looking back it’s seems silly to have fought Him. But it was tough. :) I can say it was totally worth it!

  12. says

    I love this! We are getting ready to start homeschooling (though i feel silly saying that because, like you said, parents are always “homeschooling”), and I’m nervous about it, but feel called to do it at the same time. Thanks for sharing. I love reading about other homeschooling families.

  13. Amber says

    I enjoyed reading this! I struggled with homeschooling as well, but have seen so many blessings through our first 6 months!!

  14. says

    Thanks for sharing your journey to homeschooling. We started homeschooling as a last minute decision. I just could not send our firstborn to school for kindergarten. One of the biggest benefits we have seen is our kids really growing up together, despite their span of ages (5 kids, ages 11 to 2). We have taken it year by year and that has been good for the last 5 years, not without struggles, but good. As we looked to next year, I felt God giving me freedom to send the oldest off to a great charter school with high expectations. I have been having trouble motivating him to do his best work in the last couple years and I pray he is challenged and feels just a bit of competition with his classmates to really apply himself. Also factored into this decision was the realization that my little ones (4 and 2) still need so much from me right now and I wouldn’t be able to homeschool our oldest to the level I think he deserves. With my husband working full-time and also going to school for an MBA, something’s gotta give. We’re still taking it year by year, but I am open at this point to sending each one off to charter school after homeschooling through elementary.

    • says

      Good for you! If you listen to God’s guidance, you can’t go wrong. And one of my favorite parts of homeschooling is having our three kids grow up together every day! :) God bless.

  15. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this Shannon. I think God (or just my husband!) has been whispering the same thing to me for several months now but I am not “fully on board” yet. My husband really wants me to since he was until high school. My side of the family would probably not be too keen on the idea though…I definitely need to continue to pray about it! My oldest is only 2 1/2 but should “technically” be starting preschool next fall…ahh growing up too fast already!

  16. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. We have moved from a very conservative town with good schools to a very liberal town with schools that have been a big disappointment.

    I am so surprised with the things that are being taught to our young ones. In fact, one day I went on the district site to read what exactly was being introduced to my child…in music no less. So, I love your comment about all views are valid, then demanding them to stand for something. So true!

    So I wait watch for teachable moments to instill our beliefs and faith into them, praying that God protects them when they are out in the world.

    Who knows, maybe homeschooling is in my future? Right now, I leave it to God.



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