Five Top Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids

Five Top Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids September 4, 2014

It’s school time again.

What this meant to me as a homeschooling mom was organizing an attendance sheet (Yes. I kept an attendance sheet to make sure that we had the requisite number of school days.) and writing down my lesson plans (Yes. I had lesson plans.)

It also meant setting up two folding tables in the dining room to use as desks and enrolling the kids in science labs at the Omniplex and then in physical activities at the Y for the physical education class.

We usually topped off the first day of class by going to a movie together in the afternoon. Since we were a one-income family and totally broke, we went to the dollar movie. I sneaked sodas into the theater in my large handbag and we shared a single bag of popcorn.

We also did some sort of field trip every week or so. The zoo was a favorite. In the cold months, it was often the Omniplex. We could buy an annual membership of both for $50 that allowed the whole family to go as many times as we wanted without extra charge.

Homeschooling is hard work for mom. Holding down a job is a lot easier. But then, you’re building people. You are investing years of your life’s capital in your children.

I did it. It was the best investment I ever made.

Here, are five reasons I think most parents should consider homeschooling.

1. Socialization. Every home-schooling mom knows this word. It is flung at us as a question. What about socialization? we are asked.

In truth, there is no accurate way to answer that question except with another question: What do you mean by socialization?

If, by “socialization,” you mean interaction with other children and free play time, homeschooling has it all over the public and private schools. Unlike kids in public schools, homeschooled kids actually get free play time. Free play time is critical to blowing off steam so they can learn without Ritalin. It  forms skills, including social skills. Free play time also develops their whole personalities, including their creative, thinking powers.

If, on the other hand, you mean being subjected to the brainwashing our schools have come to specialize in, nope. They don’t get it.

As for interaction with other kids, there’s plenty of that in homeschooling. The difference is the kids they’re interacting with. Instead of spending their days with the messed up kids from the messed up homes that our society has come to see as the new normal, homeschooled kids spend their days with other homeschoolers, who are, by and large, from intact families and stable homes.

Plus — and this is critical — they spend a lot more time with their own parents, which gives them an emotional security that kids who are shipped around all their days will never have.

All in all, socialization is one of the best reasons to homeschool your kids.

2. Education. I first heard about the stunning educational effectiveness of homeschooling when I was on the board of regents of a college here in Oklahoma. The college president told the board that he was surprised to report that homeschooled kids were trouncing kids from public schools academically.

Not only that, but homeschooled kids didnt have the crippling behavioral problems that kids from the public schools exhibited. They were poised, sure of themselves, organized and they showed up for class ready to work. Both he and the faculty were surprised by this. It was a reality that flew in the face of all their previous suppositions. So, they were surprised. But they shouldn’t have been.

Homeschooling gives kids the chance to learn at their own pace. If a child is good at math, they can move quickly. If they struggle at math, they can slow down and work it through until they really learn it.

Homeschooling gives kids a one-on-one learning experience. Teacher mom is going to keep working with them on a knotty point until they understand and absorb it. There’s no going on and leaving them confused and lost because the rest of the group understands.

Homeschooling kids never end up in the dummy group. They are not subjected to bullying. They learn early that if they dig in and get their work done, they can go play. There is no sitting at their desk bored out of their gourd while the slower kids get finished.

Homeschooled kids can follow their interests. My youngest son loved chess. So, we joined the homeschool chess club. When the club entered its members in the statewide Chess tournament, my son went.

I have terrible handwriting. Somehow or other, the judges decided (I guess they didn’t look at the kid. Either that, or they were trying to punish him for being homeschooled.) that the number 4 I wrote on his entry card was a 9. So, they put my little fourth grader in competition with public school and private school 9th graders.

If this was an attempt to punish him for being homeschooled, it failed. Big time. He won the tournament and brought home the first place trophy. He beat them all.

The point? Homeschooling lets kids grow in directions that factory schools don’t.

3. Sexual harassment, twisted sex ed. If you have a daughter, this should be a big point. Based on what I heard from my constituents, sexual harassment of girls in our public schools is close to being pro forma. This is actually supported by sex ed classes that push kids toward sexual activity at a too-young age. Your daughter has a much better chance of growing up to be a strong, independent young woman if she can skip this abuse during her formative years.

4. Religious freedom. Your kids can pray in homeschool. They can also read the Bible, talk about God and and express their feelings on issues of faith — all without fear of being hounded and trounced by lawyer-laden adults with agendas.

I read Hurlbut’s Bible stories aloud to my kids at the beginning of our school day for our first two years of homeschooling. My mother had this old book from her childhood and I read it on my own when I was little. I advise it to anyone, whether they are Catholic or Protestant.

We read The One-Year Bible for Kids the next year. We took turns reading different portions aloud.

After reading the Bible, we prayed together.

We also read a lot of other books on religious topics. Usually, I read them aloud to the kids, because they contained ideas that I wanted us to talk about. We’d read and then discuss.

5. Exploration. Homeschooled kids have the opportunity to noodle with ideas until they grok them. I remember when we were doing baby physics.

Things don’t fall, I told them. Gravity pulls. I dropped a wadded-up piece of paper and a can of beans on the carpet. When they hit at the same time, both kids were a bit gobsmacked. I did it again. They were still confused. So, I flattened out the paper and dropped it and the beans again. When the paper drifted down and hit later than the can of beans, the oldest boy “got” it.

But the youngest did not believe it. He would not accept it. He spent the afternoon, dropping all sorts of objects, looking for a “proof” that Mom was a nut and this gravity stuff was myth.

The opportunity to prove the idea to himself is unique to homeschooling. So is the good-natured discussion that went on during this learning time. At the end of that day, they both “got” it and we could go on to talk about terminal velocity and other interesting ideas the next day.

I saw this acted out in my kids over and over again. We read aloud through a children’s version of Homer. When we got to the sack of Troy, class broke down for a while as the kids played Greek soldier. Then, I had them write a Boyodyssey, about a journey of their own devising. One of them wrote about the family cat, going on a hunt.

This breakdown from study to story-inspired play was just as much part of the learning process as reading the book or writing the Boyodyssey. Years later, one of them took me to see the movie The 400 with him. He knew all about the story and the politics behind the war itself. We’d read/written/talked about this entire war (both wars, in fact) and its significance to Western civilization when he was a kid.

I could go on, but I’ll stop at these five reasons to homeschool your kids.

Our society is increasingly poisonous to children. Your children are a gift and a responsibility from God. Nothing you can do with your life is as important as raising these precious little ones in such a way that they can become the people God intended them to be from the moment of their conception. They are your value added to (or, if you blow it, your value subtracted from) the human equation.

I can think of no better investment in your children’s lives and well-being than homeschooling.

 

Homeschooling Resources: Homeschool Legal Defense Association

Vegisource Homeschool  You can buy homeschool curriculum here, for a fraction of what it would cost new.

Homeschool World It is essential to find other homeschoolers. This is a place to start.

Curriculum:

Many of these programs are accredited. They all provide a framework for homeschooling. This is just a taste. There are many choices.

Sonlight Curriculum This is what I used. Protestant, but can easily be adjusted for Catholics

Ave Maria Academy Classical homeschooling curriculum.

Seton Home Study School  I have homeschooling friends who have used this with outstanding success. Rigorous, traditional, Catholic.

Lepanto Press Traditional Catholic

A Becka Protestant. Traditional. I started with this and abandoned it quickly. But if you want a traditional classroom curriculum with a Protestant slant, this is a good one.

"I didn't state that very well, sorry. Nothing wrong with the link, I just couldn't ..."

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."
"You don't remember Lyndon Johnson doing any such thing because he didn't do any such ..."

Dr Christine Ford in Hiding Because ..."
"I haven't had the opportunity to read the FBI investigation. I'm not in the habit ..."

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."
"Was there something wrong with the link?"

The Fallout: How to Help Women ..."

Browse Our Archives

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

21 responses to “Five Top Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids”

  1. As a 48 year-old, Catholic, single mother, of a nine year-old son -with Asperger’s Syndrome I take great exception to a few statements in your article.

    First, to get it all out in the open. My son was born out-of-wedlock. For that I have asked the forgiveness of our Lord. I have raised my son, by myself, since the day he was conceived. I am it. I raise him by myself, with help from no one. He does stay with some good friends, on the rare occasion I am away on business.

    “Homeschooling is hard work for mom. Holding down a job is a lot easier. But then, you’re building people. You are investing years of life’s capital in your children.”

    Trust me, Madam Representative, my life is no cakewalk. However, instead of complaining, or accusing other people of having it easier than I – I choose to call my life as a mother exactly what it is…a blessing from God.

    I too am investing years of life’s capital in my child. It is not only my God given responsibility to do so…but I get great joy from doing so.

    Believe me, my son gets one-on-one learning time, with his mom. I make certain that happens…each and every day. He is a straight A student, who received perfect scores on both components of his ISTEP tests, he attends adult Catechesis classes, with me – along with his religious ed classes, and Mass at least three days a week. If we could, we would attend Mass more often than that, if it weren’t for my easy little job.

    I too take my son to thoughtfully chosen movies, as well as to baseball and football games, museums, art galleries, road trips to other states, airline trips to go to Mass at cathedrals

    When the time comes, I will opt him out of public school sex ed – instead choosing to take time off from work to teach him to respect himself, others, and to be faithful to the teaching of Holy Mother Church.

    My son prays at school, reads books on the saints, our Catholic faith, and writes about them. He carries a prayer book and pocket rosary with him, to school, and often says a decade while at recess. Trust me…I “get it” that I am fortunate that he is able to do this…but please don’t infer that my life is easy, just because I don’t (can’t) homeschool.

    This is my life…the “easier” life you mention. My life as a working single mother. A loving and blessed mother with a job outside the home. The only job that puts food on our table, shelter over our heads, allows us to give back to our parish, and gives me a meager means of teaching my son about charity by helping others less fortunate than us.

    Instead of claiming that either one of us has it “easier” than the other – I think I will offer the gentle correction that we are both blessed beyond measure, by the gift of our children, and the crosses the Lord has called on each of us to carry. Each cross quite different from that of the other, but by no means easier or less meaningful.

    May God bless you, and your family, always.

    • I applaud you for your efforts Abigail. I thank you for giving your son life. I am quite sure that you have a very hard job of it, being both parents to your child.

      However, that does not change the fact that homeschooling is hard work for a mom, and that it is much harder than holding down a full-time job.

      I was not talking about you.

        • No Abigail. I’m not.

          Again, I in awe and total support of you in what must be a heroic effort to provide what sounds like a wonderful home for your son.

          • There is only One whom we should be in awe of, and my efforts are certainly not heroic. But, it seems awfully divisive to claim that full-time jobs, in general, are “easier” than homeschooling.

            Personally, I doubt that either vocation is “easy”, when offered for the glory of God, and given with the best of our abilities.

            Could you have not simply pointed out the benefits of homeschooling without levying judgement on untold numbers of mothers who have to work full-time?

            • Abigail, I wasn’t making the point that holding down a full-time job is easy, but that homeschooling is far more demanding. That is the truth as I have experienced it.

              • And I have experienced over 15,000 hours of flight time as an Airline Transport Pilot. But, okay…your life is more demanding. I will try to keep my “messed up kid” from my “messed up home” away from the homeschoolers.

                And here I thought we were all here to try to help one another get to heaven. I guess I was mistaken.

  2. Homeschooled kids do have problems with socialization. They are way behind public school peers in bad language use, bad attitudes and rolling of the eyes. They do sometimes exhibit these behaviors, but remain well behind their govt school peers. (Rolling of eyes, snark and SARC.)

  3. I take no issues with homeschooling – for K through 8. Once the student hits high school, I do.

    You speak of socialization, but definitely from a grade school perspective with “Free play.”
    High school socialization is necessary – no matter how poisonous the outside world is, because a son or daughter needs to have their beliefs and faith tested, if nothing else. They need to realize that the outside world is not solely Catholic or Christian and not everyone they meet is going to agree with them. (Moreover, they need constant, good friends of their own age that isn’t dependent on mom or dad arranging a meeting)

    Moreover, and I hate to say this, but they also need to learn to challenge what they’ve been taught by mom or dad. Not every thing a parent teaches, says or does is worth imitating or absorbing, and a child needs to work that out for themselves. I met enough homeschool kids in college who had been homeschooled all the way through high school and they simply couldn’t handle the brand new social and academic environment, especially since other students, professors, etc. didn’t always agree with the religious or political point of view mom or dad has.

    To be fair, my own experience does color my opinion (but who’s doesn’t?).
    I did diocesan grade school, and then a Jesuit high school that was single gender. And the latter’s influence on me knocked me out of a blind-faith, hostile to both real and perceived enemies of the Church model of Catholicism, to a much more well rounded Catholic, able to handle disagreement and not ruin friendships in the process.

    • My kids and the kids of other homeschoolers — none of whom were subjected to public high schools — are doing very well. In fact, they are doing a whole lot better than the young people I know who graduated from those schools.

      As for being able to defend their faith, they do well at that, also; the first difference being that they have a clearly defined faith to defend. Not only can (and do) they handle this “brand new academic environment” in college, they excel. Both my kids are on the president’s honor roll. And rather than being cowed or led by their professors, they’re very able to defend their ideas, since they are accustomed to discussing things with adults.

      There is so much to be said for having a solid emotional base vs being homogenized and lemming-ized. From what I’ve seen most kids from public schools are victims of group think. This carries on into college.

  4. My children weren’t home schooled but we were fortunate that the houses we purchased ( 6 in their school years in different states due to husband’s work) were in excellent public school districts as that was the priority when looking for homes. They have both done well in life. I can’t imagine that ALL home schooled children do better than their peers who attend schools, either public or private.

    • That’s reasonable sister. One reason I feel so strongly about this is the one of my kids was slotted for failure by the public school he attended. They had him in the dummy class — he was not learning, that much is true.

      He was being bullied and hazed by the other kids and the school would do nothing about it. He came home every day crying and begging me not to send him back. Lack of parental involvement — the schools’ usual excuse — was not a problem. The real problem was a lack of school involvement in the child as an individual, and processing — read that flushing — him as a defective widget.

      The first year I homeschooled him, his math scores on the Iowa went from second grade third month, to fifth grade ninth month. His reading score went from third grade I forget what month to ninth grade I forget what month. He’s on the president’s honor roll in college and plans to go to law school.

      If I had left him in the public schools, we might be visiting him in prison, or in a drug rehab right now.

      Do ALL homeschooled kids exceed ALL public school kids? Doesn’t seem likely, does it? But do they, by and large, exceed what they would be if they had gone to the public schools? All I can say for sure is that homeschooling saved my child’s life.

      • If I had had to face a situation like you did with your son, things would have had to change. Homeschooling might have been an option I would have considered. Am very glad it worked for you and your son. A lot does depend on the school and its’ reaction to the things you mentioned were happening to your child. I would suggest your school was not as caring as those my children attended—we were fortunate. Am so glad things have worked out so well for your son—-

      • First off, I think homeschooling is great for those families who can do it well. I think it’s especially good for those kids who are either having difficulties and not getting enough help or those who are very bright and bored. I see no reason for healthy socialization to be a problem since I don’t consider the typical high school experience to have much of value to offer.

        But when it comes to statistics on who does a better job of educating the average student it gets a little tricky because homeschoolers are a self-selected group. The most notable characteristic being highly involved and motivated parents. And we all know that characteristic is important in the success of public school students as well. Most average students who do well homeschooled would probably do well publically schooled too. But I don’t think we have any data to show that the average parent would achieve the same academic success with homeschooling as a public school education.

        • I think homeschooling is even a good option for those families who can do it BADLY. That’s what we do! I’m half serious, here. G.K. Chesterton says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” Once you homeschool, you really become aware that you are a limited person, and can’t do it as well as you would like. But just the safe emotional environment and the very small teacher:student ratio, which enables discovery of how a child learns best, push a child towards success. We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling and our two kids got 99 and 97 on their composite testing percentile after the first year.

          In SOME public schools nowadays, I actually think having your kids at home doing nothing would be better overall. I am not kidding about this in the least.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.