Homeschool Basics Series, Pt. 1: Why We Homeschool

Welcome to Part 1 of the Homeschool Basics Series! In this first post I will discuss why we chose to homeschool our children. I hope you will join in the discussion!

According to an article published at CNSnews.com on May 19, 2015, the number of homeschooled children in the United States had risen nearly 62% between 2003-2012. No doubt about it, that is a HUGE increase in parents choosing to educate their children at home! As the popularity of homeschooling rises, so do the varied reasons that parents cite for choosing home education over public or private school settings. Kyle Greenwalt discusses this change in his 2016 article for TheConversation.com, saying that although the initial catalyst homeschool movement of the 1980s was primarily religion-based, research on the recent trends shows that is no longer the case. The current homeschooling community is actually about as diverse as the nation’s population itself.

Since every family has its own unique reasons for homeschooling, we really can’t make assumptions or generalizations about the reasons that friends and acquaintances are keeping their children home. What led your family to make this decision may be entirely different than the catalyst for mine. So why do WE homeschool?

I think that the above quote from The Liberal Arts Tradition sums up our reason for home educating better than anything I could say.

Education is more than the transference of knowledge; it is the transmission of values, culture, and the proper ordering of loves.

As a parent, I feel that it is my responsibility to be the primary influence over my children’s education, and not just in the academic arena. Academics were certainly a big reason we chose to homeschool, especially since my husband works in higher ed himself! But an even stronger driving force in our decision to homeschool was the desire to foster a different culture in our home than what is prevalent in America today. We truly are interested in passing on our values and loves to our children, and the best way for us to do that at this time is to keep them home for their schooling. Even though the idea of being solely responsible for educating my children was very intimidating at first (and still is when I think about later years), I came to recognize that this was actually God’s calling for me as a mother, to disciple my children.

There are certainly a lot of perks to homeschooling. I don’t have to rush my children out the door every morning and then bring them home late in the afternoon to do homework all evening. I can create an individualized education plan for each of my children based on┬átheir own needs and interests. I can more adequately and easily provide for our family’s dietary needs and restrictions without the hassle of sending special food and notes to school each day. My kids have time and space to be kids and pursue their individual interests. We can choose curricula that supports our beliefs and ideals as a family. I can easily adjust our schedule to work around vacations, appointments, illness or whatever else comes up. But all these advantages are not the main reason we chose homeschooling.

Perhaps the best way to sum up our main motivation for home education is the command God gave to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

For me, homeschool is about discipling my children. It is about having the time together to really know my kids and how they tick so that I can better prepare the soil of their hearts to receive the seed of the Gospel. It is about passing on our family values and traditions that make up our unique family culture. And on hard days when it seems like we just need to get through the next handwriting worksheet or math lesson without a meltdown, I need to remind myself of these things. It is not just about the “three R’s”. It is about the Relationships.

How about you? Have you considered educating your children at home? If you do homeschool, what was the driving force behind your decision? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Read Part 2 of this series, How We Homeschool, here. Read More

You Have to Start Somewhere

Writer's block. 

Usually when I think about having writer's block I associate it with the feeling that you have no idea what to write. But I guess that is not really quite accurate. Maybe more often it is the case that you have so many ideas that you don't know where to start. At least that is how I feel right now. I have so many subjects I could write about that choosing one for the very first post on a brand new blog is difficult, to say the least! But I really do have to start somewhere, so I suppose the most logical thing to do would be to write a bit of an intro to me and my blog here.

I actually already have a little bio of me and my family on my About page, so if you want to read that, click on over there. I feel like being a bit more informal in this post, though. This is not my first blog, but it is the first I have started with a real purpose and direction in mind. I have previously blogged mostly about my hobbies, especially knitting and crochet, and for several years I owned an Etsy shop where I sold handmade goods and patterns I designed. Once I started homeschooling my son, the same year I also gave birth to our daughter, I found I simply did not have the drive nor the time to continue that business. I still do some crafting for my own pleasure, but not anywhere near to what I did when I was filling orders on a regular basis. Since most of my blogging was centered around those pursuits, when I closed my shop, I pretty much quit writing, too. And I never really missed it until recently.

When I discovered the classical Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, I simultaneously regained a lost love of reading. I also started finding a wealth of helpful information online via homeschooling and classical education blogs. After a while, I started to wish I had a format where I could share what I was learning and reading and thinking, not just about home education, but about life in general. I do post quite a bit on Instagram, but that format has its limitations. I realized that maybe it was time to return to the blogosphere as an author, not just as a reader. I hesitated for a long time because I wasn't sure I had much wisdom or anything new to say that hasn't already been said a hundred times. But even in the mundane, average, realness of my life, there are things that are unique to me and my family. I have had a unique set of experiences that have shaped me to be who I am today, and perhaps sharing some of those things here will help or encourage someone else along the way. 

So that is a little different take on why I am writing here in the first place. Just for fun, here are 7 random bits of trivia about me:

  • I have a major sweet tooth. Don't hand me a bag of jelly beans unless you don't ever want to see it again!
  • My parents will either tell you they made up my name by mixing up the letters in "Kelli," or based it on a TV character's name, depending on who or when you ask!
  • I have been on 4 continents and in 7 countries, but never Canada.
  • I could eat pizza, Mexican food, and Thai food on an endless rotation and be perfectly happy.
  • I cut my own hair. Yes, I really do. It is naturally curly and hides mistakes really well! 
  • I cannot read distopian fiction. I get extremely depressed if I do. The Lord of the Flies horrified me (as it was supposed to, I am sure!), and I put down 1984 without ever finishing it. 
  • One of my childhood hobbies was recording myself reading books on a cassette tape recorder. I still kind of think it would be fun to be an audio book narrator!

So, that's it! There. . . I started! I am so glad you are along for the ride!