Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Decision to Homeschool - Part 1

When I was pregnant with my daughter my husband I were determined to homeschool. Two of his siblings were homeschooling their children with great success and we both had pretty much the same point of view. We felt it was the best option for us. As parents we wanted to be the ones to direct our child's education in a manner that is compatible with both our belief system and academic standards. Let me explain a few reasons as to why we wanted to homeschool.

  1. Religious: Our faith is more than just a Sunday activity to us, it is an integral part of our lives. We do not like a system in which our faith is ignored for most of the day. In homeschooling you can integrate your faith into many aspects of learning. I tell you, pronouncing Bible names and praying at night were very beneficial in helping my daughter develop intelligible speech let alone helping her with reading comprehension and things like that.

  2. Academic: We have seen the way the schools work and their standards are simply not high enough. You want to know what my son learned in high school? I will tell you. He learned that you only needed to work half a semester (the 2nd half of course) in order to pull out a passing grade. He would not turn in work and get all kinds of notes about his poor grades, then when the time got close he would buckle down and pull out that C. Now, don't get me wrong, this kid did not hate learning, he just didn't like it if it wasn't interesting to him. He would go to the library and check out tons of books on one subject. The librarian would ask what he was doing in school that he needed them for. He would say “nothing,” which was true. Instead of doing his homework, he was studying what interested him. Homeschooling offers the best opportunity to channel those interests and use them to his educational benefit, not punish him for being more interested in one subject than another.

  3. Values: Homeschooling offers you a chance to not only teach your children your values, it enables you to display them for your children day in and day out. You can also teach them without worrying about someone else constantly contradicting you. Yes, children should learn there are more ways of thinking, but parents should decide when they feel their child is ready for learning about such things, not the government.

  4. Freedom: Our country was founded on the basis that men should be free to live and do as they choose. I believe that parents have every right to bring their children up the way that they feel is best. I feel that a system that tells you where your children must be, how long they have to be there, how often they have to be there, and what they must learn is not constitutional and I will fight to protect my right to direct my child's education myself (along with my husband of course).

  5. Success Rate: Homeschooling has been proven successful. Every year homeschoolers are accomplishing one feat or another. Its not that homeschooling parents are better teachers, its really all about the numbers. Think about it, you simply can't beat the student to teacher ratio or the ability to repeat a subject as many times as necessary until your child actually learns the concept, which is supposed to be the real goal of education. In the end, no one cares more about how well your child does than you do. There are some awesome teachers out there, but none of them will love my daughter to the degree that I do and therefore I am going to be her strongest advocate.

With all that said, those were some of the reasons we initially decided to homeschool. But something threw a kink into our little game plan. When my daughter was born we found out that she had Down Syndrome. Wow, that wasn't expected or even considered! Now what were we to do? (For those who do not know much about Down Syndrome, be patient, I plan on blogging about that soon.) Now we had to contemplate again what was best for our daughter. I mean, after all, I didn't know much about Down Syndrome let alone how to teach a child that has it. In my next blog I will share about some of the concerns we had that made us question this decision and why we ultimately decided to go ahead and do it. Right now though its after 1:00 A.M. and I think I should get some sleep!

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