Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It Boils Down to One of Three Reasons to Start to Homeschool

I came up with this idea about five years ago.

After speaking to many homeschooling parents and reading posts online, books and magazines, I believe that it really comes down to three main reasons that is the prime reason a family starts to homeschool.

Yes we can make a list, maybe a long list of the many reasons why we choose it or why we homeschool now that was not necessarily on our list when we first began.

Here are the three main reasons, in a random order:

1. The Rescuer Families. These parents are now homeschooling but never planned to. Heck, some never even knew it existed. They found out about it and dove in for one reason only: to rescue their child from the school system. Some had high hopes or even past good experiences with older children of theirs, or with this same child, but this one child then had something different happen and the best solution and sometimes the only viable solution to "save the child" was to begin homeschooling.

I have heard these cases:

child suffering in school due to a learning disability not being helped enough by school staff or special ed services

gifted child bored to tears by slow pace or "not enough challenge"

parent says child bright and eager to learn but whatever is going on with 'school learning' is killing the child's motivation, altering child's behavior and having too many negative consequences

child being bullied terribly verbally, school not helping it stop

child being bullied physically, school not helping it stop

child bullied so badly they now suffer from anxiety mental disorders or anxiety caused physical ailments

child has a medical disease or condition that makes them miss too much school. Keeping up is too hard. Easier to just homeschool, on all concerned parties.

child has an allergy that is related to school, such as mold or mildew allergy that acts up when in the school building, or a severe food allergy that puts them at a health risk too much at school

school pushing child to take a drug for ADD or ADHD and parent doesn't think the child really has it or doesn't want to medicate the child

2. The Religious Families. Plain and simple the family wants religion infused into school topics more than the public schools do. Some families do not have access to a religious school for their religious preference. Other families who do live near a private religious school cannot afford to send their children there while living on a single income. The family may also seek to protect their children from other experiences or school agendas or perceived negative influences of school teachers or from other students.

3. The Alternative or Superior Education Families. These parents believe a range of things that all mesh together so I consider them one and the same general topic.

These families accept that learning does not have to happen inside of a school building. They realize ther are other ways to learn and other things to do.

Some use homeschooling methods which are similar or identical to alternative education methods used in private schools, others use other methods such as unschooling. Some feel their homeschooling method teaches 'more and better' things than can be offered in schools, such as due to cost limitations or logicstics for the school. Some dive more deeply into their child's interest areas such as the arts or the sciences. Some use older schooling methods such as classical education which the parents feel is a more rigorous and gives a more solid liberal arts education than what public schools presently offer.

Some families use alternative teaching methods due to their child's learning style, learning disabilities or medical conditions (neurological conditions that affect learning like Tourette's or ADHD for example.)

Some families would be willing to use private schools to access similar programs and alternative education methods IF a school was near them and IF they could afford it. In the absence of an available and an affordable private school that can meet their ideals or the child's needs the family homeschools.

The rarest occurance is the child who is a serious competitor in athletics, has celebrity parents or is a child star. They homeschool due to their training and career schedule clashing with traditional school attendance.

After thinking about this for a long time and discussing it with my friends, everyone has agreed that you can really boil down a family's reason to homeschool to one of these three main categories as the largest reason. As I said before, once the journey begins, our list of reasons why we are happy to be homeschooling grows, and the reasons may then fit into two or even three of these other categories as well.


keith said...

I agree with you in that the reasons for homeschooling can be boiled down to the 3 groups you mentioned in your article. I myself belong to group number 3. My kids have no special needs and I'm not religious. We just decided it was the best way to educate our kids and it so far has worked great with our style of life. Homeschooling can be great, but it's not for everybody. I enjoyed your article, thank you.

Deborah said...

We started as an alternative/superior education family, morphed into homeschooling for "religious" reasons, and finally, though we are not a "rescue" family, we are confident had our children actually gone to school they would have needed rescuing and we would have discovered homeschooling that way!

Great post!

christinemm said...

We started with #3 alternative/superior education, then #2 blended in to add reasons and lastly for one son, #1 when I found out he has a learning disability which he is now under treatment for, not sure if it will reach a 100% "cure" & will be gone. We have also had some medical issues specifically with Lyme Disease and mono that affect #1, he would have been very, very behind in school and hard to catch up w their system due to missed days or being "off" due to feeling sick or too tired to learn.

topsy-techie said...

Christine - -

You should post this as an article on SecularHomeschool.com! Don't forget to add your byline and a link back to your blog!


Kate said...

Hi, I just found this post from a Tweet. I'm #3 all the way. I NEVER considered homeschooling until I read some things (Alfie Kohn mostly) about the public education system, decided that wouldn't work, and then when my daughter was 5 and we lived in a small town where the only option WAS the public school, no private or charter available, I figured I had to look into homeschooling. Read some John Holt and suddenly realized I didn't want to "school" my kids at all!

Melissa Y. said...

Great post we are #3, and it is one of the best choices we have ever made as a family.

SmallWorld at Home said...

Great post! Thanks for submitting it the Carnival of Homeschooling. I'm heavy on #3 but #1 and 2 fit in there too.

Mrs. Don said...

There might be another one. My husband and I were homeschooled and it worked for us so that is what we are doing with our children. Our parents homeschooled for all three of your reasons at different times, but I think we homeschool just because we want to :-D

Rana said...

Hi, I'm coming over from the Carnival. We are #3 and blended in with #2. This is a great post. I can use this to explain to some friends the different reasons why some people do homeschool.

Dave @ Home School Dad said...

Quite an interesting article. I think you might be missing a fourth category. This is the one that my wife and I found ourselves in separately, before we married.

We simply encountered home school families home schooling for any of the above reasons and were a) pleased with how we saw these families interacting and b) were drawn to the idea that this would be something that would be possible if we ever had families.

Your three reasons all tend to have somewhat of a reactionary quality to them. Reacting to how or what children are doing in schools, or reacting to the cost prohibitive nature of private education, or reacting to the lack of availibility of same.

When Amy and I started home schooling, it was more of a realization than a reaction. The realization was that we thought that we would enjoy home schooling our family and that our entire family would benefit from it.

When our oldest was about 2-2 1/2, she wanted to "play school" so my wife made up worksheets, had "reading parties" and counted cans of soup in the cabinet. "Formal" homeschooling was a natural progression from playing school. It is a priviledge to be with your children 24/7 and that is what we wanted for our family. When I lost my job last summer, the priviledge of home schooling our children became mine.

This marks the beginning of our 5th year of full time home schooling (8th when you include informal and part time). There are aspects of reasons 1 to 3 that we continue to home school. But mainly we continue to homeschool because we like the "family feel" of it.

P.S. While my wife and I are Christians, we cringe at the word religious. My children who are getting a strong education in the Bible through homeschooling, church and AWANA hardly know what the word religion means.

Further, there are several Christian schools (1 within a block as us) that would be affordable if we both worked full time. More than likely if we stopped home schooling we would go the public school route.

I will be interested by following other commenters to see if perhaps there are other reasons you might be missing.

Again, thanks for an insightful look as to why many of us start this journey called home education.

Debbie said...

Found you from the Homeschool Carnival.

We were definitely #2 with a little #1 thrown in. Did not want to go the public school route because of #1 and the effects it had on my husband and I as we went through school and were bullied.

We could not afford private Christian education and saw, with a nephew of mine that it was just the public school system with God thrown in, but still the same peer influence. The peer influence caused many problems in his life, choices he made to be in the in crowd. Those choices led to trouble including getting thrown out of school at one time. He had a hard road back. We wanted to avoid the peer influence and have our family grow stronger together and out kids be each others best friends.

thanks for this post it affirms why we started homeschooling and gives me more umph for this year of school.


christinemm said...

Thanks everyone for your insight. I love reading the comments and knowing that you are reading the post.

IMO anyone who homeschools due to positive aspects of homeschooling compared to traditional school alternatives is #3. Sorry if that didn't come through in my description. In other words choosing homeschooling as an option due to negative perceptions of public or private school (for #1 or #2) is not the same as loving the idea of homeschooling as an ALTERNATIVE way to get an education which would be #3.

A major influence on my husband before we were married and had children were the nice and smart kids of a business associate that lived 2000 miles away who he'd see while traveling on business. He didn't know for quite some time that those kids were HSed. He then held a positive image of HSing in his mind and it was a #3 alternative way to educate one's children.

Any method that is non-traditional and in the minority is "alternative". Certainly with 1-2% of kids in this country being home educated it classifes as "alternative" no matter how normal it may seem to us. LOL.

Have a good day everyone!