Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why We Plan to Homeschool . . . At Least for Now

I never thought I would say "I'm going to homeschool." I've always looked forward--perhaps a little too eagerly at times--to the day my kids start school, so the house will once again be clean. Even as I type this post I find myself envying those moms of school-going kids and their free time. Yet the more I pray for direction and guidance about the education of our girls, the more I feel God pulling me towards homeschooling.

I've posted before about my reluctance to homeschool, but recently, I've been feeling it even more as friends share their exciting news about their children going to this or that kindergarten in the fall. I am happy for my friends because they are doing what is best for their kids. However, in my heart, I know that there isn't a school out there better than the school we create ourselves--at home.

That being said, here are our top 10 reasons for deciding to homeschool (at least for now). {We know things may change and homeschooling may not always be feasible, so we intend to take it year-by-year with each child.}

1. Our commitment to raising our children to know the Lord.

Now I know there are some great Christian schools that offer Bible classes and weekly chapel time, but those schools are simply not affordable for a growing family nor do they all offer the type of Bible-based instruction we want for our children. And we all know that even though there are some wonderful Christian teachers, God has been kicked out of public schools. 

Raising children to know the Lord and walk with Him in every facet of their lives is something I believe is a parent's responsibility. Children need to be able to stop and pray and read their Bibles when they're troubled, and that's simply not an option in most schools--public or private.

2. Our desire to protect our children.

Some people think homeschooling parents are doing more harm than good by keeping their children "sheltered" from the real world. But isn't protecting our children from sin and evil something God expects of parents? Bambi at Nursery of the Nation recently wrote something that truly resonated with me:

"God never intended His children to know evil. He wants us to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. Satan is the one who told Eve to taste for herself. And he wants us to fall for that same lie.
Moms, our task is not to bring up children that fit in with this world. Are your kids weird? I hope so. I hope they seem like they are from another world. If we are fitting in with the world then we are conformed."

I don't want my kids to learn about homosexuality in elementary school or to endure bullying. They don't need to be exposed to the evil that is in this world; they will experience it soon enough. 

So, yes, I do want to shelter my kids in order to maintain their innocence and purity as long as possible. And if that makes them appear "weird" in the eyes of the rest of the world, then so be it!


3. Our hope of instilling in them a lifelong love of learning.

My husband and I are both nerds lifelong learners, meaning we read for fun and clamor for knowledge. Our insatiable desire to always be willing to learn is a quality I pray for in our children. I want to encourage and cultivate that childlike curiosity so it will grow and produce great fruit. 

Homeschooling allows me to do that because I'm not worrying about teaching to "the test" or meeting every students' needs. If one child wants to learn more about ladybugs, then we can buy a ladybug kit, check out some books from the library, and go to town observing ladybugs. 

By instilling a love of learning in our children we teach them that there is always room to grow; we never know it all. 

4. The ability to "do school" whenever & wherever.

As a child, I was sad when school let out for the summer. I loved school: the books, the work, the learning. And summer time meant boredom for me. But with home schooling we can learn year-round or take a month off here or there as needed. 

The flexibility of homeschooling is very appealing to me. I like that we can visit the zoo or go on a trip during the week when everyone else is in school, so we don't have to fight crowds. Also, I like that we can do lessons in the mornings and take the afternoons off to play or do housework; we can take our school work to the park or grandma's house; we can do school Monday through Saturday or take off Fridays for field trips. The when and where is entirely up to us. 

5. So we can teach our children what we value & believe in.

Whether public or private, secular or Christian, schools have their own agendas, which they are implanting in the hearts of the children they teach. We want to know exactly what is being sown in our kids' hearts, and the best way to do that is by homeschooling. 

In addition to instilling God's Word in their hearts, my husband and I want our girls to be servants, giving of their time, energy, and talents to others. Homeschooling will give us the time and freedom to do service projects and mission work, which we believe are integral to a well-rounded education. Christ is the center of our home, and we want Him to be the center of our home school, too.

Also, while reading, writing, and math are important subjects, we also want our kids to have basic life skills that most schools don't teach like learning how to raise and preserve food, make bread, balance a checkbook, and interact with a variety of different people (not just those their age). By homeschooling, we can choose what and how to teach our children based on our family's goals and priorities. 


6. Because we want to be our children's primary influence for as long as possible.

This one hearkens back to #2, but we believe that the parents--not teachers, coaches, or peers--should have the greatest influence on their kids. The values and beliefs we adhere to will be challenged, questioned, even rejected if we don't keep our children close while they're growing and learning. Once they reach an age of maturity, then they will be ready to face opposition, but only after years of guidance. 

Some Christian parents argue that we need to send our innocent children to school to "be the light" to non-Christians. I disagree. Our children aren't missionaries or teachers. Sure they can be the right example, but they shouldn't be held to the high standards that we as seasoned Christians are. We shouldn't expect naive 7-year-olds to witness to nonbelievers until they're firmly rooted in the Word and mature in their faith. For now, my job is to teach them the truth and ground them in the Word so that when they are older, they will be ready to share the Gospel with the world.

7. So we can spend as much time with our children as possible.

Many days I long for a school bus to pick up my kids and carry them away. Those are the days when I need an attitude adjustment and maybe a little quiet time alone. But I know my kids are growing up too fast, and I don't want to miss a minute of it! Sending them to school would mean missing out on way too much. 

By homeschooling we get to witness their victories with our children--like learning to read and losing that first tooth; we get to encourage them when they struggle with fractions or cursive; and we get to applaud them when they succeed in writing their first essay. My heart fills with excitement at the thought!

8. Because I'm a teacher at heart.

God has given us all unique gifts, which we are commanded to use to further His kingdom. One of my gifts is teaching, and I believe that the best way to utilize this gift is by teaching my children. 

I love to find new ideas to share with my kids; I love creating mini-lessons about something that's interesting to them; I love learning right along with my kids. Homeschooling allows me to do both: teach and learn. Together. What better way to make use of God's gift than to be my children's instructor!


9. So our children can learn at their own pace, according to their own learning styles, and about their own interests.

When I was in school, I was bored, and because I wasn't being challenged, I got in trouble. My fear is that our children will experience the same boredom and their desire to learn stifled in an attempt to keep everyone at the same level. We want our kids to pursue what interests them as far as that rabbit trail will take them because that's what learning is about. Not textbooks and test-taking and not assimilation. I don't want my kids to be status quo; I want them to excel!

Our middle child is a mover. My fear is that she would be labeled ADHD as a result of her need to be active. She's also a hands-on learner with a knack for puzzles, so she probably wouldn't be successful in a typical classroom setting, even though she is highly intelligent, simply because she requires a different teaching style. By homeschooling her, I can teach according to her learning style--something a school teacher cannot do. 

10. The main reason we're homeschooling (for now at least) is because we believe it's God's will.

I've felt the burden on my heart to homeschool for a while now, but stubborn little me has resisted and resisted, digging my heels deep down into the dirt and trying with all my might to avoid it. I've researched school after school, but in my heart, I would be acting in defiance of God's will were we to send our children to school. I am committed to obedience, and as long as the Lord wills it, we will homeschool our children.

I know it will be hard: I value quiet time to myself, but I have a plan. And I firmly believe that if God wills it, He will provide all that I need to achieve it. I'm holding firmly to that hope.

If you homeschool your children, what were your original reasons? Have those reasons changed? Do you have any advice for me as I embark into this new endeavor?


  1. My daughter is only 16 months but I also feel the Lord pulling me toward homeschooling for some of the same reasons.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I have a long way to go still before my baby is school age, but this is something that is on my heart. I love hearing why other people choose to homeschool and how they start.
    Point number two was especially fantastic! Thanks for sharing your heart

    1. Thanks, Alyssa. I think I started thinking about schooling when my oldest was still a baby. But I never thought I would homeschool her. My advice would be to open to anything and pray for God's wisdom and direction in the decision.

      Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Hi Keri! I homeschooled my three for about two years. We did it initially because my 4th grader asked us to. It was an amazing two years. We put them back into school because we are overseas and a private school is provided - we felt it was best for them to transition and have a community, and the school is top notch. My advice - if God calls you to do something, do it! He will guide and direct you every step of the way. Keep the plan year by year and build in some time for just you. It is a blessing to be with your kids so much, but we always need time to recharge. You are going to do great, and your children will be so blessed! One day at a time...

    1. Morgan, thank you for your encouraging words and sound advice. I have learned the hard way countless times when I've tried to go my way instead of God's. One day at a time is great wisdom and my mantra right now with little ones.

  4. Wonderful post!
    When our oldest was approaching "school age" we found ourselves at the same crossroads you write about. My husband said "yes, we can! this is what we need to do!" I said "you've got to be kidding!"
    Fast forward 22 years, that first-born of ours is all grown up, a successful, faithful, responsible adult, married with 2 children and we are still homeschooling his younger siblings.
    It's been a wonderful, exciting, worthwhile journey.
    May God bless you in your journey.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is so comforting to know that others have walked this same road because I feel like so many homeschooling moms I know don't share their fears or apprehensions and just make it look so easy. Thanks for sharing your perspective and congratulations on doing it so well!

      God bless you.

  5. Agreed with all reasons, Keri, especially #10! Isn't it wonderful to have that peace of knowing His will?

    1. Yes, Meghan, it is. I must say that being a mom has really brought me closer to the Lord and listening to Him and His will for me. I still struggle A LOT with following Him where He leads, but when I comply, I am so blessed.

  6. Agreed with all reasons, Keri, especially #10! Isn't it a wonderful peace to know and do His will?

  7. Thank you for sharing this Keri, I think it's important to realize that God calls us all to different places. I struggled with issue also as my oldest will be school age super quick, and surprisingly the answer I found in prayer was a private school, a place I never thought would be an option... homeschooling is still on the table for future years, but just knowing that my decision is based in God's calling, prayer and a godly-husband's guidance is all I need.


    1. Marissa, you are right! I think we all have to do what's best for our kids in our own unique situations, following the Lord's will for us. I don't write this post to say everyone should homeschool but that I should for these reasons. What a blessing to have found your answer in a seemingly unlikely place but right where your son needs to be! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Beautiful post, and I think many Christian homeschooling mamas can relate to your reasons for homeschooling. I was public schooled and honestly never considered anything other than putting my kids on a school bus once they reached that age and then enjoying a quiet day to myself. Oh how different my days look now! I too sometimes envy the mamas who get that break and have cleaner homes than myself, but that is just a fleeting feeling. I wouldn't trade homeschooling for anything. I love it, love being with my children as much as I get to and I feel called to it. My reasons for doing it are far more important than having a cleaner living space or more free time for myself.

  9. Beautiful post!!! My son & daughter-in-law have decided to home school as well. I wish I'd been able to homeschool my son when he was younger. I was always very hands on and we created some great projects for school -- but the bullying, learning at their pace, my son was bored and was in advanced math and such. GREAT reasons!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  10. Keri, I have been homeschooling for 14 years, our oldest in is college now, our youngest is in Kindergarten. I have not once regretted our decision. Let the Lord be your guide...He will see you through! May He richly bless you in this journey!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Michele. I am trusting solely in the Lord. HE is doing this all through me. I can't do any of it without Him!

  11. I love this post! I stopped by from the Wise Woman Link-up and I'm so glad I did! We have a 3 year old and almost 2 year old, and plan to homeschool as well. I found my schooling experience similar to what you mentioned in #9- boredom giving me time to get in trouble, teach me to procrastinate, and just not make me live up to my potential. I want so much more for my kids, and I think you articulate exactly how I feel, and exactly why I will be homeschooling, despite the fact that I, too, would love the break sending kids to school would give me.

  12. I am visiting you from Raising Mighty Arrows link up. Since this is God's will for your family then you will be blessed. Just be prepared for those who don't agree with you. There are always those out there. My children are older and we were fortunate enough to find a private affordable option. I did homeschool pre-school and summer school. Even that got negative comments from others. Be bold in your decision!!!

    My post is about teaching your children to sew in the form of a Summer Sewing Camp:

  13. The biggest reason I plan to homeschool is that I want my kids to have a quality education. I was able to get that in a public school (though there were many downsides - mostly bullying), but after working in several public schools myself, it seems less and less likely that my own children would be able to get the same education. I want my kids, if I'm ever so blessed, to love learning and know how to think analytically and for themselves - not to be cogs in a machine who only know how to do moderately well on tests.

  14. Just found your blog and I loved how you put in parenthesis: at least for now. I've been homeschooling 7 years. I have 8 kids ages 12- 8 months. Homeschooling is the hardest thing you'll ever do. I'm not one to sugar coat it. There are still days when I want to throw in the towel. It isn't easy, but its definitely worth it. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Jillian. I appreciate your candor. I know it won't be easy, but I do believe that if the Lord wills it, He will see me through!