Welcome to the third installment of our August series, Twenty Questions about Homeschooling. Our first post in this special series provided an overview of different types of homeschooling styles to fit every type of family and learner, while the second looked at the many ways Oak Meadow provides families with the flexibility and freedom to make their homeschooling journey truly their own. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the many different reasons people make the decision to homeschool.
“Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” ~ John W. Gardner
Question #3: Why homeschool?
Estimates of homeschooling families in the U.S. have grown to over two million. Many of the homeschooling myths–that homeschoolers are poorly socialized and ill-prepared for college and beyond–have been soundly debunked by solid research that overwhelmingly supports homeschooling. And as more and more colleges and universities are singing the praises of their previously-homeschooled students, more and more families are turning to homeschooling in order to seek out the best possible educational experience for their children.
“We homeschool with Oak Meadow because it is the best educational option open to our girls. It’s that simple.” ~ Kristin
The reasons to homeschool are as vast and varied as the people who ultimately choose this alternative educational path. Frustrations with the inadequacies and misguided priorities of the public education system. The stranglehold of standardized testing and the Common Core. The prohibitive cost of a private education. Concerns about safety. Social issues. Bullying. Boredom. Health problems. The lack of individualized attention. Arts funding. Time spent learning in nature. Play. A desire to do, to create something different. To spend more time with one’s children. To offer them the best possible education. Why homeschool? Why not?
“When we requested assistive technology for our daughter who has dyslexia, we were told ‘You want a Cadillac. we are not required to provide the best education, only an adequate one.’” ~ Lisa
Whatever the reasons, the decision to homeschool can be a deeply personal one. And it can be a wonderful, liberating thing to realize that for most of us, we have options for creating something that meets the unique, individual needs of our children while allowing them authentic engagement and expression. Homeschooling enables us to help our children find their most inspired path to learning, to work at laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning, and to create a road map that taps into what really matters. As well, there’s beauty in the fact that the road can and will shift; homeschooling offers a more natural, organic approach that reflects the ongoing vicissitudes of life, of the learning processes, of living one’s learning–and often rediscovering the simple joys of just being together.
“We decided to homeschool when our son was still a baby because we wanted to be able to spend more time with him, tailor his education to his needs, be his biggest influence…He is so full of energy and life and creativity and I can’t imagine forcing him to sit at a desk all day.” ~ Elizabeth
“My son is autistic and I just don’t think public schooling may be a fit for him. He walks to the beat of a different drum and the one size fits all mentality of traditional schooling isn’t a fit for a child who sees the world from a different point of view. I want education to be fun, comfortable, to focus in his interests, to explore the world. I feel a sincere calling to this route with him.” ~ Rebecca
There are so many different paths and answers to the question of “Why homeschool?” Just going through the decision-making process to homeschool or not can feel overwhelming, and sometimes isolating at first. Oak Meadow’s Educational Counselors work hard to offer warm, personalized attention that helps our families better understand their options and resources so they can feel confident in knowing they are making the best possible decision for their family.
“I am very grateful and humbled to have received the loving support and fantastic e-mails that I have been getting from all of you. Especially with our lack of familial support, I often feel that we are alone in our situation. Having your support and understanding to help my sons to be able to grow as students and healthy people is a beautiful blessing to all of us. I knew Oak Meadow would be a great source of healing for us. Thank you for your fantastic program and understanding staff. We are looking forward to this schooling year and many more to come.” ~ Victoria
At Oak Meadow, we hear from so many people who are thinking about opting out of the public school system in favor of a more carefully crafted, DIY education. Others have made the decision early on never to opt in to begin with, and instead, begin their homeschooling journey from the get-go. Several of our older students have found themselves unable to balance practice and performance schedules–whether for dance or soccer or music–with going to a regular brick and mortar school. By homeschooling with Oak Meadow, these high achieving students are able to strike a wonderful balance that allows them to follow their passions and keep up with their studies. Many of our families live overseas and choose to homeschool to infuse their experience with a stronger sense of language, place, and culture. Some are roamschoolers, living on boats or RVs, traveling, taking it year to year.
“We wanted to instill a love of learning, not an aptitude for test taking! Oh .. And we don’t like waking up SO early!” ~ Pamela
Still other families have tried both public and private options, and have found them lacking. Perhaps their child has come to them and asked to be homeschooled. We counsel many families who are in crisis: there truly is nothing more heart wrenching for a parent than watching a child trying to navigate an impossible situation at school, trying unsuccessfully to get his or her needs met. We hear from many families who are looking for help with a child with “special needs,” whether autism, ADHD, health issues, or a “gifted” learner. As Michael Carr said, “All kids are gifted. Some just open their packages earlier than others.”
“My main reason [for homeschooling] is my son’s ongoing medical problems that interfere with his schooling in a public school setting. My second reason is this state’s ridiculous amount of “standardized” testing that seems to be the only teaching they do anymore and Common Core is going to make it worse.” ~ Belinda
All children deserve to work at their own pace, enjoy success, and feel stimulated, challenged, inspired. For most of us, to simply realize that we can make a change for our child can be amazing, even life-changing. Homeschooling, with all its endless, unique iterations and possibilities, offers wonderful solutions for so many families.
“Our number one reason for homeschooling is that we just truly love being together! Our two little girls (ages five and three and a half) are just such incredible people, and I cannot imagine not getting to share in the joys (and the struggles) as they navigate through their days! ♥” ~ Shel
Your Turn: What are your reasons for homeschooling?