Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why we're going to homeschool...

We decided to homeschool Levi and Brenna and any other blessings that God sends our way quite some time ago. I started researching it well before Levi was even born. But I've always been very nervous about telling people because a lot of our family and friends don't approve. Having said that, let me also say "Thank You, God" for the ones who have been very supportive. Since Levi is still only 3 we haven't really hit a time when we have to make a big sweeping declaration so I've been avoiding confrontation with zeal. Almost to the point of being dishonest with phrases like "we're thinking about..." and "If everything goes well..." But no more. Here's the plan.
We are going to homeschool all our children through high school and possibly into college. That means that I will be their primary teacher and that we, their parents, will make all the decisions about their education. We may use a purchased curriculum. We may enroll in a satellite school. We may even let them enroll in a class here or there when that's an option. But we'll decide and they won't "go to school" like everyone is expected to these days.
Having said all that, bear with me while I try to explain why. We believe with all our hearts that God gave parents the command to teach their children. We need to be the ones deciding what they learn and when. There may have been a time when a parent could send a child to school to learn the three r's - no more, no less - and trust that they would still be the ones to teach their children about God and morals and what we now call a worldview. But that's not true now. Schools are no longer neutral. They are socializing our children to be part of a culture that is decidedly anti-Christian. I don't want to have to de-program my kids every afternoon. "No, it isn't okay if Heather has two mommies." "No, we didn't all rise up out of the 60 billion year old sludge." "Yes it is okay for you to pray before you eat." "No it's not all right for you to have sex with whomever you please as long as you use protection." I'm not going to sign my child up to be fed these lies for eight hours a day until they 18.
And what about those 3 r's? Does anyone even talk about them anymore? American schools are failing at their actual job. Our young men and women are graduating without basic knowledge. I know because I did. I was a "smart" kid - took the advance courses, got decent grades - and I am still astounded by just how little I know compared to what was standard knowledge 100 years ago. I want the best possible education for my children. I want them to have a teacher who will pour her heart and soul into making sure that they are well equipped to go out in the world and do whatever God calls them to do. A teacher whose focus will be entirely on them. Who else is going to be that teacher?
I know that so far this post has just been one long ramble, but my essential point is this...We've decided that homeschooling is the best thing for our family and, the bottom line is, we get to decide. So I'm not going to change the subject anymore when friends ask which preschool we're signing up for. And I'm not going to be nervous about answering questions. Fire away:) I'm ready.

8 comments:

Amy said...

Guess you liked Acid Ink's post then??? :)

It is good that you are thinking this through, as it helps to have your thoughts prepared before the questions begin. And, you can be sure, the questions and exclamations will start coming...

Shannon said...

We're already having the "what are you doing to my grandchildren conversations" with the in-laws. What fun.

Not Crunchy said...

Hi Shannon, You said that people are really against your home schooling plans - I'm curious about what the most commonly heard objection against homeschooling is (lack of socialization or real-world experience?). It sounds like you must have a diverse set of friends, family and acquaintences if you feel that you will get lots of objections to your face. Also I've not heard of home college schooling before. What is that? Is it completely independent study or affiliated with a college/university? The idea of home college school certainly begs the question of when do you let a child make up his/her own mind about the way he/she will live in this world. I enjoy your blog.

Shannon said...

Not_Crunchy (that's cute!),
We do have a pretty diverse group of friends and a lot of family that doesn't really share what we believe. The most common objection we hear is the socialization issue, probably because I trained to be a teacher so it's hard to say I'm not qualified. But we really feel like the "socialization" that happens in public school is un-natural. In what other part of life are you gathered together for 8 hours a day based on your birthdate? Also, I think back to all the times I got in trouble at school for socializing - talking when I shouldn't, passing notes, etc. So we don't have a problem missing out on that aspect of school at all.
What I meant by home-college was online college (which I think is going to be a really big thing in the future), but it could really even encompass living at home while attending college since there is a large state school and small private university within driving distance of us. I wouldn't encourage my 18 year old to move off from home to live in a dorm at an "anything goes" university. I hope to raise children who won't want to live that way. But I do know there will come a time when my children will be adults and will make decisions for themselves. As much as I think people feel like homeschoolers are sheltering their kids, for us it's actually about raising our kids to be mature and able to make discerning decisions for themselves sooner rather than later. Not that we want them to grow up fast, but we want them even as teens to be able to make the right decision on their own when they're faced with a situation where they need to. I hope that makes sense:)
I really appreciate your comments - it's great to talk to someone with a different point of view who doesn't have a personal investment like the inlaws:)

Not Crunchy said...

Interesting thoughts - well reasoned. I am trying to put myself in your place and understand what your belief in home schooling ultimate relies upon - the only way I can relate is if I imagine that I believe that my surrounding culture is EVIL. Am I on the right track?

Shannon said...

Well, frankly, I do think that the world around us is evil. How can we look at all the things going on in this world (the crime alone is a staggering thought) and deny it? But that actually is only one reason we want to homeschool. It's more about doing a better job. If I want to raise a child to be a well-educated Christian, why would I send him/her to a school that teaches him to be a humanist with a mediocre education? Public schools are pushing religious beliefs - that everyone defines right and wrong for themselves is a religion called humanism - just not ones that I share. It would be a lot like sending my kids to Temple of Islam Elementary or Moon Goddes High (to borrow an illustration from Mary Pride).
It's also about having a vision for what I think childhood and learning should be. More than just pulling out of the culture, I want to raise my kids to change the culture for the better. I think homeschooling is better than public school for so many reasons. So for me it's about giving my kids the best I can.

Not Crunchy said...

Well, more power to you Shannon. You are practicing what you preach, which is more than a lot of people can say. That was a good point on the secular humanism as religion. I don't have anything against that, but I can see how if you are opposed to a non-Christian norm that you wouldn't want your kids immersed in that environment. I do agree with you on your "better learning" argument. Our K-12 educational system is getting worse and worse and one-on-one teaching with you, especially as a trained teacher, will undoubtedly give them a leg up on other kids their age. That all aside, I've got to admire you for wanting to spend 24 hours a day with your children - that is true mommy dedication!!! :-) Best luck and wishes to you.

Shannon said...

Thanks a bunch!