Why We Home School Our Kids

May 14, 2014

General, Lifestyle

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If you bumped into me on the street, you probably wouldn’t assume I had any kids. Not only do I have kids, I now have five kids, and we are home schooling each and every one of them. I wasn’t home schooled myself, and I came from a family where my father was a dentist and my mother was a public school teacher. My sister and brother-in law are teachers as well. And yet here I am, one of the biggest home school advocates there is. In this post I will share with you why.

First, here are some of the reasons we don’t use the public educational system.

1. All students do not learn the same way. I’ve always been a hands-on learner. I need to carefully watch something being done, understanding each and every step of the process and how it relates to the whole before I grasp the subject. If I don’t understand a step, it’s almost impossible for me to go on and understand what’s being taught next.

Back when I was in school, I would raise my hand when I didn’t understand something in class, which was quite often.  This was fine the first few times, but with 30 other students eventually the teachers would grow tired of my hand being raised and would eventually ask me to stop raising my hand. Flash. I remember some of the moments to this day. They were moments that I stopped learning. In a math class the lessons continued to build on each other and I naturally fell further and further behind.

Like all good students, I had the fear of being held back a grade burned into my soul. So I would cheat during tests and copy other students homework just to get passing grades. In math alone that went on from probably 5th grade until I graduated from high school.

Students have different learning styles and teachers are put in the impossible position to see that each student, and each style is adequately addressed so that everyone flourishes. Some students do great in the system, most others do not.

2. Large group learning environments are not ideal. Under the best possible conditions, having a teacher (and if the students are lucky, an assistant) and 30 kids in a classroom attempting to learn a subject is not ideal. Throw in kids that don’t listen to anyone in authority, who are disrespectful of teachers and their peers, kids that are coming from really rough situations, kids that are strung out on sugar and kids that flat out don’t want to be there, and you end up with a pretty poor learning environment. Today’s teachers are doing their best, and are doing well under the circumstances that they are dealt. I think there are more people every day recognizing the weaknesses of our educational system, but don’t act because they feel there are no other alternatives.

3. We don’t want our children learning most of what their peers have to teach. (especially during the young and foolish years) When kids go to school, they spend all their time with their peers. A teacher will give some lectures, and spend a little time with each student if they are lucky, but most of their time is spent with their peers. Learning. This can be fine when you are around to supervise the teaching that is taking place. With no parents around, their peers are the last people we want them to be learning from and spending all day with. It seems like we recognize this in most areas of learning, like music, sports, art and technology. If we want our children to really excel in something we have them learn from those that are older and wiser than they are. But for general education, we’ve decided that the best way for children to learn is to herd them all into little classrooms and hope it turns out well.

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4. I disagree with the end destination of public school.
Public school’s main purpose is to breed college students, as a college degree students are told, is the ticket to a successful life. I think that is crazy, and I would never subject my kids to years of emphasis on test taking, memorization and a system that in word, encourages them to be creative and change the world, but in deed, prepares them to all go down the same narrow path and become cogs in a wheel. College isn’t for most people, and our public education system simply isn’t addressing that fact. As an example, over 80% of small businesses fail. Could it be that it’s because 0% of students are being prepared to start small businesses? Students are being trained to go to college and get comfortable jobs. They are not encouraged to be entrepreneurial or think outside the box. So it should be no surprise that after years of studying to pass tests and memorizing useless facts that people are very ill prepared to start their own business or earn a living on their own.

So those are some of the reasons why we don’t send out kids to public school. So what’s the best alternative? There are private schools with smaller classrooms, but they are often expensive and still struggle with some of the same issues as above. There are also charter schools which I think are a step in the right direction, but still fall short. I’m convinced that educating kids at home is the best route.

Here are some of my reasons we’ve chosen our home as the primary place of education for our children.

1. So they can learn at their own pace. Some kids learn very quickly while others learn more slowly. In public school, kids are often made fun of and mocked for taking longer than their peers to learn something. They are shamed out of raising their hand or asking questions, and often would rather not ask the question if it means that the rest of the class sees that they do not understand something. In a home learning situation, this toxic environment does not exist. Kids can learn at their own pace without the fear and worry of being made fun of. This actually speeds up the learning process and makes it as it should be.

2. To give them the individualized attention they need. Kids have questions when they are learning. They need those questions answered before they can progress, but when you have one teacher for 30 students, it can be near impossible to give the students the help and attention they need. At best the teacher and assistants are spread so thin that the learning process is slowed to a crawl for those that need more help. In a home learning environment, questions get answered immediately.

3. To teach them responsibility. My wife and I are first responsible for our children’s education. After my wife and I, our children are responsible for their own education. We are trying to teach our children at a young age that they are not to look to others to do everything for them. We want them to realize that they are responsible for themselves. Their education, or lack thereof, will affect them the rest of their lives. That’s not something you leave into the hands of other people.

4. To train them to be self-starters. There are mornings when I will get up and find my oldest son out in the living room working on a math lesson in his book. He would do this as a 7 year old (now he’s 8).  We’ve told him that when he gets done with one grade of math that he can start on the next one. He knows that at some point there won’t be anymore math lessons so he’s just working on cranking them all out until he’s done. He’s now a couple years ahead in math for his age. We want to teach all of our children to be self starters as there isn’t always going to be someone telling them what they need to do to become successful. They need to learn to make those decisions by themselves and then act on those decisions.

5. To encourage their gifts and interests. When you are teaching your children at home, you can custom tailor their education to meet their gifts and interests. Have a child that is really interested in how things work, taking things apart and fixing things? You can have bicycle class and teach them everything there is to know about bicycles. How to build them, how to fix them, the history of them and take them on field trips to bike shops and to meet custom bike manufacturers. If you have a child that is really interested in computers and how they work, you can have them learn how to code…as a second grader. Have a child that loves to cook or write, you can encourage them to spend significant amounts of time investing in these worthwhile subjects.

Sure kids can learn these things at the end of the day, but I don’t think that’s best. The end of the day is the best time for a family to just enjoy each other and relax, and play together. The bulk of learning should be in the morning and middle of the day, and I think it’s a waste to delay the specialized education of students until they are 18 years old. If a child starts showing interest in something when they are young, they should be encouraged.

6. We aren’t worried about “socialization.” Kids turn out like their parents. My three boys are like little clones of myself, for the good and the bad. I often hear how homeschooling one’s children robs them of much needed socialization. That’s a load of garbage that I’m not sure who came up with. If parents are socially awkward, it’s very likely that their kids will be socially awkward. Kids will usually act and talk like those that they hang out with the most. I think the awkward home school kid image came not from a lack of public school, but maybe because they had awkward home school parents. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

As far as hanging out with other kids, that’s what neighborhoods and siblings are for. We have 15 neighbor kids within a tennis balls throw of our front porch. (I can throw quite a ways) They are constantly playing with each other all throughout the day. Then our kids spend a lot of time with each other, and have grown very close, which is very important to us. Friends and neighbors come and go, but siblings are around for a lifetime. The sibling relationships should really be encouraged in my opinion.

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7. We want to spend a lot of time with our kids.
 Life is short, and eight hours away from your kids each day is a long time. Add that time up over 12-14 years of school, and that’s the majority of their childhood, especially if you factor in extra curricular activities. We really enjoy spending time with our kids. I think that many people don’t have a problem sending their kids off to school because it gives them a break. If a parent needs an eight hour break from their kids each day, there are parenting issues that need to be addressed. Children should be enjoyable to be around, not a burden.

I say this a lot, but I’ve never heard someone later in life say they spent too much time with their children when they were young. Usually it’s the opposite. It’s regret over a lack of time spent with them and a desire to do it over again. You will never regret spending more of your life with your children.

In closing…

I hated sitting in class. I hated feeling like an inconvenience to my teachers. I loathed the stress of falling too far behind and being unable to cheat my way to see another grade. I didn’t want to let my family down. I hated the cruelty of students, some of which was/is so severe that it would cause most adults to weep. If you want to know why so many young people struggle with addiction, it’s because they are trying to cope with a mountain of pain, much of which is inflicted by their peers. I’ve changed a lot since I was in school, but I would never wish my worst enemy to have to go through some of the things that kids are going through in public schools all over the country each year. The kids know what I’m talking about, the teachers do as well, but everyone else doesn’t find out until some kid can’t take it anymore.

It’s the perfect storm. Isolate young children struggling with their identity, throw them all together with hundreds of other foolish, undisciplined and utterly cruel children into a school with not enough teachers or supervision and see what happens. The really sinister part of the entire thing is how desperate they all are for each others approval, above anything else, because public school is now their world. So they endure enormous amounts of pain, and say nothing. They bottle it up and save the side affects of their anguish for later in life. It all keeps going unchecked until a child commits suicide. Or the sadness turns to anger and they shoot up a school. No one ever seems to question the system that fosters such a toxic environment.

I always looked up to the classmate that would notice that the real answer was missing from a multiple choice problem. I believe the answer to our broken educational system is that parents need to take the responsibility of educating their own children. At the end of the day, if a kid isn’t prepared for life in the real world after high school, it’s not the public school’s fault, it’s the parents.

Further (and better) reading: I just came across a essay by Paul Graham (a very successful programmer, investor and writer) on Why Nerds are Unpopular. It is the greatest dissection of the public school system I’ve ever read. Ever. The accuracy of it will blow your mind. It’s also fascinating. I highly recommend you give it a read! Just give yourself some time, as it’s pretty long. Pro-tip: save it to Pocket on your phone, and then listen to it for free while you’re driving or out for a walk.

 

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47 Responses to “Why We Home School Our Kids”

  1. ImChiquita Says:

    Ryan, FANTASTIC!

    First, you’ve been blessed five times. How cool is that? :) But second, and more importantly, you WANT to spend time with your children. I would wish that upon every rotten human being, that they had parents who cared for them, nurtured them, developed them into ideal citizens of the world instead of the scary stories we tell our kids.

    I don’t think you should ever apologize for admitting that you homeschool your children. If people deny the rapid downward spiral that is the public education system, any information you offer them won’t be satisfactory enough. No offense to your siblings.

    My grown sons have done it all: public, private, and homeschool education – and between the private school and homeschooling, the school years rocked! You’re right: the agenda of the schools is now certainly focused on data mining, college admissions, and general conformity.

    Childhood is precious. I wish more people understood it. It’s a one-way street: we never get to go back once we walk through the door of adulthood. Having awesome memories of Mom and Dad and siblings during the normal school day is going to last a lifetime!

    Keep strong, Ryan! You’re an inspiration to your children.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      I appreciate it. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Reply

      • Mary Says:

        You are an awesome example and such an influence Ryan! My littles are two and 8 mos. Love having them home and wouldn’t give it up just because they turn 5!! Way to go bro. As oldest of 8, my sibs are my bffs too. Home educating rocks :)Keep it up!

        ImChiquita, I agree with everything you said! Amen to the magic of childhood. Sadly some people take it away because they didn’t have it themselves. So sad! Everyone deserves a good start.

        Reply

      • Jane Says:

        I am a former public and private school teacher. I homeschool my 4 boys!!Enough said.

        Reply

  2. Michele Says:

    Excellent post. You have said exactly what I’ve been thinking. I have an almost 2 year old grandson and already am wondering about his schooling. He seems very bright and I would hate to see anything destroy his curiosity and wonder. I’m going to share your post with his parents. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Michele! Also, don’t underestimate the power of an involved grandparent in the education process! I’ve seen a friends daughter learn to read years ahead of her peers because of all the time her grandma spent teaching her to read at a really young age. It’s amazing the head start that an actively involved family can have on a child.

      Reply

  3. Quiton Says:

    What if it was a requirement that instead of a college degree, our kids had to deliver an invention to a everyday problem? How would that change our school system?

    It sickens me that our current school system is designed to turn our children into “slaves”. And while it is important for our children to learn to work for and under authorities (boss man), I think the ability to dream up new opportunities and solutions to societies problems is something that happens IN SPITE OF the current school system.

    Here’s to taking time out of our lives to establish a better future for our children.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      I think that would be awesome. It would change the mindset from “I need a degree to be successful” to “I need to figure out how to solve problems to be successful”. I was as entrepreneurial as it gets growing up, but somehow I was never taught that you have to focus on solving people’s problems. In school it was all about doing well in school, so you could go to college so you could get a good job so you could make good money so you could have a nice retirement.

      I remember a number of years ago watching entrepreneur after entrepreneur (my hero’s) starting companies by trying to solve people’s problems, both big and small. It blew my mind. It’s simple. Solve problems and help people as much as you can. If you are an entrepreneur, come up with new and creative ways to do it.

      Quinton, you just gave me a great idea for an assignment for my boys this summer! Thanks for posting!

      Reply

  4. Aleks Says:

    What an excellent and thoughtful post. I don’t have kids and probably won’t for a while, but I’ve thought more and more about this issue and I like your take on it. Having once been a part of the common public educational system, I know exactly what you mean when it comes to conformity. And now, if I wasn’t so far ahead in college already, I would have looked into other options. The only thing that keeps me going is how much I’ve already invested into it. I’ve kinda wondered a few times how differently I might have turned out had I been home-schooled. I know several people who were, and most of them view it very positively and fondly.

    It will be awesome to see what each of your kids starts doing as they get older!

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Aleks. One thing about my kids is that they are years ahead of me in just about everything. The thing that I’m always asking myself about our kid is why not, or why can’t they? Saving money when they are young, teaching them how to work hard, getting them involved in business, investing etc. It’s exciting. I look forward to sharing about the journey.

      Reply

  5. Kyle Says:

    I love this post and you are very wise to homeschool your kids. I too, couldn’t stand the public school system, but like so many families due to our economic situation home schooling wasn’t an option. I would like to add a few logs to the fire if I may. The public school system was never supposed to exist on a nationwide level. The constitution left that up to the states, but the federal government ended up controlling what our children learn anyway, among many other things. Second, public school does not present any options other than evolution for the origin of life. Children are tested on material that force feeds an answer (not a fact although the textbooks will say so) to the most important and most asked question in our minds. What is the meaning of life? Where do we come from?

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Kyle. Yeah, there is no tolerance for disagreement over what goes into the curriculum. I purposely left that portion out of my post as to not needlessly stir the pot on that really sensitive issue. I’d like to throw in another example of a public school shortcoming. Financial literacy. Since most people are abdicating the education of their children to public schools, they are naturally relying upon the school system to teach their kids about money, and the school system is fantastically failing! Kids know nothing about money, investing, credit or debt. It’s no wonder that each generation that is coming after the previous is ending up in more and more college debt, car debt and credit card debt. But that’s the parents job the schools will say. Ha! Encourage parents to abdicate most of their children’s education and then expect them to step up here and there? Of course it’s not happening.

      Reply

  6. Travis Robinson Says:

    I always hate people who repeat the lie that my kids will be outcasts, or not get enough interaction with other kids. Just because you homeschool does not mean that the kid sits in a cage in a dark dungeon. As with you, we have multiple kids, and they interact with each other, and they have play dates every week with other kids their age. They go to the store, help run errands, and talk to everyone that they can. Maybe this could segway into a post titled “Myths of Homeschooling”. I can help you with the points on that article if you write it too.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Travis, great idea! There are so many misconceptions, but I’ve seen a lot of progress in the stereotypes being put to rest recently as home schooling is becoming more and more widely accepted.

      Let’s write the post. I’ll message you soon.

      Reply

  7. Brad Haven Says:

    Ryan,
    You are on the right road. It sounds like you are doing a great job with your 5 kids. I thank you. This world needs a lot more folks like you who thinks and express themselves so well. And also I admire how you are not afraid to stand out and be “normal”. I hope your greater family supports you.

    Great JOB! Brad

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Brad. My family is very supportive. They see the fruit of how the home schooling is going and what an incredible job my wife is doing. My wife really deserves most of the credit as she spends the most time working with the kids, purchasing curriculum, grading their work etc.

      I should probably also note that our 5th child is actually going to be born here in about two weeks, but by the time most people read this post she will have been born :)

      Reply

  8. Joel Says:

    Ryan,
    You’ve made many good points for homeschooling. The success of it depends on how good the parent (teacher) is. A couple of examples: A few years ago I was a cameraman for in-home interviews for USA today looking at kids, newspapers and homeschooling. One woman had 2 boys who were in the 7th and 8th grades. We were there at 11 AM and they were still playing video games as they had been all morning. She also didn’t like to teach them science or math because she wasn’t good at it. Her husband would, if he wasn’t too tired after coming home from work. They were involved in after-school programs that were open to homeschoolers. The mother admitted that her boys weren’t very motivated and she wasn’t helping.
    The other example are my in-laws. They have 2 girls & 2 boys. The oldest girl was homeschooled almost through high school. The next girl began public school in high school and the boys began public school in junior high. The boys wanted to go to public school. They are all top-notch students but socially they were behind. Part of the reason is moving a few times because of parent’s jobs. Their family was their the only constant. Friends were few.
    My observation is that homeschooling is great especially through early years. In school, there is too much competition with others for grades, etc. I don’t think kids need the pressure of competition when they are that young. As they get into high school years they might want the social interaction, dating possibilities, etc. and they are more adjusted emotionally to deal with the wide range of personalities they would encounter. They wouldn’t need to catch up scholastically because, as statistics show, homeschoolers outscore public schoolers on competency tests. Just my opinion but keep doing what you’re doing.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      No, those are good examples. I think the kids from parents that do home school, but put little effort into it, are going to do just as poorly in public school, as teachers have less authority than parents do when it comes to making sure school work is actually done. The kid from that family is going to end up in a bad spot either way, because of his parents. I do think that it’s becoming easier and easier to home school now with resources like Khan Academy and YouTube freely available. Everything is changing. The internet has granted everyone access to incredible teachers all over the world in every subject, often times for free. Kid wants to learn robotics, or how to code?

      I think that the public school system is so broken beyond repair, that there is going to be a massive shift towards online education that takes place at home. I think public schools will turn into supervised learning centers,(federal daycare with an emphasis on learning) where kids that have parents that aren’t home during the day will go study the same material the kids at home are going through.

      It’s a crazy time right now, a lot will be changing in the coming years.

      Reply

    • suz Says:

      Joel, your example is a pretty common response to ‘why homeschooling isn’t ideal either.’ It’s not always, of course, because education is complex and there are no simple perfect answers. Some people should not homeschool, but not for the reasons you’ve mentioned.
      While my kids weren’t unschooled, they did have a large say in how and what their education entailed, and video games at 11am were not uncommon in my home. So long as the work got done, they were free to structure their days as they pleased, which did not lead to young men who can’t get out of bed, but to young men who know how to schedule themselves appropriately. I am not a math and science person- I bought good curricula, and sought out other homeschoolers and programs (eg the enrichment programs at the local community college) to supplement where I couldn’t. My kids were motivated about some aspects of their educational process and meh on others- just like pretty much all kids everywhere, methinks. The difference is that my kids were aware that they should slog through some meh material because THEY wanted the rewards of knowledge.
      Homeschooling is often blamed for kids being ‘socially behind’ but the funny thing is that the scrutiny homeschooled kids are put under when it comes to ‘socialization’ is arbitrary and almost invariably far more stringent than it is for public schooled kids. If you were to take a goodly sampling- say 5,000- and compare them apples to apples, you’d likely find that there are far more ‘socially behind’ public schooled kids than homeschoolers. The ‘socialization’ that many kids get in public schools traumatizes them for years, and they (not surprisingly) withdraw and fall through the public school cracks. As Ryan rather eloquently pointed out, family dynamics and genetics have at least as much to do with social skills as one’s educational forum.
      My kids went to two different community colleges’ homeschool programs, belonged to three or four different co-ops, and had unlimited opportunities for field trips, workshops and just plain hanging out. Their social circle was far wider and more varied than it would have been at our very monochrome local public school, and their dating possibilities and ‘social interactions’ were virtually unlimited.
      When they got to college they found that they were ‘ahead’ in many things and ‘behind’ in some. Just like most public schooled kids. So they jumped ahead in some subjects and took 98 and 99 courses in others until they were ready, and handled the challenges of university with probably the same degree of excitement, horror and late-night coffee-fueled intensity as anyone else on the campus.
      Not having a lot of friends due to moving is family-specific situation, not a homeschool one.
      It’s very common to look at homeschooled kids who AREN’T poster kids for it and blame the homeschooling. The fact is, there are less than ideal situations, families and parenting skills across the spectrum. But when folks encounter a public-schooled kid who isn’t particularly socially brilliant, or who goes to college unready in one or two subjects, or who graduates without a game plan or dazzling entrepreneurial skills, people don’t usually blame the school. But when it happens with homeschoolers, it’s always the fault of homeschooling.
      There are no perfect systems. But homeschooling- and yes, right through high school- is a better choice than most folks want to admit.

      Reply

  9. RebeccaC Says:

    Yes! Well-said, Ryan! So proud of you and Candice and the way you’re training your family!!! :D Hang on! The teen years will be here before you know it and they’re quite a ride!!! (I mean that in a positive, roller-coaster sort of way!) I have so many friends with kids in the public high school system, and I REALLY don’t envy the struggles that they have to maintain open lines of communication with their kids. If you can’t really talk to your teens, then who will? Like you said: their peers. Scary thought.

    Have you ever looked up the definition of the word “socialized”? If you look it up on Wikipedia, you’ll find the most common definition of the word. That definition was created in 1968. Prior to that, the common definition was “to put under group control; especially to regulate according to socialistic principles.” With that in mind, I frown at socialization. I’ll let my kids be social, but let’s keep the socialism in the communist countries, shall we? ;)

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Rebecca! Hopefully I can keep my boys busy working through their teen years so they can buy a house with cash by the time they are 18-20 :) That’s going to be one of my goals for them during those years, plus it will keep them from idleness, which is not good for teenagers. Some might say it will take some of the fun out of their childhood, but I will point out that a mortgage payment all through life can tend to take some fun out of at least a 30 year period! We’ll see how it goes!

      Reply

      • RebeccaC Says:

        Well, if you have any doubts, ask my boys! They’re all amazing workers and they obviously enjoy life. I haven’t heard any complaints about how hard we made them work when they were younger. I think they all realize that it’s just part of life, and they learned that lesson early (they didn’t have to get hit in the face with reality when they moved out of the house!).

        Reply

  10. Paul Says:

    We homeschool too. Perhaps more of your readers homeschool than you realize even though your website’s subject has to do with running a business.

    As far as socialization, homeschooling is superior. The socialization question should be asked to public school parents, not homeschool parents. My wife and I frequently get complements from strangers about how well behaved our children are. Our children act the way they do because they model their behavior after those who are around them the most. And that’s their parents and grandparents.

    Furthermore, a classroom environment usually leads to a group-think mentality. This stifles individualism and entrepreneurialism.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      There are far more readers that home school than I thought! It’s really cool.

      I agree, it’s the quality of the social interactions, not just the quantity!

      Reply

  11. Eric Says:

    Ryan!

    Excellent post. I’m so glad homeschooling is becoming more and more mainstream across the country.

    I’m a stay at home homeschooling dad of two daughters. For three years. We chose homeschooling for all the same reasons plus one more. The public school system where I live is pathetic not just for the poor education standards, but because the behaviors of those children. It’s like they’ve got no adult supervision at home and therefore do not know how to behave when in school. Schools should educate, not babysit.

    Only the ignorant bring up “socialization” when discussing homeschooling. Like that is the most important aspect of education. Socializing. Homechool children socialize as much as their parents schedule it. This past year I had to tone down how often we were in activities outside the home due to how often we were outside the home (and not on lessons).

    So good luck! If you any questions about how we handle our daily homeschool lives, just ask.

    Reply

  12. Kevin Says:

    Ryan,

    SO well said! Thank you for writing this. I have four kids that I homeschool for all the reasons you describe. Probably the most important for me is reason #4 (I believe the public education system exists largely to convert children to the religion of faith in/worship of government). Safety is also a big concern–I very much agree with the “perfect storm” analysis you conclude with.

    Again, thanks for writing this.

    Reply

  13. Justin Best Says:

    Ryan, I agree many of the reasons you list are great reasons to homeschool. But they are not the reason that we choose to homeschool our kids.

    For those who don’t know us, Amy and I are Christians. We serve Jesus as king of the universe. We’re also second-generation homeschoolers. However, we see ourselves as Christians first and homeschoolers second.

    Homeschooling should result in us being and raising our kids to become good employees (or, even better, business owners and managers), good citizens (or, even better, statesmen), etc. But I see those as secondary benefits of homeschooling.

    Because Jesus is king, it changes everything for us. Simply put, we see our primary responsibility as parents is to teach our kids to follow Jesus as their king too. We just can’t see how we could do that effectively if the primary learning moments in their lives was “outsourced” to others.

    Homeschooling is an excellent teaching method. Generally speaking, I feel that homeschoolers (Christian and non-Christian alike) come out ahead academically. So, I like your article pointing out these benefits. It simply feels incomplete to me and, I imagine, others who homeschool primarily for religious reasons.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Justin, my aim and goal was to petition ALL people that the best place for kids to receive a quality education is at home. I think that many people (myself included) have long viewed homeschooling as the way mostly conservative Christians educate their children. I think that has been harmful to the home school movement in general, and has definitely slowed it’s growth. Home schooling is more than just a way for Christians to incorporate spiritual beliefs into their child’s day to day education. It’s the best method of education for students period, in my opinion, even for those that don’t incorporate a religious emphasis. That was my focus. I want non-Christians and Christians alike to see the benefits of a home school education.

      Reply

  14. Elizabeth Says:

    I enjoyed your article and related with it completely. I also fell behind in school and did not have the support to “keep up”. I attended private Christian schools with just a few months of public school and had the same experience. Christian schools still have standardized testing and state requirements, so the teaching leans toward what will be tested. My Mother has been a teacher for over thirty years in Christian schools and battles with the things you listed. I look forward to homeschooling my kids in the future and am excited to offer them a learning environment I only dreamed of as a child.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Elizabeth! Your exactly right, private schools struggle with the same issues as their public counterparts. Also, we have to factor in the kids that are forced into private schools because they’ve been kicked out of the public schools, which is becoming more and more common. Thanks for sharing and I’m excited for your kids!

      Reply

  15. John Says:

    Ryan,
    Keep up the good work. May God bless you and your family in this journey.

    My wife and I homeschooled all five of our children. It was a 23 year process. We are all much better for it and so is society.

    I highly recommend joining Homeschool Legal Defence Association (HSLDA). A great resource and real help when needed.
    http://www.hslda.org/

    Good Providence in all your endeavours!

    Reply

  16. Jennifer at Purposeful Nutrition and The Entwife's Journal Says:

    If I had written an essay on why I homeschool my 4 kids this is exactly what I would have said. Great blog post. My oldest is 16 and has 2 years of high school left. So so glad we took this journey.

    Reply

  17. RJ Says:

    Great post! We to plan on homeschooling and you have given us some great responses to the typical reactions we get when we tell people our plan. Thank you and keep up the great work!!!!

    Reply

  18. Barbara Frank Says:

    Congratulations on your decision to homeschool your children. We made that same decision 30 years ago and I subsequently homeschooled our four from birth to age 18. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Our kids had a real childhood, learned at their own pace and had the time to develop their personal interests.

    Enjoy this time with your children—you will never regret it!

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks for choosing the home school path so long ago. You have made it much easier for people like ourselves to go down this road.

      Thanks for the reminder about the time with our children. It is going by quickly. Have a great day!

      Reply

  19. Ric Says:

    Bravo Ryan Bravo! My new girlfriend home schooled all 3 or her kids and they are just great and I see where my education would have taken me places I can hardly imagine if I was schooled at home.

    Reply

  20. Annie Says:

    I like this post! I want to add that homeschooling can lead to college, very successfully and happily. My daughter was a home scholar and now passionately loves being in college. She thinks that homeschooling prepared her better for it than public school would have – she says she knows how to work, is self-motivated and believes that she’s in charge of what she puts in her brain. She’s not shooting for a particular career, just a true scholar who loves to learn new things – it’s the delight of the learning that motivates her.

    As for the socialization nonsense, she’s well-liked and has a great group of friends at college. She’s actually kind of a leader among her classmates. She’s a bit more mature and confident – and I think this is the very best thing that homeschooling gave her – she’s really, really good at being herself.

    Reply

  21. Gina Says:

    Ryan,

    Great arguments for homeschooling.

    I am a retired homeschool mom (21 years) and my two sons are in their late 20’s. I am now in that blessed time of life when I get to see the fruits of my labors. Everything you say is true, and more. Here is my family’s story:

    Both my sons were dyslexic, one severely, and he also had dyscalculia (hard time learning math) and dyspraxia (coordination challenges). I never told them they had “learning disabilities” or dyslexia. I just set the expectations to their level and saw that they worked on it every day. They never had anyone else to compare themselves to academically, and no one ever teased them for being awkward or “slow.” Neither did they get any labels from any other adults. The key is that they never learned that they had any limitations. Once they got into their teens and started having goals for adulthood, they just did whatever it took to achieve them.

    Our son with the dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia had a dream to play the pipe organ professionally from the time he was 3 years old. Now, the only problem with that was that he would have to be able to play up to five keyboards with his two hands, a keyboard with his feet, and push buttons to change the sound settings during a piece of music as well. Meanwhile, he would have to read three staffs of music at once. Finally, he’d have to understand music theory, which is a lot of complicated math.

    Homeschooling gave him the time to practice each coordination skill individually until he developed the “muscle memory” he needed to be competent. Again, we never told him he couldn’t do it.

    And would you believe he went to undergrad conservatory on a merit scholarship–and then earned a master’s degree in organ performance from a top tier university’s music conservatory? He chose that school because it had the most comprehensive music theory courses. He had to work very hard, but he managed to master the material. He now is a church musician and has performed internationally and in major venues in New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. He also teaches piano.

    As for being dyslexic, I’ve only recently told him he even had that challenge. Most people don’t know, as he writes pretty well now and knows to check himself.

    As for life skills, before he went to college, this same son worked in retail for a few years. By his 20th birthday, he had been promoted to assistant manager of a large new clothing store, which he helped open.

    My other son is more athletic and handy. He was working full time in construction and doing his schoolwork his senior year of high school. He can fix or build most anything around the house because he had time to work on projects with my dad after he retired. He also became a manager at 20, running the office and warehouse of my husband’s business for five years. He has developed such a good business sense at 26 that my husband asks him for advice!

    As for social skills, both young men are well-liked wherever they go. They have friends of every age, and both are skilled in sales. This ability is probably partly personality, partly our training, and partly due to homeschooling. When our boys were children, we owned a retail store where they would work after they got their schoolwork done. My youngest was holding conversations with customers at age 6. Later, they would work with their dad during the day in other businesses where they had to deal with the public. Like you, my husband purposely planned his career around ways he could be with his kids.

    It’s a different world now for homeschoolers. We got a lot of questions when we’d be out during the day, and the biggest question was, “Is that LEGAL!?!”

    Because there wasn’t much for homeschoolers then, I wrote a lot of our own curriculum, which I still think is often the most real way to learn a subject. Also, you can gear it to your kids’ interests and watch their enthusiasm soar. Following an interest is the best way to motivate any child but especially one who has to work harder at it to write. (For example, Go to the woods or a park weekly, and draw in a journal a plant or creature that you find. Throughout the week, research it. Write what you find in your journal. Or take the dog to an obedience class every week–he needs it! Practice daily. Keep a log of your time. Research dog behavior and write a report. Or find a tree ID book, and take it with you into the woods. Log your time while you learn to identify 15 local trees. Write a report about five of the trees. Or research and write a history of your town. Or take a monthly history field trip locally. Research and write a report about each place. Or research your family’s genealogy and make a family tree. Note: time logs are good for high school credits but also at younger ages teach discipline and show local officials and yourself how much you really did!)

    I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging. We had many times when we wanted to give up, and we didn’t have any idea things would turn out as well as they did. We made financial sacrifices, too. However, we’d do it all again.

    I’d just like for others to see what is possible in that great big world outside the box.

    Reply

  22. Mike Says:

    Wow – what a great article. Your kids are lucky to have you. I home school my children also, for exactly the same reasons and my school years were horrible at worst, boring at best and a total waste of time. I’d give a lot to be able to go and spend that time with my Dad before he died young. Time the government forced away from us both without my consent and gave me a useless half baked “edumacation” in return. I had to go and educate myself properly after high school for my own personal dignity, and eventually I rediscovered the joy and curiosity the school system had almost killed in me. The way I see it, I’d have to hate my kids to want to send them to a school. Thanks for writing this article – fantastic.

    Reply

  23. clay Says:

    Great article.

    Reply

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