Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Why We Choose to Homeschool

As of 2016, there were an estimated 2.3 million homeschoolers here in the United States. And that number keeps rising by about 2% to 8% a year. Staggering numbers if you think about it. Here in Louisiana, there were roughly 24,000 to 26,000 homeschoolers in 2016. And again that number is rising and rising fast. 

Before  I start this I want to say:


  • Homeschooling isn't for everyone but it is the right choice for our family
  • You can still get a good education in traditional schooling


So why is everyone opting to teach their children at home? 

The reasons can vary. Some people do it for religious reasons like simply wanting a more biblical approach to things like science and history. Some opt out of traditional schooling for reasons such as school bullying, their child has autism, ADHD, or other medical conditions and they feel like their best option is to teach them at home. And then there are people like me who chose a different reason.

Stem lesson on circuity 


I've always wanted to homeschool my children. I wasn't able to homeschool my oldest, Kyla, for many reasons the biggest now being that she doesn't want to leave her high school. Hayley, on the other hand, I started homeschooling when she entered second grade. I let my doubts and fears of not being able to teach her to force me into sending her to public school the first couple of years but quickly realized we were all miserable. I put my fears aside and now here we are with her getting ready to enter her sixth-grade year and we couldn't be happier. I've homeschooled while taking college courses online and through a horrible stint of bipolar mania and depression and it's still been a million times better than sending her to public school.

So why did we choose to homeschool? 

One of the reasons was Hayley herself. My daughter was miserable at school. She'd break down into near hysterics each morning, it was more than a case of just not wanting to go to schoo and it left me feeling like I was killing a bit of her heart and soul each time I sent her out the door.

Hayley loved her teacher and she enjoyed her friends but she hated the school experience.

She hated that she would finish her busy work in the morning before everyone else and have to sit there not being able to do anything else, she had taken to quietly drawing on the back of the pages until she got in trouble for it.  She also hated that the students would never be quiet long enough to listen to the teacher. She's very much a 'sit down, shut up, and listen' kind of personality and the disrespect her classmates where showing her teacher angered her. She also would get frustrated with the constant repetition of lessons. She'd catch on quickly to a subject, she loves to learn but she'd get so bored having to repeat the same thing for days on end.

The biggest driving factor behind us deciding to take a more nontraditional route of education is the glaring problems our national school system has, not to mention the poor schooling done on a state level here.

Thanks to government interference acts, like No Child Left Behind and Race To the Top, our educational systems has become more about standardized test scores and less about an in-depth education. The majority of teachers now 'teach to test' for fear of getting low classroom scores which in turn lower school scores. These low scores affect things like funding, evaluation of teachers and administrators, and even what is taught in classrooms. Teachers are no longer allowed the freedom to teach to individual student needs. There's no freedom in what they can teach because they have to prepare students across many broad spectrums to take the same test as everyone else.

Children with learning disabilities, like my daughter Kyla, are pushed through the system to keep scores high. She's a sophomore with a 5th-grade reading comprehension. Up until last year, this wasn't a 'big deal' because the schools accommodated her. She got easier tests, test read to her, longer time on projects and etc, basically instead of being taught what she didn't know she was taught that it was going to be given to her so why put in the effort. Now as a sophomore the school is pulling a lot of these accommodations and yet they are bewildered why she is near failing. They wouldn't expect a 5th grader to come in and pass 10th-grade biology yet that's just what they are asking her to do. When we talked to her counselor about it, in hopes she'd be held back, we were told no, she'd still pass even if she fails the class.

Cooking lesson at home with Kyla


Kyla isn't the only student this is happening to. It's in every school across the nation.

The ability to teach to Hayley's learning style, at her pace (which is rather fast at times), engage her in deep conversations, and the ability to maneuver our busy schedule around our school schedule is a huge added bonus.

Hayley loves to read on the floor under the table. 


There is also the fact that Louisiana has one of the poorest school systems in the country. We have a few choice public schools that are nice but even then they are lacking books for every student, pushing to test (this is why they have so much money coming in), and are usually so crowded that the school campuses look like mini college campuses.



What are the plus side to us homeschooling?


  • Hayley gets an individualized learning experience that plays to her strengths. 
  • We get untold amounts of family time together. 
  • She gets to socialize not only with kids her age through co-ps and homeschooling groups but also with adults from all works of life. 
  • Freedom to take days to delve deeper into things, like the fact that Catherine the Great was one of the first builders of rollercoasters. 
  • The ability to customize our schedule. If the weathers nice we can take off and not feel guilty, there's no need to worry about doctors excuses and if we are just having a bad day we can indulge. 
  • Hayley's learned to be independent at an early age. She does a lot of learning on her own and comes to me when she wants to discuss what she's learned or needs help. She has learned to be disciplined with her time as well. 



At the end of the day and no matter the reason it's what works best for us and makes Hayley happy. And that's really all that is important.

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