Friday, July 11, 2014

Why do I homeschool?

People are naturally curious about why someone would homeschool. When I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, I never thought about homeschooling him. I was a teacher. I was certain that I would just send him to school. I had family members who had been homeschooled but I did not think that was the choice I would make for my own children. I began homeschooling because God laid it on my heart to do so. It has been a difficult road. Every year I worry if I will be able to continue to homeschool. It is especially difficult as a single mom. For most single moms, it is not even possible.

I wrote this post a few years ago explaining my personal reasons for choosing home education while responding to some of the reasons other people have used to persuade me to put them into public school.

#1 Because of all the things they will miss out on. 
No I don't mean the Prom. When we were growing up, my cousin's were homeschooled and I remember thinking that they were going to resent their parents because they would be missing out on so much. Here are some examples of things that they missed out on. 
  • When I was 12, I started smoking cigarettes.
  • When I was 13, I started drinking alcohol.
  • When I was 14, I started smoking Marijuana. 
  • When I was 15, I lost my virginity. 
  • When I was 16, I started dropping acid.
  • When I was 17, I dropped out and got my GED.
#2 A quality education. 
I was in all honors classes through school and I actually managed to keep my grades up despite my "extracurricular activities". I was never really challenged by my school work. We spent so much time repeating things I had already learned but there are so many things I NEVER learned. Important things like the French and Indian War, how our government works, MY ADDITION AND MULTIPLICATION FACTS, GOOD GRAMMAR!!!! I mean, wouldn't this blog be more enjoyable to read if I had learned good Grammar? I have 2 college degrees yet my grammar is still atrocious. I apologize. It is not because I don't want to know it. It is because no one ever taught it to me. There are so many kids in school who are not taught things that they CAN learn if given the chance.  

#3 Socialization.
I have heard the argument that if parents are involved, their children will not fall into the normal teenage traps but my parents were VERY involved. They were great parents. I was just sneaky. I had made the wrong friends. I think that no matter how good a parent you are, you can't keep your child from running around with the wrong crowd and making bad choices. By the time I got to middle school it was more important to me to make friends, than to make good grades. A girl like me had few choices; nerds, losers, or stoners. I am sure you can guess which clique I slid into. I admit I chose poorly I have a good reason an excuse why I did not join up with the nerds. Which leads me to reason #4.

#4 Self-esteem
When I was in elementary school I had 2 kinds of seizures, temporal lobe and absence. When I had absence seizures my teachers and fellow classmates would call me a daydreamer, dumb blonde, and other cute nicknames. (insert another sarcastic look here) When I had a temporal lobe seizure they just called me a freak, weirdo & etc. I had little to no self esteem when I entered middle school and I was convinced I was stupid. I did not learn a lot because I was having seizures when it was being taught. What I did know, I did not always get a chance to produce because I was having a seizure when I was asked. This leads me to reason #5

#5 No teacher can love them like I do 
The reactions that some of my teachers had to my seizures were astounding. I was spanked in Kindergarten. I was put in the corner for most of first grade.  My second grade teacher wanted me to drink a cup of coffee in the morning before school so I would be more alert. My fourth grade teacher broke a yard stick over my head because he was tired of me "falling asleep in class". My fifth grade teacher told my mom that until I had a note from a doctor on why I couldn't turn my paper in with the rest of the class I was going to fail. He was preparing us for middle school so we turned in our papers at certain subject blocks. If I was having a seizure when the papers were collected I could not walk up to him at the end of the day and hand him my paper. Which leads me to #6 

#6 No child left behind!
I was left behind over and over. My seizures went undiagnosed until I was 12 when I was finally able to verbalize what was wrong. My Mom had taken me to a dozen doctors and I was misdiagnosed a dozen times. Don't get me started on a medical rant. Let me finish my education rant first. If one of my teachers had been trained to recognize seizures or had even bothered to make a proper observation I would have been diagnosed sooner. Instead my Epilepsy was ignored or a source of ridicule.

I am not the only one. My brother has ADHD and has an auditory processing disorder. My Mom had a meeting with one of his teachers a few months into his freshman year. The teacher did not know who my brother was. She even called him the wrong name. My brother had an IEP and should have been sitting in the front of the class and getting individualized attention. He was in the back of the class and failing. He was not a trouble maker so he was ignored. He failed his freshman year 3 times. My Mom pulled him out sophomore year as well. She put him in a private school where he flourished. Now he is a very successful professional welder. I am so proud of him and the obstacles he has overcome!   

#7 Preparing them for life and the after life.
I have also heard the argument that as Christians, we should send our children into the mission field of public school to witness to the lost. I think that is a lot of pressure to put onto a child. When public school teaches so many things that contradict my morals and beliefs, how can I expect them to walk away from it any different than I did. Which by the way was Pagan, not Atheist, PAGAN! Instead of witnessing to the lost I became LOST!

When I was 21 weeks pregnant with my 1st baby my water broke. At the hospital they told me that I would deliver soon and they could not save his life. All I could do was lay in bed and wait for labor to begin. I laid there praying. As a Christian I knew that my baby would be in his Father's arms if I delivered him so early. I also knew that if he survived, it would be up to me to get him there. I told God I was up to the challenge. I prayed, "Lord, Please let me keep him with me. I will do my best to teach him about You. I will tell him how much You love him. If you give him to me, I promise to give him back to You someday." and I mean to keep that promise! 

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