Ten Reasons to Homeschool Your Children

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There are several reasons why perfectly normal middle class families homeschool:

  1. Distance to school
  2. Medical Conditions
  3. Advanced Students
  4. Slow Students
  5. Behavioral Problems
  6. Religious Conviction
  7. Conflict with government schools
  8. Lack of Confidence in the government schools
  9. School Environment
  10. School Violence

Distance to school

Families who live at a considerable distance from the local schools have homeschooled for decades. Many families who live in Alaska are second and third generation homeschoolers. But this also applies to many families who live in sparsely populated areas such as the states of Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Idaho, and the eastern parts of Washington, Oregon, and even California. In many cases, a trip to school can be 40 miles or more.

However, distance isn't just measured in miles anymore. Especially in some suburban areas, traffic problems are getting so severe that a trip to school can take 30 to 45 minutes or longer. And the parents have decided that this isn't worth the hassle.

Medical Conditions

Many students have been forced or encouraged to study at home because of medical conditions. A temporary stint in bed because of hepatitis, or a longer stay because of chemotherapy or injuries suffered in a auto accident can lead to a more permanent routine of homeschooling as Mom and child decide that they actually like being around each other.

Advanced Students

Gifted students have long posed a problem for school authorities and parents alike. Government schools have three responses to gifted students, none of which is optimal:
Many students who start as gifted in elementary school leave high school as merely above average, since their peers and threatened teachers have taught them that intelligence is not a good trait to show. Everything in the traditional school system encourages gifted students to slow down. Nowhere is there instruction that teaches these students how to learn even faster.

Homeschooling can be wonderful for gifted students if the parents can either keep up or have access to a good advisor. The gifted student can push on as fast as possible, which has resulted in the press reports of 11 and 12 year olds entering college.  The biggest challenge for Mom and Dad is to keep feeding the textbooks to Junior.

Slow Students

The problem of the slower student is exactly the opposite of the gifted student. Government schools deal with these students with a mirror image of the program for gifted kids: Put them in the slower class, hold them back a year, put them into special classes for slow students. The result is that a student identified as "slow" is encouraged to become even slower -- and feels bad about it at the same time.

Home school parents have many stories of this happening to their children. Our daughter became convinced that she was terrible in math because she missed a couple of weeks at the beginning of a school year and became confused. This problem continued for several years as she had trouble with math, was put in a slower class, had less expected of her, and did even poorer.

We finally decided to homeschool her starting in 7th grade. Three years later, she had one remarkable week where she completed 4 weeks of math lessons in 3 days -- simply to get the opportunity to go to the beach for a weekend. And her scores are always higher when she is working faster because she concentrates more.

Behavioral Problems

Our son was a behavior problem for his pre-school. He had stopped taking naps a year earlier and did not want to take naps. Additionally, he is very musical and memorized new songs within two repetitions -- unlike the class, which did the same song each day for two weeks. He began to act up and got into trouble repeatedly. One day he was reported as having had a bad day. My wife asked him why he didn't obey and he responded dejectedly "I guess my brain is too dumb to behave." That afternoon was his last at pre-school. My wife taught him to read within 6 weeks -- at age 4.

Our son was a behavior problem at his school because he was bored. Other parents have had children become behavior problems because the government schools have no effective means of disciplining students -- and the students know it. However, Dad and Mom have more options at hand to control behavior than the teachers at school do.

Religious Conviction

Many parents, upon a close reading of the Bible, Torah, or Koran, have come to realize that God commands the parents to raise and teach a child -- not that the parents send their children to teachers. This responsibility includes spiritual training and imparting of wisdom -- both of which are very difficult to do with children who are being taught opposite values by government curricula.

Why should a Christian parent send their child to school to learn a view of history (Darwin's) that is totally different from the parent's deepest religious beliefs? And why should an Islamic mother send her daughter to school to be taught by the other children that dressing in skimpy outfits and kicking her legs high in the air as a cheerleader is the road to success?

Homeschooling used to be something only fringe sects did -- because the schools reflected the values of most Americans. But today, many, many denominations have decided that the values taught in the government schools are the values of the fringe -- and homeschooling is more normal.

Conflict with government schools

The key event that triggered our decision to homeschool our eldest daughter was when our daughter joined a counselor's group for kid's with divorced parents. Never mind that my wife's divorce had occurred when our daughter was 2 years old and our marriage had occurred when she was 5!  The school counselor's had apparently had some time on their hands, so they went to each middle school classroom and had the children fill out a form listing which groups they'd like to belong to. A few days later she was called to the counseling office where the first group meeting was held. We heard about the group for the first time that evening. Upon contacting the staff involved, we asked, "Why didn't you provide a permission slip?"  The answer: "We used to, but not enough parents would give their permission."

Many parents have had similar run-ins with the school authorities. This has become especially pronounced recently because of several trends:

When parent have arguments with school authorities, there are only three ways these disputes are settled.

Lack of Confidence in the government schools

Parents who lack confidence in the government schools are a growing portion of homeschoolers. This lack of confidence is caused by three trends:
One of the key issues that convinced us to homeschool was the amount of time we had to spend with our daughter re-educating her about basic History and Geography:
 After a while, you just loose confidence and decide that you can do it better yourself.

School Environment

Do you really want your daughters to come home with tales about how their 8th grade friends are trying to imitate Bill and Monica? And do you need to hear about how 14-year-old Jimmy down the street brought pot to school? Have you been to the school sponsored 4th grade dances (4th!) to see the students dancing like MTV stars? And did you need to hear the director from the Metropolitan Opera cussing at the third grade students?

School Violence

Finally, Littleton, Colorado made us all aware of what happens when you put the whole thing together: the valueless curricula, the permissive environment, the impersonal bureaucracy, and the lack of parental involvement. Many parents have made the homeschool decision over just this point, because years ago their schools became too dangerous. Which one is next?

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Copyright © 1999, Brian L. Boley All Rights Reserved.
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