HA note: The following series is reprinted with permission from Brittany’s blog BAM. Part Nine was originally published on June 27, 2012.
Also in this series: Part One: Why I Wanted To Write This | Part Two: Survey Stats and Large Families | Part Three: Top 3 Reasons Parents Homeschool | Part Four: Academic and Emotional Experiences, K-8 | Part Five: The Highschool Experience | Part Six: College? Prepared or Not? | Part Seven: What About Socialization? | Part Eight: The Best Thing vs. What Was Missing | Part Nine, Do Former Homeschoolers Want to Homeschool? | Part Ten: Are the Stereotypes Better or Worse?
Part Nine: Do Former Homeschoolers Want to Homeschool Their Kids?
When I started this series, the question”Do former homeschoolers want to homeschool their children?” was one that was very personal. In my current circle of friends, I know lots of parents who are currently homeschooling or are planning on homeschooling. But none of these parents were homeschooled themselves.
This observation then led to intense introspection: Will I homeschool my kids? As my boys are 4 (they will turn 5 in October), this question has produced a lot of deep conversations and some sleepless nights for me. (I will answer this question at the end of this post)
I wanted to know what other former homeschoolers were doing. So, I was eager to see what the survey results would bring.
And I am eager to share these results with you now.
- 45 people answered this portion of the survey
- 18 adults have children ranging from 0-10 years old
- 27 adults currently have no children
24% or 11 people said “No, they did not plan on homeschooling”
- 5 have children
- 6 do not have children
M. W. 30 from OH: Not unless we have to. I don’t want them to go through what I went though. I would consider home school until 7th grade but definitely not after that.
M. M. 29 from CA: I do not have kids, and when I do have them – NO. I don’t think I could do it, but more than that I don’t want to repeat the experience I had.
Kaitlin G. 22 from KS: No, I want my children to be able to experience everything that school has to offer, however we will consider doing private school instead of public school depending on where we live.
Kelly C. 29 from VA: I would like our children to go to private school if we can afford it when the time comes. If we cannot, then I will strongly consider homeschooling. My main concern is the patience it requires… I feel seriously lacking the patience department. My husband my actually be the one to homeschool if we decide to go that route. His job is flexible and he has far more patience than me and he is an excellent teacher.
Elina C. 25 from KS: I would love to, but I can’t. Tyler and I have moved to Germany to do missions work. It is illegal to homeschool your children here. I do have to admit that the German school system has very good structure. I am sure that I will do some side studies with my kids. Focusing on Creation Science, Bible and American History.
Others mentioned family situations that would make homeschooling impossible: joint custody of child(ren), financial situations that would not allow it, or the fact that a spouse did not want to homeschool.
31% or 14 participants said that they “Maybe or were unsure if they would homeschool”
- 6 have children
- 8 do not have children.
Elizabeth J. 27 from KS: I would love to, but I have compromised with my husband to say that it depends on the child and what the school has to offer at that time.
Christy L. 28 from CA: I don’t have kids right now, but if I do in the future, the decision to homeschool will really depend upon the child and where I live at the time. Right now, the thought of homeschooling doesn’t sound fun to me- but here in San Francisco the public schools are pretty bad, so if I still live here, we will either have to homeschool or move north.
Chelsea W. 30 from KS: That is still up in the air…it just depends on so many things. I dont want to send my kids to public school if at all possible. We would like to do a private school if possible, but I may decide to homeschool. Just not decided yet.
Melissa G. 26 from VA: My decision to homeschool my children will be based on their personalities. If I have a child(ren) with a similar academic personality to myself, I will probably choose to homeschool. If I have a child(ren) with a more social personality, I may choose to send him/her to the local Catholic school.
Beka R. 25 from KS: I plan to homeschool my children if I choose to stay home when they are born. If I choose to continue working, I will probably enroll them in a private Christian school. I really want to homeschool because I think that schools have gone so far from the inter-grade learning, where younger students learn faster and pick up more by being there when the older students are being taught, and because of the safety issues within public schools. My best friend teaches 3rd grade and the lock-downs and inter-student violence is really concerning. However I’m not sure whether I’ll always work, or whether I’ll stay home and homeschool, or whether I’ll do some combination thereof. Right now, I plan on working and enrolling my kids in private Christian school. But who knows, things could change.
Corinna R. 35 from VA: My oldest is 4 and I’m not sure if we will homeschool her or not. I think it will depend on how we like our options. I don’t think that private school is worth the money and I see so many advantages to homeschooling. You can really make it whatever you like. Although I cringe when I see families not requiring good obedience of their children. Then I wonder if the public school would be healthier for the children. They would at least learn some boundaries.
Anthony T. 27 from VA: We haven’t decided yet. I think it’s a good possibility though. The reason why I would want to is because I just value our role as parents to be the ones raising our kids and teaching them things… not just academics, but teaching them how to glorify God. Regardless of which type of school you put your kid in, you’re relegating that role to someone else. It may be that the person you relegate that role to is a great person and can do those same things, but part of me just thinks that the ideal scenario is for parents to do that. I don’t know though. I think academically, my wife and I could provide a better academic environment than our kids could get in a school. I think spiritually, it would be ideal for us to teach them. I don’t know though.
The responders who said “YES! They want to/plan to/are homeschooling” was the largest group. However, the numbers need a little pinch of salt, I believe.
44% or 20 responders said “Yes, They want to/plan to/are homeschooling”
- Only 3 families (6%) are currently homeschooling
- 7 people who said “Yes” currently have children.
- 13 responders had no children.
I believe the “pinch of salt” is needed because while people said they want to homeschool or even plan to homeschool, I think parents’ opinions often do change when they actually have children (either for or against). (Just my little 2 cents.)
Here is what the families who currently homeschool had to say:
Jenna C. 28 from KY: Yes, because I can’t imagine sending them off for 8 hours a day without my supervision and guidance. I feel a tremendous responsibility to shepherd them and lead them up in the truth of the gospel, and also to prepare them to be adults who can thrive in this world. I feel that that is best done, right now, by me being with them as much as possible. I also know my kids better than anyone, and I know how they learn the best and what they are struggling with. it makes sense to me to be the one to teach them. We may reconsider this decision in the future, but right now, this is what we feel is the best choice for our family and our children.
Christine M. 31 from KS: We currently homeschool our older two. We LOVE it! We are able to move at our own pace to keep the kids interested. They learned to read quickly, they have plenty of time to just be kids, and we’re able to slow down if we come across any trouble spots, but honestly, they are both way ahead of where they “should” be. I have a friend who currently has a daughter in 4th grade who is severely struggling because of her reading ability. Instead of being able to slow down, or even repeat a grade, the school has continued to push her forward so her “self-esteem isn’t damaged from being in with younger students”, seemingly ignoring the fact that she is struggling to read what’s required of her.
Jerusha C. 30 from VA: I just started homeschooling my oldest 2 children this past fall. [My daughter] went to public school k-5 but wanted to be homeschooled, and when she was in 3rd grade I started thinking and praying about it. I really didn’t want to because I my own experence but I felt God “calling” me to do it.
Other responses from those who said “Yes:”
Amberley A. 33 from WA: Chances are good that we will homeschool in the future (we currently have our children in a private Christian school – their grandmother teaches there and we get a super-amazing discount!), but we will probably homeschool in the future when she retires and/or for high school. The Christian school’s high school program is limited, and we also have quite a few things that we want to teach our children in high school that they won’t learn in any school environment because they are not traditional subjects.
Stuart G. 29 from VA: We do plan on it. Honestly, we believe we can give our children a superior education – one that is tailored to their needs, talents, etc., and that goes much deeper than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. More importantly, I believe home-schooling will help us build stronger relationships with our children. Not that you can’t have strong relationships if your children are in public/private school, just that home-schooling might furnish more opportunities for such a relationship.
Jenna N. 28 from KS: I (semi-ironically) became an elementary school teacher and after having been a teacher, I really can’t imagine having someone else have the amount of influence over my children that teacher’s have. Not to mention the colossal amount of time that is wasted in a classroom and my (slightly arrogant) attitude of knowing what I think teachers should be doing and if they are doing it the right way or not.
Emily H. 19 from GA: I do plan to homeschool my kids one day. Though it won’t be a perfect experience, I feel I have definitely learned from mistakes my parents made (and will carry on the successes) and would like to put it in action in one day.
Allison E. 24 from VA: Yes, I plan on it. I think it prepared me better academically and I want to give my kids that advantage.
Megan W. 27 from GA: As of now we are planning on homeschooling because, as of now, we believe it’s the best fit for our oldest. My husband and I want to have the final say on what our children are taught. Each year our kids are in school we will seek to make the decision that’s best for each of our children.
Jonathan M. 30 from TX: Yes, because the more I look at the pathetic state of the recrutes coming in right out of highschool there is no way I would let my kids grow up that way. The other reason is that every time I hear about what they teach in schools it makes me fear for my kids.
Another responder said: Yes (or private Christian), I plan to (if I have children); I believe it prepares them academically for the real world better than public school; I believe it lays out foundations faith issues.
The second half of this question was “If you do plan on homeschooling, is there anything you would do differently?”
While some responders said, “No, not really,” others gave many suggestions about what they would plan to do differently if and when they do homeschool their children.
The first three testimonies are from the moms who currently homeschool:
Jenna C. 28 from KY: I will be more intentional about training them in social interaction, and in providing opportunities for them to practice those skills. I will also be more involved in their learning, and will not focus so much on their “grade” but on how well they know the information. I will review with them and teach them how to apply the things they are learning to real life situations, not only during the lesson but in everyday life.
Christine M. 31 from KS: We do plan on giving them the option of choosing public school once they reach High School, and of course academics will take on a different look because there’s so much more available. But, overall my goal is to create socially active, politically literate, independent adults by the time graduation arrives.
Jerusha C. 30 from VA: I have them enrolled in a correspondence school.
Melissa G. 26 from VA: MORE WRITING! And a greater emphasis on critical thinking over religious faith.
One Responder said: Yes, I would particularly focus more on spirituality (versus theology), concentrate on finding a church in which my children can thrive socially/spiritually, etc. Additionally, I would be more focused on classic education (more focus on foreign language, literature, etc.)
Megan W. 27 from GA: Yes. I will make lesson plans ahead of time and know what our goals are for the week, semester and year. There will be more structure then what I had.
Michelle D. 19 from KS: Can’t think of many, but perhaps I would involve my children in more group activities/co-op classes during grade school and middle school. I would not be afraid to allow them to have close friends outside of the family.
Ruth M. 23 from OK: I plan to implement a little more structure and hit math and science a little harder.
Corinna R. 34 from VA: I will focus more on academic excellence. The materials are so much better now. I don’t have to invent the wheel like my parents.
Amberley A. 33 from WA: Well, there are quite a few things we want to teach our kids that I wasn’t taught – Greek, things about finances/running a business/real estate, Also – we want to teach Bible – not only the knowledge, but the application of what it says and why it is relevant in their life, and mission trip/witnessing practice and experience.
So, back to my original dilemma: Do I want to/plan to homeschool my children?
In past posts, I’ve shared very honestly about what I thought was great about my homeschooling experience and what I thought could have been different/better. Overall, I loved being homeschooled and think I had a positive experience for the most part.
But, I don’t really want to homeschool.
Here are my reasons (mainly selfish):
1. I struggle with patience with my twin boys and get frustrated very easily when I try to teach them things. I don’t want my lack of personal patience to interfere with the learning process or (worse!) cause them to hate school/learning.
2. I butt heads with one of my sons quite frequently. I think he learns better from other people.
3. I want to work. I really, really enjoy teaching writing and literature at our local university. I get a great deal of personal satisfaction from teaching (though I only do it part time).
My boys will be going to Pre-K this fall at our neighborhood elementary school. (It is right across the street from us!) Since they will not be 5 until October, they will enter Kindergarten next year. Though I could keep them at home this year and do “home” preschool, I am having a baby in October (we like that month around here) and I know that at school they will be able to get the social and academic attention that I will struggle to give them in the first few weeks and months after our baby boy arrives.
Reading through all of the surveys has made me go back and forth on my decision though. I definitely feel guilty about not wanting to homeschool, fearing that I will not be able to provide the “good things” that I gleaned from homeschooling:
- I want to provide the Biblical education that I received through homeschooling.
- I want my kids to have the freedom to pursue special interests.
- And I do not want my children to be bored in school and lose their love for learning early (something my husband struggled with in public school).
However, I have come to the realization that teaching the Bible or about one’s faith is an option for every family, whether you homeschool or not.
I can still encourage my sons’ personal interests (plus, they will have other adults — teachers, counselors — who will also inspire them and perhaps provide insight and opportunities that I cannot).
The “being bored” thing is one I am concerned about. And I would more seriously consider homeschooling if I felt like my kids were starting to hate learning.
My husband and I agree that we will take our schooling decision year by year and we would definitely consider homeschooling in the future if we think that this will be the best option for our boys.
What about you?
If you were homeschooled, do you plan on/want to homeschool your children?
If not, do you (like me) feel guilty sometimes?
If you do plan on homeschooling, what do you plan to do differently with your children?
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To be continued.