Then this week I hosted a end of year wrap up party for homeschool mom's at my house. We were blessed to have a couple of experienced homeschool moms who had graduated several children from their homeschools. We also had a few moms share their successes from this year. I heard several stories about the closeness of these families and especially how close the siblings were to each other. I found myself saying, "this is why I wanted to homeschool..."
And then it hit me. I had forgotten why I had chosen to homeschool. I had gotten wrapped up in all of the "academic benefits" and totally forgotten the rest. Our culture is obsessed with academic excellence and whenever I chatted with people about our choice to homeschool it became about academics. If they agreed with my choice they would list the academic benefits. If they didn't agree with my choice, I would list the academic benefits... Desperate to justify myself and for approval of our choice.
But, here is the thing: I don't really homeschool for academic reasons. At the risk of sounding over confident I think I have really bright children who could achieve "academic success" in almost any setting. In fact, despite numerous studies stating the success of homeschoolers there is a chance my kids could receive a better education somewhere other than in my home.
So, of course I was feeling discouraged. I was doing something really challenging without ever thinking about why I was doing it..So, after chatting with my friend Crystal this morning, she suggested I create a "mission statement" for why I homeschool so I would have something to look back at throughout the year and be encouraged by.
I decided to start out by listing out my reasons and thought I would go ahead and share what I came up with!
We homeschool because...
- We value family unity and want our children to be each other's best friends
- We believe that developing character in our children is more important than academics
- We believe that God has called parents to teach our own children about Him throughout the entire day
- We want to give our children the time to explore their own personal interests
- We want to give our children a low-stress childhood with lots of time to play and imagine
- We want to be the ones influencing our children along with other adults we trust and respect rather than our children being influenced mostly by peer pressure
- We want to physically and emotionally protect our children during their young and formative years
- We want to be the ones with our children during their "best" hours of the day when they are awake and alert and ready to learn
- We want to determine a schedule that is best for our family and not be at the mercy of the school district
- We want to give our children the opportunity to have friends of all ages based on shared interests and values rather than just age
- We want to choose resources for our children that are glorifying to God and beneficial to them as individuals
This is just a handful of reasons that I came up with this morning. I am going to try to put my top reasons along with my husband's into a mission statement and then I will share that here!
*Disclaimer: This is why WE homeschool. I do not believe that everyone has to homeschool in order to achieve the ideals listed above. I just believe for us personally that this is the best way to do it at this time. :)