This spring, like I do each year at this time, I think about why I homeschool my children. It helps me remember the benefits and blessings when I am prone to feel most like a failure. It was finding a link to an article today on the Childrens MD website by medical doctor Kathleen Berchelmann – sharing her list of 18 reasons why she homeschools her children – that encouraged me to write down my own list.
With a few exceptions, I loved her reasons. Several of them are the same reasons I have been teaching my children at home for the past 22 years. I’ve included the link to the article HERE (each point has her added comments) in case you’re interested in reading the article. (Please note: I do not agree with all of Berchelmann’s philosophy; as Christians, we should always work to let Scripture inform our worldview).
As for my list of reasons (not an exhaustive one, by the way!), I hope they resonate with you, or at least give you some of the benefits you perhaps haven’t considered before. Besides the well-documented academic and social advantages, efficiency of our day, practical life skills learned, and time to build character which homeschooling affords, here are some additional fundamental reasons why I have chosen to and love homeschooling:
1. God gives the primary responsibility and authority for the instruction and nurture of children to parents. This is not insignificant. While parents can delegate that authority to others, they will ALWAYS have the responsibility squarely on their shoulders. We should make a choice for our children’s education with this ever in the forefront of our minds.
2. My relationship with my children grows deeper as we spend time together. The thing my children want most from me is to just be with them. This is true before their daddy passed away, and even more true now that he is no longer with us. Homeschooling enables me to be with my children much more and to spend the time with them that deepens the bond of love between us.
3. I am a mother before I am a teacher. My influence on my children in helping them discover who God has made them and how they fit into this world He has created is profoundly shaped by my role as mother as I nurture, protect, encourage, pray with, instruct and teach my children. And what I do as a mom will leave a far more indelible mark on the hearts and minds of my children than all the academics I teach and oversee throughout their educational journey at home. This is what discipleship is all about, and homeschooling provides the best means for me to disciple my children.
4. My children are not the only students in our home. In other words, we never stop learning. That’s because we are lifelong learners, and homeschooling is the perfect vehicle for both parents and children to learn together. At home, we can discover God’s creation and study the glories of His Word. We can search for beauty, goodness and truth wherever it can be found in our world. And we can continue to develop our interests, passions and God-given abilities for His glory. They are learning, yes, but so am I.
5. Caring for the world’s needy begins at home. We learn best to care for others by learning to care for one another in our own home. Teaching and modeling that each of us is made in God’s image is foundational to seeing ourselves and others rightly. Showing your children God’s priority of love in His Word and demonstrating it with your life will plant deep seeds in your children’s hearts which God can grow into a desire to reflect Jesus to our world.
6. I can encourage my children to be who God made them. Beyond their main academic studies, they can pursue the things they have a passion for, which can include extra learning opportunities, mentor-ships, part-time jobs, special trips, missions work, etc. My son John has been able to pursue acting, my daughter Charity has been blogging since she was 13 (now almost 18), and my daughter Megan took an entrepreneur workshop when she was 14, and is now, at 21 with a degree in business management, a branch area manager for a large company.
7. My children can tackle difficult or breeze through easy subjects at their own appropriate pace. If one or more of my children struggle with math, for instance, the flexibility of the homeschooling lifestyle allows them to progress more slowly without feeling like a failure. Likewise, if they are exceptionally gifted in an area, they can race ahead in that subject, not be held back, and finish early. Either way, they are making progress and can feel good about that. This helps them to resist the temptation to compare. The goal is learning…at whatever pace works best for the child.
8. My kids are better prepared for the world out there by the time they spend at home gaining a biblical worldview. This will NOT happen in a government school and may not even happen in a Christian school! I want my kids to know that God’s Word is authoritative and true, and it should shape how we think about our world and culture. How many kids do you know who think it is perfectly fine to live a homosexual lifestyle, have an abortion, or think our government has the right to tax a society to death, all because they weren’t taught the authority and content of God’s Word?
9. Being at home day-to-day gives us an opportunity to model a godly marriage and the joys of being a parent. Not only do our kids get to see a mom and dad who truly love each other and model (though imperfectly!) a Christ-like love, they also have a wonderful opportunity to see a mom and dad who joyfully embrace God’s call to be parents who desire to raise their children for God’s glory. For most of our children, marriage and parenthood will likely be their primary calling in life (besides following Christ). Being at home, seeing mom and dad love each other and love being a parent with God’s help gives our children a vision for a meaningful and God-glorifying future, no matter where our society is headed.
10. The reality of the gospel is demonstrated in the everyday of life. I love sharing the goodness and greatness of our Creator God with my children, but even on days when, as a mom I feel like pulling my hair out, having my children at home each day gives me a tremendous opportunity to show the sufficiency of the gospel. God accepts me as I am through His Son. He has given me His Spirit to help me, but I still need Him every day. My strength always comes from Him, but His grace is always sufficient! How I live each day before my children – in the attitude of my heart, in the words of my mouth, in the choices I make – demonstrates how important, how true the gospel is to me. When they see me lean with trust and hope on a faithful God who securely holds me in His hands because of Christ’s sacrifice for me, they will know the gospel is real. And that’s the best lesson my children can ever learn.