Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Why Homeschool

There are, I expect, nearly as many reasons for homeschooling as there are homeschoolers, however they do seem to fall into certain broad categories.

Many Christian parents choose to homeschool for 'religious reasons', meaning that either they feel the theological and moral formation at the schools available to them are deficient, or they want to have a more hands-on experience of teaching their children religion. This is not, however, the main thing that attracts me to homeschooling -- though certainly, experience tells us that no matter how Catholic a school may be, the primary religious formation has to take place at home. Still, I don't think it's necessary to homeschool your child to give her (or him, if you happen not to be a Darwin) a solid religious foundation.

In our case, we plan on homeschooling primarily because we have enough opinions about how education ought to be done (perhaps not fully formed opinions yet, but opinions that are important enough to us that we don't want to leave them un-acted upon) that it seems easier to educate our children ourselves than to make a nuisance of ourselves by trying to find someone else willing to do it our way.

Why not, you might ask, become a teacher, if I'm so interested in education? Well, I'm interested in the intellect and the training of it, and I have a strong interest in education in that I feel that much of what I am is the result of my education, and I want to pass on and perhaps refine that gift to my own children. However, while I'm willing to go through all the grief one gets as a teacher with my own children, I must confess that I have no interest in doing so with other people's.

Education seems to me a very personal thing. It seems hard if not impossible to do it well with someone you don't know well. I feel that with my own children I'll at least stand a decent chance of getting to know them well enough to help them gain a good education. I don't feel I could say the same for someone else's offspring, much less forty of them at a time.

Plus I tend to have the patience of a Viking rather than a saint...


Dorian Speed said...

A couple of years ago I'd almost decided we'd definitely homeschool, as the alternative would be for me to go back to work teaching other people's children so that other people could teach *my* children (at our parish school). Seemed a good way to eliminate the middleman.

A series of wacky happenings led me to my current position as part-time (and possibly full-time, next year) religion teacher. As taxing as it is, I am finding that I'm much happier doing this than I was as a SAHM. It's not all about me and my happiness, of course, but I take tremendous joy in getting to know other people's children and in helping them along the road to wisdom. There are many, many days when I wonder if I've taught them anything at all - but every time someone tells me, "I could *never* do that," it makes me think, "Perhaps there's a reason I have such a juvenille sense of humor, excessive patience, and a jones for markerboards."

Darwin said...


My hat is really off to you. Goodness knows, it takes a special kind of grace to deal with a class full of other people's kids -- especially high school age kids. Of all the people I've known, the one's who really have a vocation to being teachers are some of the few I look at and think, "I could never, never do that job as well."