Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why We Homeschool

Monday we go for our first home school evaluation. Growing up, I was a big perfectionist with my grades, so, I am hoping my first grader will get all A’s. Homeschool joke—they don’t give a grade at evaluations. We’ve been homeschooling for a year-and-a-half now, and, believe me, I’m no expert. I do not have a handle on all the methods, philosophies and curriculum choices out there. But what I have discovered is that I need to know why we are homeschooling. I need something to go back to on days when my 2-year-old is yelling the ABCs over and over, my 5-year-old suddenly knows the sounds the letters make but not their names, and my 7-year-old is adding like she sustained a concussion in the night. For what it’s worth, I present to you 5 important reasons the Sagar family is homeschooling (It was a top 10 list, but for the sake of space I will save the other 5 reasons for another time). Maybe it will help others on those “down” days.
Reason number one: Homeschooling is simple and flexible. Mornings are more peaceful and relaxed, and chores can actually get done and the violin practiced. We can eat eggs and make a fort before school. We can go help friends who need it or visit a nursing home. We can flip-flop our schedule and go ice skating in the morning and do more structured learning in the afternoon. I love this flexibility.

Reason number two: Homeschooling allows our children to develop a worldview based on truth. If they are besieged with social pressures before they have even developed a worldview (a way of making sense of the world), then they are forced to make snap decisions that they are not ready for. How do I treat this person? What are possible results of this decision? How does this fit with my goals? These are things we want to build into them using a solid, truth-based foundation, as we protect them from too much peer pressure too early. Education, worldview and character are wrapped up together—the Bible says to teach your children “when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 11:19).

Reason number three: Homeschooling gives us as parents greater control over what our kids learn, and when. There are plenty of “classics” and quality materials available without having to compromise our values or our children’s “innocent years.” I remember being terrified and sickened while reading the short story “The Lottery” in 5th grade. I was a sensitive kid, and the story was too violent for me.

Reason number four: We feel we can give our kids the best education at home. Private, customized tutoring. One-on-one attention (student/teacher ratio of 3:1). The best books (Thank you, Licking County and surrounding libraries!).  Excellent musical theory from their musician dad. Relevant field trips. In-depth learning. We can tailor our kids’ education to their interests, learning styles, and maturity level, while relying on plenty of wholesome “living” books written by people passionate about a subject, not just dry textbooks. We want them to love learning, and be lifelong learners, not go through the motions for the grade or the test.

This brings me to my next reason, number five: Homeschooling is efficient. As schools are considering adding more and more hours to the day and days to the year, know that increased “allocated school time” does not automatically translate into an increase in “academic learning time.” According to a 2007 study, “a great deal of classroom time is lost to startup routines, unnecessary interruptions, test preparation and poor classroom management” (“On the Clock,” This is no one’s fault in particular—there are just too many kids and too many learning styles and honestly, a lot of distractions for the kids. It is amazing how quickly I can teach a concept to my children in the ease and comfort of our own home, or as we go about simple errands or volunteering. There are many avenues for natural learning as we live our lives, bake in the kitchen, and shop at the store.

Don’t get me wrong—our kids still fight and some days seem like we are (unintentionally) reenacting the Battle of Waterloo, and I am Napoleon (Haha, another homeschool joke). But although homeschooling takes commitment and patience, we wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even all A’s for our first grader. Besides, we already gave her all A’s.

Additional links:  The Article  |  Comments  |  Other Article by Bekah

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Hey Bekah!

My parents told me to read the article on homeschooling in The Advocate today and I was pleasantly surprised to see your name as the author! I was all "Hey! I know her! We used to work together... and I think I went to their wedding!"

(It's been years... I was one of the clerk/librarian's at the front desk in the editorial deparment... Carrie Barber then :)

We are homeschooling, too, though we're at the very beginning stages. We have a son who's 2.5 and a daughter who's 9 months and I'm blogging about our homeschool journey at

Anyway, just wanted to say hi!