Our story is a personal story. Why anyone chooses to homeschool always is. There could be a single or mixture of reasons given: religion, health, curriculum choice, academic failure in the public schools, and school violence just to name a few I hear the most often. But each makes a decision that is personal to them.
We pulled my daughter out of the public schools in her 5th grade year. (We kept our son in public school for the rest of that year, despite his yearning to be home with us to try to meet our daughter's needs at that time. The following year, we were glad to keep him home with us as well.) She desperately wanted to be homeschooled at that time for various reasons. It was a decision that changed our family.... little did I know at that time how much it would and that I would be truly grateful for God leading us to do that.
Our family is closer. We talk often. Not just at meal times, though our family dinner hour is always sacred, but here and there throughout the day. It's an advantage most families don't have. And we spend lots of quality time together - time we simply wouldn't have if we had to obey the public school schedule and our children were whisked away by a bus early in the morning and not brought home until late afternoon with their backpacks full of homework for their evenings.
We have flexible schedules. While my years of teaching in the public schools have lent their dent on me in still trying to maintain a bit of a 'typical school day schedule for academics', my kids don't have to get up in the morning until the public school kids have already been on the bus allowing them more sleeping time and they are typically finished with their work before these kids get back on the bus! And if we are sick. or want to go somewhere? We just don't have school. (Yes, we DO fill the 180 days required by law, but we do it according to OUR schedule, not someone else's.) And if we want to take a full week off for PASCHA? We do! We can attend more church services, more field trips that are of interest to us (not another entity) and visit family a little more leisurely. Now this flexibility IS harder in the higher grades with more inflexible choices we make such as volleyball, piano lessons, gym classes with the local homeschool co-op, online classes, etc. but it still remains more flexible than the public schools schedule.
Flexible Curriculum/Classes: Naturally we teach reading, writing and math but we are not held to the rigidity of particular curriculums or particular classes for particular years. If my child would rather study zoology in 8th grade rather than general science, he can. If he wants to take Russian rather than the typical French or Spanish, he can. If he wants to do two histories in one year, he can. If he wants to take an online class or even an online college course or a college course at a local university, he could!
We teach our children according to OUR beliefs. We teach them God is first, ALWAYS. We are human, of course, and sometimes fail in demonstrating this. I have. in the past, missed attending a feast day at church or other event because we are behind in academics. But in this too, we are teaching God forgives. But we must always, ALWAYS strive to do better. This year I blocked out the feast days first on the calendar when I planned school days. So we teach them our faith. We teach them the teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church. And we teach them to love and forgive.
We maintain our HEALTH. My family has completely eradicated illnesses that conventional medicine claims there is not a cure for through eliminating MSG, other neurotoxins, and artificial additives and preservatives from our diet. Because of homeschooling, my children were an integral part of our conversion from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a more whole foods approach and eliminating dangerous toxins from our daily consumption in food products and other sources. They enjoyed finding new recipes and trying new foods. They learned to read labels and make determinations on what to consume and realized the detriment these food products had been causing us. Because of homeschooling, my children were able to delve deeply into our learning process and do not need to be fed nonsensical information in a public school health class. Nor do they need to fight school policies on school cafeteria food that is full of the very toxins we avoid. (More on our food habits and our food choices in posts to come!)
These are the highlights of why we homeschool. I wrote this, I have realized, as though I'm still homeschooling both my older children. It's a hard habit to break. My daughter is actually not at home this year because she is attending college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. (Yes, homeschoolers CAN go to college - this in answer to an actual question my husband received recently from a well-educated man.) Currently, it is only my older son that is being homeschooled. Of course, while he's only 3 1/2, my youngest is also being educated...but in a much more relaxed, fun approach and not really 'school'. We are enjoying just exploring his world and teaching the concepts that come up as they come up. He actually has learned a few words already! Nothing like GOOD BOOKS to captivate a child and give the desire to find out what those letters on the page are doing!
My older son is in 9th grade... his first year of 'high school' and keeping track of credits. It's a challenging year but he's keeping up well and still active in Scouts and got a doe while hunting the other day (while public school kids were confined in a brick building).
So again, these are the highlights. I'm looking forward to sharing more about what we do and what we have learned. There's so much to tell! 🙂