5 Reasons Why We Don’t Homeschool Our Kids
Why public school is better for our family
Homeschooling has been around forever, and maybe it’s just because of my season of life, but it feels like it’s popularity is at an all-time high.
Having a growing number of friends who homeschool has given me a chance to become more familiar with the realities of homeschooling and debunk the common misconceptions associated with it.
Andrea and I decided during our first pregnancy that we would not homeschool or send our kids to private school. For our family homeschooling didn’t align with our values and goals. While there are a number of benefits to homeschooling, we decided it wasn’t for us for a few reasons.
1. We had great public school experiences
Andrea and I both grew up in Atlanta, and our public High School experiences were incredibly positive. I moved a lot as a kid, so I went to 4 different schools in 3 different states, but all of them were great experiences. I must admit I don’t know where the schools ranked, and I have no idea what their test scores were, but my teachers were good teachers, they cared about me, and sure, I got into some trouble, but I don’t have anything bad to say about public school. We loved the electives, the extracurricular activities, and the Friday night football games. I was very involved in church, but I loved that I had “school friends” and “church friends.” I’m sure if our public school experience had been poor we would have given more thought to private school or homeschooling, but I can only hope my kids have as good of a school experience as we did.
2. We are not afraid of culture having more influence on our children than we do.
It’s scary thinking about all the dangers and potential trouble available for my kids. It feels like kids are having sex in middle school, and there is a school shooting every day now. Depending on what news channels you watch, schools are teaching the Koran and abandoning God. I understand why some parents feel the best reaction to society is to educate their children at home, but Andrea and I wholeheartedly believe we hold the influence and responsibility to raise kids who love God and make good decisions. We believe great parenting supersedes outside influence. We’re not naïve. Our kids will spend more time at their school than awake in our home. Friends and teachers have a tremendous impact on their future and development, but we’ve settled in our hearts that God is in control, and He has great plans for their life. I’m convinced there is nothing a son or daughter who knows their father loves them can’t accomplish or overcome, including bad outside influence. We try to be very conscious that our kids don’t develop an “us” vs. “them” mentality. “We’re” not good, and “they’re” not bad. For what it’s worth, that’s why we don’t do private school either.
3. We want our kids to learn how to coexist
This sort of relates to my last point about not fearing culture, but I want my kids to have to learn how to coexist with bullies, Muslims, and anyone else that believes differently or is raised differently than they are. I’m not implying I will force my kids to spend the night at homes they aren’t comfortable in, or force them to get beat up or picked on, but learning to manage unpredictable environments, and face adversity matures us and makes us learn how to adapt. My personal opinion is that part of the reason Christian kids struggle when they go to college is because for the first time or very few times in their life they have to coexist with a population that reflects society and not the church. Everything is obviously age dependent, I’m not teaching religious tolerance to my 4-year-old, but I do want her to know at some point before she leaves my home that tolerance doesn’t mean everyone is right, it just means everyone has the right to be wrong. If my kids can’t coexist in the world with mean people or people who disagree with them they are going to have a hard time succeeding in a career, and the chances are high, they’re going to end up back in my basement as an adult.
4. Social skills are as important (if not more important) than education.
Andrea and I both believe that social skills are important, but this reason is pushed predominantly by me. In my opinion, being smart is important, but being able to communicate is more important. I am not promoting an incorrect assumption that homeschooled kids have no social skills, that’s ridiculous, but I do want my kids to have to be in classrooms with large numbers of students. I want them to have to give presentations in front of the class. I want them to have to communicate with their teacher about their grades and improving their scores, especially a teacher who might not be easy to work with. I want to raise kids who can do really well in job interviews, and can lead groups of people. I believe these fundamental skills are learned in school. If the majority of my kid’s interactions are with their mom or siblings, I believe there is a better chance of underdeveloped social skills. Great strides have been made to improve this risk through co-op programs, and similar environments and a lot of social skills are passed down from the parents, but I believe my teachers forcing me in front of the class helped make me the leader I am today.
5. We believe we are the solution to the problem
We are currently in the process of our oldest daughter switching schools. Since my wife, who is a high school teacher, is staying home next year, our daughter can no longer attend the school next door to where Andrea taught. Sadie is having to move from the highest ranked elementary school in our county to the lowest ranked school. I would be lying if I didn’t say we’ve had concerns and considered other options, but we finally came to the conclusion we are the solution to the problem. How will low ranking schools become better if great families keep their kids from attending the school? The cycle can never be broken until families decide they can make a difference. I respect a parent’s concern for their children’s safety and education, we have those same concerns, but as Christians we also believe we are called to be an influence in our community, and that includes our schools, even the poorly ranked ones. The school in my community get’s better when my kids show up.