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An Unexpected Choice: Why We Traded the Public School for Homeschooling

An Unexpected Choice: Why We Traded the Public School for Homeschooling

The countercultural decision has redefined our family's notion of success.

My initial reaction to the nudging I sensed in my heart—that God wanted us to give homeschooling a fair evaluation—was unequivocal: "No way, God." But the more I struggled against it, the more I sensed his answer: "Just look into it."

Resigned, I started doing research. I knew two other people who homeschooled, and when I called one to ask questions, she responded, "I should warn you—everyone I speak to about homeschooling ends up being convinced to try it."

And so it was for us, after a process of opening up to the idea as I learned more about it. We're nearly three years in, and while I would not want to mislead anyone about the challenges of homeschooling, the workload involved, and the never-ending questions ("Are we doing enough? Are we doing too much?"), I've been pleased by a number of unexpected results.

My boys have become close to one another by virtue of being each others' most constant playmates, but they are also comfortable interacting with a wide variety of ages, children to adults. They can spend time on tasks and topics that interest them whether it's typical for the age or not, such as my 9-year-old, who is working on the 20th page of his latest fantasy masterpiece, or my 6-year-old, who is intent on learning to type so he can write his own stories one day. We can spend a Sunday evening staying up late serving meals in our church's soup kitchen because we aren't forced to get up early Monday morning. My kids have also developed a better understanding of what it means to live out one's calling by going to Chicago to see their classical pianist-dad perform at a weekday noontime concert on Michigan Avenue, or to support their mom as she gives a talk to an auditorium full of Moody Bible Institute collegians.


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Displaying 2–3 of 3 comments

Nate Clarke

April 11, 2012  11:14pm

As one of the moderators of the page, it's easy to pipe up when things lack civility. I just want to say that we really appreciate the thoughtful and helpful dialogue in the comments. Great stuff - keep it up.

Derek C

April 11, 2012  3:38pm

@Dianne, by way of observation, the documentary, Bully, draws its material from public schools. If this is what passes for what you think works, then your assumption should find homeschoolers much worse off. I don't think you'll find that to be the case. Have you ever encountered public schooled kids who have limited social skills? Do you attribute that to their setting, peers and/or parenting? You've raised a good and fair question. I would just suggest that you broaden your view of cause and effect. I've found "good" and "bad" kids in both settings (public + home schooling).


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