Why Homeschool? The varied and evolving reasons for homeschooling

Varied Whys of Homeschooling
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What is your homeschooling WHY?

As a second-generation homeschooler, it has been fascinating to watch the evolving homeschooling community over the past few decades.  It is especially intriguing to notice the diverse reasons WHY families choose to homeschool today.

Perhaps this is oversimplifying things, but I feel like the previous generation of homeschoolers was a bit more uniform.  For one thing, there was a lot less variety of curriculum and tools available to us!  The biggest question people might ask was whether you used textbooks or unit studies!  And it seemed most (although certainly not all) families were choosing home education for primarily, albeit not exclusively, religious reasons.

Now, of course, there are more resources than we know what to do with.  The internet overflows with ideas and suggestions and unique perspectives. (Are you a Roadschooling Classically Charlotte Mason Mama who includes Hip Hop and Strewing and Board Games in your daily routine, all while keeping your Etsy business going on the side?  It wouldn’t shock me to find out there’s a whole group devoted to that niche online…and I’m only partly kidding!)

I continually notice among my peers almost as many unique reasons for homeschooling as there are unique homeschool families!

Today I will link to a few of my fellow home educator’s stories.  Our reasons for homeschooling vary wildly, but we are all on this amazing adventure together!  I would love to hear your story, as well.  Please share your homeschooling story in the comments below!

Why Homeschool

Homeschool (Statistically Speaking)

If you want to head straight to the stories, scroll on by, but I found some of the recent statistics surprising.

In my home state of North Carolina alone, there are over 86,000 home schools registered.    There are currently over 2.3 million homeschool students in the United States as a whole, and studies estimate that number is growing between 2% and 8% each year!

The demographics become even more fascinating when you look a little closer.  In North Carolina, 41.5% of homeschools are registered as “independent” rather than “religious.”  “Independent” home school is not the same as “secular” (which has its own rather precise definition these days in the homeschooling community), but I am intrigued that so many of my fellow NC home educators choose that designation over the “religious” categorization.

reasons homeschooling statisticsThe National Center for Education Statistics’ most recent survey in 2016 enables us to look a bit more closely at the homeschool whys nationwide.  The top 3 reasons respondents gave for homeschooling their children? A concern about the environment of other schools (specified as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure), a desire to provide moral instruction, and a dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools.  These were followed by a desire to provide religious instruction and a desire to provide a nontraditional approach to a child’s education.

When asked to specify only one “most important” reason for choosing homeschooling, the top reason expressed was concerns over school environments, with dissatisfaction with academic instruction and a desire to provide religious instruction following.

Homeschool Moms Share Their Why

Make sure you click the links below to read the complete, thoughtful posts from several other unique homeschool mamas; so many great posts!  Their reasons for homeschooling range from faith to freedom, academic giftedness to special needs.  Some came to homeschooling from public schools, some as second-generation homeschoolers, some planned to homeschool all along, and some ended up here unexpectedly.  All of us follow a slightly different approach to homeschooling styles and methods, but we share a love for what we do.

Please share hear your homeschool whys in the comments below!

Amy Sloan (Humility and Doxology)

Do I get to go first?😉  My husband and I co-wrote a post demonstrating our divergent-yet-unified perspectives on homeschooling.  You can read the post or listen to the audioblog, but here is a sneak peek: He Said- “Homeschooling provides the opportunity to pass down what I believe directly to my children.” She Said- “Being able to pursue a relaxed Christian Classical education, with a good bit of zany adventure thrown in, continues to delight me!”

Mary Wilson (Not Before 7)

“I homeschool because I love the extra time with my kids. Homeschooling gives us the freedom to follow our own path and to make our relationships the number one priority in our day.”  (I also love Mary’s perspectives on Homeschool Mamas as innovators.   Mary always reminds us that we don’t need to fit inside anyone else’s box!)

Bethany Ishee

Her reasons for homeschooling may not be not what you think: “Children are born persons and fully endowed with humanity. They are not lesser than, nor inferior to adults. They don’t belong to the state, and honestly, they don’t belong to us either. They are ours to guide and raise for a painfully brief time.”  (One of my other favorite quotes in her post? “They’re just kids, I’m just a mom, and we homeschool. The end.”

Shawna Wingert (Not the Former Things)

Deciding to homeschool came as a bit of a shock, but it’s been a good fit for her 2 sons with special needs: “I used to be extremely opposed, super judgy, uninformed and militantly against homeschooling…Seven years later, I can say that the decision to homeschool has proven to be one of the most beneficial I have made, for my boys and for our family. I would even venture to say that it has been the best decision I have made in how we approach their learning differences and special needs.”

June Doran (This Simple Balance)

“I homeschool primarily because it simplifies my life with a big family. As a minimalist, I believe in making the most of our time, and homeschooling helps me do that.”

Sammie Brakebill (Down Red Bud Drive)

“I was homeschooled my entire life, and always had a desire to teach. When my daughter was born we knew we would homeschool. Our oldest daughter is gifted, so it’s been even more advantageous that we chose this route for many reasons. We’ve never looked back and we wouldn’t want to choose anything else for our family.”

Colleen Kessler (Raising Life Long Learners)

Public school was not a good fit for Colleen’s twice-exceptional son: “Several psychologists, a psychiatrist, pediatrician, and countless hours of research later, we knew what we’d already known with an unofficial degree of certainty—he was profoundly gifted. We also discovered that he struggles with ADHD, marked impulsivity, and sensory processing disorder…understanding the sensory piece really helped us realize that the behaviors he was exhibiting were triggered by something else, and that he’d continue to struggle in a typical public school setting.”   Colleen also shares 101 different reasons (academic, social, and unexpected) why you might choose homeschooling.

Mary Prather (Home Grown Learners)

The story started with Mary as a dedicated public school teacher-turned-homeschooler.  She quickly learned that her background as a teacher was actually a hindrance in the homeschool adventure. Now, as a mom of older kids, she is once more seeing God at work in the shifts that come in these later years.

Misty Bailey (Finding Joy in the Journey)

“I still remember the first time I told someone we were planning on homeschooling. The look of sheer terror came over the person’s eyes, and I could tell they had no clue how to respond. If I was honest, I didn’t know how to respond either. Yet, I felt deep down in my heart that God was calling me to do it. This is the biggest reason we chose to homeschool.

Emily Copeland (Table Life Blog)

Sometimes there isn’t one big reason why someone chooses to homeschool, but a host of small ones: “When my words started flowing, I was reminded of why I choose this every day. I was reminded that there’s purpose in these seemingly small days. One by one and little by little, they add up. They matter.” 

Alison White (Learning Mama)

Sometimes your reasons for homeschooling change or develop.  While not her original reasons for homeschooling, discipleship is Alison’s why for carrying on: “Do I want my kids to be successful? Do I want my kids to excel academically? Do I want them to be prepared for a future career? Sure. But of far greater importance to me is the persons they are growing to be, the relationships they will have with the Lord and the role they will play in His kingdom.”

MaryAnne Kochenderfer (Mama Smiles)

MaryAnne has 3 daughters and 1 son who were in good public schools with caring teachers. The reason why they switched to homeschooling is different for each daughter, and their son has stayed in the public school!  She is able to see benefits – and disadvantages – in both educational choices.

Ami Brainerd (Walking by the Way)

A trained teacher deciding to homeschool?  It comes down to cultivating curiosity: “I frequently hear teacher-turned-homeschool moms state reasons why they chose home education. I chose this way because of apathy, indifference, and disconnect. High school students would slump into my classroom and plead, “Please. Please, don’t make us think.””

Marla Szwast (Jump Into Genius)

“I chose the term home educate over homeschool because I am not trying to copy what schools do in my home, I am trying to far surpass them.”

Betsy Sproger (BJ’s Homeschool)

Her top reason for homeschooling was academic, and she has already seen her homeschool graduate go on to graduate from college!

What is Your Homeschool Why?

Do you see yourself in any of the stories and posts I linked to above?  Or are your whys totally different?  Or maybe they’re a combination of a lot of little things?  Please share your whys in the comments, and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Standfast by grace alone, friends!

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4 thoughts on “Why Homeschool? The varied and evolving reasons for homeschooling”

  1. I homeschool because I missed my kids!! When my oldest started school I missed him so much during the day but he was so excited to be going to school. The following year we had an infant and my second started school. By the time my oldest was in fourth grade, the excitement had turned to dread if yet another bully. My second child strugged to read and for her the final straw was being told she couldn’t read Little Women because it was too hard. That last week of public school we were all in tears every morning waiting for the bus. My heart and soul was so heavy I knew something had to change. We prayerfully decided to pull them from school and homeschool them. While there are days/weeks when I wonder if I am enough, for the most part we are chugging along. I love having them home(okay, maybe not every minute of everyday:). I love seeing the lightbulbs turn on in their eyes, and today as the alphabet song dissolved into a tickle/giggle fest I rejoiced in the joy that it brings to our home.

    1. Thank you, Julie, for sharing your story! It is such a privilege to have all this time with our children, isn’t it?! Oh, my heart breaks for those children like yours who have faced issues with bullies and discouragement. (No Little Women because it was too hard? That seems senseless!) I’m so thankful your family has found joy at home together. ❤

  2. I chose to homeschool my twin first graders because despite living only 20 minutes out of town (pop. 13,000) my kids would need to get up at 6am, on the bus at 7, school all day, and arrive home at 4:30pm. I would see them for about 2.5 hours a day fighting with hungry, tired, and exhausted kids— in order to do it all over again the next day.😳 Plus, I missed them!! I certainly won’t say it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done but I’m grateful every day for the experience and ability to do it. I can see where help is needed, how they learn, and help explore new interests. I don’t know what next year will bring but I love having this time with my kids when they’re young!

    1. Oh wow, yes I can see how hard that long of a day would be for all of you! I’m glad you’ve had this time to enjoy with them this year. Are you able to do most things together since they’re both 1st grade? I would imagine that homeschooling twins comes with its own set of challenges as well as rewards! 🙂

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