There are so many good things that come to our family through homeschooling. The reality is that you could make a really long list of reasons why homeschooling is wonderful. I've written before about reasons why homeschool is great for me. Today, I want to write about why it's great for my kids.
The purpose of education is more than just filling the brain with facts and useful knowledge; it's the cultivation of an upright character: education should improve the whole person, not just the intellect. Certainly, the intellect is an important part of education, but it's not the only thing. Homeschooling allows us to address the intellectual, the moral, the religious, the emotional, the social, and all other aspects of development, and to do so in a way that fits our family's worldview.
A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and mathematics; he may be an authority in psychology, biology, or astronomy; he may know all the discovered truths pertaining to geology and natural science; but if he has not with this knowledge that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellow men, to practice virtue and holiness in personal life, he is not a truly educated man. Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting. True education seeks, then, to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love-men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life."
-David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, pp. 440-441, emphasis added
Homeschooling allows us to put education back into its proper place as the handmaid of religion. This wasn't at all important to me when we started - it would not even have made the list, as it really hadn't occurred to me. We were initially concerned about bullying and about strong academics. But faith in education has come to be one of the top reasons that I love homeschooling: it gives us the fullest freedom in the expression of our faith in our educational efforts as is possible. At home, we are free to seek learning by study and also by faith. I grew up with the idea that life was segmented: public/school life was one thing, and private/religious life was another, but I don't think that's at all desirable, and I don't want that for my kids. Classically, theology was considered the queen of the sciences; we can put it back into its proper place in our education.
And then we want to study also the principles, and to get the very best teachers we can to teach our children; see that they are men and women who fear God and keep his commandments. We do not want men or women to teach the children of Latter-day Saints who are not Latter-day Saints themselves. ...it is for us to train our children up in the fear of God. God will hold us responsible for this trust.
-John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 20:179
My kids aren't spending energy on worrying about their safety. We don't have systemic bullying problems: if someone starts being mean to someone else, we deal with it. Quickly, and in the context of our family values. We don't practice what to do if our school suddenly has an active shooter or a bomb threat. We do practice the martial arts, and spend time empowering our kids to be able to (eventually) handle themselves in a dangerous situation. But they're not losing sleep over something terrible happening because they had a lockdown or a shooter drill.
In many places it is literally not safe physically for youngsters to go to school. And in many schools - and it's becoming almost generally true - it is spiritually unsafe to attend public schools. Look back over the history of education to the turn of the century and the beginning of the educational philosophies, pragmatism and humanism were the early ones, and they branched out into a number of other philosophies which have led us now into a circumstance where our schools are producing the problems that we face.
-Boyd K Packer (Charge to the David O. McKay School of Education, Oct. 9, 1996)
Homeschool means that there is tons of one on one instruction: there will never be more than three students in the vast majority of our classes. It means that we can meet the kids where they are, rather than teaching to the middle, or the bottom of the class, and avoid all the problems that causes. It minimizes the amount of boredom the kids have to endure while they wait for the class to work through material they've already completed; my husband and I both wasted a lot of time waiting for the class to catch up when we were in school. And nobody is trying to slap a label on my noisy, active boy when he can't sit still and quiet for 8 hours running; he can have strong academics and room to move the way he needs to.
"We believe in education, and we spend a substantial part of our [church's] budget on the education of our young people. We expect them to think. We expect them to investigate. We expect them to use their minds and dig deeply for knowledge in all fields. If we have a motto, it is this: ‘The glory of God is intelligence.’ "
-Gordon B. Hinckley, (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 127)
Homeschooling strengthens family relationships, particularly sibling relationships. Part of this is simply the quantity of time that they spend together. Part of it is the quality of time: they see each other when they are at their best, rather than always only when they are tired from a long day of hard work. They help each other, teach each other, play together, and grow together.
"Home should be the center of one's earthly experience, where love and mutual respect are appropriately blended."
-L. Tom Perry, Ensign Nov 2002, page 9
These are some of my top reasons why I think that homeschooling is best for our kids. It's work, and there is some sacrifice, but I think that it is worth every bit of sweat and effort. The benefits we see from living this lifestyle are so far beyond anything that I ever imagined with we began down this road. If you want to read more about why homeschooling families love it, click through and have a look at the other bloggers participating in the Homeschool Review Crew's roundup this time.