Why do I homeschool?
I have pondered this question often, perhaps even more so recently as I look hard at my life and my goals for my children. Of all the questions I get about homeschooling, this is the one they never ask. Perhaps they don't want to know. Perhaps they think I will make them feel guilty. Perhaps they already know the answer, or think they know the answer. When I look at my choice, I often think about how quick some are to "evangelize" the world about homeschooling; feeling compelled to personally convince everyone around them they have made the right choice, or to convince others they should make the same choice themselves. That is not a desire I have ever really had. I do not feel the need to "preach" to anyone about homeschooling, and I think most of my non-homeschool friends would agree (at least I hope they would agree!) that I do not make it my business to convince anyone who does not have the desire. I will defend my decision without hesitation when called upon to do so. I will answer questions about homeschooling, I will give advice if asked, but it is not my place to convince someone else that my decision is right for them also. So again, I ask myself, why have we chosen to educate our children at home?
The answer is easy, and yet so very complicated.
I home educate because it is the right thing to do. I say that not with condemnation or judgment - just conviction that for my children it is the right thing to do. There are many other explanations I can give - but ultimately for me, it is a matter of feeling as if God has put me in a place where my purpose right now is to train up my children in the way they should go. I feel that I cannot effectively do that when someone else (who does not share my faith, values and beliefs) spends more time with my children than I do.
So, why do I homeschool?
I want our children to learn to walk in the Orthodox faith and become saints.
I want them to see that nothing in life comes before their love and dedication to God and His Church.
I want them to see that all learning is for God's glory, all learning exists for GOD.
I want them to learn to read so they can read the Holy Scripture and the lives of those who have walked before us and given their lives in the pursuit of eternal life.
I want them to learn grammar and spelling, logic and rhetoric, so they are able to become effective speakers and writers, and defend their faith to those who persecute them. That they, like St. Katherine, may baffle and win over even the great philosophers with the simple truth of God.
I want them to learn history so they may see God's hand over all, his love for his people and his wrath when they reject Him.
I want them to learn science and math so they may understand that we worship a God of order, not chaos; so they may stand in awe before the mind of God, so beyond our understanding.
I want them to experience the great masters of art and music, so they can see that we worship a God of beauty and harmony, and to strive toward that beauty and harmony in all areas of life.
I want them to read great literature so they may see how every story is just a part of the only story; so they may learn to discern truth and recognize when God is absent that truth becomes distorted.
There are many other reasons why I love homeschooling, but they are merely "benefits" to the job - extra perks I enjoy such as the freedom to allow my children to spend the day with Daddy when he is off on a week day, the ability to just stay home and not leave the house if I don't want to, the chance to see my children learn to read, the privilege of being the one to introduce them to the books and characters I hold so dear from my childhood, the opportunity to let my children pursue areas of learning which inspire them, the joy of letting my children spend hours outside exploring creation, the chance for them to be with each other and form friendships among themselves, the time to allow the older ones to be a part of the little ones lives as they grow, instead of being off at school all day, the luxury of just deciding to pick up and do something wonderful when the opportunity presents itself, and not be ruled by the school schedule.... I could go on, but then it might start sounding "preachy" - and I promised not to do that :)
So, while I recognize that some day circumstances may require that my children go to school, for now, when they are so young and impressionable, I will treasure the time God gives me with them, and do my best to live up to the job he has called me to do.