The Most Important Question to Answer Before Homeschooling

If you homeschool or are considering it, there’s one question that’s critical you answer.

It’s NOT “What curriculum should we use for math?”

It’s NOT “How will we make friends?”

And it’s definitely NOT “How can I recreate public school at home?”

The super-dee-duper, most-important, must-answer question is…

(drum roll, please)

“Why?”

As in, “Why are we choosing this educational path?”

There are probably as many combinations of answers to this question as there are homeschooling families. Everyone has their own reasons for educating their kids at home. 

According to National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), some common reasons families homeschool include customized learning, academic excellence, improved family and peer relationships, freedom to teach values or worldview and the ability to provide a safer environment for learning. (NHERI Research Facts, January 2019 version).

While all of those are GOOD reasons, it’s still important to figure out YOUR reasons.

Early on in our homeschooling experience, my husband and I talked and prayed over our “why” for choosing this road less travelled. For us, it boils down to the three reasons below. I look back at this list from time to time, when I’m planning the year ahead and usually a few times during the year. It’s been especially helpful on our bad days to go back and remind myself why it is we’re doing this!

Our Reasons for Homeschooling

  1. Faith – Long story short, we felt distinctly called to homeschool. After much prayer and many conversations with my husband, family and friends, God made it clear that this is the path for our family for now. 
  2. Freedom – Homeschooling isn’t perfect, but the freedom it offers (when compared with traditional options) is undeniable. Even in states with strict homeschool laws, homeschooling can’t be beat when it comes to customizability, efficiency, and freedom of scheduling. From the ability to tailor curriculum to match students’ learning styles, to scheduling your days to maintain healthier sleeping patterns, to being more available for life-changing opportunities like apprenticeships or mission trips, the homeschooling lifestyle is one of tremendous freedom!
  3. Family – Having quality family time, encouraging a DIY/learning lifestyle, freely interweaving our faith and worldview in our studies – these are all part of our family’s DNA. Homeschooling fits our family’s situation, goals and individual strengths more than any other educational option. Educating at home essentially lets us gain back 16,000 hours of time (over the K-12 years) with our kids to work toward our parenting and educational missions.

So that’s why we’re doing what we do. But my reasons won’t necessarily be your reasons. Though it’s helpful to see why other people homeschool, it’s so important that you figure out your motivation.

YOUR Reasons for Homeschooling

If you haven’t yet, I challenge you to have a brainstorming session and nail down your “why.” Once you narrow it down, don’t make the mistake of just thinking about your motivation. Be sure to write it down! Like I said before, you’ll want to refer back to this “Why We Homeschool” document regularly. 

Also, while it’s not necessary, it’s helped me to come up with a catchy memory device (our three reasons all start with “F”). When someone catches me off guard in the grocery store and asks me why we homeschool, I can use “Faith, Freedom & Family” to remember and structure my response.

I mentioned in this post how you’ll be spinning your wheels if you move forward with the “what” and “how” to homeschool before figuring out the “why.” So, before you order that curriculum or register for co-op or buy those sparkle gel pens to make algebra more fun, make sure you truly understand your real reasons for homeschooling!

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