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Hi everyone -

I just discovered this board and thought I'd post a greeting.

As we say in the South, "Hey!"

I also thought I'd double-dip and use this as an excuse to write my thoughts on why we homeschool. My DW has been asked to speak on the topic to her homeschool group. She hates public speaking, and she told me that since I wouldn't come give the speech in her place, the least I could do was to write something out for her. I'll apologize in advance for the length, but she's got several minutes to fill. :)

========= Why We Homeschool =============

We are in the middle of our third year of homeschooling. We have two boys, one 10 and one 8. For us there was no drastic event that caused us to decide to pull our kids out of public school. Rather it was a slow process throughout our son's second grade year.

Here are some of the factors that led us to start homeschooling:

1. A stressed second-grader. Our son's teacher struggled with 25 seven-year olds. Her way of dealing with it was to nag the kids all day long. Our son (while not perfect) was one of the better-behaved kids, but he internalized the stress. It killed me the night he asked during bedtime prayers for God to help his class be good so his teacher would have a better day.

With homeschool, we set the schedule, the class size is perfect, and there are no grades. Of course, the stress we have is of a different kind now. He didn't translate the same concern for his teacher's happiness to his mother's well being. :)

2. Socialization. Many times people think this is a reason NOT to homeschool, but I beg to differ. Our son was learning all kinds of social skills from his peers. He was learning colorful new words, learning that the kind of shoes you wear are very important, and learning the importance of watching the right TV shows (and owning the right action figures and collectible cards).

Now he interacts with us and with other grown-ups. He interacts with a manageable group of kids in learning environments we control, and with kids of all types in youth league sports to keep his horizons broad.

3. Quality of education. We live in one of the "best" school districts in Georgia, so I have no doubt my kids would get a good public school education. But in addition to teaching the basics, the school stressed the most important socialistic ideals: Citizenship, Tolerance, and Following the Rules.

While those three are not BAD, they are only designed to produce "worker bees" (who can get into the best colleges, of course). Once we started looking "outside the box," we saw that an education could be so much more. Plus, we picked a curriculum that fits our kids, that is interactive and challenging, and that will teach them how to think!

So when we committed to homeschool, we agreed to think long term. What did we want our kids to be like when they finished high school? We picked these three things we want them to be:

* Young men of character (because character means a lot more to success and happiness than anything else)
* Young men who love to learn (because you never learn enough in school to get along in life)
* Young men who love God and live according to His principles (because therin lies the real meaning of life)

I know that it is possible for kids in public school to meet these criteria. But that would happen in spite of school, not because of it. Public school is not designed to teach a love of learning, and only makes feeble attempts at rewarding character. Of course, God is "officially" prohibited in school both in the curricular and the extra-curricular.

We are not committed to homeschool forever, but these last three years have been wonderful for our kids and for us. In many ways, I think this has been more beneficial for us as parents than for them as students, but that is a subject for another post.

Happy homeschooling!


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