In short, because it works for us.
I no longer defend our family’s decision to homeschool, when people ask about socialization, or wonder if our children will get all the right courses. For a time, I had quick comebacks or a joke about traditional schooled children, but now with a senior in high school and a middle schooler right behind, I have a calm confidence, and the questions to me are more about, “How do you do it?” rather than “Are you sure you can do it?”.
Homeschooling works for us because . . .
• the education is tailored to our children’s needs . . .
• because the kids get to see dad when he arrives home at 9:30 in the evening . . .
• or they take a day off when he gets back from a work trip . . .
• because they can practice the piano for two hours if they want . . .
• or write a fifty page report on ships that takes a month and covers all the subjects . . .
• because we can try ten different sports over ten years and still stick with one favorite through it all . . .
• because we can study a second language starting in elementary school and end up with 36 college credits and the equivalent of a minor as a senior in high school . . .
• because our son and daughter see each other everyday they became good friends . . .
• because we were able to save money over the decade of homeschooling and were able to plan a big homeschool trip . . .
We are still homeschooling because it works better than anything else that I could find. Every year for the first five or six years, we would end the year evaluating the success and discuss the future. I would call a few schools, maybe make a visit to the classrooms, and decide we would keep going for a another year. The classrooms were full of busy “stuff”, and by taking on their busy schedule and after school homework, we would have to eliminate the things we most enjoyed studying. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cut out the quality curriculum that we were studying, just for sending them to school.
Homeschooling in this sense, was not about “minimalism”, but maximum success, maximum quality, and maximum relationships. By doing less, we gained more. In so many different areas of our lives, even when I am pulling my hair out because of an insanely scheduled week when everything seems to crash upon the calendar, we can still say we have more with less. Less birthday parties with kids we don’t really know. Less homework-busywork. Less “mandatory-volunteering” (oxymoron!). Less illnesses coming home. Less expenses for designer clothing mandated by peers. Less fundraisers. Less back-to-school shopping. Less carpooling or bus stop waiting. Less bad language coming home. Less “adult” content being explained.
Instead we have gained more. More deep friendships. More books read. More time practicing instruments. More mastery of our favorite sport. More exposure to the arts. More relationships with variety of ages. More time developing a second language. More time playing. More time in academic instruction. More time eating healthy lunches. More time sleeping (less time waiting for a bus!). More time in childhood. More time with the family.
Why do we still homeschool? Because it works for us. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.