Why would you want to do that?- Our Homeschooling Journey, Part 1

When we moved after college, I started looking for a job. It took about three months, but I was finally able to find a position with Head Start. It was a mostly fun job. I got to hang out with the preschoolers during the morning, help families with goal planning, and learn a lot about my new town, it’s neighborhoods, and resources that are available. It was this job, though, along with Bryan’s and my experiences in school that led us to believe that public school was not a choice that we wanted for our children.

Bryan and I were both nerds in school. However, instead of being rewarded for our hard work and academic excellence, we often felt that our efforts were ignored or that we were being used as unwilling tutors in group projects. In my own teenage arrogance, there were several teachers that I was certain I knew more than. There were many situations where our intelligence could be used to get around assignments or just do the bare minimum. Only a few teachers sparked enough interest in a topic or enough rigor in the coursework to inspire real learning. Even in high school, I often referred to the school system as one that was “dumbing down America.” Please read that I do think that good teachers exist, but in our experience it had been a 50/50 split at best.

Coming out of this experience, after college I started work at Head Start. In our town, diversity is celebrated. It is a unique town because we have a lot of refugees. This gives a great opportunity to learn about other cultures and people groups. I think the local elementary school at one time had over 100 nations represented. I love, and I think that kids in general love, to learn about other cultures. However, the trend that disturbed me was that we could learn about and celebrate other cultures but not our own. We could say “Happy Chinese New Year” but we could not say “Merry Christmas”. We could talk about Ramadan, but we could not talk about Christmas or Easter, not even Santa and the Easter Bunny.  Even St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day got sanitized into “Green Day” and “Friend Day”.

These two experiences made us strongly biased against sending our children to a public school. We felt that it was highly possible that they would not be getting the best learning experiences which is what we wanted for them, and that they would be forced to erase important parts of their culture like a relationship with God and family traditions from their school day. I didn’t want to raise my kids having God be a part of home but not a part of school. I feel very strongly about consistency. I also feel very strongly about teaching my children how to learn, how to think and reason. So, for us, public school stopped being an option.

Part 2 will talk about private school.

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