Friday, January 13, 2012

School by Default

At least once per week since I wrote You're Not Homeschooling Because...Your Spouse is Against It, someone finds that post by doing a Google search:

  • husband won't let me homeschool
  • husband against homeschooling
  • I want to homeschool but husband says no
  • can I homeschool if my husband is against it
I totally get that a parent would not support homeschooling: choosing any path that is against the mainstream is a difficult decision.  It is hard to forge a new way.  And it is especially hard to choose NOT to do something for your children that you believe was actually really GOOD for YOU.

Even some of my friends who are pro-homeschool have chosen to send their children to school because their husbands won't accept homeschool as a viable option.

What is strange to me when spouses disagree about school vs. homeschool, is that SCHOOL always seems to be the default choice.  It is especially perplexing to me when the parents have otherwise been following many attachment parenting practices.

Should the default choice be to send small children away from all that makes them feel safe and confident?

Should the default choice be to surround small children with people who don't know anything about them?

Should the default choice be to put your unique child into an environment where conformity is demanded?

The longer I watch my children learn and mature on their own terms, the more I become surprised at the reasons why parents choose school even if they aren't sure it's the right choice.  When I imagine my authentic, creative children in an artificial and conformist environment, I cry for them.  And when I see children who were previously confident and happy but have turned both aggressive and insecure after just a short time in school, I also cry for them.  

Parents, if you are unsure whether school or homeschool is the right choice for your family, might I suggest considering the following?
  1. Create a Family Mission Statement.  This means examining as a family what your priorities and values are and then deciding how to spend your time focussed on what really matters to you.
  2. Define 'success'.  Look at whether your definition of FUTURE success depends on what you do right now.  For example, is your definition of success timeless, or do you define success according to age or dollar value?
  3. For both School and Homeschool, describe what it will look like, sound like and feel like for EACH member of the family.  This is SO important...
  4. Answer the question "What will this decision COST me?"  Financially?  Letting go of fears?  Family support?  Relationships?  Career?
  5. Trust your child.  Love yourself.  Listen to what your child wants.  Listen to your heart.  Approve of your own decisions.  Seek support.  
I'd love to hear how YOU decided whether or not to homeschool.  What would you add to this list to help others decide what to do?


  1. Yes, I think it's sad that the burden of proof has to be on the person who wants to homeschool. If the parents can't agree, the kid gets sent to school. Only if they BOTH are all for homeschooling does the child get to stay home.

    I'm familiar with this concept because when I was a kid, I spent three years going to school after having homeschooled before. I didn't like it and BEGGED to come home. It frustrated the heck out of me that even though I knew what I wanted and my mom agreed with me, I was going to have to go to school unless my dad agreed as well. >sigh< Wouldn't it be an amazing concept if the kids, the mom, AND the dad all had to want to do public school for it to be an option?

  2. I may have shared my thoughts elsewhere on your blog, but I'll answer the question you posed here. Even though I have not started our homeschool (officially) adventure here yet with Burkley only being 14 months, the reasons my husband and I have agreed that our children will be homeschooled were because of the answers we came up with to these questions:
    1. Where will be receive the BEST education? From me. I am a certified, experienced teacher and I know him and his learning needs best. I have a wealth of knowledge, access to wonderful resources, tons of materials, and a positive, encouraging attitude. If education is the MAIN goal of "school" then we needed to ask ourselves where he would get the BEST education. You can't argue the fact that one-on-one instruction is the best option.
    2. It is way more efficient than traditional schooling. We can identify our children's strengths and weaknesses, cater to them appropriately, cover whatever they need/want to learn, etc., in a more efficient manner, in much less time than a school day, 180+ days a year, for years on end. Instead, we can learn with intentionality every day, all day long, not stopping because the clock says to yet not forcing ourselves to trudge through if he is not developmentally ready for it.
    3. My husband and I both loved your post about children *not* thriving on routine, so we now add that to our list as well.

    This comment is getting pretty long and I should probably do a blog post myself about it, so I'll stop here. I love your reasons for homeschooling/unschooling, and agree with them as well.

  3. Hi, I just found your blog via Pintrest. Love your philosophy! Reposting to my fb page, and also a new follower :)