Everyone has a reason they decide to homeschool and they are all different. Here is our story:
After Eric and I were married we met a family at church in Tucson, Arizona. This was a large family with teenagers to babies. Watching them at church was amazing. The kids were well-behaved with older siblings gently helping younger ones. The teens stood out. They were bright, confident and respectful. I thought, “I want my kids to be like that.” I soon found out that they homeschooled. Up until that point my only exposure to homeschooling was extreme isolationist groups having stand-offs with the FBI. It was the very beginning of what is now termed the “homeschool movement”. I don’t think people in that day would have ever imagined how quickly it would become commonplace in the United States.
Over the next several years I began to read the few books that were available on homeschooling at that time. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, sometimes called the grandparents of homeschooling, were early writers on the topic. They, along with others, presented compelling arguments for home education along with statistics and studies. I became convinced in my heart of hearts that this was what we needed to do for our future children.
I remember conversations with Eric in those early days where he would tell me about his school experience. He was a precocious child. He would finish his school assignments quickly then get bored. One year Eric’s parents approached his elementary school teacher in late Fall and asked if she thought it would be ok to take Eric on a trip to Washington DC that would mean missing a week or two of school. Her response was, “Sure. He has already completed his work for the school year. He is just running the projector for me.” That might have been the year he skipped ahead a grade. When he was 12, he lived in the Philippines on a military base and got in so much trouble (because he was bored) that the general threatened deployment if he got in any more trouble.
My education background was very average and I succeeded, but found myself far more focused on grades than learning. It wasn’t until after completing year of college, and starting beauty school, that I realized how much I enjoyed learning and longed to return to college to resume learning a wide variety of topics.
I kept researching once our first child was born. I tried to be open to various educational options including traditional public school, but I worried I would be that annoying mom disagreeing with teachers and causing a fuss, or worse, keeping my opposition inside and having it eat me alive. Because I have a natural interest in how the brain works and because I do a lot of research, I have strong opinions about what ideal education looks like. Standard classrooms and schedules are generally not part of that picture.
When we moved into our home on Blue River Road it pretty much sealed the deal. I would never send my kids to the public school district where we live, and the cost of private school is prohibitive with our budget. But in truth, even if we had the money I would not choose typical private school settings either. I love the homeschool lifestyle and can now see that my kids are much like those teenage homeschoolers I met in Arizona. It still feels like the right choice for our family 20+ years later!