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Why Traditional School Failed Us, and Why Homeschooling is Growing

Among the myriad reasons we won’t be returning to the school system is Common Core, the much-maligned national standards imposed several years ago. But that’s not what really caused this homeschooling journey, it was merely the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

We had become disillusioned with the system, when, at every turn we saw our boys childhood being stripped away under the guise of “preparing them for their future school years.” There were mountains of homework (in kindergarten), over which we fought with the boys. There were the little things, one not being “allowed” to pick a book from the library in a section that was higher than his “assessed reading level,” no matter how strong his interest in the topic, and despite the fact there was nothing at his “level” on it; and the other being constantly told he was behind in math (this kid loves math). The ridiculously early mornings and fighting half-asleep kids to leave the house. There was the rigid structure that didn’t allow for creativity outside of scheduled times. Not to mention the superintendent who told me point-blank that we had no say in what our kids were taught in school.

Was public school failing us? You bet. But here’s the kicker: We didn’t even realize it, or realize how badly it had failed until we got kicked in the teeth with the reality of what common core’s implementation would mean: More testing, less individuality.

You might think I blame the teachers for that failure – I don’t. They were doing their best in a broken system, and I don’t think it can be salvaged. Companies that fail file bankruptcy or close, Government agencies, on the other hand, just get more money to “fix” the problem.

Here’s what I mean:

The list goes on. My point is that this sort of stuff doesn’t happen in a system that works properly, where parents and teachers are working together. In a system where administration respects the parents’ rights, this doesn’t happen. In a system that valued helping kids reach their full potential, whether it’s artistic, engineering, or something else, the vast amounts of testing and assessments wouldn’t happen.

This is why homeschooling is growing.

If you’re on that fence, and wonder if homeschooling is right for your family, ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Do you feel like you’re doing the teaching at home? We did. They had these huge packets coming home and it just felt like stuff that should have been covered in class. If I have to teach it anyway, I’m going to take out the middle man and do it myself.
  2. Can you alter your lifestyle to make it work? Like it or not, education costs. Sometimes it’s time, and others it’s money, and often both, but there’s a cost. My friend Cristi made a fair point about this though: When you include the fundraisers and all the money you spend on donating supplies to the classrooms, homeschooling is probably about the same or a little cheaper.
  3. Do you like your kids? Dumb question, right? Not really. We’ve all had days when our kids are driving us batty, but I have honestly met parents who disliked their kids. I’m not talking about those times that we feel like our kids were only sent  to harass us, but parents who do not want to be near their children because they interfere with their lives. If you don’t like your kids, homeschooling may not be the best choice for you.

I know that homeschooling is not for everyone, but it can work for most people. If you decide to go for it, know that there is a huge online community to support you, answer the questions and give you inspiration. Know that learning doesn’t happen from 8-3, Monday through Friday and that even a game can be delightfully educational. Know that even the best homeschool curriculum in the world may not be right (or necessary) for your kids; and and most importantly, know that you know your kids best.

Did you take the leap into homeschooling? Tell us about it below, and maybe even take the survey!