While growing up, I heard my mother describe homeschooling as “a lifestyle” countless times to curious inquirers who wondered WHY anyone would embark on such an endeavor. In the late 1980s, when my family started homeschooling, the question of “why” was very apropos, considering that homeschooling was illegal or newly legal in many states.
Keeping in mind these historic details, I was very intrigued to discover the answers to the question “Why did your parents choose to homeschool, from your understanding?” from first generation homeschoolers. (To learn more about why I decided to explore these questions, click here!)
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(While reading, please keep in mind the last part of the question: from your understanding. All of these responses come from the adults looking back on their experiences and to understand why their parents decided to homeschool).
An example from my own family might give insight into the wide variety of answers I got:
My oldest sister, (Amberley, 33 years old), gave this answer:
Well, homeschooling was not legal in Nebraska when I started school, so I don’t know if Mom would have homeschooled me from K or not… But she said I was a brat and wanted me to get along better with my siblings. But I think there was also the religious aspect of things, where they wanted me to be able to study the Bible and learn about things from a Biblical perspective (ie. Bible as a subject, creation).
My second oldest sister, (Chelsea, 30 years old) also mentioned the “getting along with siblings” part, as well as religious reasons.
I, personally, don’t remember my sister being “a brat” (that just makes me laugh a bit). However, the following story is what I remember my parents telling us about why they started to homeschool:
My oldest sister was in the AWANA program (a church based Bible memory club) that met on Wednesday nights. Amberley was so tired in the morning that she had a very difficult time getting up for school. My parents decided that Biblical education (like the AWANA program provided) was of greater value that academic education that required my sister to get up early in the morning. These circumstances greatly influenced my parents’ decision to start homeschooling.
My younger brother (Kellan, 23 years old) gave this reason:
Well, all of you guys were homeschooled so by the time I rolled around I guess they just had to.
My parents were unhappy with the public school environment and the quality of education we were receiving. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident in which my sister was being bullied and the administration was ineffective in dealing with the perpetrator. After this incident, my parents decided to try homeschooling on a trial basis. After the first year, it was clear that homeschooling was the right way to go for our family.
My mother wanted to protect us from the negative influences found in public schools, and later (after my sister spent 3rd grade at a private Christian school) to give us a more personalized, at-our-level, education. My mother taught us at the level that we were capable of, not holding us back or going on ahead of us. She also wanted to avoid the bullying and cliche-ishness that were in the schools.
2 cited that the parents wanted to have more control over their child’s education
Kelly C. 29 from VA also gave this reason: [My mom] did not want the public school system’s influence (in particular evolution and sex education) on my education. She preferred being able to teach me with a godly influence.
Military/ lived overseas (4)
Private/ Christian School too expensive (3)
Family closeness (3)
Disagreement w/ school
Thought it would be fun (I particularly liked this answer!) 🙂