I think homeschooling is wonderful and I am so glad we ended up choosing this route. But I am not a militant homeschooler, either, who thinks everyone ought to do it. I always cringe a bit when I hear speakers assert this. God's will is very individual and because it's not laid out directly in Scripture, the way we educate our children has to be a something between us and God. At the same time, I'd probably have to say that there are more families who should be homeschooling that are not, for one reason or another.
I used to have a very stereotypical view of homeschoolers and wanted nothing to do with it. When Will turned 5 we packed him off to our church's little Christian school. It was ok experience, I guess. Although, since then, Will has told me things that went on there that had I known were occurring at the time, probably would have made me upset. But every so often when I would pick him up there would some homeschool families milling around, picking up their co-op order (I think all homeschool families order from co-ops! Yes, we do too, now!) from the school. They just looked odd. The girls looked very old fashioned in their long hair and skirts and the boys looked strange, too. So I thought if I were to homeschool it meant I'd have to swear off good haircuts, birth control, and make-up. I don't garden and I'm not about to start grinding my own wheat, so I just didn't consider it! But then Ben started school. We put him in the small public school in our district. He had a one on one aide. It was a hard year, from a number of different aspects. I had to get the boys up really early in order to drive Will south 20 minutes to his Christian school and then turn around and drive a half hour north to get Ben to his. Will has never been a morning person and it was so difficult trying to get him out the door, trying to coax him to eat breakfast. Ben hated going to school and would cry a lot of mornings on the way there. David was a toddler - need I say more? And then school was hard for Ben. Every day I would pick him up at 1:00, even though it was a full day program. And every day I would get bad behavior reports on Ben - he couldn't sit still, he was a disruption, etc. Now, of course, I know that he was on the autism spectrum and that's why. But it still bothers that not one of those "experts" at the school identified that.
So that year I began to consider homeschooling. When I first brought it up to Paul, he said, "Oh, I don't think you're organized enough for that." Gee - thanks for the support! But as time went on he agreed that it would be a good idea for Ben. And then, as it got harder and harder to pay for Will's private schooling, Paul agreed to try homeschooling for him, too. So the next year we began. That first year I kept hearing from Will, "Well, that's not how my teacher did it!" but he got over that after awhile. He has excelled with homeschooling and has been pretty much self-taught all along. The other boys have done great, too. It turned out that David was a slower learner and being homeschooled from the very start enabled him to learn things at his own pace without the pressure of needing to keep up with his classmates. In fact, he didn't learn to read until about 6 months ago and that was fine. (Well, I private had moments of angst over this, wondering if I was a failure as a teacher, but once he got it, then I could sit back and say, "homeschooling does work!")
A few months ago one of the women in my on-line moms group asked for homeschooling input as she was considering the option. I typed out a few things for her, that I thought I'd share here: