Editors' note: We asked three moms of school-age children to share their families' perspectives on education. Jen Wilkin, Jenni Hamm, and Amanda Allen are three friends who attend the same church and raise families in the same geographic area. All three share mutual respect for each other as parents trying to raise children with intentionality, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In this series, you will see their perspectives on how and why they chose to educate their children through public school, private school, or homeschooling. Today Amanda Allen writes about why she homeschools her children. Previously:
- Perspectives on Our Children's Education: Going Public by Jen Wilkin
- Perspectives on Our Children's Education: A Private Enterprise by Jenni Hamm
We are the Allens, a homeschooling family of eight. We have five forever kids and one foster baby. The “A Team,” the nickname our friends have given our family, has five boys and a girl, ranging in age from 12 years to 9 months. We decided to homeschool our children after being around other homeschool families and after my husband's experiences teaching in the public school system. Here are a few reasons homeschooling is a fit for our family.
We have more time together.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle the whole family embraces. Our biggest reason for choosing this lifestyle is the amount of time we have to spend together, especially now that our family has grown in size. We have more time reading good books with the kids, playing outside, and developing character within our family. We have also found that homeschooling affords the kids much more time to be creative and participate in extracurricular activities, while still having plenty of time with the family.
The price is right.
When we made the decision to be a single-income family we realized that private school would not be an option for us in terms of affordability. The idea that our children could benefit from specialized courses and services in small classroom environments with a similar worldview has always been appealing but monetarily out of reach. Homeschooling fit the bill.
We choose the curriculum.
Incorporating worldview into our children's instruction was important to us. Choosing their curriculum enables us to do so. I enjoy being able to teach history chronologically, allowing us to tie in biblical events with mainstream history. We like the number of curriculum choices and the level of freedom we have in choosing the best style of learning for each child in our family.
We set the schedule.
My favorite aspect of homeschooling is the flexibility we have as a family. We control our schedule. If we see that it is a beautiful day outside we can decide that class is taking place at the park. We can take a field trip on a moment's notice or sometimes just take a day off if mom needs it. We can also take vacations during less-traveled times of the year, saving money—something we always have to consider for our large family.
Thoughts on Socialization
A big question that is usually raised with homeschooling is, “What about socialization?” Our family has no desire to be isolationists “protecting” our children from the outside world, and our children enjoy plenty of social interaction. We participate in a co-op that meets for half a day, one time a week with kids all about the same age. We have a network of many families that keep each other informed of field trips, lake days, or time at the park with friends. We are also involved in swimming, flag football, Boy Scouts, music, and church. There are so many opportunities for interaction outside our family that we really have to guard our time. Our six children have many opportunities to deal with each other's uniqueness and diversity, as well as that of many other families we interact with on a regular basis—families whose kids are schooled at home, privately, or publicly.
I consider homeschooling to be a full-time job. It is quite hard to find time to go grocery shopping and clean the house. The house is usually a mess with the kids at home all the time. Solitude is a scarce commodity, and date nights are “golden.” As the kids are getting older and activities cost more, we consistently evaluate the opportunities and services offered in the public school system. Even so, homeschooling is an exciting and memorable experience. We have enjoyed the journey and all of the craziness. Education is a personal choice that each family has to prayerfully make. We re-evaluate our decision regularly as we make plans for the upcoming school year. With six unique children, we must also consider what is best for each child. These years are precious, and we consider them a gift from God for however many years we homeschool.