give me 5 good reasons

I don’t know what made me think I could stand to blog about NaNoWriMo for 30 days in a row.  Maybe a weekly Saturday update.

We had a wonderful day with my sister-in-law Jess, her three kiddos–Anna, Ethan and Gavin, and two of our neighbor kids. Picnic lunch in the living room, soccer in the backyard, a walk through the woods to the park, board games, learning how to knit (not me!), chatting about homeschooling over coffee.

Livi overheard the word “homeschool” and casually walked into the kitchen and sat on my lap. I told Jess that I had asked Livi to come up with some good reasons I should homeschool her next year but that she hadn’t yet. Helpful Aunt Jess suggested to Livi that she should make her mom write a list of reasons why Livi shouldn’t be homeschooled. Turn the tables and place the burden of proof on the Mama.

Later that afternoon, Livi brought me a piece of paper.

5 reasons to homeschool me.

#1. I wouldn’t have to learn stuff I already know.

#2. I wouldn’t have to have as much homework.

#3. I don’t have to ride the bus.

#4. I could sleep in.

#5. Sometimes I could give you ideas I would want to do.

Hmmm… not bad. Pretty convincing. Especially #1. That’s why my mom homeschooled me for three years. Five minutes later she presented me with another list.

Some reasons why you would want to homeschool me.

1. You wanted to teach fourth grade.

2. You wouldn’t have to call my school if I’m sick.

3. You wouldn’t have to pack me a lunch.

4. Sometimes you wouldn’t have to help Nina.

Well, #4 just about clinched it. I told Livi this was a good start but that we’d probably need to come up with a few more.

Can you help an 8-year-old out? Why should her mama teach her at home next year?

29 thoughts on “give me 5 good reasons

  1. Lacey

    My husband is a youth pastor, like your sister’s, and I have seen the exact same things in our youth group. Our homeschooled children are definitely more knowledgeable in the Bible but are not that great socially. Again, I think yours would be fine. There are just pro’s and con’s and it is definitely not for every family.

    I do have a problem with the homeschool families that look down on the families that send their children to public school. Yes, I do teach in the public school and I definitely feel like that is where I am supposed to be right now. As for our little Emma, if she were to start school today, I would send her to public school….does that mean that is how it will always be? Not necessarily we will see where the Lord leads.

    Praying for you as you make this decision. Don’t be swayed either way by these comments…be swayed by HIM! 🙂

  2. Colleen

    1) don’t let this be another stress for you right now…cool thing is, you don’t HAVE to make the decision right now AND if you change your mind about 3 months in, it’s NOT a big deal to stick her back into school again or pull her out to homeschool (depending on which you decide)
    2) you know you will pray about it…so that’s covered…just wait and see…you’ll have a heart tug one way or the other
    3) keep it in perspective: this life is just a vapor of eternity…don’t put too much into “how do I school”…we all want what is best for our kids…but really, they’re already super smart and know HOW to learn, they are learning to love God no matter what their surroundings are…you and Gabe are doin’ awesome…

    you aren’t gonna go wrong…just determine first where God is leading and how you will balance that with the rest of life that is happening around you…no matter if it’s homeschool OR sending her to school…

    Love you!

  3. Amanda from VCA

    I was home schooled for 8 years. I started in 4th grade. I couldn’t handle being in school after you left. Just Kidding. I did love being home schooled though. You are right though. like everything, it has its pros and cons! I’ll keep you in prayer!

  4. Sandi Faulk

    I think I’d love your mom. What great options you have as parents! We were committed to public schooling for Wes, convinced that it was what we were supposed to do for him – not for us! I agree with Janelle – the only opinion that really has import in this is the Lord’s – for your children, both collectively and individually.

    We have a tendency on this subject to have such a need to be right that we fault-find and behave dismissive toward parents who chose differently, don’t we? I love that the discussion on your blog is so civil.

  5. Stephanie your sister

    I have lots of things I could say about this topic, being a youth pastor’s wife of a 95% homeschooled youth group. I believe that homeschooling is never the best option for EVERY family. I believe that homeschooling, public schooling, and Christian schooling can all be the best options depending on how it’s done and how you feel God is leading you. I spend hours each week (and have for years now) with homeschooled teenagers, and there are handfuls of them who have adjusted wonderfully and are intelligent and socially adept. There are also handfuls of them who have no understanding of people outside their family/ church, have trouble with attention span and cannot spell if their life depended on it. For these reasons I think it depends completely on the parent, the children, and what God wants for your family. Homeschooling can be a great way to go, but not if it’s not right for your family or if the reasons you’re doing it aren’t right.

    I could say so much more. This is one of my favorite topics. Maybe we should discuss it when you come next weekend! 🙂

    LOVE YOU!!!

  6. Carrie

    I think the flexible schedule of homeschooling is really important to me – since my hubby works a weird schedule that doesn’t line up with a traditional school schedule at ALL. And I hate when people use the ‘socialization’ argument against homeschooling – there are so many children in our public AND Christian schools today who are just totally focused on pleasing and relating to ONLY their peers, because their peers are all they’ve been exposed to in their traditional school setting, that they cannot hold a conversation with an adult, a teen, or a child who is of a different age. I’m not saying children shouldn’t go to school, but I don’t think they HAVE to in order to be socially relevant. And I love your MIL’s comment – it is totally what God wants & He will show you. 🙂

  7. Michelle

    Well we can go on this path together. I am looking at homeschooling my 4 kiddos after the holiday break. They are 8, 9, 9, 10. This year was extremely hard for me to send them to school. For the first time I felt as though all my hard work as there mother is going to the way side. As they get older, I am seeing the choices they make with their peers are becoming harder and harder for them. They are good kids, that love the Lord so much. They know right from wrong, but we all went to school too, right? Except these days what we went through in junior high they are going through in elementary. That would be my reasons for homeschooling. The kids are looking forward to it. If it was up to them, they would start tomorrow. I won’t be a homeschooler that has to teach the Bible everyday, because I believe you have to live the example before you talk about THE example. But my focus will be on raising my kids in a solid rock environment with teaching them the way to go, for what…so they won’t depart, from HIM. Will it be challenging, I’m sure it will be but the reward will be so much greater. I once heard a mom that homeschools her eight kids, 4 of them have gone on to excellent, well-known universities say “when you give a child a chance to learn at their own pace and they are passionate about science and are excelling with it they will begin to slow down when they realize they need the knowledge of math to keep up with their passion. Soon that child will have an interest to excel in math to get to where they want to go.” Hmmm, sounds like we are helping them become better adults when they are faced with even tougher decisions.

    Hope to see you as a partner in this endeavor!

  8. Jennifer

    What great advice you’re getting! I love reading these responses. I have no words of wisdom myself, but I think it’s wonderful that you’re open to both possibilities. And that you’re giving Livi the opportunity to have so much input on this decision. Kudos to you, Mom!

  9. Jonna

    Hey Marla,

    I would like to interject just a bit… I know that you are more than bogged down with information here, but I feel compelled to share. I home schooled Carmen for one year and it was helpful, but she didn’t like it. She is now back in public. Caleb is still home schooling and not only does he do much better than in public, he actually excels in certain topics that he would otherwise be bored in and ultimately get bad grades because of boredom. It isn’t for all kids, and if you try it for a school year and feel that she does better in a brick and mortar setting, she can always return. I don’t believe that the social aspects of school will be hindered because of all of the wonderful and exciting things you do as a family and with friends. Just a couple of thoughts from someone with both views.

    Love ya!

  10. Tarah

    Obviously, I’m all for homeschooling and I could give many positive reasons to do so, plus refute some of the reasons given NOT to. But, I am not here to argue. Really, your MIL hit the nail on the head.

    My advice would be to ask yourself what really is the optimal thing for her. And only consider that, not whether or not you can handle it, etc. Because God gives us what we need to do what’s best. Don’t base your decision on fear or perceived inadequacy. Those are not valid reasons. Base it on God and what is best for your family.

    We never planned to homeschool. We ‘fell’ into it because my son turned out to have some special needs and was not remotely ready for a classroom at age 6. It has been grueling at times, and still is an enormous commitment. But the rewards as a family have been well worth it. Plus, you know how you always grow leaps and bounds spiritually when you are in a period of constant testing and dependance? Well, there you go…..homeschooling puts me in a constant state of dependence. And, it’s not a bad place to be. 🙂

    By the way, there are ways to homeschool through the public school in an increasing number of areas. I wouldn’t recommend starting there, however. The quality varies state to state. We are currently using a public charter homeschool.

  11. Bethany

    1. Because she really wants to be home schooled!
    2. She can be your “manager” for speaking engagements and learn tons of responsibility, interacting with new people, etc.
    3. She can be Nina’s teacher
    4. She can get her schoolwork done by lunchtime and help you out around the house, learn how to design websites, practice knitting, play with Nina, etc.
    5. Does Ava want to be home schooled? She might be like me and enjoy the social interaction. If so, then she can be your “door” into the public school system. Then again, there won’t be the flexibility factor since you’ll still have one child in school.

  12. Jen Griffin

    Well, you know how I feel. I love homeschooling my kids. Yes, it’s a huge commitment but, we knew it’s what we would do right when Noah was born.

    1.) you can homeschool in your pj’s.

    2.) field trip whenever you want!

    3.) each child learns differently…you can taylor her work to fit her needs…not everyone in her class.

    4.) small teacher to student ratio! 🙂

    5.) the Bible can be your #1 textbook!

    6.) you can chew gum.

    7.) you can take a day off whenever you want!

    8.) you will learn just as much as the kids do!

    9.) mother/daughter time!!

    10.) there are GREAT support groups, CHEO conference in Cbus

    11.) you can visit as many zoos as you want and count them as school hours since they are learning!

    12.) you won’t have to worry about unbiblical teaching.

    13.) Gabe can teach the subjects that he enjoys!

    14.) Snuggling and reading a ton of books!

    15.) Library!!!!

    16.) I could write a million reasons. If you need websites or more info let me know!

  13. Elizabeth

    I think Livi’s reasons are so perfect, and the fact that she came up with them is pretty impressive. Smart little cookie!

    I’ll do it if you will. Isabelle has been begging me for years!

  14. Omom

    The main reason I homeschool my girls is basically because i love being with them. This is a gift for me. My oldest daughter is 15 and last year she decided she wanted to go to school, so we let her. Her transition has been fine. As I see her growing into her own person and taking those small steps to going out and having her own life, I am so thankful for being able to spend so much time with her, again it’s really a gift for me.

  15. Emily Kay

    Sorry to clog your comments, but I just thought of one more thing I wanted to mention. I hear a lot of emphasis placed on making sure the child has the best education possible and it’s hard for parents to teach the kids everything they need to know. Well, is that really what we as Christians are all about? Personally, I believe that the number one priority for Christians (and therefore their children as well) should be their walk/relationship with God and their witness to others around them. Education is only a means to an end in our quest to honor God and reach out to others. We need to balance our priorities appropriately. I honestly don’t believe God cares whether we got an 1100 on our SATs or a 1600 or whether we went to community college or Yale. How will use our lives to glorify Him is most important.

  16. Emily Kay

    I’m sure you already know this, but you and Livi will only become as isolated as you want. Yes, homeschooling can be used to complete shelter children from outside influences, but it can also be used to better manage their time and use non-school time to introduce them to a myriad of ministry and social opportunities. If you’re worried about diversity of interaction (which I tend to think is a load of bull anyway) sign her up for classes at the zoo or get her involved in club sports. There are plenty of ways to make sure she doesn’t become isolated and with homeschooling you’re not confined to the schedule and structure of a school (and therefore oftentimes limited to their activities).

    Anyway, I just had to throw that out there because I hear that argument used so many times against homeschooling and it’s just frustrating. As you know, I was homeschooled all 13 grades (K – 12) and I turned out fine. 🙂 I got my outside social interaction through 4-H programs and I was definitely exposed to a diverse group of kids. In fact, I wish my mom HADN’T been so eager to get me involved because I was exposed to a lot more than I would have liked to have been at such a young age. I heard more crude jokes and talk about sex and p0rnography than I should have ever been exposed to. And yes, I realize I would have gotten that and more in a school setting, but shouldn’t we as parents strive to protect our children from that garbage so they can learn what’s right and wrong from a Christian perspective? And who better to teach kids that perspective than their parents!

    Anyway, homeschooling just seems like the best option all around if parents are willing to make to sacrifices to do it. I know it’s not possible for everyone, but I think they should at least pray about it before handing over their child’s education to another person or system.

  17. Marla Taviano

    Thanks, guys. Super helpful.

    And Zac–I actually haven’t made up my mind. I’m very tempted to go for it just because she wants to so badly. But there are several things still holding me back.

  18. Joanne @ The Simple Wife

    Because it’s

    F U N !!!

    And they grow up so fast, that to have them back at home with you, knowing what they’re learning, what they’re saying, what they’re doing each day calls to mind those days when they were small.

    It’s also HARD, but a lot of good things are.

    Love you,

  19. janelle taviano

    Not trying to be the MIL…but the same reason either way for me would be “why I sent the boys to a Christian School.” GOD Alone, told me to do it. Verbatem (sp)…Pray His Word ,read HIS WORD with that in mind, underline or write where HE speaks to YOU, from HIS perspective from the WORD, in prayer…. there is a vs. in the Bible that says, “write it down”….so that when GOD speaks to YOU, YOU can run with it. Then you will know it will all be for HIS and their best…and it will fly Spiritually. ( smile ) your mil …

  20. Joy

    I was homeschooled for ten years. As of right now, we have opted not to homeschool our children. It sounds to me like you’ve already found or heard the best reasons to do it. I’d like to share a few more reasons to approach it carefully — not necessarily not to do it, but things to know going in.

    1. You as the mom can become isolated and/or insulated. Educating your child is a life-consuming project. You need to be sure that you build in time and opportunity for you to get out, meet new people, and maintain a life outside of homeschooling (and homeschooling people). Remember that one day your children will either go back to school or finish school altogether, and you need to have other interests, friends, and resources to draw on when this phase of life ends.

    2. The commenter above mentioned this, but homeschooling can really limit your child’s exposure to people who are different, whether it’s different culture, different religion, or different abilities. This can be a huge disadvantage later, depending on the child, because one day we all have to go out into the world and we will face people who are different. We must be able to find common ground, work together, and agree to disagree on certain things. It is very common for us to gravitate to those who are like us, but it’s important to learn how to work with everyone. This is a big challenge when you’re homeschooling.

    3. How disciplined are you? If doing what needs to be done whether you want to or not comes relatively easily, you’ll have little problem creating a routine and sticking with it. Despite it’s great flexibility, you MUST have a structure to work within in order to accomplish any real learning. If discipline, structure, and routine do not come naturally, it’s going to be very tempting to leave the books on the shelf and run off to do this and that and bake one day and make crafts another day and you’ll get to the end of the week/month/year and realize that you did very little of the required-but-oh-so-boring basic fundamentals: reading, math, science, history. You’re going to need a system with structure already in place (like a correspondence school or a complete-package curriculum) and a lot of accountability to sit down with the kids and do the work whether you all want to do it or not.

    Homeschool can work marvelously for some families, but sometimes it isn’t a good fit. You may have to try it to find out whether it works for you, and you may need to try a variety of curricula or structures before you find the right one for you and your kids. Some copy the way things are done in school, right down to a child-sized desk for the child. Others try to approach teaching in a more holistic way, building reading/math/science/history around a topic (Native Americans, for example). Then there’s classical and classical Christian education, Charlotte Mason, and a host of others.

  21. comoprozac

    I am neither a proponent nor opponent of homeschooling, especially when the parents are as educated as you. That said, I’ll make a list of five reasons not to homeschool.

    1. Isolation – An important part of public schooling is the social aspect. Students learn to interact with people or cultural groups they wouldn’t normally encounter outside their churches or homes.
    2. Curriculum – Schools are equipped to cover the scope and sequence of a curriculum without missing key concepts.
    3. Certified Teachers – As you know, teachers have to keep their certifications up-to-date through graduate courses and professional development, always learning new and better methods.
    4. Resources – Schools have funds (granted, not enough) for the equipment and materials for learning. That’s why we pay property taxes.
    5. Schools need families like yours. Obviously, your child is pretty bright. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have come up with such a list. Other children could learn from her example. Plus, being the supportive parents you are, you can affect change in your child’s school by being involved.

    There’s my list. Again, I’m not for or against, but those are some reasons to keep her in school. Of course, it sounds like you’ve made up your mind already. If you want, I can put you in-touch with a woman who homeschools her son (and is outside your circle for a new perspective).

  22. Emily Kay

    Well, you know I’m a BIG fan of homeschooling so I could give you a million and one reasons. But I’ll spare you and just mention a few. 🙂

    1) You can angle her learning however you would like…tie it in with a Scripture, create themes to follow, etc.
    2) More Mama-Daughter time…teaches both of you extra patience and love. 🙂
    3) Completely flexible schedule…you decide when to start, what days you want to take off, how many hours a day to school, and sick days won’t hurt her!
    4) If she were to struggle in a certain area, you can focus nearly exclusively on that subject until she gets caught up.
    5) She can work at her own (and your own) pace with minimal frustration and boredom.
    6) You can teach her all sorts of fun subjects she may not get in school yet: cooking, creative writing, outdoorsy stuff, etc.

    Overall, it would be beneficial, but also a huge commitment (as I’m sure you already know). There’s no more getting rid of her for half the day when you need a break! 🙂 And Mom becomes her SOLE teacher/mentor. It’s a huge responsibility.

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