Deciding to homeschool is an extremely personal decision. While I did seek counsel before we made our final decision, it was an extremely personal one for us to make as a couple and family. Many factors play into this decision from family dynamics to the well-being of your child, from the taboo issue of socialization to the constant need for restrictions in your children’s lives. But did you know there are reasons you should NOT homeschool?
While I love to talk about our own experience with homeschooling, I am always leery of giving advice on whether or not families should homeschool. I don’t mind sharing why and how it works for us, but I make it very clear that no two homeschools are alike. They may be similar in a lot of ways, but they are not the same. While there are a ton of reasons I could give you about the benefits of homeschooling and reasons we believed were important to pursue this avenue for our children, there are several reasons you should not homeschool.
5 Reasons You Should NOT Homeschool
- If the Holy Spirit has not guided your decision – DON’T DO IT!!! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NET) As a Christian, this is the most important rule of thumb for anything in our lives, so why should choosing (or not choosing) to homeschool our children be any different? Everything I do in my own life and for the life of my family is filtered through prayer and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Now, I’m not saying you have to wait for a handwritten message on the wall, but I am saying wait on peace and confirmation from Him. That looks different for each individual person and family, but rest assured that you will feel complete peace about the decision when you are in the Lord’s will.
- Because your mother, sister, friend or neighbor does it. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV) Peer pressure is never a good reason to do something and homeschooling is no different. Don’t be pressured into doing something the Lord has not led your family to do. The infamous saying, “You wouldn’t jump off a cliff just because your friends did, would you?” is also true in this case. Think back to your childhood and the times you may have given into peer pressure – how did that turn out? Never good, in my case. Consequences and punishment usually followed. But when I chose the Lord’s will over my own, life seemed to fit. It didn’t always make sense and wasn’t necessarily the easy choice, but it was the one with the BEST outcome!!
- As a last resort. While this may happen on occasion, it’s not the recommended method of deciding to homeschool. In my experience, choosing to do something “as a last resort” does not usually produce the best outcome. I find myself bitter, angry and having an all-around bad attitude about it because it was “forced” on me. Now I know circumstances can change in the blink of an eye that affect our entire world and they require us to do what is necessary. But more often than not, these catch-22 circumstances can be avoided. When these situations have happened to me and I find myself in a position I didn’t want to be in, I often find myself looking back at past decisions which brought about the eventual change that should have happened in the first place – I was just stubborn. I’m not saying this is always the case, nor can we avoid all these situations, but it goes back to being in the Lord’s will and prayerfully seeking His path for our lives. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
- Because it’s popular. While it’s true that homeschooling is on the rise, it’s not a fad or craze you should “get in on.” First of all, these are the lives and education of your children we’re talking about – it’s not something that the Lord takes lightly, so neither should we. This life is not a popularity contest!! Our children have been entrusted to us by the Lord to take care of their personal, physical and spiritual needs. And that includes their education – both Biblical and scholastic. Our children are not pawns in a popularity contest for our “Mom of the Year” campaign. While we’re not crucifying anyone, the premise is still the same. Doing the popular thing is not always right. “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Mark 15:15 (NIV) More often than not, I would say that doing the best thing and following the Lord’s will for our own life is not going to be the popular answer. We are traversing that long and narrow path that few find and even fewer follow. It’s going to be difficult and unpopular.
- Because it’s easy or easier. When I first began thinking about homeschooling (nearly 5 years ago), our then 4-year-old attended our church preschool program three days a week. We loved the program and he really thrived. But it was honestly a hassle to get him to school on-time with an 8-month old and another one on the way. I felt like all I did was drive back and forth, come home, nurse the baby and maybe get a load of laundry started – possibly put in the dryer, before I had to go back and pick him up. While he was learning so much, I felt my day was wasted by driving or sitting in the pick-up line. Now I am a Type A personality and wasting time is not in my vocabulary. If I’m not doing something I feel like I’m being unproductive and it just drives me crazy! So while at first my reasons for considering homeschool were selfish, the Lord eventually impressed upon my heart that being a parent was never going to be easy so “get over it.” It’s true – being a parent is never easy. And neither is choosing the educational path of your children. It’s just not. But if you think it will make your life simpler or easier – THINK AGAIN!! Most days my house is chaos followed by more chaos. Yes we get our “work” done, but it’s not always easy. If you think your children will naturally gather around the table with their “listening ears” turned on and eagerly awaiting the lessons for the day…think again! It takes time, training and real effort put in to make those things happen. Are they possible – ABSOLUTELY. Are they a must for a thriving learning environment – NO! It’s not easy, but for us it’s so worth the time and effort!! “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
Now these reasons are certainly not inclusive of everything that goes into the deciding to homeschool or not, but I believe they are a foundation. While recommendations from friends/family and the fact that some things may be easier if you homeschool need to be considered and may play a factor in your Pro-Con list, they should not be the deciding factors.
Each one of these were things we considered, but ultimately our decision came from the prompting and reassurance of the Holy Spirit. It may not be the popular decision, but for our family it’s the right one. And that makes all the difference!!
How did you decide to homeschool? I’d love to know!