The Agnews have been homeschooling for the last three years, and I really haven’t talked about it much. Besides the video below that I made on the boys’ first day of kindergarten chronicling their long walk to school, I really haven’t opened up about why we chose this path.
Homeschooling can be a divisive topic in our society, and so I haven’t made a big deal about our decision.
It seems like whenever anyone asks us or our boys about what school they go to and we reply that we homeschool, many people feel as if they need explain why they did not go down that path.
- “Well, that’s good for you guys but we could never do that…”
- “We care too much about our marriage…”
- “I don’t want to be both parent and teacher…”
- “I’d be afraid they wouldn’t be smart…”
- “We’d end up killing each other…”
And sometimes it just leads to simple questions of curiosity.
Granted, Amanda and I have made a commitment with each other concerning our disposition on the topic. We have never ever asked someone why they don’t homeschool, but whenever we mention it, people oftentimes feel as if they need to explain their reasonings.
Inadvertently, some are also inadvertently implying certain things about us. Their comments from above make it seem as if:
- This choice was an easy decision for us.
- We don’t have marital challenges due to this decision.
- We actually began with a desire to be both educator and parental authority.
- We are going to make our children educationally subpar by depriving them of public or private education.
- We just go throughout our day singing “Kumbaya” without the remote possibility of someone seeking to injure another family member.
That’s simply not the case.
Choosing to homeschool our children has been one of the most difficult decisions and costliest sacrifices that we have ever made as a family, and yet it has also been one of our wisest and most rewarding commitments.
While I do not believe that homeschooling is for everyone, it is right for us as of right now.
Unfortunately, many homeschoolers can be divisive in their rhetoric when speaking of their decision. Arrogant debaters one either side of this argument never win.
A good debater may win an argument but he never wins a friend.
Whenever anyone defends his or her choice by claiming it should be normative for everyone, that person has lost his or her audience.
I do not think homeschooling is right for everyone. You can put down the defenses or lower your offenses concerning your opinion on the topic.
The reason I am writing this post is I have been asked by many people why we chose to homeschool our children. Below you will find why we did, the reasons that didn’t play into it, and possibly why you should or shouldn’t.
Common Reasons to Homeschool
While people’s lists are different, I often hear common reasonings for people desiring to homeschool their children:
- People are worried about the secular worldview and liberal agenda being integrated in public education.
- Parents are concerned about their children’s physical safety.
- Parents are worried about bathroom and locker room policy changes.
- Parents are worried about the negative peer influence and damaging cultural exposure.
- Parents disagree concerning the level of premature academic pressure.
- Parents disagree concerning the increasing level of mandatory homework which leads to less family time in the evenings and weekends.
- The ever-increasing of the classroom size leading to impossible scenarios for gifted teachers (and we are blessed to be friends with some of the finest public and private educators you could ever find – that is honestly what made this decision so difficult for us).
- Parents’ troubles concerning the drift of educational methods to practices that simply aren’t producing the results like previous models years ago.
- And many more…
Did those reasons factor into our decision? Sure, they did. Each of them were a discussion piece. But that really wasn’t the reason we decided to homeschool.
We had people push back against our desire to homeschool. We heard responses like:
- “But they will miss out on prom.” Since so many wholesome memories happens at those events…
- “Just think about all the friends that they will miss out on.” I wish I could say that those always turn out to be lifelong friends.
- “Your kids will turn out socially awkward.” Have you met my kids?
- “They need to be around kids their age all day.” For what purpose? So they can act like other kids their age? I think it is important to have them around adults they aspire to be like.
And on and on and on it went. We had pros a mile long. We had cons a mile long. But at the end of the day, we had to make a choice.
Our Reason to Homeschool
While all of the above reasonings played into our decision, it really came down to one reason for us:
We believe homeschooling to be the wisest, most God-glorifying decision for our family at this time.
Seems too simple? It actually spells it out nicely for us.
While we had pros and cons on every side of it, we believed this path was our best decision. It made sense to us on a lot of different levels. We do not believe homeschooling is for every family. We don’t know if we will do this for their entire educational careers. But, at this time, with our family, we believe it is the wisest decision. For us, wisdom is key.
We believe doing the wisest thing brings glory to God and that is the driving force for our family.
We weren’t sure which path to take at first. We lacked wisdom and so we prayed and asked God for it (James 1:5).
We wanted to make the wisest possible use of our time (Eph. 5:15-16) with the number of days we have available (Ps. 90:12). We were called to strengthen the children in our home in the wisest, most God-centered way possible (Ps. 127).
With my schedule, there were a lot of factors that made this choice a wise decision. I am not saying that as a pastor I have a harder job or more difficult schedule than someone else. I do not believe that.
Pastoring is unique though. With how we are trying to live life and do ministry, it is great for me to be able to take my family on certain ministry assignments. It is helpful for me to grab lunch with the family (especially on those weeks where evenings are booked up). Homeschooling works very well in the natural flow of our family’s schedule.
Some of my favorite benefits of homeschooling:
- I get to be a part of the education process at a high but natural level.
- At their ages, when I get off work, homework is complete and family fun time can commence.
- It provides Mom with a lot of intentional time with the children.
- I get to see my children before work, at lunch, and in the evening at normal time.
- We don’t stress over weekends and having to cram in a lot of things.
- The teacher is supremely good-looking and I get to flirt with her in front of her students ;).
- We can take individualistic teaching techniques with all the individuals in our home.
- There are benefits for interacting with other ages in the home.
- The Bible is an incredibly beneficial textbook and we prioritize reading, studying, and applying it in our classroom.
- We are maintaining the closest relationships with the people in our home.
We hesitated about making the decision not because we didn’t believe that homeschooling was the right call for us.
We almost avoided homeschooling due to fear of what people would think about us.
But, at the end of the day and the end of my life, I am responsible to one person – God. I am not seeking man’s approval – I am seeking God’s approval (Gal. 1:10). It was a difficult call to make, but we have been grateful for the time we have invested thus far.
I wrote this post for 2 reasons:
- If you are interested in homeschooling, I wanted to share our story in hope that it might encourage you.
- Regardless of what decision you make for your family, realize that it is your decision to make for your family.
You are not responsible to change your convictions to accommodate the opinions of your friends or family.
You have one opportunity to raise your children. With every single decision you make, make it wisely. Pray about it. Don’t be afraid of the hard calls. Don’t be afraid of the conversations behind your back.
Raise your children the way that you think you can best glorify God and rely on him daily. Sharpen those arrows in the quiver with whatever tools you think best (Psalm 127:3) and point them in the right direction.
If homeschooling can help, embrace it with all its wonderful and unique challenges.
If homeschooling isn’t for your family, find the best situation to raise your children to live for Christ and don’t look back.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. -Galatians 1:10