Homeschooling is a wonderful form of education. I love it. (Well, not always.) But here are few reasons you might *not* want to do it:
First Reason You May Not Want To Homeschool
You’re homeschooling out of fear. I meet parents all the time who are pulling their children out of school because they’re afraid. Afraid that their kids will be influenced by the world. Afraid that their kids will walk away from their faith, afraid of any number of scenarios that they feel homeschooling can prevent. If fear is driving you, I want to encourage you to spend some time in prayer.
God’s Word is very clear: fear is NOT from God.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?”
I love this because it makes it very clear that the LORD is our salvation—not homeschooling. Homeschooling will not keep your children from walking away from the Lord. A strong, personal walk with God is what does that.
Many parents choose curriculum out of fear, to the point of exasperating their children and becoming hostage to another’s expectations rather than letting the Lord direct them to what is best for their child. In this way, we sometimes let fear drive us without even realizing it.
How can we know if we’re acting out of fear or faith? Ask yourself: if the Lord asked you to stop homeschooling, would you trust Him to protect and guide you? To give you insight into the heart and mind of your child? Or would you be afraid?
Second Reason You May Not Want To Homeschool
You think homeschooling is easier than other options
I’ve been homeschooling for 18 years. It might surprise you to know that many of those years have been less than idyllic. Some of them have been downright difficult. Strong-willed children, learning hurdles, exhaustion, illness, and burnout have all been part of our homeschool at one time or another. Would I change it? Not on your life. I gotta tell you though— it has been anything but “easy.”
Third Reason You May Not Want To Homeschool
You think homeschooling is “the answer” to the problems this generation is facing
I love homeschooling. I think it’s one of the best things we (Jay and I) have ever done for our kids—but. It’s not “the answer.”
We keep our children home because we believe it’s the best thing for our family, but we know that homeschooling in and of itself will not solve the problems we’re facing in this generation. The answer is Jesus. This weekend, I’ll be urging parents to stop waving the banner of homeschooling, and lift high the banner of Jesus Christ. Some may trust in horses (or homeschooling, or the government, or ourselves) but we (the children of God) trust in the name of the Lord! (My little paraphrase of Psalm 20:7)
So, why do my husband and I choose to homeschool our children?
There are several things that come to mind but our top three reasons are these:
First Reason We Choose To Homeschool
We don’t believe that education is neutral—or benign.
Education is the imparting of ideas and yes, even ideologies to a student. As parents, my husband and I feel a keen sense of responsibility to make sure that we know not only what, but who—is influencing our children.Luke 6:40 tells us that “a student is not above his teacher,” and that ultimately, the student will become like his teacher. That’s a huge responsibility—telling parents that their children are going to a lot like whoever teaches them. Knowing this also gives me a very healthy respect for my role as a mother—because the chances are good that my kids are going to be an awful lot like … you guessed it … me.
Second Reason We Choose To Homeschool
We want to be the primary influencers in the lives of our children.
We’re not under any illusions that homeschooling will keep our children from making unwise decisions—but we believe homeschooling our children gives us much more influence in their lives as grow into adulthood.Why? Because it allows us time. Time to talk with our children about the things that we believe matter the most. Over the years, we’ve taken our kids to places like Washington D.C. so that they could see our Constitution and the Magna Carta.
We’ve been to courthouses and walked the halls of the senate building. Why? Because we can. Homeschooling has allowed us to take the education of our children to heart—and has allowed us to make a significant investment into their lives.Sooner or later, all of our children will be making investments into the lives of their own children—and we hope we’re setting a good example for them!
Third Reason We Choose To Homeschool
We love being with our kids.
From newborns through young adults, we just love being with our kids. Homeschooling has allowed us to take advantage of “last minute” field trips and capitalize on many truly teachable moments with them because we’re not bound to anyone’s schedule except our own.
Last week, we were reading Minn of the Mississippi, and the kids were struggling to understand the lock and dam system described in this timeless story of a snapping turtle who traveled from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Because we homeschool, I was able to make a last-minute decision to stop “school” for the day and in favor of some hands-on learning. I took the kids to Bonneville Dam. Going to Bonneville helped bring the story of Minn to life—and gave our kids the chance to be part of the story, rather than just hear it.
In the end, every parent is responsible for the education of their children—whether or not they choose to homeschool. Rather than judge another person’s choice, I hope we will do a better job of praying for each other. There’s a lot at stake where education is concerned, and we need to get it right—one prayerful, trusting family at a time.
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14 thoughts on “3 Reasons NOT to Homeschool … and A Few Reasons Why We Decided to Give It a Try”
Hi Heidi! What if you think homeschooling would be better for your child due to
a “follower” personality–is that fear or wisdom? I think my girl would love public school, but I also think she would adopt attitudes so quickly that I don’t desire for her. I want homeschooling to be a joy for us, not a dread. What if I *am* afraid, but the fear is more rooted in wondering if I will school in a way that helps her/our relationship instead in a way that stifles her? I want to be up to the task and to do it well if we homeschool! How do you keep sowing and reaping a joyful homeschooling culturewhen mothering/wife-ing/housekeeping alone is tiring? What if you don’t feel totally exuberant about homeschooling, but still want to try in hopes that the results would be rewarding? Is that unwise in your opinion.
HI Kathryn! Thanks for stopping by the blog 🙂 I believe it is wisdom to know your child, your family, your situation—and prayerfully considering your options while being willing to let God direct you. I truly believe that homeschooling done by God’s grace and under His covering will not leave you depleted and frustrated. Sometimes, that change can come by simply stressing down your homeschool work load and opting for a better approach. Did you hear my podcast the last few days? You might enjoy it 🙂
Thank you writing this. My husband and I are prayerfully considering if homeschooling is right our family and I very much appreciate your insight!
You’re welcome, Katie! Welcome to my little corner of the Internet!
Heidi…thank you for sharing on this topic! When I initially began the journey of homeschooling I will admit there was some fear involved, but the more I have given that over to The Lord , He has brought peace to my heart. Now, three years in I homeschool for all the bonus reasons you have as well. It’s been a journey but I am so thankful for the privilege to be with our children daily. You bless me greatly and I am so thankful for your kind encouraging words each and every day.
Thank you, Sarah! <3 I appreciate your encouragement!
Hello sweet sister! Thank you so much for your always encouraging Christ centered words whether in writing, by podcast, or in person speaking! (I have had the privilege of all three….Im what you may call a Heidi groupie! lol!) No really though it just seems that whenever I reach out for wisdom, information, encouragement, and growth your name appears and therefore I just see God using you a lot in my life so I am so grateful for all you and your family do to minister to all of us! I love the blog., I have just started listening to the podcasts and LOVE them, and two different conferences I have gone to you have spoke at! So cool!!! I have been asked to speak a lot lately and feel this is something God may want me to do for Him so if you feel so led to do a series, either by blog, or podcast, or to just go ahead and throw that into another conference you do (I mean its not like you have anything else going on in your life 😉 wink, wink), on tips for public speaking especially on Christs behalf that would be so awesome! You are a phenomenal speaker and I would love to learn from you in that way! Anyway, the reason I wanted to comment on this specific post is because I wanted to see what you thought about two things that I feel the Lord has been teaching me. I have been homeschooling for three years now and feel that I have grown and learned so much about how God works in people that I didn’t realize before. First of all I know that God knows what it is going to take to get us to do His will for our particular family and what gets you there may not be what keeps you there! For example, I know that God had been speaking to my heart about homeschooling for a while before I finally got serious and really looked into it and made it a real decision for our family. Finally we couldn’t afford our Christian school anymore and didn’t have a peace at all about public school so we decided to look into the whole homeschooling thing proactively. We decided to try it seeing that there seemed to be a lot of benefits to it, but also it was kinda just obedience and realizing it was our only other option financially. God could have provided the money somehow for us to stay at the school but he didn’t and ultimately that is what made us pull the trigger. Now? If we where billionaires we would still homeschool!!! Our reason has totally changed….God has given us a new “Why” that will stand the test of time….our “why” is because we feel called into full time discipleship with our children! What was first a financially driven thing has now become a passion and something I totally believe in and am so glad God did whatever it took to get us there! So I guess my question is that if God wants someone to homeschool and knows that initially fear is what will get them to get serious about it, isn’t that ok if that is how God chooses to work? Maybe fear is what gets them there but not what keeps them there and eventually they see Gods will and purpose in having their kids at home and they otherwise would have missed it all together. God just knew what He had to instill in them to get them to do what they would otherwise not entertain….does that make any sense? I just know so many peoples journey to homeschooling is so different and I am just thinking that maybe God just knows what it will take to get us to where He wants us to be anyway for maybe a totally different reason in the end! I am grateful for my lack of finances that led me to this amazing life and thought maybe that fear would be what someone else might be grateful for in their journey? Which leads me to my next question…..how do you know the difference between unhealthy fear, and awareness? For me it was fighting the fear I had in my ability to homeschool that I personally had to fight, then I heard from God through scripture basically saying “Ya I really don’t need your help like you think I do….its all Me….so just be obedient and I will take it from there!” I was all “Sweet! Im in!” and I have to remind myself of this daily because Satan continues to attack me with fear! But for others they fear not homeschooling because they fear an unhealthy environment for their kids in school and the constant negative influence that they are around….I am wondering if instead of “fear” it is really just an awareness that God is giving them of the dangers of an environment that God doesn’t want their kids in. An awareness of a valid issue of them not being able to be the main influence in their lives and knowing that the information and influences around them would be damaging, unhealthy, and character hindering while possibly preventing the parents from doing the “best” job they could in training them up! I have just had so many conversations with people who are considering homeschooling and when they talk about these things I want to make sure that my advice is Biblical and ultimately leads them back to scripture and what God has for THEM. At the same time I don’t want to step on Gods toes if He is working in them to give them an awareness and i tell them its fear, or God gives them a reason to get them there and I tell them its not a good reason and get in Gods way of how He is choosing to work. Like I said in the beginning I have been searching scripture on all of this and have tried to pay attention to what God has been teaching me and showing me, and this post just made me want to pick your brain on all this and seek your advice and expertise! Ok enough, I apologize for the longest comment you have ever received and appreciate that fact that you even read this (assuming your still reading) Ha! Would have been easier to just chat over coffee hu? I wish! God Bless you and thank you again for you and your families ministry! It has blessed more than you may even know!
I would totally recommend this post to the people I know who are either considering homeschooling or have decided against it for now. I don’t feel like you’re trying to convince the reader with cheap reasons, but just being real- thank you!
What a great article. Though I am only able to attend Saturday at the conference, I am looking forward to hearing you speak. It was the highlight of the conference for me a few years ago. You are a blessing and a breath of fresh air. Thank you for always keeping it real. 🙂
I love this! Thank you!
I’m sorry, I don’t mean this to be rude, but just speaking logically, this article is complete and utter nonsense…
You list the reasons someone “shouldn’t” homeschool and then go on to explain how all three of the reasons you decided to homeschool were identical to the number one reason you think people shouldn’t homeschool.
First of all, the passage of scripture you used was very poorly interpreted. 2 Timothy is discouraging irrational and/or unwarranted fear. It is clear from the scriptures that fear has a very appropriate place in a Christian’s life: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Pet. 5:8. Also, David acted out of “fear” when he pretended to be crazy in the presence of the Philistine King, because he knew he would be killed if they recognized him as the legendary warrior from Israel.
Using your same line of reasoning, you could also write articles about how no parent should buckle their children in car seats if the primary reason is “fear” that something bad could happen in a car accident; or, no parent should put child locks on the cabinets out of “fear” that the child is going to drink bleach and die; or, no parent should teach their children not to talk to strangers out of “fear” that their child is going to be kidnapped and violated by some depraved psychopath. The truth is, healthy fear is an appropriate motivation for several parenting choices (as shown in the second part of your article).
You can very easily reword all three reasons you decided to homeschool by saying, 1) We are afraid of our children receiving a subpar education. 2) We are afraid of our children being influenced at a vulnerable age by people who do not share our Christian values, and 3) We are afraid we would look back and regret the amount of time we missed with our children by sending them off to public school. All three are identical to the reasons you gave, and perfectly in line with the Word of God, because all three are rational and healthy fears which lead to good parenting. An example of an irrational fear in parenting would be, “Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them.” Proverbs 23:13. Many parents have been convinced by the world that they should not discipline the way the Bible instructs them to, which is evidence of an unhealthy and irrational fear.
Daniel (or Courtney) with respect, I disagree with you entirely. I don’t even know where to start but I will say this: I never said there are not healthy kinds of fear. Of course there are. I addressed unhealthy fears. I’m also discovering that whenever a person begins their comment with “I don’t mean to be rude,” it’s a virtual guarantee that it will be rude… which it is, starting with your assertion that my post is “complete and utter nonsense.”
With all due respect, I said the article was logically nonsensical. It was not in any way meant as a personal attack.
You made a blanket statement that “fear is NOT from God.” Without any mention of healthy fears (other than the indirect acknowledgement of the 3 healthy fears which ultimately drove you to homeschool).
I was saying that if you homeschool because of fear rather than God’s leading, it’s not the kind of fear He wants you to live under. Your choice of words is rude.