When we first started homeschooling, I was full of anxiety and self-doubt. As time passed, however, I relaxed and started to enjoy the freedoms it had to offer. I truly treasured them and am thankful that we were able to spend more time with our kids during their fleeting childhood years. At a time when we celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans, I also celebrate the freedoms that we as homeschoolers enjoy and need to protect.
Homeschooling allows the freedom of scheduling. Do you want to homeschool four or five days per week? How many hours a day? Morning or afternoon? Should you homeschool year ’round, or take a summer break?
Some of these questions may be answered according to the ages and needs of your children, but the schedule can also be tailored to maximize time together as a family. If dad travels a lot, schoolwork can be done while he’s away, and then time taken off while he’s at home to spend with him. If mom and dad both work, parents can take turns teaching. Vacations can be taken when public schools are in session and special attractions are less busy.
Homeschoolers aren’t tied to a particular approach. Parents are free to research the options and make the choice that best fits their family’s current needs, and make changes as those needs change.
Children have different learning styles. Even within one family, one child might learn best through listening (auditory), while another learns best through moving (kinesthetic). Some students have challenges that need to be accommodated such as dyslexia. Homeschooling can address all of these needs, and more.
Even after you find a schedule that works for you, life can have unexpected seasons such as an adoption, illness, disability, or many other reasons. No matter what it is, homeschooling can adapt.
Where public schools all use the same textbooks purchased by the state, homeschool parents can choose from hundreds of sources, write their own, or use none at all.
They can choose a curriculum with a particular worldview. They can teach their children from a structured curriculum, or allow them to pursue their own passions. They can use the same course with all students, or a different one for each.
Curriculum can further be tailored to each student by either slowing down to master a concept, or adding additional work to challenge a precocious learner.
You can homeschool near, you can homeschool far.
You can homeschool in a boat, you can homeschool in a car.
You can homeschool in, you can homeschool out
Homeschooling’s the best, without a doubt!
In the den or the dining room? Inside or out? At home or away? With homeschooling, you are no longer confined to a desk. The world is your classroom.
On a beautiful day, you can take your studies outside to enjoy the weather. You could even take them to a park or beach. Even as you do schoolwork inside, it doesn’t have to be confined to a particular place. You can read while cuddled up on the couch, or let the kids move around while you read aloud.
For a family that relocates often, homeschooling offers continuity of teacher and learning environment. Instead of continually adjusting to a different school and expectations, homeschooling can provide some consistency that children need.
Whether parents are called to be missionaries in a foreign land, or just love traveling to experience different cultures, they can homeschool on the go. The travel accentuates schoolwork by providing immersion into history, geography, cultures and languages.
Our homeschool freedoms haven’t come easily. The homeschool community is blessed to have an organization that protects and defends us, and that is Home School Legal Defense Association. I encourage homeschool families to be members of HSLDA. They monitor proposed legislation for anything that might constrain homeschooling, or even allow a foot in the door for restrictions in the future. If a member family has problems with the school district or child protection services, they can call HSLDA for advice or legal services. HSLDA also provides a lot of information on their website.
We should all do our part to protect homeschooling, not only for our own family, but for our nation as a whole.
Let Freedom Ring
Puerto Rico recently gave homeschooling the highest protection possible by designating it a fundamental right. It now has the same constitutional protection as the freedom of speech. I would love to see the United States follow suit and ensure that parents always have the right to educate their children.
As you celebrate the freedoms you enjoy as an American, don’t forget to give thanks for the ones we enjoy as homeschoolers. I hope that they will be protected, if not expanded, so that our children have the freedom to choose for their children, too. Let homeschool freedom ring!