The Homeschooling Critic Who Has Decided to Homeschool

The Homeschooling Critic Who Decided to Homeschool

By Contributing Writer, Tyanne

It was the only major life decision on which we could not see eye-to-eye before our wedding.  “No way!” I told my husband during our engagement.  After several heated discussions on the topic, we set it aside as “something to pray about,” while each of us hoped (and expected) the other would cave.

Homeschooling had never been an option in my mind.  My experience growing up in a small-town public school was ideal, and I looked back on it with great fondness.  How could I want anything less for my children than the same public school opportunities I had been given?

In contrast, homeschooling was the perfect option in my husband’s mind.  His experience growing up in a large, suburban public school left a lot to be desired, and he looked at the homeschooling families in his life with great admiration.  How could he want anything less for his children than the same home-based education he so admired?

My Arguments Against Homeschooling

I was willing to concede that homeschooling was a good option for some people, but I was determined to never become one of those people.  When put on the spot by my husband to explain my stance, my answers included all of the following:

  1. I did not want to bear the responsibility of educating my children myself, nor did I believe I was capable.
  2. I did not want my children to lag behind academically.
  3. I did not want to feel at fault for any learning difficulties they may have.
  4. I did not want my children to miss out on school sports and other extracurricular opportunities.
  5. I did not want myself or my children to feel isolated from our community.
  6. I did not want my children to be sheltered from the real world.
  7. I wanted to return to work while my children were in school so that our family could be better off financially.
  8. I did not want to spend 20 or more years of my life at home with my children and never achieve anything greater. (I have dreams, too, you know?!)
  9. I didn’t want to be different or raise my children to be different.
  10. I just didn’t want to homeschool — the very thought of it made my stomach turn.

At the time, I felt these reasons were more than enough to shut the case for homeschooling in our family.   I can not tell you how my husband responded to my objections because I was not listening to him.  My heart and my mind were so set on getting my way, arguing my case, proving my point — I was unable to make room for his reasoning.

At most I could acknowledge his stubbornness, and I was baffled by it.  There was a fiery feeling of injustice stewing within me as I realized more and more that he was really going to stand his ground on this homeschooling thing.  Still, I held on to hope that his heart would change by the time we actually had school-aged children.

For a long time, every admirable Christian family we knew who chose to enroll their children in public school served as the perfect example to show my husband I really was right.  “See,” I would tell him, “their children are so well-adjusted and grounded in faith AND they go to public school!” or, “Did you know the Andersons plan to send their daughter to kindergarten in the Fall?  They’re opposed to homeschooling, too.”

The Turning Point

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

My husband’s heart never did change on this issue.  He also never managed to convince me to embrace this idea of homeschooling.  Still, over time, it was my heart and mind that slowly changed, and that fiery feeling of injustice began to fade.

The turning point came when I began to [unintentionally] learn more about homeschooling — when I faced real information about real families doing real education in their homes.  I got to know more families who were homeschooling and loving it.  My interest was sparked, and I was curious enough to let my guard down for a while.

I had been strongly opposed to homeschooling my future children because I lacked accurate information about homeschooling.  I became open to homeschooling as my poorly informed assumptions were confronted with accurate information.  I had placed homeschooling into a tiny box and labeled it “useless” in my mind, when in reality it offered endless possibilities for a lifestyle that fit beautifully with our unique gifts, passions, and priorities.

Reflecting on Poor Decision-Making

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The more I learned about homeschooling, the more I fell in love with the vision my husband had to homeschool our children someday.  The more in love I fell with this vision, the more aware I became of my own foolishness.  As I look back at how passionate I was to oppose homeschooling, I am disappointed by how easily I reasoned through that time with a worldly perspective and man-centered motives:

  • Not once did I humble myself and pray for wisdom and guidance in the midst of our debates.
  • Not once did I open myself to listen to the other side of the issue or yield to my husband’s leadership.
  • I determined what was true based on my own gut feelings, experiences, and perceptions of other people. (This is so dangerous!)
  • I made assumptions about something I knew absolutely nothing about and used those assumptions to pass judgment.
  • I was casting vision for my life by answering questions like, “What is everyone else doing? What will benefit me the most? What makes me most comfortable?”
  • I failed to consider questions like, “What is God calling me to do?  How has God equipped me to do it? What will it take to be obedient to that calling?”

Failing to approach a major life decision with humility and godly priorities led me to proudly reject a path that I now see is the perfect fit for our family.  My journey from homeschooling critic to future home educator has been humbling and at times uncomfortable, but God has used it to teach me a vital lesson on discerning God’s will for my family and the dangers of a mind clouded by pride, ignorance, and fear.      

Moving Forward with Confidence

It has been at least five years since our last hot-headed debate on homeschooling.  Over time, my attitude toward this decision has changed so dramatically that I find my own passion for educating my children exceeds that of my husband, and I regularly learn something more about homeschooling that affirms my belief it is right for our family.  I will begin working through preschool-level material with our first guinea pig child next year, and I love knowing I will have the privilege to be his first teacher.

As I review the list of reasons I never wanted to homeschool (above), I am now able to confidently correct each of them with accurate information, biblical rebuke of my own selfishness, and priorities that flow out of my faith in Christ rather than my worldly comforts.  Though fear and doubt sometimes creep in when I consider the weight of this commitment on my life, God has given me wisdom and peace to overcome those thoughts.

Within the last year, I have finally come to a place where I can tell others, “We plan to homeschool our children,” without hesitation.  I can share this and feel confident that it is not something I have been forced into against my better judgment or resorted to because I did not like the other options, but because I really, truly believe homeschooling is the best possible option for my family.

My Hope for Others

I know not all Christian families come to the same conclusion we have in how to educate our children, nor do I expect it to be the right decision for every family.  I do hope, however, that all Christian families come to their decision after careful consideration of accurate information, godly goals and priorities, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

If you have decided to homeschool, my hope is that you arrived at that conclusion with wisdom and godly reasoning.

If you have decided not to homeschool, my same hope is that you arrived at that conclusion with wisdom and godly reasoning.

In all things — whether choosing an educational path, a local church, a career, or even a spouse — may we not be people who make decisions based largely on limited experience, personal bias, and gut feelings.  Instead, may we truly strive to do all things in the name of the Lord with intention and sound judgment.

Tyanne is a young pastor's wife and mother to one with hopes for a full quiver. Through her savior, Jesus Christ, she seeks to bring honor and glory to God in all areas of life, but especially in how she acts as a helper to her husband, a mother to her children, and a servant to the Church. She gets fired up about things like theology, Bible dictionaries, and the doctrines of grace. She is an artist at heart and enjoys creating through painting, crafts, and photography when time allows. You can find her over at Lamp on a Stand, where she writes to promote biblical womanhood, Christ-centered living, and sound biblical teaching.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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16 thoughts on “The Homeschooling Critic Who Has Decided to Homeschool

  1. This is so good….and I can totally relate. Although I was homeschooled for 10 years and actually loved it, I remember telling my parents while I was still in high school that I didn’t want to homeschool my own kids, probably for some of the reasons you listed against homeschooling. Mainly, I just didn’t want the responsibility. My husband, however, went to public school and did not have a good experience; he looked at my brothers and sisters (and myself) and saw the positive qualities and how interested they all were in learning. Then I became a public school teacher (high school French) and my mind started to change. Not at all because I thought public school was horrible…I actually saw hardworking teachers who loved their students and went above and beyond their duties to help kids learn. But it is just too hard to meet every single kid where they are and I want my kids to have an education that is created individually for them and their strengths and weaknesses. If my husband hadn’t been interested in homeschooling, though, I don’t know that I would have considered other options. And now here we are…just filed my legal paperwork to homeschool my kindergartener yesterday!

    • I had no idea you were a French teacher! Seems we are learning about each other’s backgrounds a bit this week :). I think what you mention about an education created individually for each child and their strengths and weaknesses is one of the aspects that I love most about homeschooling, and you’re right — it is just too hard for that to always happen in other educational settings. Thank-you for commenting and sharing some of your story!

  2. ….”In all things — whether choosing an educational path, a local church, a career, or even a spouse — may we not be people who make decisions based largely on limited experience, personal bias, and gut feelings. Instead, may we truly strive to do all things in the name of the Lord with intention and sound judgment.”

    You could truly see this was the cry of your heart through the whole article! Thank you for sharing your struggles and heart

    • Cara, I’m really thankful that message was clear throughout. Thank-you for affirming it. We are such fickle people, ME especially, and I can always use a sobering reminder that my gut feelings often lie to me. Nothing seems to remind me of that more than looking back at my own stubbornness and ignorance in light of something God has taught me.

  3. I didn’t homeschool my children, for the same reasons given by the woman in the article, but there have been times I wish I had (my children turned out ok and serve the Lord). But, the MAIN reason I didn’t homeschool was because the homeschool mothers I talked to about it, when I was thinking of doing it, made it sound so DAUNTING that I gave up and simply sent my children to public school. They told me 1) I would have to set up a room in my home to make it a school room, complete with a flag and blackboard. One of these moms even made her children call her Mrs. Smith during school hours; 2) I was told the State I was living in would have to come in and monitor me, because the mom I was talking to assumed I did not have a college degree, which I did; 3) I was given an exorbitant price for homeschooling books and equipment that I would have to cough up and we couldn’t afford it. So, I gave up.
    Knowing what I know now, a generation later, reading blogs by homeschoolers, I realize that you don’t have to be so formal, you can use just about anything for curriculum or borrow some (none of these moms offered to loan me anything or help me), and you need to check FOR YOURSELF to find out about state regulations, don’t just take somebody’s word for it. Homeschooling has changed over the years. Much less formal and scary now. I think a generation ago, homeschoolers had to work harder to prove it could work.
    Too late for me, since my children are long grown, but a word to the wise.

    • Ellie Rae, your experience is so fitting to share here! My generation has so much to be thankful for by way of the Internet; we are able to take a peek into the homeschooling world and get a much more accurate picture through our computer screens than you were able to do by talking with a few homeschooling mothers back then. Your wisdom is so appreciated — to check state regulations for ourselves & not simply take someone’s word for it when gathering information.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.

    A lot of what you listed are reasons that I tell myself for why I could never homeschool. My little guy is only 15 months, so we have a little while to decide. My husband isn’t so sure about it, so we have tentatively decided to do Thursday school at the local church for preschool, and I will teach him the other four days. I think I need to spend a lot more time humbling myself in prayer. We will see how the Lord leads us! :)

    “Instead, may we truly strive to do all things in the name of the Lord with intention and sound judgment.” – AMEN! :)

    Thanks again for this great post!

    • Kelsey, you have time on your side! (Though it will sneak right by you before you know it, or so I hear!). I wish you the best as you humble yourself in prayer and I hope you and your husband are able to come to a unified decision. If your husband continues to be hesitant but open to homeschooling and you feel you are leaning that way, I can’t recommend to you enough that meeting other families who are experienced in homeschooling and getting to know them can go a long way! For me, I was really blessed by friendships with several adults who were homeschooled themselves, and that provided more perspective for me to chew on!

  5. Fabulous article! Well articulated with application far beyond which educational method to choose! I have shared this post with friends! thanks so much for sharing your decision making process!

    • Elizabeth, thank-you! You are such an encouragement to me, always. I am so sorry to hear that you are in your final moments with your mom, but I know that your hope is in the right place! May her suffering end very soon and she rest in His arms!

  6. I can identify. Even though I admired those who did homeschool, I resisted that possibility for us. God wisely set stepping stones in place to lead me to be in agreement with my husband at my own choosing. The local homeschool group held a seminar that I attended even though my husband had to work. Since my sister-in-law had to work, my brother attended with me. I saw a friend there from way back who was already homeschooling her four kids. I found the curriculum there that my son was used to from his school. Then my husband got laid off work in late summer, so we had to recall our tuition and other fees from the little Christian school where our son was enrolled. We knew for a fact that God was leading us to homeschool. We ordered the curriculum and started soon, since the instruction and guidebooks were written for homeschooling; complete with lesson plans. My concerns were real to me, but over time, God set all those to rest for me. We schooled our son from grade 3 through high school graduation, and our daughter from half-time K4 through high school graduation. Other than some things I think I might have done better, I have no regrets. Our children will have to make their own decisions about their children, and we will support them in whatever path God leads them in. I didn’t think I could do the job of homeschooling, either, and checked with God every year to make sure until about the 4th year when I understood we were in this for the long haul. None of us would change it for anything at all. God knows your heart, and concerns, and will see that your children get everything they need as long as you walk in obedience with him on this. He loves our children much more than we do. I’ll be praying for your family. Have a great ride! :-D

    • Cindy, I love your story! God was certainly steering your path, and I’m sure you’re entire family looks back on it all fondly. Thank you for all this encouragement and sharing your experience!

  7. “…in reality it offered endless possibilities for a lifestyle that fit beautifully with our unique gifts, passions, and priorities.”

    This is beautiful and it totally sums up my views of homeschooling! We are in our third year of HSing (the first year–preschool–was a flop, last year was perfect and so far, first grade is an enjoyable yet hard work in progress) and like you, my husband was product of the public school system and didn’t want that for his child. Yet, I went to a great Christian school and always assumed my child(ren) would go there, too. God had other plans and it was a process of letting go of the things I thought were best, listening to my husband and most importantly, listening to God and being open to His direction. Think I ate a lot of humble pie in the beginning as I saw all the benefits to homeschooling and that it truly was the best decision for our entire family! Thanks for sharing with us!!

    • We’re like the same person! ;) Okay, kidding, but seriously we ate some of the same pie. I’m so glad to know it is going well so far, in spite of preschool feeling like a flop! Thanks for taking time to comment and share a bit of your story!