Ok, this is my first try at a blog post, so we shall see if this ends up in the right place.
Gwynneth went into kindergarten at our local elem. school when she was young--not yet 5 when the fall semester started. And while we really liked her teacher (and in fact insisted that Meredith have her this year for kindergarten), the whole experience seemed lacking, and had some weird negativities:
--G has always been behind the curve with her fine and gross motor skills, so during one of the parent-teacher conferences, it came out that G was being sent out with a mainstreamed special-needs child for special gross-motor practice. This would not have been a big deal except they did it without talking to us first. Nothing like finding out after the fact that your child has been labeled "special needs."
--the summer after kindergarten, G once mentioned a time at school when the other kids were working on computers and she was watching. I asked if this was because there were not enough computers and so they were taking turns. She said, no, her teacher said she was too little. What the . . . ?! If she is old enough to be in kindergarten to begin with, then she should be helped and encouraged to do all the things the other kids are doing. I never got to ask about that one, since she told me way after school was over. Who knows, maybe there was a very innocent explanation--but even if she misunderstood the teacher and there was a different reason, she THOUGHT that was what happened, and that in itself matters. Let's send our young children messages that they are not good enough or as capable as the other kids! That's the way to get them excited about learning.
--and then just hanging out on the playground sometimes and listening to the older kids at play really made me pine for the innocence I knew my girls would lose so quickly in the public school environment. We do shelter them from some things, but also expose them to other things--we are not trying to blind them from the world, but actually give them a REAL perspective on the world. The words and ideas of the culture are not necessarily real, and there is so much bad stuff out there, how can we parent our kids well without addressing it? I do NOT think you have to homeschool to protect your kids, and also believe good, Christian kids are needed in the public schools to be "salt and light." But I think those kids will need a really strong home foundation of faith, and honestly, I don't think we are providing that yet. I am myself too weak and still learning so much spiritually and make too many mistakes--I do not trust myself to parent well enough to overcome the negative influences of the world they will get through public school.
SO, those are just a couple of reasons behind our choice. I think we can help our children grow and bloom as whole people better than the public school. I think our kids are smarter than the current system and deserve the opportunity to stretch as far as they can go. I remember being in public school my whole life and remember the good and the bad, and there was enough bad to inspire me to try something different with my kids. We are not planning on homeschooling through high school, but hopefully until middle school. High school can offer so many amazing chances for kids, through the sports and activities, etc.--I loved being so involved in h.s. and really found myself as a person through its challenges, so don't want to deny that to the kids. But this is all an organic, evolving thing, and we may change our minds at any time!
I am so glad to be doing this in such a homeschool supportive area, with such great resources, and with lots of wonderful moms to share it with!