There Are Usually Multiple Reasons
When we made the choice to homeschool, there were several reasons. Let's start from the beginning, before homeschooling. Two of my daughters, then in kindergarten and second grade, were attending public school. Everything was fantastic. We had a great school and the kids were doing very well. In fact, they were ahead of their peers in most areas. But, then things changed and we ended up moving to a new neighborhood. That meant a new school for the kids.
Things Going Downhill at Traditional School
At first, things seemed fine, but then my exceptionally bright girls started going downhill in school. I didn't understand because they knew the facts. In fact, they were ahead. Then, after my visit to the school, I understood. This school was far behind according to state standards and rather than catching the children up to the correct levels, they were just working with them at the low levels.
The school's strategy was not helpful for my kids. This may have worked for the majority in that area. They were used to this and may have needed this. My children did not fit into this equation. They had come from a school that was above state standards. The things that were being taught at this school were things my children had learned already 1 or 2 years prior. They were getting bored. After fruitlessly asking the school to at least place them in a class that was comparable to their level, I grew weary.
At first, I decided to just work on new things with them every day after school and on the weekends. We began using textbooks for their correct levels that I had to purchase myself. We frequented libraries, museums, and other places that taught them interesting things. By the end of the school year, most of what they learned having come from me, I was fed up.
Making Difficult School-Related Decisions
I decided to do homeschool, but something else happened first. The good school the kids went to before said they could return in the fall for the new school year. I was so happy and the kids were excited. Things went well for a while. In fact, they were great. The youngest was in first grade, but had to attend second grade for literacy and math because she was so far ahead. It was still easy for her, but what else could they do? She didn't get into the gifted classes (missed by one point), so they did what they could and they did an awesome job, considering.
With kids who didn't align with the averages, area schools did not seem to have an answer. The oldest was way ahead in reading, but had gotten a touch behind in math. The teachers tried their hardest to do what they could, but it just wasn't feasible what with so many other students to worry about. So, pondering over the issues at hand, I again considered homeschooling. This time we went with it. I informed the district, bought tons of materials, and awaited the day. I chose to let the kids complete the first semester and stay long enough to do the upcoming music concert. So, we started homeschool a couple weeks into the second semester.
A Need For Better Social Skills
Another contributing factor was social skills. In so many public schools, including the ones our children attended, children are not allowed to work together or communicate during assignments. In fact, they are punished for talking to one another. I find this appalling. When they get out into the working world, most companies need their employees to work together. If they don't learn this concept in school, where will they learn it?
Perhaps this is one of the reasons many employees don't get along. They were never taught this in school, so when they get to the workplace, they just have to learn by trial and error. I would prefer my child already had these skills, so it would be easier to adapt. When we do our lessons, all of the children work together. Sometimes I give the instructions. Sometimes it is an instructor at a museum, art class, study program, or special class instructor.
Whatever format we use, I make sure that children are encouraged to work together and to think about why and how to solve a problem, not just told to do it and do it quietly. To further enhance social skills, we are in public often. I am in no way insulting those who choose to use public school. It works for some people. It's just not right for us. As with any form of schooling, there are good schools and bad schools, good teachers and bad teachers, and ups and downs.
Freedom to Learn More and Use a Variety of Methods
Another factor that weighed in on us homeschooling was the freedom my children would have in learning new things. My children love to learn, so they needed an environment where they would not be held back when they wanted to press forward. It seems as though the more knowledge they get, the more they want, so I wanted them to be able to get all the information they wanted. I believe children should be allowed to move ahead, rather than have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up. Sometimes my kids learn at the same pace as each other. Sometimes they don't. I assess each one individually and come up with a plan that works with that child.
I use a combination of state standards (which we're usually ahead of) and my child's interests and levels to come up with the appropriate lesson plans. I believe that all schools should use this plan. Teaching a child works much more effectively when they are encouraged to thrive, rather than restricted to a plan that caters to an "average" person based on statistics. No one should be looked at as average. We are all special in our own ways. When you place people in categories, it only feeds into stereotypical setbacks. If a child is ready to advance, that child should never be discouraged from doing so.
School should be a place where a child gets the maximum education that he/she needs with no limits to what can be accomplished. The setting will be different for everyone, but the most important thing is that the child gets a good education.