Sandbox to Socrates is created by a team of fifty homeschooling mothers. As we began to plan our 2014 series, “Why I Choose to Homeschool,” naturally we discussed our own families’ stories of starting down the path to home education. We talked about this for a long time, looking for common ground, looking for unique situations that our readers might find interesting…
We did find that common ground, but we also learned that fifty homeschooling families will have fifty different stories! If there is a single “face of homeschooling,” I haven’t seen it yet.
As my friend Jane-Emily has pointed out on this blog, sometimes people examine homeschoolers as a group. (She did this herself.) They play anthropologist and try to study our culture, habits, motivations, religion, and infrastructure. They do this by noticing the loudest voices and following the biggest homeschooling organizations, looking for the “why” behind this strange, counter-cultural lifestyle…but are real homeschoolers understood by that process? I don’t think so. Not really. When you’ve met one homeschooler, you’ve met one homeschooler. That’s all.
Sometimes people consider homeschooling because it might be a solution for a particular child’s educational needs, but they hesitate because they don’t identify with the homeschoolers they have examined. Again, they start their anthropological study of the people group by looking at the loudest and most organized folks. They don’t recognize their tribe, there, and they don’t want to conform to what homeschooling appears to be about. Kristen, an author here at Sandbox to Socrates, learned that her hesitation was unnecessary because she and her husband define the type of home educators they will be. Their family is still theirs; they didn’t change character, personality, or beliefs simply because of homeschooling. Their individual family identity only grew stronger with the increased time spent together.
Homeschoolers can’t be easily defined because homeschooling is always a personal family enterprise. We may organize or cooperate with other home educators often, and for lots of good reasons, but at the end of the day we aren’t defined by our associations because at the end of the day we can take our ball and go home. Each family directs its own destiny, makes its own education decisions, and chooses its own preferred companions along the way. Homeschooling is not a club to be joined. It’s a lifestyle of learning to courageously choose for one’s own family.
As I listened to my friends sharing their stories, I did find the common thread. It wasn’t religion or philosophy or culture or politics. The thing that everyone has in common is a love for a child that says, “In my heart I know that homeschooling is best for this child, so I will learn how to do it and I will give him what he needs.” I can’t say that all homeschoolers operate strictly from that perspective but it’s a good approach for parenting, isn’t it?
Sandbox to Socrates will never take the position that all families should homeschool their children. As experienced parents we know that where a child learns is only part of the larger picture of raising him with love and intention. We have utilized public, private, online, and other school alternatives, ourselves…these decisions are never simple. So we won’t say to you, “Homeschool because we do and it’s the only way to go!” Never. But we can share our own stories in hopes that our journeys might be helpful to you as you make this decision for your own family.
What will you find as you read through these stories?
Sarah’s Story — Sarah always knew she would homeschool, even before her children were born. Life circumstances confirmed that her intuition was correct for her family.
Angela’s Story — Angela knew that parenting was her God-given vocation. She discovered that homeschooling was the coziest, most natural, and best way for her daughter to learn.
Jack’s Story — Jack learned about classical home education and had to consider critically whether the local public school even came close to those ideals. It didn’t.
Apryl’s Story — The little girls just weren’t learning much in school. They were skating through their academic lessons and missing out on family togetherness. That wasn’t good enough for Apryl.
Jen’s Story — As the mother of a precocious learner who didn’t fit the mold, the wife of a mobile military man, Jen realized that home education was the answer to all the challenges.
Kiki Lynn’s Story — Her daughter was smart but bored. Constant negative feedback at school began to change this young girl’s self-perception and her potential future. Mom made a hard decision and changed everything for the better.
Genevieve’s Story — Her daughter’s special learning needs were not helped at all by public school expectations of conformity. Radical transformation in the family’s thinking about school was needed, and this mother stepped up to the challenge with a beautiful outcome for the whole family.
Emma’s Story — When a little boy is happy and talkative at home but quiet and withdrawn at preschool, something is wrong. Homeschooling allowed him to be curious and ready to learn again.
Briana’s Story — A mother began with a hunger for knowledge and ended with a thirst for beauty and wisdom. A full circle story.
Cheryl’s Story — Lack of flexibility for her accelerated learner led her to consider homeschooling as a short-term solution. But that trial led to a permanent family lifestyle that has been richer than she ever dreamed possible.
Caitilin’s Story — A mother considered what sort of parent she wished to be, based on a life-changing book. She realized that the real lessons she wanted her children to learn were best learned at home.
Kristen’s Story — Kristen began with no reason to homeschool. Soon she had no reason to do anything else. What a journey it can be to understand our own children and how they learn!
Nancy’s Story — Her creative, artistic daughter was losing her love of learning. Homeschooling brought back her daughter’s spark and changed the negatives to positives.
Jane-Emily’s Story — A librarian learned about homeschooling from a book on her library’s shelves. Sometimes highly educated people learn how much more their own children could and should be learning in school, and nothing will do but to seek that better education for them. It’s a little like taking the red pill.
Faith’s Story — A child with Asperger’s, ADHD, and Tourette’s Syndrome is thriving in a homeschool setting, able to work at her own pace in a calm environment.
Do you homeschool? Are you considering it? If you are new to the idea, I hope this series will help you see that the homeschool you create will be your own.
Editor in Chief
Sandbox to Socrates