That is the first question when people know about our family, especially when they ask about the children's education. It needs a thick book explanation to answer the question. I am very sure that most homeschoolers have personal answer to the question. Before I answer the why question, I would like to share how the idea of homeschooling my kids happens.
The first idea of homeschooling my children turned up in my mind on 2007. I was a teacher in an Indonesian national plus school which is an IB school. At that time my first sone, Ken, had just finished his kindie and was going to elementary school. The idea came up because I did really want to teach my kids with all ability and experience that I had as a teacher. I felt guilty that I taught other people's children well, but I didn't have time for my kids. I share my ideas to my husband and big family and there were a lot of rejection. I gave up my idea as I realise that I had great obstacle with economy and time. I thought that I was too emotional.
The idea of homeschooling my children turned up again on September 2011. Now, the first son was a fourth grader, the second son was a third grader, and the third son was in his early kindie. I had resigned as a teacher at that time. It came up because I had really disagreement with the school policy, management, the overload unreasonable testing/homework that made my kids cannot enjoy their childhood, and also the unhealthy social life at school in a lot of areas. It seemed that kids' life is only for school. We rarely had time together as family. There wasn't any time for play. Maybe they were still not mature enough to accept burden from school, like they cannot copy the writing in the whiteboard at school, they often daydreamt or cannot concentrate well, and they looked so exhausted.
I did a lot of research and find evidence of home education in the global world and in local area, in Indonesia. I was very shocked that the growing of home education in Indonesia has increase a lot compared with the first research that I did five years ago. I was very amazed to the Indonesian homeschool families which have grown up incredibly. I also did some research on education law which approves homeschool in Indonesia. It was very different with my first research. I collected all evidence and started persuading my husband and big family. Their rejection wasn't as strong as the previous one. Maybe they also observe how my kids had already grown up with school at that time. They also checked all evidence of Indonesian homeschooling that I have collected. They green light just appeared.
My husband and I discussed our “why of homeschooling“. We thought from the positive perspective of homeschooling, not as a negative disagreement of “schooling”. That is very important that homescholing is not to avoid going to school.
- Homeschooling will give the kids more chance to dig their potency.They don't have to “double learn” and their knowledge will grow up beyond the limit of testing. They will have time freedom to explore their inquiry and skills. Testing is important as a mean of evaluation, not as a proof that kids are clever or dumb.
- For us, homeschooling is doing our responsibility as parents naturally. It is like accompanying baby learning how to sit down, to crawl, to stand up, to walk, to talk, to hold pencil, etc. We facilitate their learning as part of our role as parents naturally. The ages of school system isn't as old as the homeschool ages. Before there was schools, people learnt naturally.
- The next more important thing is we want to be close with children and we want them to get close each other by having more family time. Our thinking is quite simple. We won't miss watching them growing up happily and naturally. The time is running very fast. If it is not now, when will it be? If it is not us who makes it, who will do?
- Homeschooling gives us more time to build up their personality and morality to immerse much better social skill in their life. We think that personal maturity, politeness, and integrity will lead and prepare them finding good social life naturally, rather than go into a “being made” or artificial social life. We believe than human being is a social creature who cannot live without other people. However, we need to build up our personality get better social life. Therefore, we need to practice in the first social life, which is our family. They will face more people in their life later when they are ready.
- We commit to teach them not only academic skills, but also life skills. We want them to be independent persons. They should be able to help themselves in their life. Even a professor should be able to wash his or her dish and clothes, to make the bed, etc.
- Homeschooling will give different image of learning, that learning process can go on anywhere and anytime, without the limit of classroom and school time or age.
- The most important thing, homeschooling makes us closer with God. We have more time to get closer with God. Children will be able to be more grateful to God by exploring the universe and other creatures. Those activities make them admiring the greatness of God.
- Homeschooling will give them more fair attention with one on one teaching and learning times Learning by tutor should be more effective and efficient in building their knowledge and skills. Parents will know the problem of children and children will be able to speak up about their problem.
- Homeschooling makes children more healthy. Children don't spend much time living under air pollution in the street. They will eat more healthy food as it is home made. We can control their menu at home.
- Homeschooling gives chance to customise the curriculum and method of teaching and learning. Children are born person. They learn in different ways. It is impossible for school to handle all students' ways of learning.
Those are just some reasons of homeschooling. It is quite complicated to explain to people in detail. To answer the question in a short form, we just answer
We are homeschooling because we want to as it is the best for our family.
Adelien Tan is a mother of three awesome boys and a wife of a great husband. They are a home education family who live in Surabaya, Indonesia, where home education is still very rare. English is her foreign language, but She tries to use it in blogging.