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  • Dana Doherty Clay

Our Original Homeschool

My husband and I made the decision to homeschool before our first child was born. My sister was homeschooling our nephew and we could see the benefits and rewards. She was the trail blazer and I was the follower – I have even had people suggest to me that I always do whatever my sister does, so that must be why I homeschooled!


In truth, I wouldn’t have even known it was an option without my sister, so I guess there was some accuracy in that slander but my husband and I also had our own reasons. We had conversations about how woefully lacking our public educations had been and we also felt strongly that we didn’t want anyone else raising our children. We would raise them - all the way.


Public school had created an artificial learning environment, for me in particular, where short term memory and speed were the big prize winners rather than authentic thinking which leads to real learning. This set up some sloppy thinking habits! Therefore, one of our main reasons for homeschooling was to prevent intellectual laziness. We did not want our children to ever develop the habit of lazy thinking. We were both professional musicians who had learned to learn as college students because we wanted to at that point and we saw the value in the material presented and needed it to achieve our goals. It created a completely different mindset for learning that was almost the opposite of our high school attitudes. I also remember being quite aware of the financial aspect of college which made coasting through unthinkable.


As I get older and watch professional adults struggle with lazy thinking, I realize what a wonderful reason this was to home school! Our initial methods were ill-advised but the goal was always rock solid. We had this idea that we could prevent that mental laziness in our children by expecting much from them and pushing them to achieve. Over the years, however, we came to understand that each child was individual, needing different types of encouragement and experiences to find the joys of thinking and learning.


The most important aspect of this goal has been my husband and I continuing to be curious learners who are never satisfied with the status quo in our own lives. Our children have responded well to our commitment to continue the mental discipline of thinking and learning throughout life.