As I write this article in November, my column will be short and to the point. (I am recovering from COVID-19, though I’m nearly back to normal.) I wanted to comment on what a blessing it is for families to be able to homeschool in the midst of the turmoil in so many school districts—particularly right here in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Loudoun County—which happens to be where HSLDA’s office has been located for over 30 years and where my family has lived for 20 years—has grown from a mostly rural economy in the 1980s to one of the richest and fastest-growing counties in the nation today. This growth is largely because of several factors: Loudoun is only an hour from Washington, DC, the big tech and security fields are rapidly expanding here, and the federal government keeps outsourcing more and more work to federal contractors. This wealth means that area schools have been generously funded, and Loudoun school officials have historically taken great pride in the quality of the county’s public schools. But recent events have thrown mud on that shining school image.

You may have seen reports in the national news about some of these situations, in which the Loudoun school system has considered and even implemented policies that many parents disagree with. During a 2021 Loudoun County School Board meeting to discuss implementing transgender-inclusive bathroom policies, the information became public that a boy had sexually assaulted a 9th-grade girl in the school’s female bathroom last May, and after being transferred to another school, the boy assaulted another young female student in early October. (A judge subsequently found him responsible for sexual assault in both cases.1)

Such situations have led to outspoken and popular calls from parents and other concerned citizens for school board member resignations and firings.2 Some school board meetings this fall became very contentious—with local law enforcement called in by board members to arrest parents who were being very vocal and pushing the stringent public-comment time limits in expressing their disagreement. The county school superintendent even declared such a public comment session an unlawful assembly and shut it down! (He later admitted he had been “incorrect” to take that action. 3)

These events have also caused many parents across the nation to wonder: is there any educational alternative that doesn’t bring the baggage of the public schools’ issues?

The alternative

Of course, we know the answer: homeschooling!

Because we have accepted the responsibility and high duty to educate our children ourselves, we know how much of a blessing homeschooling can be for us, our students’ education, and our family relationships. Of course, we are empathetic to public school parents’ efforts to keep their children physically safe and to limit curriculum they disagree with—but we are grateful for the freedom that homeschooling has given us to make positive changes in our children’s lives.

At HSLDA, one of our staff members and her husband recently discovered this blessing in their family. During all the distance-learning chaos surrounding COVID-19 in 2020, they removed their three children from public school. They started with uncertainty (as most of us have done), but they’ve grown to love the ability to provide their students with quality education, the tremendous benefits of not being tied to an inflexible school regimen, and the opportunity to simply spend more time together. Under the parents’ direction, their children can now explore aspects of learning that are just not possible in a formal school setting—and both parents can play an even deeper and more meaningful role in the family!

What’s the greatest benefit of homeschooling? I don’t know, it varies with each family—but what I do know is that no one will love your children like you do. And I’d suggest that one of the greatest benefits is being able to guide and customize education in the way you see best fits each child.

Homeschooling is so much more than just academic education. As a parent, you have what it takes to give your children stability and an education that’s just right for each one. Especially in a time when schools are in a state of disruption and turmoil, a loving, caring home provides a safe place for your children to learn and grow, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

No parent is perfect, but the love that we parents have for our children is deep and unique—and no school or government can replace that. The decision you have made to homeschool gives your family the best chance to influence your students’ lives for the better, even with all the uncertainty and unrest facing our world.

While your homeschooling journey may be hard at times—whose isn’t?—I encourage you to count the blessings of homeschooling: the opportunity to spend more time with your children, to provide a tailored education, to give the personal attention that your students deserve, to design a flexible schedule and pace, to explore learning outside textbooks, and to deepen relationships with your children.

All these are blessings. And we’re thankful for every one of them.