January 25, 2020

Meet James Purcell – A Fellow Homeschool Daddy

The Purcell Family

My friend, and moderator of this blog, asked me to contribute some thoughts on homeschooling to this blog. I thought this would be fun, and hope to be a regular contributor. Therefore, I thought this first post should be a bit of an introduction to our family and experience as homeschoolers so we can get to know each other a little bit.

My name is James, and I have one wife, six children, two dogs, and two cats.  I have a few hobbies, most of which revolve around being outside either walking/playing with our dogs, playing with the kids who are young enough to still want to play with me, or just generally hanging out. We love to cook, and we love to eat. Our family also loves the water…so much so that we are hoping to relocate some day to a much warmer climate.

As for work and careers go, my career path has woven in and out of the insurance industry and healthcare, and my wife is a middle school math teacher for a public chartered virtual school.  We’ll talk more about that in a later post.

As I mentioned, there are six kids in the family.  Three boys, currently ages 20, 18, and 15. Then, three girls, ages 13, 8, and 6.  Yes, it makes me tired too. Many people ask us…”Why six kids?” I always answer with, “well, my wife wanted four, and I wanted two.  We both got what we wanted.”

The question about the number of children in our family usually leads to other questions, and homeschooling usually isn’t too far down the list. I’m sure we get the same questions you do….Why do you homeschool?  When did you start? When will it end? Are you a scientist/how will you teach chemistry? What about sports? What about what about???????

What is YOUR biggest question for yourself about homeschooling?  What fears, doubts, or insecurities cause you to struggle?

My single, underlying fear was AND IS….what if my kids grow up, and look at me someday, and ask….WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?????  What if my kids get to college unprepared, because we “forgot about” something SUPER important?

So, a little spoiler alert here…if you paid attention to the ages of my kids, you know two of them are old enough to be college students.  So far…they are doing great. Both earned academic scholarships to the University of Indianapolis, a private liberal arts college in Indianapolis. Our oldest is in the middle of his junior year majoring in business, and boy #2 is halfway through his freshman year majoring in classical guitar.  That points to a future post…how different our kids can be, and why homeschooling is AWESOME for that reason.

I will leave you with my greatest homeschool dad FAIL….I mentioned our son who is majoring in classical guitar.  Well, the University gave him access to a locker to store his guitar…with a padlock. But…since we don’t have a locker bay in the front room, we apparently never taught him to open a padlock!  Good thing one of his locker-mates was a public school kid who gave him a quick tutorial 🙂

Share the strangest question you’ve ever fielded about homeschooling, and share your greatest fear….remember, you are among friends 🙂

What Is Homeschooling To You

As I’ve shared before, my wife and I are in our 2nd year of homeschooling our two children. We’ve gotten numerous types of responses from people about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. Lots of questions about how it works and what do we do all day.

We have a number of friends who are teachers. I think many of them felt it was an attack on them personally that we decided public schooling was too broken for us to give what we feel is the best opportunity for our kids. Many times I told them, if I could put my kids in your class and knew you’d teach them how you’d like to be able to teach I would have felt better about public schooling. The problem is I’ve heard them also complain about the restrictions, regulations and various examples of their hands being tied or them buried in bureaucracy to really teach the way their heart leads them.

I recently saw the image below shared on Facebook and thought it was pretty funny.

Rob McNealy - Homeschooling

Our family decided to homeschool for a variety of reasons.

  • kids were bored in school waiting for other classmates to not get left behind
  • realized about 4 hours of their day was wasted in transitioning to and from school and classes and breaks, etc.
  • tired of them being “taught” about Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Mexican Christmas Witch and Hanukkah, but they weren’t allowed to even “express” their beliefs about Christianity in their artwork
  • flexibility – to learn, go and do things that are educational outside of the boundaries of public schooling

There are others, but I’d say those are probably the main ones.

So my question is this. What kind of questions have you been asked? How did you respond? What do you wish people realized was the “truth” about homeschooling?