Why We Homeschool
So, I was thinking the other day that I’ve never actually done a post on the “why” of which we home educate our children. I think it’s easy for some readers out there to read a person’s blog (a homeschooling mother’s blog) and see beautiful pictures of happy children, lovely artwork displayed (I stopped visiting these types of blogs awhile ago…never could “measure up” I guess) and perfectly organized schoolrooms (gulp, mine has sewing bits and pieces in it, sometimes messy desks and there’s always flashcards, art supplies or puzzle pieces scattered around mine).
I hope that this blog has never given away the impression that we’re a perfect home educating family because we’re far from it. But you know what? That in itself is a perfect example of Christ and us. We’re home all day with our children. Our little darlings whom we dearly love. However, they SIN. We SIN. Sometimes it gets ugly. There’s selfishness about us. Greed. Disobedience. The list goes on, but you know what else?
We do the same to Christ!
We ignore the Holy Spirit’s existence daily.
We think we can handle the load by ourselves and we FAIL.
I love the picture of Christ and how dirty a process it was for Him to die on a rugged, bloody cross, but He did it for our SIN. Daily we must pick up our cross and follow Him. Daily we must forgive the sins of our children and the imperfections that arise. We must, out of love, discipline them and try to show them that same love that Christ showed us.
Christ hung out with the dirtiest of sinful people, but He knew that they needed Him. They needed His love and the salvation that He offers.
I’m a pretty enthusiastic, optimistic, “go-get ‘em attitude” person, but we have days just like everyone else where you want to load everyone up in the car and drop them off at various buildings to spend the day apart as a family and gain an “education” from complete strangers who most likely will never get to experience and celebrate with you on what God calls them to be in life.
They move through the assembly line in perfect fashion just like the governments want to happen.
I made this list so that on the days when I have thoughts about the “Q” word (quitting), I remind myself why in the world we do this. Why we sacrifice what we do as parents. We sacrifice a lot, but we do it to train our little disciples so that they may be steadfast in Christ and not sway to the opinions of their peers. That they may be firmly rooted and as they get older and are ready with the wisdom Christ gave His own disciples, we will release them into the world to claim others for Christ.
1. I get the most amazing privilege of sharing Jesus' love and educating my kids about Him all day long and not just a few hours at night and on the weekends. Doesn't get much better than that! What a responsibility, but what a privilege!!
I once had someone who actually said that they thought there was "more to life than being JUST a housewife". Yeah. I know. Low. This person obviously doesn't have children, but oddly enough I graduated with her and never thought something like that could come out of her mouth. It's never bothered me because I don't take the opinions of liberal, openly ungodly people to heart, but never-the-less there are people out there who think in this way and as mothers, especially homeschooling mothers, we need to be ready to share the JOY that comes from this amazing privilege. Some will never understand and think that we are "just housewives", but we can pray for these people and I still pray for her daily. If more mothers would make the choice to stay at home (and I know it requires a HUGE sacrifice, maybe you'd be down to one car, maybe you'd have to cut lessons and soccer coaching or the membership to the gym, moving to another cheaper house even), I know that our world would be a different place. There are many websites and blogs out there that encourage home making and for those that do stay at home, thank God everyday that you can. Praise Him for it!
2. Parents are the model for our children and not strangers.
3. Healthy, warm, home cooked meals.
4. God tells us to constantly be talking to our children about Him (Deuteronomy 6) and disciplining them, molding and shaping them to be witnesses for Him. We do believe that homeschooling is Biblical. Yes, I said it.
5. We can choose a curriculum that enhances each individual child’s learning style. “School” shouldn’t be a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
6. A teacher starts off each year not knowing their students. As my children’s teacher I know just where to pick up at each year's beginning. Many studies have been done in Finland regarding this and it’s proven to really WORK. This is why homeschooled children are more advanced and beyond what a “gifted” child would be in traditional school.
7. Discipline is consistent and doesn’t change with each year.
8. No competition for fancy, electronic gadgets, clothing, shoes, expensive purses, who's parent drives the coolest car at carline, etc.
9. No competition with other families…their rules vs. ours: dating age, wearing makeup, what age others get cell phones, etc.
11. Children have the time to take up their own interests such as science, agriculture, art, music, writing, debate, photography, sewing, mechanics, etc.
12. (a tag-on to #10) Adult jobs aren’t like this. Could you imagine your first day of working for a local company and the boss says, “Okay, all the 35-year-olds will be working on the 14th floor and the 26-year-olds will be working on the 19th floor.” Really?
13. The home economics opportunities …need I say more? Our schools don’t have the budget for this anymore and our children are graduating with minimal skills of this sort, but yet we get upset if they don’t pass Chemistry II, a class they’ll never use unless they go into the medical field, pharmaceuticals or such. When was the last time YOU used Calculus? I added this DVD set to my Christmas wishlist in hopes to continue doing some of these fun things with my own daughters.
15. The curriculums we choose for our children are biblically-based and historically accurate. We teach Biblical Creationism, not Evolution. We teach the truth about our country’s religious history, the Pilgrim’s great faith in God and the history of our nation’s forefathers and their faith in God. What a responsibility to teach our children about HIStory. The timeline that God ordained to happen for His glory and WE get to teach it to our little ones. So cool!
I just love Doug's heart for history and family (over at Vision Forum). Watch this video about where the Pilgrim's journey started for religious freedom over in England. Really brings the meaning of Thanksgiving to life.
16. Our life is so much simpler and we’re not rushing around here and there yelling at each other because homework isn’t done, breakfast is getting cold and you can’t find your socks. We enjoy taking our time, practicing kindness, training chores slowly and efficiently and being simplistic in this fast-paced world.
Time is love. (You've heard the country song.) Where your time is as a family is what your kids will remember your devotion towards. Be careful of outside activities (I couldn't be more serious).
17. We can participate in acts of service during the day such as visiting a nursing home to cheer up the elderly, help a neighbor with yard work, baking cookies for a friend who needs a smile, etc.
18. Our kids don’t have to ask for a bathroom pass to have alone time or just a mental break. You’d be surprised at how children really need this! In John Taylor Gatto's book Dumbing Us Down, he has a section on this very subject and it's heartbreaking. I can remember SO many moments like this when I was in school. I just wanted to get away. Just lay in a field and read a book that I was intersted in. Go get my hands dirty as I learned. I felt so confined to the cold, hard walls of the classroom.
19. They learn more responsibility as they are home during the day to learn how to do laundry, care for siblings, feed and take care of animals, use good manners in the grocery store or patience for a doctor’s appointment.
20. Our children aren’t labeled with ADHD just because they would rather be outside running around sometimes. They're also not labeled "slow" if one learns to read at 3 and the other at 5. Every child is so different. My heart ACHES for children who's teachers claim that they need to be medicated or else removed from the classroom.
21. Homeschooling benefits the parents!! It’s the education WE never had, especially when you’re teaching Scripture memorization and learning about Biblical apologetics and Biblical history. These are some of the areas Christians struggle with the most (beside us sharing our faith). I love AWANA programs and so do my kids, but there’s something to be said about saying Bible verses EVERY morning and building on them. A neat program for teaching the Bible to children (heck, even adults!) is The Picture Smart Bible curriculum. We also have flip cards that I made and laminated that have Biblical character traits on them along with a Bible verse, picture and then a story about someone in the Bible that displayed that trait (for example: "Attentiveness", Samuel). We also use hand motions to get kinesthetic, the pictures are for visual and we say the verse out loud for audible learning. You can use this chart to get you started.
I don't know about you, but I had a TERRIBLE middle school experience with my history teacher. So dry textbook and unalive. I hated the subject. I turned my mind off to it and missed out on some of the most interesting things that founded our world and our country. I'm having an absolute BLAST reading to our children about HIStory now and learning more than I ever did. I have a newfound love for history and it ranks right behind science. :)
22. Opportunities for teaching good, godly character. Most traditional schools TRY to touch on this, but…
a.) Public schools don’t back up good character with an absolute standard like God’s Word. “Just don’t hit your classmate” doesn’t really cut it. Why or why not? That’s America’s problem today though (in a nutshell). There’s no absolute standard for anything, but that’s another blog post. A heavy one at that.
b.)Christian schools can’t be as consistent as homeschooling b/c of the high student to teacher ratios. A teacher may claim to “know” their students, but they don’t really know the inward struggles of sin that they each deal with. An involved parent knows.
23. As parents, we know our children THE BEST. We know what SPECIFIC traits to work with them on and we can praise them and discipline them accordingly and consistently instead of the teacher’s word vs. the student’s in a parent/teacher conference trying to figure out who’s right and what the punishment should be (and I’ve been in some conferences, ah-hem!).
24. Some people claim that homeschooled children are “sheltered”. GASP! If you find yourself thinking this, I would encourage you to read Keeping Our Children’s Hearts by Steve and Teri Maxwell and then get back to me. Matthew 23:37 is a great reminder of how a mother hen just wants to protect her babies, such as any mom would want to protect her own human babies. I call it “the Mother Hen Instinct”. Please remember that as we make disciples of our children, in Christ’s example of Him training His disciples, He didn’t release them for years after constant, everyday training and they were ADULTS. Children take much longer to train. That would be my argument to Rev. Graham in the movie Indoctination as he wants a child trained in God's Word to be in every public school classroom. They're not trained to defend their faith yet Mr. Graham.
Here's a little more about a child's brain and the basic stages it develops in...Bloom's Taxonomy.
26. Our main goal for our children is NOT college. I say this with confidence in an economy that’s college tuition is ridiculous and where jobs are so frequent that a small fraction of college grads are finding jobs in their specialization. We’re open to whatever God has for them, but we also know that it’s God’s money we’re spending and not our own so this is a big decision of debt to consider. Debt that can take years to pay off. We measure success today in such selfish ways...who has the better body, who has the bigger house, who has the better work status (you know, the climbing of the corporate ladder thing). Why don't we measure success in who has a great marriage, who has a stable family rooted in the Lord, who might live in a small house but is financially stable and not worried about where the next mortgage payment will come from, who volunteers at the local homeless shelter or jail teaching others about Christ's love, who is training disciples to further the kingdom of God? Wouldn't our world be a different place if THAT is how we measured success. Life isn't about "being happy" either. Sometimes God calls us to suffer great suffering for His glory, but if we know Him, are reading His Word and following the Holy Spirit's guidance for the will that He has us in for this particular part of history, we should have peace. True lasting joy, not temporary happiness.
27. Homeschooling can be done VERY cheap. (*side note addition: There are many families out there worried about paying the bills, but continue to send their children to private or Christian schools spending thousands of dollars a year on tuition, uniforms, etc. when the mother still desires to stay at home. To this I would say is a great reason to homeschool! You can remain in the home, taking care of it the way God designed a woman to be the caretaker of the home, and yet now you don't have the worry of paying thousands of dollars of tuition payments each year and you have the blessing of being WITH your child(ren), discipling them throughout the day. Imagine what God could use that extra money towards!)
28. There's no UNDOING! I know that this is one of the biggest hurdles and frustrations of parents today. They're trying to train their children at home, but the minute they send them off to school, they are competing with 100s of other people, children, teachers. Whether your child is in a public, private, charter, boarding, whatever-school, children will constantly be challenged with going against what their parents say and going with the crowd that they are around the MAJORITY of the time they are awake in a day. Think about that for a second. Your child could possibly be spending the majority of his/her time with influences other than you and you're the one who was given the responsibility of training them by God.
29. One day we will stand before God the Father and He will ask us what we did with our lives, how we brought Him glory, who we trained as disciples to further His kingdom. It's our responsibility as parents to train our children the very best way we know how and if we can truly say that we love Jesus with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, wouldn't we want to share that with our offspring constantly throughout the day? A challenging question, but Christ did say that He came to divide and not to make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy inside. (Luke 12:49-59)
If you have ever contemplated about home education and hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you that you need to make a change, but don't know where in the world to start, please contact me via the comment section and I would be more than willing (Did you hear that? "More than willing"!) to help get you started in a home-based curriculum and schedule that would suit your family FOR FREE. Absolutely FREE at no cost to you! If you know me personally and live locally, I'd be happy to have you in our home and show you (with the Lord's guidance) how you too can do this and succeed. I'm also open to meeting you in your home and setting up a schedule, discipline system, curriculum, etc. for your family. Please be sure that you have sought out your husband and his leadership over your home and have his blessing first.
I pray that this was an encouragement to my readers and not something to judge or condemn as I am only one human being striving to follow the Holy Spirit's guiding and am a daily sinner saved by God's grace and certainly no super mom. God gets all the glory!!!
Blessings and hugs to you all. :)