More Schooling Options: Homeschooling

Posted by  | Thursday, November 5, 2009  at 12:00 PM  
This post is written by Leah's friend Alice. She has been married for 18 years to Eric. They have three children: Caroline, 11th grade; Mary, 7th grade, and Bobby, 5th grade. She has been homeschooling since 2002. Here are her responses to the questions:
1. What are the top three reasons you decided to homeschool? A)God convicted our hearts about our children and their schooling being our responsibility and nobody else’s, based on God’s Word. B)We became concerned about things our then-3rd-grade daughter was learning in school, both from teachers and from other children. C)We read everything we could get our hands on about home schooling and were convinced we could give our children a better education at home.

2. Why didn't you send your kids to Christian school? To public school?
At the time we made the decision to home school we almost decided to put them in a Christian school. I had eight years of teaching experience and thought that maybe I would get a job teaching at a Christian school and have the kids go there. But our youngest was only 3 years old at the time, and that would have meant putting him in day care. That was something we just weren’t willing to do, having been convicted strongly by God to have me be a stay-at-home mom. Also, the more we read about home schooling, and based on our own experiences in Christian school (both my husband and I graduated from Christian schools,) the more we realized that even Christian school was not what we wanted for our children.

3. What is the best part about homeschooling?
It’s so hard to chose one best thing! I love spending time with my children. I love seeing the lightbulb go off in their heads as they learn new things. I love knowing that they aren’t being indoctrinated with false ideology and values. I love being able to include God’s Word as part of their lessons, inculcating Biblical values throughout their curriculum.

4. What is the worst part?
For me, it’s the sheer amount of work and effort it requires: organization, scheduling, lesson planning, grading, etc. I’m a terrible procrastinator, but God has used home schooling to make me realize that I cannot put off the preparation for each week or else things don’t go well. For the kids, it’s probably more to do with how other people treat them when they find out they’re home schooled---as though they are freaks or inferior somehow.

5. What is the biggest benefit to your child by homeschooling?
My kids can learn a lot more in a shorter amount of time, since I don’t have to teach to the lowest common denominator as I used to have to in a public school class. Once they grasp a concept they can move on to a newer or harder one, not having to sit around and wait for everyone to get it. This frees them up to pursue extra-curricular interests (music, art, etc.) or just have more time to play outside or read. Also—no homework in the evenings!

6. What is the biggest deficit?
One potential deficit for home schoolers has to do with always having Mom or Dad be the teacher. This can lead to frustration with other adults (Sunday school teacher/youth worker/etc.) who are in authority if they are not as accommodating or compassionate as Mom or Dad. This is our second year as part of a home school co-operative, and I think one of the best outcomes of our participation has been that my children have had to learn to deal with various teaching styles and authority over them.

7. What advice would you give to a family with preschool-age children working through this decision right now?
Pray, pray, pray. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do as far as your children’s education. Read God’s Word---what does it say? Can your children go to public school and still learn God’s Word while they are standing, sitting, walking by the way? THEN: talk to home schoolers; read up on the labor unions that control public education (like the NEA) and what their beliefs are; read Chris Klicka’s Homeschooling: The Right Choice and R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, read John Holt and Charlotte Mason. You may not agree with all of these people’s ideology, but they ask a lot of very good questions. Do you want your child “schooled” by the government or do you want them to really learn?
People need to realize that we are teaching our own children from the moment they are born. We teach them either directly or by example how to eat, talk, walk, dress, behave and everything else. So why do we assume that when they turn five we cannot teach them anymore? Think about what your worldview is, and then consider whether or not you want your child to share it. Where should they learn?

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