We are a homeschooling family and WE LOVE IT! We believe in the rightness of it and in the educational advantage of it. And give us half a chance and we’ll be trying to convince you to homeschool, too!
Now don’t get me wrong–I get frustrated and overwhelmed with my children sometimes, too, but I have to remember the window of time I have them in my care is incredibly, heart-breakingly brief!
And tell me, when’s the last time you heard some aged person say, “If I could go back and do it all over again, I would not have spent so much time with my kids!”
When I’m old, I can’t say I won’t have any regrets, but I will be able to say I gave the best of my time to my children while they were in my home and under my care.
Christian parents can teach their children the Bible and the ways of God whether they homeschool or not, but certainly time constraints make it more of a challenge when children are spending hours in school everyday. When my oldest two were in Christian school I had wonderful intentions of doing regular Bible study with them, but it rarely happened. Mornings were absolute CHAOS as we tried to get out the door for school and afternoons were rushed as we hurried back to pick up two exhausted little girls. Then it was suppertime. Then there was cleanup. Then there was laundry. Then it was bedtime. And far too often days would pass without much talk about the things of God at all!
But when I have my children home with me all day every day, I have far more opportunity to teach them the things I most want them to learn. And what’s more, I can weave God and the Bible into every subject throughout the course of the day, presenting each one in the light of God’s Word. How awesome is that?
I truly believe many parents would be surprised and disturbed to find out what their children are learning in their schools, viewpoints and attitudes that run contrary to everything they believe as individuals. Like it or not, the most involved parent in the world cannot control everything their child is exposed to when they are outside of their supervision for hours each day. But even if your child’s teacher is your best friend and their school’s principal is a devout Christian whom you know personally, that in no way protects your kids from the awful influences that may surround them on a daily basis, even in a Christian school.
But I have the benefit of knowing exactly what my children are learning, both from their teacher and their fellow students. The curriculum has been approved by ME, not some school board who doesn’t know me or my values. And I know the background of the kid sitting next to my little guy or gal, (since I’m raising that one, too,) and so I don’t have to live in fear of the inappropriate jokes he’ll be telling or stories he’ll be sharing or music he’ll be singing. That’s a level of protection the best parent in the world can’t provide when their child is regularly outside the care of the home.
An age-based, one-size-fits-all approach to schooling simply cannot provide the most effective form of education. All children of the same age do not and cannot perform on an equal level or progress at an equal rate. In a traditional school, exceptionally bright students are often left unchallenged and never permitted to reach their potential while slow learners just fall through the cracks.
But with homeschooling, I can hold a struggling child back as long as it takes for them to grasp the material we’re covering, all without the stigma that normally goes along with being “held back” or moved to an “LD” class. At the same time, if I have a child who excels, I can skip ahead in the material or add material to challenge them.
If I have an artsy child, (and I do,) I can offer more opportunities to nurture that talent. If I have an aspiring writer, (and I do,) I can encourage and challenge them with more creative writing assignments. Even the best teachers at the best public or private schools in the nation cannot provide that kind of tailored education to every individual student.
In the beginning I truly believed homeschooling and all the time we were about to spend together would leave us utterly sick of one another! How amazing to find that the opposite has been true! I honestly don’t know that our family has ever been closer.
Do my children fight sometimes? Of course! Do I get aggravated with them sometimes? I don’t think I’d be human if I didn’t! But rather than driving us all to despise one another, I truly believe the time spent together has helped us appreciate and tolerate our differences more. As I’ve learned patience with my children, they’ve learned patience with each other, (and probably with me, too!) And it seems we can focus more now on the joy of being together.
I love it when I hear my children say how much they love our family. They don’t seek to be away from it or roll their eyes at the mention of a “family trip”. For them, “family” means love and security and joy that’s worth some of the minor personality conflict that sometimes comes along with it.
“It’s a tough job,” they might say, “but we get great benefits.”