Sam built this bridge at Classical Conversations todayRecently I blogged about our homeschooling schedule and was asked why we've chosen to homeschool. Before I answer that question, I want to preface it with this: I realize that many reading this have chosen differently than we have. In this day and age, disagreeing with someone is translated to mean that you hate them and/or their choice. This is simply not the case. I can disagree with you and your choice and still love you. Or I can choose one thing and you can choose another and we can both be right*. Sadly, I can even choose the same as you and not love you. Somehow, our culture has gotten this all mixed up. Agreement does not equal love or acceptance. Likewise, disagreement does not equal hatred or exclusion. Many of my best friends have chosen to send their kids to school in public schools or private schools. So, just as my previous blog was not the best schedule for homeschooling, it is simply what we've found to work for us, this blog post isn't why YOU should homeschool, but rather why WE have made that choice for our kids right now.
The number one reason why we have chosen to homeschool is our faith. We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. That we are all born sinful and in great need for a Savior. God saw that need before we were even born and sent His Son to live a sinless life and die a cruel death for our sins. He defeated death and the grave and was raised to life again three days later. We believe that through His death and resurrection we can have life, if we repent, believe and follow Him. We believe that the Bible is the true Word of God, given to us that we might know Him and how to live this life for His honor and glory. That is our chief end, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We want to raise our children to do that as well. When given the option of sending our kids to someone else for 7+ hours a day, or let them stay home and spend that time with them, it seems to be an easy choice for us. I'd rather spend those hours pouring into their character, seeing their sinful little hearts (because trust me they are sinful--they come by that just as naturally as they do their brown eyes!) and pointing them back to the One who loves them in spite of their sin. Along the way, we typically do a little math and reading, but the goal at the end of the day is not to have the smartest kids on the block, but kids that love the Lord and want to their gifts and abilities to serve Him.
Jon playing peak-a-boo with Maggie
all four of our kiddos enjoying playing togetherAnother thing we love about homeschooling is the way it promotes family relationships. My boys are each other's best friends. When I asked my boys this morning why they thought we homeschooled them, they answered, "because we like being together--you like being with us and we like being with each other and you." I love that they thought that was THE reason. It's definitely a big bonus!
Jon and Sam jumping while reciting memory work
the boys sorting their CC timeline cards
A third perk of homeschooling is the fleixibility. Kids are unique. Their gifts and talents are much easier to recognize and encourage in a smaller group setting. Both of my boys are bright and are working ahead in one subject area or another. Occasionally they struggle with something and we can slow down and make sure we really have mastered it before moving on to the next thing. Also, I have been asked by more than one person if my oldest has ever been tested for ADHD, and since we homeschool, the answer is no. Does he struggle to sit still? Often yes, and we are working daily on that. Is his constant movement and ability to do three things at once going to serve him well later in life. I believe the answer is yes, and while I understand why kids need to sit still for long periods of time in a traditonal classroom, I'm glad to not have to make him do that day in and day out. If he wants to pace while he reads to me or jump up and down while spelling words that he's missed, he can. If my six year old wants to do three math assignments on one day and then take two days off of math, why not?
Jon reading beside Maggie last summerWe want our children to be lifelong learners. I mentioned this in my first post, but I'll sum it up again here. I really hope to encourage my kids to love reading and understand that if something interests them, they can learn all about it. While I don't buy into the "if you believe in yourself, you can do anything" philosophy, I do believe that the ability to learn about and understand the things around us in this day and age is limitless. I hope that our kids will jump in with both feet, and learn constantly about new things and share what they're learning with me, too! During my education, I was taught how to pass a test. I learned a lot of things very temporarily, and very few things that stuck. The way we are teaching our kids, with God at the center of all things tying everything together, it is my hope that they hide many of the things that we are teaching them away in their hearts. Most importantly, that they know how to learn and enjoy the process. It's something I've only in recent years begun to do.
It's funny, I almost forgot to mention that I enjoy homeschooling because it allows me to do something I love to do: teach. I have mentioned this before, but I love teaching. I have known for as long as I can remember that I wanted to teach. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching other people's children for years before I had my own. Just over a year ago, we considered sending our kids to a classical Christian school nearby and in the end decided that it was silly to pay someone else to do the part of my day that I truly love. People often assume that because I was a teacher, that's why we homeschool, but that's really not why. It's is a great added bonus though! :)
Lastly, lest you think it's all rainbows, butterflies and fuzzy kittens, we do have rough days and weeks. It is a struggle to balance all of this in our home. Here are a couple of the homeschool pitfalls in my book:
1. My kids are wonderful, but they do get on my nerves sometimes.
2. I am constantly confronted with my own issues and sins.
3. I get little time to myself or time to pursue my interests outside of the home.
4. Consistency and discipline is essential and that is not easy.
But just as other aspects of parenting involve a dying to self in order to serve those little ones, homeschooling is just that continued. Lord-willing, I will have years to pursue my interests outside the home after my kids are grown. My kids rough edges and my own issues are being worked out together in the safety of our home. In the words of a friend, "homeschooling is one of the ways God is sanctifying me each day!" And I need to learn to be more consistent and more disciplined, hopefully, my kids are learning right along with me.
Here are a few blog posts that I find encouraging about homeschooling. Also, the book When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul, Jr. was a big encouragement to us.
*I do believe in an absolute truth and that there are things that are absolutely right and wrong. I was simply saying that you could choose pizza and I could choose a burrito and neither of us has to be wrong.