I have a lot of friends who reach out to me on a regular basis with questions about homeschooling, and although I feel like a novice with much left to learn, I do enjoy telling people what I’ve gleaned thus far. Many times, though, folks just want to bounce the idea of homeschooling off me. They want to do it, they feel like they should, but they’re worried they won’t do well! Well sister, I say you’re in good company. Many days end with me worrying if I’m the best teacher my child could have. Often times I worry about the future challenges we may come across. And soooo many days I want to pull my hair out! Bottom line, though, is none of us are designed to be the perfect homeschooling parent for our children. We just become the teacher at home that they need. When you’re led to do something you shake off the fear, dust off your insecurities, and throw on the armor of God. You remember why you’re doing it in the first place, because it sure isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it!
I have a lot of reasons my husband and I chose to homeschool, but today I’ll simply tell you about three that are very near and dear to my heart.
1. To spend time with my children. This may seem like a strange reason to homeschool to you, or if you’re like me it may seem like the absolute best reason. I often see moms in tears over their five year old’s first day of kindergarten, and they’ll even say something like, “I wish we didn’t have to do this!”
I always want to shout out, “you don’t!”
Just because public school education is the norm in our westernized society, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. It’s ok to think outside of the box and explore alternative methods to educate your child.
The way I see it for my family is this. I have roughly 7,000 days with my child before they leave the home to venture out on their own. I want to choose how we spend that time. I don’t want my child spending the majority of every day with other adults caring for them. I want them spending it with me. I don’t want their evenings consumed by homework; I want them cultivated by time together with family, or fun activities of their choosing.
We gotta bring up the subject of dollars and cents, right? Money isn’t everything, but it does take a lot of it to make the world run. It’s difficult to work less to make homeschooling possible, but it was something my husband and I felt strongly about. We miss out on vacations, new/name-brand clothing, and so much more with less income streaming through the home, but we weighed our priorities and decided to make the necessary cuts. We knew we only had this short amount of time to not only train them up in the way they should go, but also pour our love abundantly into them. We decided to savor as much of it as we could.
“What about socialization?” They ask.
It’s a good question, really. Socialization is absolutely terrifying, isn’t it?!
Here’s what I mean. I watch socialization issues such as bullying. Last week alone I counted five different women talking on Facebook about how upset they were with bullying of their children in the public school setting.
“It will toughen them up!” Some people exclaim.
But I ask this. Why must we create harder children for a harsh world? Why can’t we create compassionate children who can change the world and make it a kinder place?
I raise my children to love others, and to treat people like they would want to be treated. Sadly not everyone does that. Some adults are bullies. They raise tiny bullies and send them to school to seek out the kind-hearted and devour them. Perhaps my years in school of being bullied have created a monster in me that wishes to protect my girls from the pain I suffered through. I look back and I don’t think it made me stronger at all. I think it’s only by God’s grace I didn’t commit suicide. So yeah, my experiences may very well cloud my judgement, but so be it. I know I can’t protect my children from the world forever, but I can shield them while they are young and still developing maturity and a sense of self-worth. Being bullied at thirty is one thing. You can shake it off. But being bullied at twelve is quite another. Am I being over-protective? Probably so. I only wish my own parents could have sheltered me more.
Not only does normal socialization include bullying it also includes things such as cliques and a judgmental hierarchy that bases worth on commodities such as what your parents do for a living or what brand of clothing you’re wearing. Values such as worth based on outward appearance are pushed readily, and our selfie, social media world is only pushing this to a whole other level of crazy. You can easily see what matters when you’re forty. But fourteen? Not so much.
So, yes, I am worried too about socialization for my children if it involves the above descriptions. But if you’re talking about concerns over them hanging out with kids their own age other than siblings, then worry not.
We currently soclialize with many different kinds of children via outlets such as church, dance, softball, gymnastics, and a local homeschool association where they can take classes, sports, and field trips with other kids. I actually have to say no to many of the activities so we’re not running ourselves ragged socializing. I get to socialize my kids how I want!
3. To lead them to a closer walk with Christ. One of the greatest tasks in my life is to show my children the heart of Jesus. It’s an absolute honor to me to be able to insert Biblical studies and obviously God-centered instruction into their curriculum. As our world “progresses” and becomes more and more politically correct, it also becomes more exclusionary of Christianity. While I believe math, science, and language arts are a very important part of their education and future, as a lover of Jesus I consider their hearts being turned to the Lord of most importance in their life. I’m abundantly grateful to be able to openly teach my children about the Lord in my home. It’s my favorite part of the instruction I provide during our school hours, and I think it’s these lessons that will make them most successful in life.
Of course, as always, anything I share is my opinion, and these are reasons I choose to homeschool. The choice of how to best educate your child is unique to each individual, and there’s no right or wrong way. There’s just what feels best for you. I never want to make anyone feel like I think homeschooling is the only correct way to educate! Homeschooling is not for everyone! I simply share what feels best for me and why because I have so many people ask my opinion about it. These are a few reasons I feel led to instruct at home, and if they ring true with you then perhaps the path of homeschool is for you too. Shoot me a line sometime with your concerns and let’s chat. I’m sure I’ve had the same thoughts as you!