Why We Homeschool
Disclaimer: Please note that we do not feel that public school is bad nor will we cast negative light on it or any of it's dedicated teachers. (Actually we had a great experience with public school and it's teachers!) This post further expresses how it isn't right for our family at the present time for some of the same reasons that a private school wouldn't be the right choice. We have experienced ourselves that there are many amazing educators that give their very best and in no way do we wish to discredit their education or commitment to excellence. We also realize that our family's decision is certainly NOT what is best for every family. We respect that and do not wish to make a blanket statement in any of our opinions that homeschooling is "the better" choice - as it is not for everyone.
I'm not exactly the first thing that would come to mind when you think of the term "home-schooling mom". I do NOT wear baggy denim jumpers, white Keds and chunky headbands. I don't cheerfully cook three organic, home-grown meals a day for my family. In fact, most mornings you can find my kids standing on top of kitchen counters scrounging out whatever breakfast food they can. I don't sew and I can't remember the last time I actually used an iron. I've always figured a few minutes in the dryer to tumble will do!
I dislike the term or the whole picture I've always had in my head of a"housewife" but am falling in love with the sweet peace that comes when in humility I surrender to the first callings of my life, the very ones that come to find out have always been the most important to start out with! You know? Those of a good wife and mother. There is so much honor and joy in these roles when I submit to them. (yes, I used the word submit. It's okay.)
But when it comes to home schooling, I've seen it done with different results - some amazing, and some....not so much. So to be honest I've sort of always looked down my nose at the whole idea of home-schooling and had actually said it was something I would never even consider.
I mean seriously, I spent the first five years of motherhood thinking, "If I can just get them grown enough to both be in school, THEN life will begin for me and I will have time to actually do something important with my life."
So last year that time came. I had finally arrived at the destination I had daydreamed amidst the years of picking up toys all day and changing diapers in a spit-up stained tee-shirt and sent them off to school for most of the day.
And then strangely enough, I wanted them back. Not in the weird I have no identity outside my kids, needy mom kind of way. But more the, time is influence and my time with them has been FAR to little.
It also occurred to me that my children's childhoods aren't something to be endured, but are sacred days in which their dad and I have been given the gift of time to write on the blank canvas of who they are for eternity.
I wholly believe that whatever/whoever gets the most time with my children, is who/what will influence and shape their entire lives for the rest of their lives the most. And no offense to the school systems, I'm just a tad bit uncomfortable with it being them.
Our situation is a bit different because my work takes me away in the afternoons, and so 1-2 hours at most with them a day on school days left me with VERY little influence in my own children's lives since I couldn't be home with them after school. So school got them for seven-eight hours a day, I got them for maybe two. One thing was becoming clear to me, I was certainly not the one raising my kids anymore. And was I willing to just throw away the five years I had spent at home with them?
I didn't really know what the solution was, I just knew I was beginning to get extremely uncomfortable with our situation.
So this summer I chose to lay everything I could aside just to be with my kids and give them all of me. And what I discovered is - I really enjoy being with my kids....and they long to be being with their mom. The closeness and bonding we've experienced this summer can't compare with the super fast paced life, distance and disconnect we all feel during the school year.
About mid-way through the summer I began to notice my whole thought process subtly shifting away from the way everyone else does things (and honestly the way I'd always assumed we would follow as well) towards the possibility that there might be a different way for our family.
However, I kept these thoughts to myself and didn't say a word to anyone, not even my husband. It was in a phone conversation with him one night that out of the blue he asked, "I know what you're probably going to say, but what are your thoughts on home schooling the kids? I'd like for you to think on it and pray about it and we will talk about it later on."
I did just that. But honestly, I didn't need to think or pray a whole lot to find the answer. The nudging had already come to my heart and I knew it wasn't coming from my own self.
I have to say, we live in an AMAZING community and school district - so the answers to "why we would kids out of school?" may not seem to make sense at first glance. However, I have sincerely been surprised at the lack of resistance from others and have been so overwhelmed that we've been met with support from friends & family that has left me feeling no need to "defend" our decision. And I am monumentally grateful for this.
But I would love to share some of our reasons why!
- We realize that there are essential real-life lessons that simply can’t be replicated in a textbook or a classroom.
- As I began to research home-school statistics, read books, blogs, devouring anything home-school related I could get my hands on - I began to realize that it was something that we could do, and would want to do.
- I love the fact that my kids can get a first-rate education that’s tailor-made for them - from their dad and I.
- I love the chance to be the ones who get to guide our own children towards the path of being "life-long learners" and autonomous individuals with a thirst for learning and the ability to teach themselves.
- I sort of feel as if this buys us back years with them we wouldn't have if they were in school for the next twelve years.
- That we will have the time to notice and accommodate their natural giftings.
- I love the opportunity to spend my days with my children and to have Pajama Days and day trips when it suits us, schooling on hot summer days and going to the zoo in the fall when it’s not crowded.
- I love that our lives won't revolve around a school schedule and we can be spontaneous and flexible and take school on our of town work trips with daddy if we want.
- I began to realize that we won't be alone! We can be part of a large, supportive, local home school community. A few of our closest friends – and our kids’ closest friends – are home schoolers and we SEE the benefits first hand. That gives me reassurance and hope.
- Most of all, I LOVE the idea of being free to weave our faith, values, and character formation into every subject and every day of school together! I love that as much as we will have the opportunity to help them understand the importance of knowledge, we will have also been given full stage to show them that wisdom, understanding and a heart for the Kingdom of God are far more superior.
I've already settled the fact within myself that teaching degree or not, we are wholly qualified for the task of teaching our children everything they need to know. We became qualified the moment they came into the world and were placed into our waiting arms. As their parents, we already are the primary educators of our children. We just choose to live this out fully.
For us at present, this means homeschooling. Who's to say exactly how this journey will go for us? I can't see any further than where we are right now. But I'm trusting that whether or not we carry this home school journey out all the way, or come to a place in which we feel we should put them back in school someday - we will be able to be confident that we have been obedient to the calling to be the parents that Olivia and Jackson's lives need most at this given time.
Homeschooling isn’t a one time decision, and it’s not something that someone else can tell you to do. Or not do. It’s an ongoing journey of discernment and humility.
Home schooling isn’t about being a part of a group, or a way of defining our family. It's not always the better way for every family. It’s about running our own race. (I Timothy 4:7) We serve a perfect Father, and our children are on loan to us from Him. And I just believe He gives us wisdom as their parents to know exactly what they need and has their best interest in mind far above the government or the state department of education.
Who knows, maybe THIS is part of that something important I am supposed to do with my life? Maybe I'll be a small part of raising up a generation who understands how to seek The Kingdom Of Heaven over the American culture's quest for success.
This whole thing is a part of our journey, as a family who wholly desires to honor and please God with every part of our lives; the good & the messy, the easy and the challenging. And there's telling where this one will take our little family and all those within our reach.
Nothing in this is certain for Anthony and I except one thing - we can't do one little bit of the task before us on our own.
But we do not walk alone.
I do not know how to do any of this, but the one who does dwells inside of me does not lack anything and equips me.
This is the solid ground we stand upon. And so we move forward boldly, fully equipped and without fear of the future.
I have to go now, school is about to begin!