On July 4th, I went to the local “big” store, and saw the workers putting up displays for “Back to School.” I look forward to the special sales on school items, new pencils, new notebooks! New year of school!!! By the end of August, the aisle will be crowded with hurried parents getting ready for the new school year!
Every year the thoughts that come to me are, “Am I doing the right thing? Should I send them to public school? Are they learning enough?” While I can’t speak for every homeschool parent, I can say I am not alone in doubting my decision to teach my children at home. It isn’t an easy decision to make.
It isn’t a decision to make lightly, or in a hurry.
I knew long before I was married, or had children, that this is what I wanted for them. It was very much like a “calling.” When my husband and I were expecting our first child, we were discussing it and he had a lot of doubts about it. One day, I was sitting at the kitchen table looking at some old school papers his father had given him. They were from my husband’s elementary school years. At the top it had written on it in red ink 100!! But as I looked over it, I called my husband over to read it. It had many errors in it. The teacher had obviously not read it at all. My husband was stunned, saying,”I was proud of that grade!” He had a good grade, but learned nothing from it. That was the “one thing” that convinced him to try homeschooling. Originally, we planned on teaching them until junior high school, or maybe high school. As time went on we just kept going. Our son was learning, his brother and sisters were learning. It was working well for our family! He graduated in 2014 with mostly A’s and B’s. My second son graduated in 2015 with similar grades! Both are working as responsible young men, and the oldest is taking business classes at the local college! It has been both a blessing and a challenge throughout our journey.
Should I teach my children at home?
Nobody can answer that question for you. I have known some parents that, absolutely should not homeschool. It takes a lot of patience. It takes commitment. It takes structure. This is not a decision to be made for “convenience” of the parent. Is it worth the effort? I would say,”Absolutely yes!” Is it for everyone? Absolutely not. And that is perfectly okay.
If it is something you, as a parent, are considering for your family, the best way to begin is while they are still in diapers. I was showing pictures of Winnie the Pooh characters to my oldest while holding him in my arms. He was about 18 months old. It occurred to me as he was chewing his little fingers (as toddlers will do) that since he could recognize each character, hemight be able to recognize his letters. So as a game, we would look at letters in his “Mother Goose” book and I would tell him what they were when he pointed to them. When his second birthday came, he recognized them all. You could point to a letter and he would tell you what it was. We had another “game” we would play in the car, he would tell me what letter he could see on store signs. As a result of these games, little brother, 13 months younger, learned his letters. I never had to “teach” him, because it was all a fun game! He just copied his big bubba! Were they “super smart”? Not really, they were just having fun with mom and dad!
Children are hard wired to learn. It’s what they do. It is up to the parentwhat they learn.
If your children are closer to school age, there are other “games” for them to learn from. If a child is having fun learning, they will have a love for learning. It isn’t important what age they learn their letters, colors, etc. It isimportant to cultivate a love for learning new things. Even in public school settings, a child that enjoys learning will have a better experience than a child that thinks of learning as a chore.
As children grow, and school becomes more challenging, there are many things to help. Being part of a homeschool community is a tremendous help! Our family has been a member of our area homeschool group for eight years. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know other moms, kids meeting other home educated kids, and many activities as well! I recommend visiting the local group in your area before deciding to homeschool. It’s a great way to learn the ups and downs of it all from experienced parents.
Another important resource to look at is Homeschool Legal Defensewebsite. This is where you can find out what laws are in place for your state. Some states have more requirements than others, so this is the best place to start if you are considering home education for you family.
Public school or homeschool? I know some families that do both. What “works” for one child, may not work for the other. The decision is one you and your spouse must make together. It is a family decision. It is something to pray about.
If you would like to email us with any questions, please do!
And here is my favorite Christian comedian and fellow homeschool parent, Tim Hawkins!