We will soon be starting our 7th year of homeschool. Sometimes it’s crazy to say that out loud, considering we never intended to. We didn’t set out to be a homeschool family. I mean, they are all unsocial, awkward, weirdos, right? That’s what I thought too when we started on this journey.
DISCLAIMER: This is about our personal journey with homeschooling. No, I don’t think everyone CAN or SHOULD homeschool. No, I don’t think I’m a better person or Christian because I do. It is what has been right and good for OUR family and here is our story. Don’t like it or agree?, move along….If it brings you some encouragement or insight….great! That was my point. 😊
My mom was a second grade teacher for 30 years. My husband and I attended public school all the way from kindergarten through college. We turned out alright and I never thought any different for our children…until our first was about to enter kindergarten. The same year, my husband was elected as a state representative for our area and that would have him out of town all week long for almost half the year. We realized that with her in school, the only time she would see her dad was on the weekends. We loved the idea of freedom it would give us for family time and learning flexibility, but I was one of those who said I would NEVER homeschool my kids! Doesn’t God have a sense of humor?!
“You will never look back on your life and regret that you spent TOO much time with your kids.”
The decision to take the final plunge, wasn’t some epiphany that came to us, but a series of events and people that confirmed what the Lord had began to lay on our hearts. We did a lot of praying and talked to the few families that we knew were already on this journey. In the end we decided to look at homeschooling as a “we will try it for a year and see” approach. After all it was only kindergarten, right? How bad could we screw that up, right?! Right??
Well, we made it through kindergarten and haven’t looked back! We continue to take it a year at a time, but we honestly see no signs of stopping in our future! What started as almost a chore, has become an unexpected blessing for our family and our children. We have fallen in love with the freedom, flexibility, and closeness that homeschooling has provided for our family. Yes, it is challenging and difficult at times, and there are days that I feel overwhelmed and inadequate, but the rewards far out weigh any of those fears and emotions. It has not only benefited our children, but us as parents also. The Lord has definitely used it to humble and stretch me in areas that I didn’t even know I needed “work”. But he has also been so so so faithful to us. I have gotten to build character and relationships with my children that is deep and lasting. A wise older lady once told me that you will never look back on your life and regret that you spent too much time with your kids. (And you will spend ALOT of time with your kids, so you better like them! 😉) Now, I know, this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but if you are on the fence, like I was, I encourage you to earnestly pray, do your research, and talk to other families. If the Lord is laying it on your heart and leading you to it, He will lead you through it.
Josie selling her jam at the pumpkin patch!
Here are the top reasons we choose to homeschool.
FREEDOM and FLEXIBILITY: Our main reasons when we started this journey was for the freedom and flexibility of homeschool. As I said earlier, my husband was going to be out of town the entire week and we wanted to be able to visit him when we wanted and not have to worry about a “school schedule”. For a time, we actually would spend 2 weeks out of the month with him “in the city” and this allowed us to go places and experience things not always offered in our small town. These 2 reasons remain the greatest benefits to us! Also, during the month of October we operate a pumpkin patch. As they have grown, our kids have been able to take an active part in the day to day operations of the farm. They have become a huge help to us and are also learning valuable real life skills like how to work with the public, make change, supply and demand, animal husbandry, and plant science, just to name a few! My daughter has actually earned quite a bit of money making and selling homemade jam. We also pay them a small amount for each day of work and they are able to learn about tithing, saving, and giving in a practical way. Since we homeschool, we are able to have an alternate schedule for school during this time to allow them this opportunity.
Our little guy visiting Daddy at the state capitol!
2. FAITH and BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW: We have always felt it is important for our kids to have a Biblical worldview. What better way than to be able to pick the content and scope of what they are taught? No, we don’t hide them in a bubble. Yes, we do learn about all other religions and opinions. But we teach every subject through the lense of the Bible and God as our ultimate authority. Honestly, when we made the decision to homeschool, it wasn’t a huge concern about what our children would be taught in school. After all, my husband and I had been through public school and kept our faith. We live in a small town where most of the teachers and administrators are at least acquaintances and most are believers, but as time has gone on, I’m glad that most days we don’t have to deal with some of the stuff that comes up in public school. At least not until we feel our kids are ready to hear it! We are very honest with our kids and they know about social issues, but they also know where to look for the ultimate truth. With more and more agendas being pushed on our children, I’m thankful we not only get a say, but we get to choose the content and subject of our curriculum. Our kids are going to learn all about the world and some ugly truths too, but I want to be the one to choose when and how those issues are discussed and introduced.
“If the Lord is leading you to it, He will lead you through it.”
3. LIFE IS LEARNING: If you are around me very long, you will hear me repeat this quite often. I didn’t always think this way. Actually, when we started, I just thought we would “do school” at home. Complete with a desk, white board, and our own “classroom”. Now days, we still have our white board and classroom area, but we have expanded our ideas of what “learning” looks like. Sometimes our school looks like sitting at the table doing workbooks, sometimes it looks like a trip to the grocery store or museum, sometimes it looks like going on a nature walk, and sometime it looks like working together to accomplish a task. What I have learned is that kids are always learning, and they don’t have to be sitting in a desk, quietly for hours to do this. Of course they need to learn to read and do math problems, and sit quietly, but learning is so much more than that! This mindset also lets my kids have the flexibility to learn how is best for them. We don’t put them in a box and they are able to learn at their own pace and in a way that best fits them. It is contrary to what most of us have been taught and its honestly taken me a while to wrap my mind around it, but it is now one of the top reasons we continue to choose to homeschool.
We love to incorporate nature studies with our school day.
Many people have said to me, “Oh, I could never teach my own kids. I’m not smart enough, or I don’t have the patience.”. My answer is, God gave them to you! You know what’s best for them. Maybe for you that means a Christian school, maybe for you that means a tutorial a couple days a week, maybe for you that means public school, maybe for you that means a Montessori school, or maybe like us, it’s homeschooling. Whatever it is, be encouraged, that you are your child’s best advocate and teacher, whether you go it alone or have someone else help with the “formal education part”. I truly believe that if God calls you to it, you can do ANYTHING…even teach your child math! 😉