Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why I Homeschool

Homeschooling my kindergartener began for pragmatic reasons. I didn't want to send him to a local school because I didn't think he would thrive there with his personality. We didn't want to find the money to send him to an international school, even a Christian one, just for kindergarten. I figured, "How hard can it be to do kindergarten? I mean don't they just play all the time?" I had no idea what kind of sub-culture I was about to enter.

There is a stereotype of Christian homeschooling that I hope people don't attach to me. The picture is this: 10 children, you live on a farm, have your own vegetable garden and goat (for milk) and your husband has a receding hairline and a beard. You regularly spend hours reading, when you are not building your own castle in the backyard with matching suits of armor which you and dad welded in his spare time. This is not us. We have no goat.

I do not believe that homeschool kids will go to heaven automatically or that sending your children to public school warps them forever. I just believe this is something God has called me to at this point in my life. It may change in the future. I'm just committed to listening to Him, because He knows me and my children. He knows what is best for all of us. Someday it may be that He wants my children to be in school, and I'll be ok with that.

But lately my vision and excitement about homeschooling has grown, and I thought it would be good to list my reasons why.
1. The early years go by so quickly. I have such a short time to make a deep impression on my childrens' hearts. I want to make the most of this time when they are fully mine to build a deep foundation in our family relationships.
2. I love seeing my children learn! It's such a blessing to see my son read, and to know that I helped him learn.
3. Nothing in my life has caused me to depend more on God than this. For that I am grateful.
4. Our lives are not hectic. We do school in the morning, and my children have the rest of the day just to be kids. They have an amazing ability to entertain themselves as a result.
5. I get to decide what they learn. We can focus our time learning about the things they really love.
6. My kids can work at their own pace. I realized yesterday that Ethan's math was too easy, so we skipped three chapters to be where he is challenged again.
7. I'm learning about my kids. I'm learning how they learn best, I'm understanding their character, what motivates them, what excites them.

I could go on and on. As difficult as it is, this has been a huge blessing for our family. People sometimes say to me, "Oh, I could never homeschool," because of some deficiency they feel they have. But it's not about whether or not we're capable. If I made parenting decisions based on my ability, I would never have had kids! And if not for God helping me, I would have quit homeschooling within the first month. More than anything, I am learning that if God calls me to something, He will give me what I need to accomplish the task. I need only remain humble and ask for help.

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8


Michelle said...

Gina ~

I've been trying to put together a post for 4 days about a family I know that sort of home schools, and their counter cultural tendencies. But in light of your average homeschool family depiction I guess they really aren't very counter cultural after all.

Sherri said...

Very well put :). It is like I tell everyone...I didn't pull my children out of a "bad" school. However, public school just wasn't for our family. We feel that God was offering us something better and we took it. It has changed the quality of our lives so much. We are more social than ever because we have more time to be with others. Our lives are no longer revolving around what the school wants from my children. We are no longer living for the weekends, holidays and summers. We live and enjoy each day for what it is...not how much closer it is getting us to a break. I am so thankful for this opportunity. As long as my children are happy socially and learning we will continue. So far, all is well :).
I'm happy to "meet" you!