We chose to homeschool because…
A friend suggested I blog about homeschooling. This will be the first post I make about our decision to homeschool our children rather than send them to public or private school. I don’t intend to highlight the pros and cons of each decision, rather to just share our personal reasons. A children’s minister I follow on twitter has written several good posts that are objective and thorough if anyone is considering and would like some things to think about. Check them out here, here, here, here, here and especially here.
So why did we choose to homeschool? The answer can be summarized in one word: discipleship. We believe that our primary role as parents is to disciple our children so that they will become life-long followers of Jesus Christ. If we have accomplished anything as our children transition into adulthood but we haven’t done that, I believe we have failed in the responsibility God gave us. Homeschooling was the best way for our family to accomplish those goals in a way that we felt was adequate. We certainly do not believe that homeschooling is for everyone. We also believe that many children who are raised with a public education are incredibly devout people of God. This was simply the best decision for our family.
A couple of reasons why we felt we could disciple our children better with them learning at home than at a public school.
1. Character. I remember hearing that many schools are now required to have some sort of emphasis on character building. I am extremely thankful for this. It cannot however be catered to the character building needs specific to my own children. Each one of our two daughters has very unique gifts as well as unique flaws. At home we are able to address the character traits that are most needed for each of them. One way we have decided to do this is through our “Nifty Fifty” memory verses. Each week we learn a new memory verse. Since I created the list myself, I could choose some verses that show what God’s word says about character. If our older daughter is having a hard time showing kindness… next week’s memory verse is on kindness!
2. Biblical integration. I don’t have a background in education but I have spent a lot of time in the Sunday school classroom. I feel I have a thorough knowledge of the God’s story and the players he used throughout history to accomplish his purposes. It’s a blessing to be able to refer to stories from the Bible to help illustrate a particular lesson. For example if our daughters are doing their phonics (learning to read) lesson I will try to use some word examples from our morning Bible lesson or the week’s memory verse. The Bible is full of numbers and things that can be numbered so for early elementary math, I never have issues finding examples.
3. Peer network. One of the biggest objections to homeschooling is that children do not get socialized in the same way than if they were in a classroom of 20+ other children. This is true. They don’t get the same kind of socialization. We simply decided that wasn’t a bad thing. Every Friday we join 20 or so other families for a co-op called “Classical Conversations.” I will go into more detail another time about the curriculum but as for socialization, the kids are divided into ages and meet in classrooms with their peers. Our daughter has 8 other kids in her class. They interact together as they learn and are encouraged to cooperate with one another. She has a presentation each week in front of her class and after class is over all the children eat and have play time. We have arranged another get together with homeschool families at our house where the children have a music and spanish lesson. Following lunch they are taught science and art through Skype with Krista’s mom. We are happy to choose the children and families that our daughters interact with. At some point in their lives I am sure they will begin choosing their own friends and our hope is that they will have a better framework for choosing their buddies.
4. Parental influence. Discipleship is not taught – it’s caught. Krista and I believe we are the most influential people in our daughters lives. This is a blessing God has given to parents but there is also much demanded. They are watching all the time to see if what we say and what we do matches up. Having our daughters at home has a way of forcing mom and dad to be on their best behavior. I take great pride in knowing that our daughters get to watch my wife and learn from her. I consider it an awesome privilege that I have extra time to show them how a man ought to treat a lady. They are watching and catching. Krista and I set the standard for what healthy relationships look like for our daughters. If we pray that our daughters will grow up loving God and loving others more than we do it’s easier not to settle for selfishness in our own walk with Christ. We can show a relentless pursuit of God that happens all day, every day and it will be built into the rhythms of their life.
That’s probably enough for now. Its been an exciting journey as we started homeschooling this year. I will share how it got started in another post.