I have found myself on more than one occasion here lately stating "boy I'm glad we homeschool" Today was another one of those days that reminds me why we do what we do. So I was already all jazzed up before picking up the phone, not to mention completely comfortable with all my goodies and such......So why do we homeschool anyway? This is a question asked so often you would think by now I would have condensed my answer. In all honesty quite the opposite is true. The longer I home educate, the more dragged out my speech becomes.
I really never have minded the questioning. I have always looked at it as an opportunity to shed some light for others and a constant refresher/reminder for myself. It doesn't take very long to find out if the person asking is truly inquiring or just out to fulfill an agenda. Often times those who are indeed acquisitive never really get my full answer as parenting often interrupts conversations. So....this is for you. All those curious somebodies who want to know why we do what we do.
- The liberty to teach history from a providential perspective. That is to acknowledge God's divine hand in all times, with all people for his purpose.
- Also to teach history chronologically in a cyclical manner ever increasing the knowledge level as the years go by. To teach history with a text book as a mere spine of reference. To teach history with autobiographies, biographies, historical fiction and non fiction alike replacing the fragmented boring textbook. Purposely including actual geography...an all to often forgotten subject. To teach history by visiting museums as well as historical sites. To teach history by watching movies and incorporating hands on activities. The joy in showing the why, the who and not just the date.
- The opportunity to teach science through both the evolutionists and creationists point of view. To teach about God the creator of heaven and earth. To take God at his word, that is "all was created in literally six days". However to also teach what evolutionist believe to be true..as in.. yes we read books like Origin of species by Charles Darwin. To teach that the evolutionist and the creationist believe in the same science. It is the faith of the evolutionist and the creationist that differs, which ultimately draws very different conclusions. Neither the evolutionist or the creationist was present to provide scientific fact for the question of origins, this is why we go to the words of someone who was there. We relish the freedom to do just that through the book God has preserved for us.We take joy in teaching an appreciation for Gods wonderful array of colorful people (physical as well as spiritual). Each as completely different and carefully crafted as the tiny snowflakes we all take for granted. So special is each human life that we take time to teach about the rights of even the tiniest, sickliest and oldest. To teach free from abortion & euthanasia propaganda. To teach our children to love their neighbor whether red, yellow, black, white, handicapped, gifted, rich, poor. To be the one who teaches them about sex education free of homosexual propaganda.
- Also to teach science through hands on, real life experimentation and in a lab with other students or at home. To teach science through back yard astronomy and kitchen chemistry. To teach science through nature studies as in observation and drawing, journaling or diagramming findings. To teach science through fun kits growing lady bugs, earth worms, silk worms, butterflies, moths and frogs. Watching with intent as kittens, puppies and chicks are born. Nurturing goats, rabbits, birds and rats. To teach science by growing gardens, crystals and mold. To teach about biomes by visiting caves, great valley grass lands, deserts, high mountain peaks, canyons, oceans, lakes, rivers, creeks and streams. To teach science through visiting Dad's clients, occupational field trips, museums, theme parks (physics) zoos, farms and rescue shelters. To teach science by building things and home improvement projects.To read wonderful books and watch fascinating movies.
- Power to pursue and cultivate God given talents, skills and aesthetic endeavors. No homeschool parent I know is arrogant enough to believe they can do everything on their own. However they do know what they can do well. An intricate system of bartering goes on trading subjects as needed and fits within each families dynamics. This is also how many co-ops are started providing holiday parties, graduation ceremonies etc. Not to mention the plethora of tutoring, private lessons and community classes that are available. This is Free Enterprise at its best.
- Togetherness. Our family is a team. Yes sometimes our days are completely frustrating. As someone once said "giving air to why tigers eat their young" Yet other times our life is radiating with joy and hysterical laughter. We have so many memories we hold in common. Yes we are a typical busy family. However homeschooling allows us to grab time when others are locked away in school. Dinner is hard for us...yes I know typical. Yet we have breakfast and lunch together. We have time for devotional every morning with Dad. We have days on our calendar set aside for just the four of us. We hold our secret days in close regard.
- One of the blessings I love most is the independence to go on little mini learning adventures. Freedom to break the chains claiming learning happens in a certain time frame, on a certain day, at a desk...in a classroom. Learning is happening all around us. Weather we are sitting around the dining table, watching a movie, walking to the park or driving around town, learning continues, it is a natural flow. A love of learning is born when you break away from methods that cause kids to burn out well before middle school. For the record, yes we have a school room. It houses a TV with cable, DVD & VHS for school media. Science equipment, an atlas and globe can be found in the room. We also house workout videos for raining day PE, dictionary, thesaurus, art supplies and office supplies in there. Of course that's where the school day could take place...and it does at times. At home schoolwork is also done floating in the pool, laying in the hammock, sitting on the roof or up in a tree. Yet school work is also done away from home sitting at a beach, resting on a boulder, with toes wiggling in a pond or driving in a car. I love finding new places to explore with my children.
- People. Yes I list people as one of the blessing of home education. People who pour themselves into the homeschool movement. People who dedicate countless hours organizing, planning and carrying through all sorts of wonderful opportunities for others to enjoy. People who pioneered the modern homeschool movement, which allowed me to come into the picture with ease. Thank you for your sacrifice, time in court and diligence to get companies to sell us curriculum...and actually write some of your own. People I've never met, thank you for my freedom to homeschool independent of governmental dictation at the expense of your families. People who make the decision to homeschool so much easier because you choose to mentor. People who listen to crying spent mamas' and then reel them back in. People who write books, speak at seminars and create co-ops. I couldn't...probably wouldn't do it without you clearing the path.
- Desire to alleviate stress by allowing each of my sons to grow at his own speed. We have one who flies through most everything and one who needs lots of extra time...homeschooling allows for both. To learn without the restraints of bells and schedules set in place to herd a room full of kids. To remove busy work meant to silence a flock of burned out, bored students. Joy to learn in a way that reaches each child best. Battling the daily grind without breaking the child's spirit.To learn at whatever speed needed in each individual subject without unnecessary pressure and in effect enjoying the learning process. Yes time to complete each task well. There is no need to move onto the next spelling test just because its Monday. To learn without the lack of restrictions in moving forward in a section of a math text even if someone else couldn't keep up, in example.
- Freedom to be a boy. Boys aren't meant to sit still day after day, week after week, year after year. Could this be contributing to the national problem with (mostly boys) and ADD/ADHD?? Homeschooling allows freedom to run laps or jump on a trampoline between each subject taught. Brilliance is setting up a schedule with plenty of physical endurance (sports and home improvement) and lots of time to explore the outdoors for boys.
- To nourish and cherish brotherhood. Our boys fight...HELLO! However they are also truly friends. They have such a great time together exploring and learning or simply hanging out.Homeschooling provides time to tend to this.
- The right to teach phonics instead of the sight word mumbo-jumbo. To use phonics as the building blocks they are meant to be. Time to read, read, read! Oh and reading is so much more enjoyable when you are ACTUALLY taught to read! To start teaching Grammar AFTER phonics is learned. Lots of time to write, just to learn to express ones self. Appreciating the difference in this and the refining skill of the eloquent written word. Teaching true logic and then the classic method of rhetoric. Giving real skill sets no longer taught in most schools.
- Teaching self motivating skills. Striving for self starting skills gradually growing into the natural process of independence.
- To foster great character. To teach wisdom and discernment. Christian homeschool kids are not immune to the sin curse, of course. Likewise they are not hidden from all sorts of evils prevalent in this world, we all fall short. We aim to show mercy, grace and compassion. We strive to promote fellowship with their peers...yes. Yet also to seek ways to show kindness to those much younger and quite older then themselves. To take notice, to be aware and to act accordingly. Homeschooling allows for time to grow into the "salt" and "light". Giving them strong legs to stand on so they won't be swayed to and fro with every passing wind by saturating them in the ways of God.
- To teach governmental law, civics and economics by studying speeches, sitting in on council meetings both local and at the state and going to tea parties and the like. Again by reading great books, watching outstanding movies, keeping up on current events and going on plenty of field trips. Teaching public speaking through debate and speech club to give voice in defining ones morals and standards. To insure they know their constitutional rights.
- Time for unrushed prayer. Using a prayer board that we pin names or pictures on to remind us of all the people we want to lift up. By keeping a prayer and praise journal as an easy way to release our troubles and also to recognize Gods blessings.