Here’s another topic that could fill a few pages. The short of it is that I’ve wanted to homeschool since before I was married. It didn’t take much time in the classroom during my student teaching days for me to decide that, while I enjoyed teaching in a traditional school, I did not want my kids in one. Thankfully, God hooked me up with a husband who feels the same way, and the longer we’ve been parents the more reasons we’ve amassed for why we will make some serious sacrifices to keep our children home for the majority of their education.
Certain reasons are more important than others, and their importance changes up sometimes depending on our current philosophy or where the girls are developmentally, but the reason that will always remain at the top of the list is the simple fact that we have been entrusted by God with our children’s education–not the government, not other people. We will be the ones held accountable for how our children were raised, and that includes how they were trained and taught–it’s not a responsibility we can pass on to someone else.
Closely tied to this is the fact that we cannot trust other people to teach our children the beliefs that we hold. Even at a Christian school, children are going to pick up theology and doctrine that doesn’t necessarily line up with what their parents believe. And when it comes to theology and doctrine, Dan and I are pretty picky.
But those reasons aside, I really just can’t imagine sending my children away from me for six (or seven, or eight) hours a day, five days a week. I know that makes me sound like a mom who just can’t cut the apron strings, but it’s about so much more than attachment. It’s about wanting to be involved in what they learn. It’s about wanting to be the one who sees the light bulb go off when they finally learn to read, or how to do long division, or what it means for a liquid to become super saturated. (I have the *coolest* experiment to do with them for that one!) It’s about tailoring their education to their strengths and weaknesses and passions so that they never lose their enjoyment for learning. It’s about protecting them from bullies until they’re ready to defend themselves. It’s about keeping them innocent for as long as I possibly can. (And no, innocent is NOT synonymous with ignorant.) And yes, it’s also about wanting to strengthen the bonds of our family.
Homeschooling is not for the weak, or lazy, or self-involved. Sadly, I’m often all three. But I believe God has called us to homeschool, and I believe Scripture when it says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. With the advent of 2012 we instituted a morning schedule that includes daily lessons, something we’ve never done before, and something that is still quite laid-back and small-scale right now–only 10-15 minutes per girl–but it’s inspiring discipline and diligence, and all of us are reaping the benefits. When we begin more rigorous, formal academics next year for Abby, I will hopefully have shed some of my weak, lazy, self-involved ways and become even more dedicated to our homeschooling lifestyle. Until then, I will continue to plug away at our daily Hooked on Phonics, to play fun games like Quirkle (the girls beat me 224 to 225 today!) and story cubes and Math Animals and Inchimals, and to pack up half the food in the house for day-long outings to the zoo or the museum or the Garden of the Gods. Hopefully God will allow us to send the girls to dance classes, and the co-op in the Springs that Abby liked so much, and art classes and music and swimming classes, but if those things aren’t in His plan then we’ll look for other ways to get them education in those areas–we’re blessed to know a lot of very talented people, and who knows what arrangements might be made? Regardless, the adventure that awaits us over the next 15 years is daunting and exhilarating all at the same time, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.