Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why We've Decided to Homeschool

I think that I've known somewhere deep down since Kyla was a baby that one day I would homeschool this child.  It took me a year or two to mention it out loud and another year or two for us to make the actual decision.  Now that the decision has been made, I find it being affirmed every time I turn around.

Before having kids, the thought of homeschooling was not even briefly entertained.  I wanted my kids to have a "normal" childhood.  Along with many other things, my ideals began drastically changing after that life-altering experience of pushing a human out of my body with the help of a couple good drugs.  

With every passing year, my educational goals for my children have become more clear to me.  Before we start this journey, I want to set out the reasons.  When the days come (and I don't doubt for an instant that they will) that I want to quit and call the yellow bus to stop by in the morning and pick up my kids, I need to have these reasons set out before me to remind me of why we started this in the first place.

So, without further ado, my (our) reasons:

1.  I have a valid excuse for buying books.  Rummage sales, library sales, and are my favorite places to hunt for those previously-loved titles to fill our shelves.

2.  I am selfish.  I want to cherish these years together and not lose precious opportunities for family relationship building.  I want to enjoy leisurely mornings instead of losing our tempers over socks that don't fit right and misplaced backpacks.  I want evenings that are relaxing instead of crammed with homework, baths, and early bedtimes.  I want to witness the transformation from vowels and consonants to words on little faces.  I want to be there and not miss a thing.

3.  It's not that I know more than anyone else or am more qualified to teach my children than anyone else.  It's just that I love my kids more than anyone else.  Because of that, I am more motivated to see them succeed - both academically and as unique individuals who are contributing members of our world.

4.  We live a good distance from any school.  So our two options are hours and hours each week of unsupervised time spent on a bus or driving lots of miles to and from school twice a day.  Neither option is very appealing.

5.  I am very leery of the Common Core standards and curriculum.  I am even more leery of the hidden objectives of those who are pushing Common Core into our school systems.  You can read my 3-part blog series here or - better yet - listen to the experts interviewed by Dr. James Dobson by going here.  I will not - at this point - voluntarily send our children to an institution more or less run by Bill Gates - who was quoted in TIME as saying, "It's possible, you can never know, that the universe exists only for me.  If so, it's sure going well for me, I must admit."

6.  We have been given (and by that, I mean loaned) our children for a short time.  God has entrusted us to raise them in the best way we know how, doing all for His glory.  For us, that means home-based education.  Our pastor preached a sermon this last Sunday about bringing the Gospel home.  His scripture reading was Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

4 Listen, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  7 Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  [emphasis added]
How can we repeat them again and again to our children if we only see them for just a few short hours every day?

When I looked this scripture up on Bible Gateway, it brought the text up in the New Living Translation, which is what I copied here.  I think it's great.  The heading for the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy was "A Call for Wholehearted Commitment."  Boy, I love that.

We are Wholeheartedly Committed.
  • To provide a secure base from which all sorts of learning adventures can happen.
  • To introduce academic and life instruction in a manner that fosters a love for learning.
  • To center our lives and our education around Christ and His teachings.
  • To devalue "normal" and encourage creativity, kindness, and respect.
Homeschooling is NOT for everyone.  If you're reading this post and feeling like I am saying we are better - or love our kids more - or are more committed to our kids - or want our kids to succeed more - than someone else, you are misunderstanding me completely.  Public school is absolutely the best option for lots of families.  Not homeschooling one's kids doesn't make a parent any less devoted to his or her kids.  There are some AWESOME teachers out there, and I happen to be the sister of one of them.  Those kids are so lucky to have her as a teacher.  We may choose to go the public school route at some point in the future.  For now, we just don't think it's for us.  Don't judge me, and I won't judge you, ok?

I have the feeling that I will at some point write a post entitled "Why I Am Not Your Average Homeschool Mom."  Key points will be:  1.  I love having my babies in a hospital.  I don't want to leave.  They have to kick me out.  2.  I vaccinate my kids.  On schedule.  3.  My kids went to daycare and enjoyed it while I went to a job that I loved.  It was great.

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