24.7.15

Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions (Part One)

by Sally Matheny

Homeschooling
All parents are teachers. Every day we teach our children through the choices we make with our words, actions, and attitudes. God gives us golden opportunities every day.


Some parents recognize certain needs in their children. We want to guide and equip them to successfully find answers for those needs. We see magnificent mountains of  knowledge and breathtaking journeys to discover. We need more time to do that so we choose to homeschool.


The purpose of this blog is to offer encouragement for Christian living—as we reflect on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light. I don’t usually blog about homeschooling. However, many of you send me questions. Some of you are seriously considering homeschooling but are apprehensive. You are the ones I want to encourage today.

In addition, perhaps this post will enlighten those who think homeschooling is for weird people. No worries—that’s what I used to think.

This is part one of a three part series. Below are a few questions I receive on a regular basis. If you have additional questions, I’d love to hear from you.


How long have you homeschooled?

The fall of 2015 will begin my sixteenth year. I began homeschooling our daughters when they began first grade and third grade. One is now a college graduate and the other graduates from college in December 2015. Our son has been homeschooled from the beginning. He’ll be in the fifth grade this year.

But you have a teaching degree, so you know how to teach. Will I be able to do it?

I do have a teaching degree in K-6 Education as well as a Master’s degree. I taught in the public school system for nine years. However, contrary to popular belief, degrees are not what make a good teacher. We all know teachers, even those with doctorate degrees, who are awful teachers.


Your love trumps institutional degrees.
The desire to guide our children to learn to the best of their ability and find joy in it is what counts. The willingness to study and teach ourselves along beside them goes a long way. Teaching them with love and offering the best of our abilities trump institutional degrees.

No one loves and cares more about your children than you do. You know their strengths and weaknesses—or you will once you begin homeschooling. You will have the freedom to teach each child based on their learning style and at a pace where they are able to master a concept before moving forward.

If you are willing to diligently seek and provide wonderful educational resources for your child, then yes, you can do this. That may be through trial-and-error of finding a curriculum that works for your child. It may be your willingness to research and educate yourself on a topic or to find a tutor. It will require some sacrifices. You must realize there will be successes and failures and God can teach us through them all.

If you have your child’s best interest at heart, you desire for him to grow strong spiritually, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, and you believe God is calling you to do this, then yes, you most definitely can do this—without any formal teacher training. If God is tugging your heart in the direction of homeschooling, He will equip you with, or send to you, the resources to do it.

Isn’t the public school system good enough?

Because of my own experience teaching in a public school, I have a great respect for public school teachers. Many are dear friends and I greatly admire what they do. But ask any classroom teacher and they’ll tell you one of the number one problems is class size. Stress abounds in classrooms where twenty or more students must progress together, and quickly, every day. In order to cover the material on which students will be tested, there’s very little time to slow down for those who are struggling. Over twenty kids—all with different learning styles, attention spans, some with learning disabilities, and some dealing with humongous problems at home that most of us can’t even imagine, trying to keep up with their peers.

Also, you must consider the learning environment. Children learn far more than academics when they attend public or private schools. Thankfully, my girls had Christian teachers the few years they attended public school. Even so, many nights we had to unteach them things they learned at school (from students and staff) that were contrary to God’s Holy Word.

However, every child, every school, and every family situation is different. You have to decide what's best for your child and if the public school meets all his needs.

Why did you pull your children out of the public school system?

For us, our main reason for pulling our girls out of the school system was our desire to spend more time with them. We felt like the majority of our time with them was filled with homework or counseling them on troubling things they had witnessed at school. We longed for them to experience more joy in learning and discovering truth in life. And yes, while they were young and influential, we strongly felt the need to protect their hearts and minds.

Isn’t homeschooling for weird people?

For years, I said, “Homeschooling is for weird people. I will NEVER homeschool.” God must have chuckled as I slowly yielded to the new calling he was placing on my life.
Before we began our journey in homeschooling, I read books on the subject. There weren’t as many back then as there are  now. I didn’t know one person who homeschooled. Somehow, God sent information my way about a local homeschool group in our county. I visited several of their meetings before I actually began homeschooling. That interaction prepared me more than any of the books I read.

I’ll never forget what one grinning homeschool mom said to me, “If you homeschool, you don’t have to be weird, unless you want to be.”


And that, my friends, is another one of the beauties of homeschooling.

***

What are the legal requirements to homeschool?
How much does it cost?
Where can I find helpful resources?
What curriculum do you use?
If I homeschool, do I need to set up a separate space for learning?

"Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions" Part 3
What about socialization?
How well do they do academically?
What about college?
Final Thoughts

You may also enjoy reading blog posts from other homeschool moms at Homeschool Blog and Tell.


3 comments:

  1. Sally:

    As a follower and supporter of homeschools and homeschoolers, this is the best summary I have ever read regarding the benefits of homescholing. It is concisely written, positive, and encouraging for those families thinking about it.

    We first communicated in December, 2013, when Write2Ignite accepted my post on Journal Writing. Since then, I have been following the advice from scripture that you shared: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart." ~ Col. 3:23.

    The Homeschool Handbook has published my work in five consecutive issues.

    My blog, "Walk With Father Nature" is now over three years old, and I remain passionate about writing. I have discovered the gift God gave me for writing Spiritual Poetry that blends nicely with my Nature Photography. I am eager to share more of my work for online publication. I have also given several programs in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area over the past few years.

    Recent posts @ WWFN:

    http://walkwithfathernature.blogspot.com/2015/06/god-whispers.html

    http://walkwithfathernature.blogspot.com/2015/07/gift-of-days.html

    I love the look of your new site, and am encouraged to see you still using Blogger like I do.

    In your work may you be infused with passion and creativity. May you experience fulfillment and satisfaction. May you be grateful for your gifts and talents.

    Gratefully,

    Richard Havenga

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, you've been busy, Richard! Thanks for stopping by. Keep working with all your heart as unto the Lord.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sally, I found you through a comment you made on another site and was thrilled to find out that your are a Christian writer. :-) I've enjoyed reading a few of your blogs this morning. I wrote a children's book some time back that I've posted to youtube. I thought I'd share it with you. Perhaps it would bless you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3gGwvMd8dY God bless! Trina

    ReplyDelete

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