Kate

I love the idea of homeschooling.

As a kid, I went to public school, and really hadn't heard of homeschooling.  I had some great teachers and got a good education.  Plus, my mom's a teacher, and last year she became an elementary school principal.

But I still wanted to homeschool.  Even before Chickpea was born, I dreamed of homeschooling her.  When she started showing an interest in reading, we bought Hooked on Phonics and I taught her to read.  It was so much fun for both of us!  I always assumed we'd homeschool full-time when she got old enough.

Now here we are.  She's about to enter first grade, and for the past few months, the issue has been on the front burner.  As much as I wanted to teach her at home, as much as I was looking forward to it and had my heart set on it, it doesn't seem to be God's plan for us right now.

It broke my heart.

DangerBear tried to comfort me by reminding me that I could still do homeschool-type things at home, and that in reality, EVERY parent is a homeschooling parent.  That's totally true, by the way, and besides, academics is only one part of a well-rounded Christian education.

It still broke my heart.

On thinking and praying, though, I'm able to see how God has orchestrated this.  Even though we're in a pretty rural area, there's an excellent Christian school nearby.  I've set up a meeting with the principal and the first grade teacher, and the principal is incredibly nice and enthusiastic.

We haven't made a final decision yet.  The meeting is tomorrow, so it depends on the answers to the questions we have.  If you have a moment, I'd like to ask for your prayer.  I know God has a plan for Chickpea's education, and we want to follow it!  I'd also love to hear about your experiences, whether your children attend public or private school or are homeschooled.

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9 Responses
  1. 5intow Says:

    You already say you love the idea of homeschooling, so I won't add any pressure, but our experience has been more than I had imagined. Yes, we could have lots of great memories and relationships without homeschooling. Yes, our kids could still love each other and God just as much without homeschooling. But, for us it has been a big part of our home dynamic.

    I can teach the way my kids learn at the level they are at. I enjoy relearning along with them. I'll be honest and say I enjoy the control over their academic, spiritual, and relational input. As they are ready, we loosen the reigns and watch them soar.

    I know this is an incredibly personal decision and no family should judge another for their conclusions. Praying for you for wisdom and incredible peace that only God can give, whichever journey He leads you down.


  2. Kate Says:

    Oh I definitely agree with you! One-on-one learning is a huge advantage: I can go exactly at Chickpea's pace, making sure she's always challenged but never overwhelmed. I so, so want to homeschool! =)

    Thank you for your prayers! I know that even if we send her to school this year, that doesn't mean we can't homeschool next year.


  3. Stephanie Says:

    I have done all three! Different seasons of life have us doing different things. I would just encourage you to be in prayer about it and follow God's leading, not what others say or think. His plan is perfect and will ensure the best results!


  4. Since several of the responses here are about home schooling I thought I would add my thoughts. While I do think there is a time and place for homeschooling, when I have kids they will go to public school for several reasons.
    First, God calls us to be a light to the world. What better way is there for me to be out among those who need to see God's love? At school not only can I meet people outside of my church network, but my children can make friends and be examples to them as well.
    Second, I expect my children to some day leave home and go into a world that will behave and think differently than our faith will have raised them to behave and think. I want my kids to be able to come home with questions so that I can be there to answer them and explain things from a Christian-perspective.
    Finally, my mom grew up very poor and public school was what allowed her to get an education and create a better life for herself. So I am a strong supporter of being involved in the schools, keeping them accountable, and doing what I can to help ensure they provide a quality education. Studies have shown that areas where all the well-educated parents pull their children out of public schools then show a drop in the performance of the school. It not only benefits my children, but also other children whose parents cannot provide anything else for them.
    So I plan to send my children to public school. I will supplement at home as they need it for academics because I recognize that in classrooms sometimes the education plan is not as individualized as it can be in a home school setting.


  5. Kate Says:

    Stephanie- I agree that different seasons of life may call for different approaches. I'm definitely praying for God's leading.

    Hillery & Mike- Thank you for your perspective! I agree that there can be good reasons to send our children to public school. I, myself, attended public school and got a good education. (I don't come from a Christian family, though, so I can't really comment on how my education influenced my faith.)

    I have to disagree, though, about your first reason. Yes, we are called to be a light to the world, but I'm wary of sending young children to public school for that purpose. Even if a child is able to articulate and debate his faith to his classmates, I think the overall culture would rub off on him. As an example, when I was in high school, some of my best friends regularly used foul language. They were nice guys, but they cursed like sailors. Even though I don't use that language myself, it still rubbed off on me. Now, years later, I still find those words popping into my head. (This isn't all their fault, of course, but also due to TV, movies, etc.)

    Your second point is, I think, important to consider. Our kids WILL have to live in the world and deal with all the evil that's out there. Mothers have a natural desire to protect our children, but we have to be careful not to be so protective that it causes them eventual harm.

    Finally, I applaud you for being willing to supplement their education at home. I hear stories from my mom (a school principal) about parents who expect the school to do all the work and are unwilling to be involved in their child's education. As I said in my post, ALL parents are homeschooling parents, and there's so much more to education than academics!

    I don't think there's one right answer for everyone, and it's up to the individual families to pray and determine God's will for their children.

    I love hearing other people's perspectives and especially love it when we can all share and debate respectfully as brothers and sisters in Christ. =)


  6. I certainly understand your concern about what might "rub off" on your kids at school. In fact, I've always said that were I to ever homeschool my kids, it would be through junior high! Junior high kids can be very mean and that's what would tempt me to pull my kids out of public school. Like you I learned things and was exposed to things at school that I might not have otherwise learned. But I was also exposed to things like that in the neighborhood and church as well. Since I cannot control every little moment in life, I instead have to trust that God is in control. It's not easy to do that. I guess it's a great exercise in giving up control to God and leaning on faith. And I have to trust that just as I learned God's grace for my mistakes, that my children will too.
    I think there are pros and cons to all the schooling options. And I think it also depends on the individual child as well. My sister-in-law homeschools her kids. And I can see a lot of benefit to them from it. However, even though it is still early, I already have noticed how it is a better match for some of the children more than the others. She four kids and so it's been very interesting to watch how each one responds differently.
    I do agree wholeheartedly about not expecting any school to raise your children. My mother teaches elementary school and sees that much too often unfortunately. Parents always need to supplement at home regardless of where their children go to school. I feel the same about parents who expect the church to raise their child as well. Faith has to be modeled at home, not just in Sunday School once a week.
    I think that whatever schooling decision is made, as long as it's been well thought-out, prayed over, and in God's leading then it will be what is best for the children. God won't lead you in the wrong direction (even if the direction looks different than you expected).


  7. Kate Says:

    It definitely does depend on the individual child. My mother-in-law homeschooled DangerBear for a few years and homeschools my two sisters-in-law. It's interesting to see how their very different personalities make them suited for different kinds of education. (They also take classes at a nearby community college.)

    As an update, I met with the school's principal and teacher. It's a good school and they have a lot to offer. I also got a call this morning from the small Christian school Chickpea attended last year, detailing some changes they were making and how flexible they were willing to be. So now there's another option! lol DangerBear and I will talk it over and hopefully come to a decision in the next couple of days.

    I think that I can now honestly say that I want what God wants for Chickpea's education. I trust that His plan is the best, so whatever that is, that's what I want.


  8. bgsesr Says:

    I am a relatively new blog follower, but wanted to encourage you that homeschooling is God's best for our children. People make it individual, I am not here to insult anyone just be honest. God lays out in scripture how we should teach our children, it is abundantly clear!
    To clear up any misunderstanding, the scripture passage about salt and light was Jesus talking to disciples of Christ, not addressing the training of our minds and hearts of our babies. :) And really, a 5 or 6 year old is not a follower of Christ outside of His parents leading, they are not equipped to fulfill this.
    Many scriptures DO address the training we give ourselves and our children. Deut 6 tells us "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." That means we are to be teaching our children all the time--can't do that when they are at school being discipled by someone else. :) Also see Prov 1:7, Ephesians 6:4. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us not to walk in the counsel of the wicked, Colossians 2 tells us not to be under false teaching.

    Of course, your husband is the leader of your home and you are to follow his leading, but we will be praying for you in this!

    Here is a great blog in which you will find more Biblical references to make clear that homeschooling/home discipleship is God's wonderful design for famiies! Voddie Baucham's site

    http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2009/8/10_Home_Education__The_Strength_of_Our_Weakest_Argument.html

    His Continuing Collapse blog entries are devoted to the problems with Christians choosing public schools.

    Be encouraged, Momma, I don't know what your reasons are not to homeschool, but you and your husband ARE EQUIPPED BY THE LORD to be their teacher and discipler!


  9. Anna Says:

    I realize that you have probably already made a desicion on this matter, but I couldn't help but add my two cents-

    I attended public school for the first 3 years, and was homeschooled for the rest. I've never had a desire to go back.

    I know there have probably been others who waxed eloquent on the reasons for homeschooling, so I'll skip boring you in that sense.

    If one really wants to homeschool, it is possible. I am one of six children, and my mother hardly spends any time at all teaching the three oldest of us (ages 18, 16, and 10). She spends a couple hours a day helping the 5 and 8 year old. My dad oversees a couple hours for them, as well. Both, however, work very hard on the farm, and my mom has a part-time job outside the home.

    I don't know your reasons for not homeschooling, but if it is for time, there are an infinate number of resources, computer programs, tutoring services, etc. If it is for place (if you are away from home a lot) many of these options are portable, and she could go with you or your husband when you are gone. Both of my parents never hesitate to take us with them places.
    If it is for money, well, the best education (that is, self education) can be got for free at the local library. My mom finds a ton of fancy learning gadgets at garage sales and Goodwill.

    To sum things up; if there is a will, there is a way. I realize that it may be God's will for your daughter to go to public school- I did myself, until 3rd grade- but if there is any hesitation at sending her; any fraction of a chance that you could homeschool, do it. I will always, always, always thank my mom for not depriving me of that wonderful gift, half-hearted and flawed as she gave it. I see now that I would have become a hopeless mess had I gone to school like my friends.

    You don't have to be perfect to homeschool. You don't have to be smart, and you don't have to have the time or money or the place to do it. If it is God's will, He will work things out.


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