Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool...

Lately, Justin and I have had many opportunities to express our thoughts and reasons for homeschooling our children. I thought perhaps this would be a great blog conversation also, but warning it can be a bit controversial!

When Justin and I first became parents, people in our church began to ask if we would be homeschooling our child. First thoughts, "Gee, that is a long time off, why worry about that now?" Well, we began to realize just how quickly our Hannah would be kindergarten age, and so we began to be open to the conversation and began pondering the idea. Our first thoughts of homeschooling was the social issue of it. How would our child(ren) be socialized? How would they learn how to function in society? Our immediate thoughts were that homeschooling would NOT provide this. We were wrong.

Justin had a conversation with a dear friend who turned the question to "Think about the socializing that your child will get in public school. Is that what you want to expose your children at such a young age?"

That got us thinking.

God began changing our hearts about this topic. We were convicted of the many verses in the Bible instructing parents to teach your children. We don't think that this stops when it comes to teaching math, english, history and such and so we decided to home school our children.

Now, do we think that the public schools are terrible places for kids to be? No. We know some great teachers in the public school system. It can be a great mission field for christian teachers and administrators. Unfortunately, there are things in the public schools that , I think, children should not be exposed to at such a young age. I am constantly amazed at some of the topics that I hear are being discussed in the classroom by people we as parents do not know well. Frankly, some of these things should be taught in the home by the parents and not in the schools. This is when I find myself thankful that our children are not in the school system. I just don't think that children need to be exposed to some of these topics at such a young age.

Homeschooling is not easy, but you can certainly see the fruit of your labor. This can be found in the simplest thing such as your 5 year old successfully writing his name to your 12 year old finally understanding simple algebra. Home schooling is academics but it is also about teaching your children life's lessons. Homeschooling takes work, but it is certainly worth it.

Back to the social issue....I am so thankful that God opened our eyes to the need to school our children at home. A child does not need public school to teach him or her to function in society or to know how to get along with people or how to make friends. I see this in our two older children. Hannah,12, and Eli,10, are a great example of this ( I think, but I am partial :) ). Hannah and Eli both went to church camp not knowing one camper and both came home with new friends. Hannah is growing into such a young lady who knows how to dress modestly, can speak w/out profanity and is not obsessed with the latest trends of her peers. Eli is such a gentleman. He opens doors for ladies in stores and knows how to act in public. I believe that having the opportunity to have our kids in our home has given us the chance to teach these things and has helped our children not to be consumed with the worldly things that is found in public schools.

We are thankful that God has given us the chance to school our children. I know that homeschooling is not for everyone, but I wish that more would give it a try. It is a great opportunity to be with your kids, to teach them not only how to read and write, but also to teach them God's word and the truths it contains. By God's grace they will take that with them everywhere they go and will apply it to their lives. I believe that is that greatest thing we, as believers in Jesus Christ and parents, can do for our kids.


Faith said...

Public school teaches children to socialize only with their same age peers. Home school teaches children to interact with people of all ages. I immediately saw the difference when I started attending my current church. Many of the younger generation were home schooled. Now as young adults they participate in group settings with people of different ages.
Also, because of my public school background, I was surprised to see the college and career age group interacting with the high school age group. Public school segregates people based on age whereas home school includes people.
And that is just my answer to the socialization argument! There are so many, many more reasons to home school besides just this.

Kelsie said...

I agree that there are things in the public school system that children should not be exposed to. God has brought to my mind things from my public schooling experience that I do not want my children exposed to - even in the ways that I thought. We definitely want to homeschool our children, so when that time comes, Melissa, I'll be calling you for advice!! :-)