You’ve seen the good fruit in other families and you like the idea of hanging out all day as a family, but you are wondering if homeschooling is a good idea.
Possibly you feel that God is calling you to homeschool (or you husband wants you to) and you don’t like the idea.
Whatever your situation, if you begin to homeschool you will need some reasons to homeschool over the long haul. It will not always be easy or flow smoothly. Determining why you are homeschooling will help you persevere no matter what circumstances arrive.
In addition, relatives, close friends and complete strangers will come the big questions: "Why are you homeschooling?" and "Aren't you worried about their socialization?" Be ready to answer these questions graciously and calmly.
Here are the reasons our family has embarked on the homeschool adventure.
Obedience to God's Word
The Bible makes it clear that the responsibility to teach and train their children belongs to parents, not the church, nor the government. You are free to delegate this responsibility to a public or private school but keep in mind that as a parent, you, not the school, have the ultimate job of educating your child. If they do not receive a good education, the blame is on your shoulders. Delegate carefully.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 NIV ©1979).
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4 NIV ©1979).
"My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching" (Proverbs 6:20 NIV ©1979).
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands are to be upon your hearts. 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" (Deuteronomy 6:4-8 NIV ©1979).
Parents are responsible to equip children for the life God has called them to live. They are to train little ones academically, socially, physically and spiritually. Part of a parent's duty to their children includes developing their character, preparing them with practical life skills, teaching them to handle their emotions, and equipping them for long-lasting relationships.
When parents put their children in a public or private school, they are delegating a portion of their children's education to someone else. It does not alleviate their responsibility for their education nor their accountability to God. Their education must still be closely supervised by their parents.
In our home, we decided not to delegate our responsibility to a school but rather to teach our children academics at home. We combine our areas of teaching and training: spiritual truths and character building are interwoven with academic time. Social training takes place as well when we learn to interact as a family in a way that honors God. There is so much to learn! Learning is not restricted to "school hours" but takes place everywhere and any time!
We live a lifestyle of learning.
Obedience to the Holy Spirit
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5 NASB).
God made it clear to Mike and I that it was His plan for our family to educate our children at home through various means: circumstances, provision of resources and finances, godly counsel, a confirmation in our heart that we were to homeschool, and a workable plan to carry this adventure out in practical ways. The strongest way God made it clear that it was His heart for us to homeschool was a conviction that grew stronger and stronger every time we prayed about it.
The Opportunity to Imitate Jesus, the Perfect Teacher
Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to imitate Jesus, our Beloved Teacher.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2 NIV ©1979).
"Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children." (Ephesians 5:1 NIV ©1979).
As Christians, we have the glorious hope that one day we will be like Jesus! Wow! In the meantime, we are called to imitate Jesus while we await that wonderful day when we see our dear Lord Jesus face to face!
The best teacher that ever walked the earth was Jesus! Homeschooling gives me as a unique opportunity to imitate excellent and creative teaching methods. Most of all, it allows to to love my children just like He loved His disciples.
To Serve My Children Out of Love
"Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2 NIV ©1979).
There is a special love that God pours into our hearts when we become parents. Suddenly that little baby's needs become more important than our own. Jesus acknowledges that parents desire to give good, not bad, gifts to their children. (And that God gives better ones! See Matthew 5:9-11) Almost all parents sincerely desire to give their children all the good that life can offer them.
As a mother, I want to give our children the very best that I am capable of giving them. There is much that I am not capable of. I am not brilliant, nor a great athlete, nor an artist, nor a musician, nor wealthy, nor a perfect mother. I stumble and fumble and make the same mistakes more than once!
But in spite all that I cannot do, there is a lot that I can give to my children: time, a godly heritage, personal teaching, individualized care and training, and positive socialization.
Homeschooling allows me to give a lot of time to my children. I think it’s true that children spell love "T-I-M-E." There is time to laugh together, to cry together, to plan surprises together, to dream together, to walk together, to play together, to work together, to finish projects together, to learn together, to sing together, to pray together, and to talk together.
Homeschooling gives me the opportunity to share my life with my children in an intimate way. In the day-to-day moments, I am able to share my heart with them.
Homeschooling allows me the opportunity to give my children a godly heritage. They are able to watch me walk with God on a daily basis. They see me learn, grow, stumble, fail, and receive forgiveness. They see God answer prayer, teach us all through His Word, change us from the inside out, provide for our daily needs, protect us, give us opportunities to minister, send people to love us and remain faithful. God is not an "abstract concept" but the living and intervening Lord of our home. "In this home we serve Jesus!" we often tell our children. More importantly, we try to live for Him each and every day.
Besides watching Mom and Dad (and older sisters) have a personal relationship with God, our children serve God with us. We have daily time of Bible study, prayer, and worship. We also turn to God when situations arise where we need His help!
Most importantly, we share the Gospel with them at their level from many different Scripture passages and stories. We lead them to Christ and personal salvation when they are ready to repent and trust Jesus. From the day they are born we train there to live in a way that pleases Jesus.
Homeschooling allows me to instill godly values and build godly character in my children. We discover together in God's Word what He sees as important. We have learned that God values relationships, strong families, wisdom, hard work, evangelism, missions, hospitality, obedience, and service among other things. We contrast the world's values (money, fame, self-love, power, romance) with God's values and ask God to change our hearts regularly so that we value what God values.
One-on-one tutoring is considered the most intense and effective teaching method. That is why it is used for children struggling in an academic area or with a learning disability.
Homeschooling allows me to teach one-on-one. We read. We discuss. There is instant knowledge on my part of my child's grasp of the material. I can also read their interest in a subject from discussions and body language. It is easy to keep their attention on the material and we can go longer on exciting things researching more deeply than our original plan.
Two hours of tutoring is roughly equal to six hours of classroom instruction. This means that school hours at home can be shorter and that more can be learned during those school hours. Our children are then free to pursue other interests, talents, and areas of service.
Individualized Care & Training
Homeschooling allows me to tailor my nurturing style and teaching methods to each of my individual children.
Our children have very different personalities. Julianna and Sarah Joy are very social. Katie Beth likes to have a goal and a plan. Jimmy likes action, Sarah Joy always wants to know if we are "going to see anyone extra today?" when we start the schooldays. We enjoy spontaneity, so changing our schedule around or dropping everything for something totally different makes school more fun. Of course, a complete change of plans is seldom appreciated by Katie Beth and she needs some adjustment time to rework the schedule in her mind. I try to stay on schedule and do subjects always in the same order with Katie Beth--she loves that! Learning about the people who made history is more exciting to Julianna than the actual events themselves, so I can help her learn about events by seeing them through the eyes of the people involved. On the other hand with Katie Beth, I am always careful to give her a time frame and we try to learn history chronologically—it’s more logical!
Socialization is simply being trained to participate effectively in our society. We want to pass on Biblical values, principles, character, and standards. We want them to learn to interact with other people in a way that pleases and honors God. Sitting in a classroom full of peers does not equip them for the real world. It is a very artificial setting. Instead, I expose my children to all kinds of people in all kinds of real-life settings. This is positive socialization!
The Biggest Reason of All to Homeschool: The Finish Line!
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV ©1979).
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13 NIV ©1979).
No. I cannot see my children at the age of twenty-five until they are actually there. But I can imagine and hope and pray. This helps me keep in mind that life is fleeting. These years will go by quickly. What do I actually want to accomplish as a mother? What do I want to impart to my girls? What should my daily and weekly priorities be? I don't want to be so busy with the trivial that I miss out on really living and mothering.
When I reach the Finish Line, I will see who my children are, what they have become. I want them to be the men and women God has called them to be, to be world changers!
Do you need some help getting started on your own homeschooling journey or some encouragement for the adventures ahead?
Joyful and Successful Homeschooling is a resource that I have written for you! It covers the basics of homeschooling, as well as family life, choosing curriculum, getting along with your children, how to teach, organization, learning styles, philosophies of education, and a chapter on how to teach each subject. Joyful and Successful Homeschooling brings you into our home and lets you peek at our homeschooling journey. Joyful and Successful Homeschooling is available at Amazon. The E-book is available at PayHip and Currclick. A companion study guide/Bible study is available, too, at Currclick.
In conclusion, my goal is to raise children who are equipped to be joyful and productive in the Kingdom of God. When I keep my eyes on the goal, it motivates me to homeschool because I see homeschooling as a pathway to an future blessing. Homeschooling gives me more time to pass on wisdom and knowledge to my children as these precious years fly by.