Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why In The World Would You Homeschool?

"Why In The World Would You Homeschool?"

That's a question a neighbor asked me not that long ago upon telling him that Taylor will be homeschooled in the fall. He was wondering 'who on earth would do such a thing to themselves'. I had to laugh and told him I only get one chance to live life and raise my children up, so I don't mind sacrificing "time to myself" as was his concern. I also told him there's thousand of others like me who've chosen this path (To which he stared at me in disbelief).

There are many reasons why a family can chose to homeschool. And there were definitely some for us that came into play when decision time was upon us. Here are some things that we DIDN'T want to drive our decision:


1. Homeschooling is the "Christian, better, righteous way"

Nothing in my mind could be farther from the truth. There is no clear cut way for Christians and it's a decision I believe shouldn't be weighed lightly but there is no one right way versus all the others. I have just as much respect for my friends who've weighed the decision and decided to place their kids in a school than I do for the others who choose to homeschool.



2. Homeschooling will guarantee that our children will turn out to be God fearing, obedient, respectful, smart children.

Oh how I wish that were true but my hope cannot be in any method Chris and I choose. Our hope is in Christ alone. It it only He that can save my children and bring about fruit in their lives and not a method. I pray daily that God would save my children, not because of me, more in spite of me. Homeschooling guarantees nothing :-)


3. We're trying to protect our kids from sin, particularly the world.

Well if that was the case, we couldn't allow them to stay at home either! In seriousness, we don't desire for our children to learn the ways and values of the world. It is a parental responsibility to guard the hearts of our children as we instruct them in the gospel of Christ, regardless of how we school them. They will see sin at public school, they will see sin at charter school, they will see sin at home. They will be the cause of sin in all of these places! So though we are choosing to deal with the sinful problems that come with homeschooling, we recognize that the goal is not primarily sheltering, but shepherding.


So how do we relate to the world with our family? Chris and I desire to be lights in the world and want to teach and train our children in how to go about doing that. The world is all around us, neighbors, stores, gym, ballet class and the last thing I want to do is to be salt and light only in our home. To help balance our homeschool days I have been volunteering all summer at a local nursing home. I bring the kids in and we serve them ice cream for an hour and visit. The kids love it and I have been so proud of watching Taylor grow in interacting with the elderly and seeing their delight in all the kids. This week I will be bringing some sermons to a man that I have been chatting with about God. It's been a wonderful opportunity to build in service to my children as well as being "in the world". I am eager for Taylor to learn to interact not with just one age group but all sorts. Homeschooling gives me that option. Chris and I also take seriously our neighborhood and seek to build relationships with our neighbors and their children. Another ministry we like to serve at as a family is our Life 101 evangelism ministry. We tell Taylor each week before putting her in the child care area that their will be new kids in her class who may not know Jesus and it would please the Lord if she sought them ought and made them feel welcome.


So that leads me into why we chose to homeschool Taylor this year. The biggest factor was... that I wanted to! Take that out and we might not be here today :-) Over the course of her Kindergarten year my fears of homeschooling began to fade and I grew more and more in my faith and desire to bring her home for first grade. One of the things that originally drew us to this charter school was their half day option for K-6. But in talking with her teacher over the year, who was a Christian, she advised us not to chose the half day program. Taylor is meticulous and takes her time to complete each activity carefully and neatly. Her teacher said that over time she could see Taylor growing frustrated with the pace and stop caring as much as she does due to the fast pace in the half day program. Chris and I absolutely love her love for learning and the last thing we want to do is to put her in a situation where that may wane. I want her to have time during the day to spend an hour on reading her favorite book or learning about the 50 states or taking some extra time on a science project and I think by allowing her to do this will increase not only her love of learning but her intellect as well.


The hardest part for homeschooling was my desire to be in the community, not out of it, and school is a natural way to build relationships. I confess I was really excited to evangelize to other moms in her class and to be in the community this past year. But what I came to find at this charter school was that the majority of the families were Christians. Which is a great thing! But it didn't provide opportunities for evangelism like I would have hoped. Interestingly enough, over her school year God gave us some incredible opportunities to share with our neighbors and attend Life 101 with them. One neighbor would stay late into the night asking us question after question. And guess what made it hard to stay up late with her at church and talk? Taylor's school. I remember each Weds, after a late night at life 101, she'd wake up so crabby and tired and I'd feel bad for having to get her up early and I would think to myself- if we homeschooled we could just start school a half hour later on ministry nights.


Then came the whole question of what community do we first want to build Taylor into - a school community or our local church community? After answering that question we thought we could, for our family, build her into the church better if she was homeschooled. So, my friends, I know many of you have asked us for our reason behind bringing Taylor home this year. I hope this sheds some light and we are praying for the many of you that have upcoming decisions to make. We are all really excited for this year and our education plan is to take it a year at a time and one child at a time!

11 comments:

Sara Morrison said...

Tara,

I think this is cool that you took the time to explain why your family is choosing to homeschool. It was awesome for me to read it. I have never been a fan of homeschooling and certainly won't ever homeschool my children. But it was encouraging to read your reasons for homeschooling. Thank you for explaining the reasons you DIDN'T want to drive your decision. I believe far too many familes fall into the trap of thinking they are protecting their kids by keeping them at home, or by thinking it is more 'Christian' to homeschool. I trust that God will bless you and the wee ones immensely attending school at home.

Have fun teaching!!!

Sara

Tara said...

Your welcome Sara and We miss you!

From one who once said never... never say never ;-)

Sarah said...

I'm so excited for your whole family! I was homeschooled my entire school life (k-12) and absolutely loved it, but I definitely understand it's not for everyone. My oldest brother went to our church school for the first time his senior year, my younger brother went for his 11th and 12th grade years, and now my youngest brother will be starting our church school for 1st grade. So, it's definitely good to take it year by year, child by child.

It probably wasn't the most convenient to have us at different places for school, but I'm so glad my parents chose the way they did. I was definitely thriving at home whereas my brothers did better at school- one "needed" the social outlet, the other "needed" the discipline, and now my youngest brother "needs" it for both!

Oh, and I love that you're introducing your kids to the elderly. I think it's so important for children to be able to interact with all ages of people. I am glad my mom had us do that, and only wish we had continued going longer and more frequently than we did.

Sorry that ended up being so long!

A.D. McClish said...

Hey, I was randomly looking up christian-stay-at-home-mom blogs and Ic ame across yours. It is really funny that your post is about this because I just started my son in homeschool for preschool this year. I'm kind of using this year as an experimental year to see is my sister in law and I can can do it (we're doing it together) and to see if it will work with our two boys. I wish you all the best on your new journey!

Carrie said...

Wow Tara that was really well-written! Thanks for giving the whole story behind the decision to homeschool. You brought up a lot of really good points that I am excited to talk to Keith about as we try to decide, too. As always... glad you're going first ;~)

"Summershine" said...

Tara,
I loved that! It is so helpful to remind ourselves why we don't homeschool. I was also one of those who said "I could NEVER homeschool", now, thanks to God's constant work on me, I am days away from being a REAL homeschooling mother. Thank you so much for all of your help the other day. It was a huge help!!

dancebythelight said...

Tara, it's been a long time since I've visited your blog, but came via Laurie's.

First, I LOVE your blog design. So fresh and lovely!

Second, I was homeschooled growing up and loved it and hope to homeschool my boys. I especially understand what you're saying when you write that you didn't want your reason to be driven by: "We're trying to protect our kids from sin, particularly the world." This is the same for us, but I think many people assume the opposite when you choose to homeschool. I want my boys to be exposed to many people, Christians and non-Christians, different age groups, etc. I think homeschooling allows us the greatest opportunity to do this as well as get a good education. This is a major reason why we actually wouldn't send our kids to a Christian school, at this point. It doesn't allow for them to be exposed to people with different beliefs and be challenged by them.

Great post!

Laurie said...

I loved this. I feel similarly about your un-reasons for homeschooling. I never considered myself a poster mom for homeschooling, but fact is I love it. It just works well for our family.

I linked to you BTW. ;) Enjoy your school year!

Briana Almengor said...

Those are all excellent things to think through! Thanks for posting this.

Audrey said...

Found your post via Laurie...Thanks for posting the reasons that did not drive your decision. This post was so helpful. We are doing kindergarten this year with our five year old. We did preschool last year. I am so excited for all that God is going to teach us together:) It is so fun to read your blog. We are apart of the Sovereign Grace Church in Reading, Pa. God Bless you, Tara. Have fun=)

Felicity said...

Tara,

Thank you for taking the time to explain your decisions.

The care your daughters teacher showed was amazing and very considerate. My youngest brother loved writting stories and would write and read for hours pre-school years, however, the pace of school and a comment from a teacher meant that virtually overnight he stopped writting and lost interest now at 21 he has never liked writting since.

I love that Home-schooling allows children to develop their God given character and interests.
May God Bless you through your year of Home schooling.
God Bless,
Felicity