My husband and I wrestled for months about homeschooling our five-year-old daughter. He was against it; I was on the fence.
I was homeschooled for one year in the ninth grade. Back then the requirements were not as strict. My mom, without a high school diploma, couldn’t teach or tutor us if we were stuck on something. All I learned that year was how to make a grilled cheese sandwich (my mom was big, however, on the home ec part of homeschooling) and about the space shuttle. That was the year Challenger exploded — I saw this on the TV as I was doing my work identifying the parts of the shuttle, including the fateful O-rings.
Having had to repeat the ninth grade, I certainly didn’t want to have that experience for our daughter, who is bright, inquisitive, a sponge who takes in anything…
A sponge who takes in anything…. as I sat praying and thinking about this decision, that phrase about Laura being a sponge lit up in my mind. I want her to learn, but learn biblically, and finances simply cannot afford private Christian schools.
We have four children, two boys and two girls. Our kindergartner’s older brothers and sister all attended public schools, in fact, her older brothers have graduated and her sister is a senior. We’ve done public school. I know without a shadow of a doubt the older three are not prepared for college — or life. It has little to do with requiring proofs for simple addition problems or not knowing how to write a college entrance essay, and everything to do with thinking.
With 30-plus kids to a classroom, independent thinking has to be sacrificed on the altar of peace. This in-the-box thinking requires kids to learn at the same rate as the rest of the class — herd-education if you will. I have seen this in action throughout my older kids’ public school careers — and then, soon after we made the decision to enroll her in public school to give me time to write, this summer happened. Without hopping on top of a blogging landmine, I will say this: as the current worldview relates to me and my house, we will serve the Lord…and we looked more closely at homeschooling as an option.
We’re all familiar with Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” In deciding about homeschooling our daughter, our eyes were drawn to the verse immediately above this one: “In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.” In order to preserve the innocence of our daughter, we are making the decision to homeschool her. No kindergartner should go to school with an invisible target on their back regarding their Christian faith.
We made the decision to homeschool Laura because we want her to grow up with a love of learning. We want her to be able to learn without being forced to keep up or slow down for the rest of the class. If she wants to study butterflies more in the unit about bugs, we want her to be able to do that. Kindergartners go on one or two major field trips a year; Laura will go on field trips at least once a month that correlates with what she’s studying. After she learns about different kinds of homes, we will go to a local children’s museum that has a homeschool program about different homes and ecosystems. After she learns about the coast, we will take her to the beach for the very first time. Homeschooling will allow Laura the opportunity to serve police officers and firefighters lunch at our church’s November Community Care Day after she learns about community helpers.
She will learn the same sight words as her peers at the elementary school. She will learn how to count and identifying colors and shapes. She will also learn how to sort laundry, make pickles, gardening, and how to be responsible by taking care of our two cats (and a soon-to-be-acquired “classroom” fish!). Involvement in our church’s childrens’ programs, sports, piano lessons, and mission projects will round out the homeschool week.
For our family, we are choosing to teach our daughter the way we are led by God, to love Him, to worship Him, and to stand up for the truth of the Word. For our family, that choice was to launch onto this journey of making her home into her school.
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