Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Homeschooling

  For us, homeschooling is one of the most rewarding choices we have made. Gil and I both went to public school and continued to college, and we learned to value our education and the opportunities we had. It is because we think education is so important, that we came to realize homeschooling was a wonderful option.
With  homeschooling, a parent has the freedom to personally evaluate their curriculum choices and make decisions that are best suited for their child’s  learning style. Parents can also choose the methods of teaching that meets the child’s needs, whether by DVDs, computer, workbooks, hands on lessons, one on one tutoring, or a combination. You have the ability to cater to your specific circumstances. For us, those benefits are enormous, because with 19 children, we have come to realize that they are each very unique. Curricula that appealed to one’s learning style put another one to sleep, but if we changed the curriculum or method of teaching, they became miraculously attentive. As a parent, I can watch, study, and diagnose my child’s strengths, weaknesses, fears, tendencies, attitudes, etc. I can observe what motivates them and what helps them succeed. I can weed out curriculum choices that don’t seem to work with a particular child. I can switch gears, switch goals, switch game plans and adjust as needed, because homeschooling provides the flexibility to cater to each child.
  We not only liked the ability to choose our own curriculum because of the child’s needs, but also because of the content of that curriculum. Our faith is the most important foundation of our family, so we wanted curricula  that supported our faith and that focused on character, as well as high education standards. We wanted books that included the whole history, that didn’t weed out the prayers and other important facts that used to be in our grandparent’s books. We wanted to make sure the books selected were done carefully, by us, not by a committee that might not know our child, our faith, or the content of the books being selected. Homeschooling gave us the ability to become involved, and we felt that was a worthy investment in our children's lives.
Homeschooling also helped us prepare our children to face the world. There are many misconceptions about homeschooling. One huge misconception is that homeschooler’s won’t be prepared for life. If you take a tender young plant and put it in the harsh winter environment, it will likely die or will become very weak. However, if you put it in a greenhouse until it becomes strong, then you can transplant it outside, and when the winter storms come, it will be strong enough to survive. I saw many of my young friends in school get caught up by the pressures of drugs, immorality, and other harmful choices that led them down a path of sorrow. Yes, many survived, but some were shaken in their faith and values. Does that mean all homeschoolers have a happy ending? …Not always, the same dangers can await homeschoolers too. I think there are many factors involved: negative peer pressure, their home life, their relationship with the Lord, the music and media and other influences they expose themselves to, the goals they set, the friends they hang around, etc. So why did we think homeschooling was a better choice for us? We felt that if we tried to establish a healthy, happy home life, and if we tried to protect from many of the negative influences that often creep in, and if we filled that home life with faith in Christ and a commitment to live in a way that would please Him, then we could create a safe haven, like a greenhouse, that could produce strong plants. As our children began to mature, we encouraged them to pursue opportunities to serve their community, because we felt homeschooling had helped us provide them sturdy roots.

   Check back next month for the next homeschooling post…I hope to   to share some of the things that have or haven’t worked for us, along with some ideas we have seen other homeschool moms utilize. I hope to hear ideas from many of you as well. May God give each of us strength to continue investing in our children’s lives, for His glory!

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