On Homeschooling

I guess when it’s a writing day, I write. After not writing here for nearly 3 weeks, here you have 2 posts in one day. Well, if it’s in me, I have to write it out of me.

When I lived in Idaho, homeschooling was such a common thing, no one thought twice when you said “My kids are homeschooled.” here is Missouri, I guess it’s not so common. Although I’ve only lived here for 2 1/2 years, I don’t know anyone who homeschools. Until i went to the homeschool group, and met lots of moms are doing what I’m doing.

I guess I was surprised when ‘the normal thing’ I thought I was doing was met with resistance from interested parties. I prayed about this for about 2 years before ever feeling like “This is the time, now is the time for homeschooling.” When I talked to Mike about he was very enthusiastic. It was something he wanted, but just didn’t think we could do it. And how could he ask me to do it? With all that I already do, he couldn’t in any place of love, ask me to add that to my list.

I also know, I’m not a kid person. I love my children, I love my grandchildren, but I’m not that kind of mom who joins the PTA and takes kids on field trips. I like to see ‘my’ child in the school play, but when their part is over, I’m ready to go home. God had to change my heart, and He did, giving me the desire to homeschool our last daughter.

But I wasn’t prepared for the resistance that came from other people. And I will say in all love and with respect, people who love our daughter, but they know very little about homeschooling. There is the stereotypical homeschool family. All of them social misfits and either super educated or barely knowing how to read. There is the belief that hs’d children are locked away in the house, never to see the light of day or socialize with other children. There is the stronger belief that children should be socialized by their peers. Have you seen their peers? The green hair, the sloppy clothes, the sassy attitudes, the peer pressure, the dumbed down public school curriculum that allows all but the most challenged children to progress to the next grade level. Why would I want those people to socialize my child?

Children should be socialized by a variety of people. From the 2 yr old to the 89 yr old. Children kept within their peer groups are generally sporting the ‘entitlement’ attitude. The ‘entertain me’ attitude. And the ‘parents are stupid’ attitude. (and there are always children who are the exception to the generalities) Well, I know kids like that and I don’t much care for them. Why would I want my kid to be like that?

I recently had someone tell me that only 80% of home school kids go on to college. And at the time, not knowing the statistics but thinking the public/private school couldn’t possibly be higher, I let the comment pass. Now, after studying the stats, I know that 25-34% of kids who graduate public school have the skills and are prepared to go to college. About the same number actually attend college. I need to find that person and thank them for – inadvertently I’m sure – proving my point.

As for the ‘lock your child away in the house never to see the light of day’ way of thinking, well, I’ll tell you our daughter does more outside the home than she did in public school. She’s gone more places, and done more things than before. 2 percent of U.S. students are home schooled. Yet, in a recent geography bee, 22 percent of the national finalists and 40 percent of the final 10 students were home schoolers. Why? The simple answer is this – parents are tired of their children being taught to the test, being taught water down, boring curriculum and want their children to actually know a few things. What’s the point of learning something long enough to take the test and pass it and then forgetting it? Why bother? 

When we pulled our daughter out of public school, and began a hastily put together program of whole learning from what we had around the house, she was like a sponge. That never became saturated. At 11 years old, I was appalled at the things she didn’t know. Things I learned in 3rd grade. Once she heard them, or read them, she knew them. She’s that smart. And totally bored in public school. So bored that she was shutting down and just ‘getting through the day’. What kind of life is that for a kid? Boring!

Now, she’s reading good books, learning math and the why’s and wherefore’s of all of it. She’s learning geography and writing. She’s learning about nature by being outside, and poetry by reading it every day. She’s learned to write legibly. Her science books are actually interesting and she’s eager to get to the next chapter. She’s learning about composers and artist’s and wanting to read ahead in books. She recognizes classical music as belonging to this composer or that one.

Yes, she still listens to country music and things that interest her. So much of our heritage is built on things of years, decades ago. How can you understand literature if you’ve never read the Bible, or mythology, or listened to music of the period? Much of literature simply won’t make sense.

We are giving her living books to read, not fluffy, entertaining short books that only encourage a child to be rebellious. We’re giving her real things to think about, so she can develop her imagination and not wait passively to be entertained.

Do I think I’m better than the teachers who went to college, when I didn’t? No, not at all. But I have a vested interest, a heart interest in THIS child. I have a responsibility before God to do the best I can do for her. I don’t have to contend with 25 other children in the same room. I don’t have to teach what the school district says to teach. As long as the basics are covered we are free to explore and learn about whatever we want to.

When you have your own children, and you see them being numbed by a too big classroom, no personal attention, bullies on the school ground, peer pressure to look and behave a certain way, you might think differently too. When you realize the potential your child has, but has no motivation to do something different because that way doesn’t’ get A’s – you might think differently too. And most importantly, if you feel that God has given you the privilege and the honor of teaching your own children and you don’t – you’ll miss out on one of the greatest experiences there is.

To see their eyes light up when they finally ‘get it’. To hear them say, “Can I read the next chapter?” To read the papers and stories they write, recognizing the brilliance of their minds – well, what is better than that?

We have our children for only a very short time. It goes by so fast. I know this well, as my oldest is 29. I only have this last daughter for another 7-8 years. I can’t let them go by in a daze, just riding along doing whatever comes along.

I want her to have motivation, develop her imagination, learn new skills with a purpose, and most of all – experience delight in her learning. And she is.

Ok I’m done, and now I’m giving Jack a bath and will stop writing 🙂 karen


One Response to “On Homeschooling”

  1. admin Says:

    Said like a true “mom,” m’dear! That is exactly why we’ll be homeschooling the manly-man again come this next term. The girls want to go to school, and we’re ok with them making that choice (since we do a lot of educating outside of school) … but, the boy … no, he needs to be at home, learning at his accelerated rate and soaking up everything he ever wanted to know and more!

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