August 8, 2013

Why We Homeschool - Part 2

To find out the beginning of our homeschool journey, you can read Why We Homeschool - Part 1.

Last spring, I began a thorough search into homeschooling.  I knew something was missing in what we were doing in our home, but I couldn't figure it out.  I had all the books, curriculums, charts, even the flags to say the pledges with, and yet, I felt like our days were full of nothing but disunity, disarray and distance!  It was not my idea of homeschooling, and I began to daydream about dropping my kids off at school and having an entire day all to myself!  Not a good thing to do when you're supposed to be homeschooling!

I read so many books that spring and summer and did a TON of research online, and after many months, I was finally able to sort through all the different thoughts and write down why I (along with the Mr.) wanted to homeschool.  Once we defined our priorities, we were then able to add things to our day that would help us obtain our goals, and we also weeded out the unnecessary things.  Your whys may be (and probably will be) somewhat different from ours.  Every family is unique and must pursue their own whys.  I am sharing our whys to give other homeschooling moms (and future homeschooling moms) some food for thought.  I also want to say that I do not believe you are a "lesser" parent if you have not chosen to homeschool.  All of our reasons for homeschooling can be applied families whose children attend school.  We recognize that these things take time and focus on relationships, though, and our family feels that we can best develop these priorities by spending the majority of our time our own home.

Why We Homeschool...

1. We want to disciple and nurture our children in the way that we believe God designed and created us as parents to do.  God designed the family and was very purposeful in the way he designed it.  It is the parents' responsibility to train their children in God's Word and to show them God's love.  Seeing our children establish a personal and intimate relationship with God while they are young is the desire of our heart, and we feel that God has given us the responsibility and the best capabilities to guide our children toward that goal. 

2.  We want to  teach our children to have character and  inspire them to make their entire life count for Christ no matter what they may end up doing.  This goes along with the first but is slightly different.  We use much of our homeschooling time to read about great men and women in the past - people who have changed history by choosing to stand for what was right even if they had to stand alone.  We want our children to not only have knowledge of the Bible but to live out the Bible.  I spend a great amount of time searching for books and biographies that will inspire our children to live out what they believe, to be courageous and to make a difference by being different.

3.  We want to teach our children to have a passion for loving and serving others, and we feel that is best done by learning to do that at home.  We want our kiddos to be each others best friends.  We want them to learn that family is designed by God to be the place where we grow and learn, the place we can make mistakes and still be loved unconditionally, the place where we can be encouraged to reach for a goal and to take risks knowing that we are supporting each other.  By creating this home of safety and love, it is our hope that it will encourage our children to reach out to others and help them feel the same love and encouragement that they have received.

4.  We want our children's biggest influences to be other adults not other little people. :)  No offense, we love little people.  We're working on our 6th one.  But it is our observation that when little people are around other little people for too long, they begin to make unwise and foolish decisions.  Don't get me wrong...I'm all for playing with other kids and being a part of youth groups and such, but the Mr. and I feel that the majority of our children's influence should come from other adults who will be an example to them of wisdom and self-discipline.

5. Now, we get to academics...we do not want our children placed in a box and made to stay there.  We, the parents, best know our children's capabilities and interests.  We want to be able to help them pursue their interests, challenge their weaknesses and go beyond what they think they are capable of.  Because we homeschool, we don't need to wait a year before we move them up in math if they are ready to move on.  Because we homeschool, we don't need to rush them through a book to keep up with a class.  We can review and review and review some more until the concept is thoroughly learned without fear of falling behind the class.  We can also choose extra subjects or home activities to include in our learning time that will appeal to each individual child's interests.  We want our children to be creative and imaginative.

6.  We want to teach our children to be thinkers and leaders.  We do not want all the thinking done for them.  We do not want them to only learn steps to solve a problem.  We want them to learn how to figure out the steps for themselves.  We want them to think Biblically and intelligently - to not blindly follow but to compare with God's Word and make wise choices.  

7.   We also want to encourage our children to fall in love with (living, whole) books, music, art and the outdoors.  By homeschooling, we can give our children amazing opportunities to be able to experience all of these.

8.  We want God to change our hearts (the parents) and make us more like Him.  Parenting requires an amazing amount of sacrifice, and the choice to homeschool deepens that commitment to sacrifice.  We recognize that in order to teach our children these things, we must first have them in our own lives.  We recognize that God is using this time to not only prepare our children for their future but to deepen our relationship with Him and with each other.

These are our biggest reasons for homeschooling, but there are so many more.  Do all of these happen every day?  Only in my very distant and far away dream land!  BUT...these are our goals, and as we pursue them, we can see where God is carrying us along and bringing us closer to those a family.  Will our children be perfect?  Unfortunately, no, and one day, we will have to let them make their own choices, and they may choose to go against what they have been taught and shown.  BUT we will know that we have done our best to show them a full and abundant life that only God can give.  There is also the extraordinary grace of God that shows us daily how God can work and change hearts and reminds us that there is no limit to the possibilities of what our children can do and become with God working in them!  And why we homeschool!

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

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