Updated: May 10
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn in May 2018
We are a blended family, have been married for 10 years and are currently raising two young teenage boys. I was a public school teacher for over 13 years, a consultant for Early Childhood Mental Heath, a Training and Curriculum Specialist for the Air Force, and am now the Director of Early Childhood Ministries for Grace Point Church and the Director of our non-profit organization, Connect Point Moms.... AND, am going to homeschool our boys this fall! What-the-What?!
First and foremost, we are Christ-Followers and want our children to learn a biblical worldview. We want to explore how everything relates to God and how He is working in us and through us to know Him and make Him known. But, if we've been following Him for 12 years, why did we wait until Middle School/High School to do this?
Recently reading Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World: Leaving a Lasting Legacy opened my eyes to my God-given responsibility as a parent in a way I never before considered: Being a Christ-Follower for the last 12 years, I am continually being challenged and growing in living out my faith in Him. You see, we never gave serious thought about homeschooling as a choice for our family because we thought that the education they got at public school could be supplemented by us at home and all would be well. Meaning, we've always understood that the education of our children was OUR responsibility as parents, but we chose to use public school as the tool to achieve that education.
"We've always understood that the education of our children was OUR responsibility as parents."
Our family LOVES spending time together - reading, talking, playing games, watching movies. We actually enjoy being in each other's presence and there is a noticeable feeling of "loss" when one or the other of us is missing (due to traveling for work or visiting non-custodial family members). We are involved in our local church, and often join other families for dinners during weeknights. Homeschooling our kids would allow us to be together during the day, rather than a part for at least eight hours a day and then be pre-occupied with hours of homework at night!
While our children currently spend the majority of their time in a “worldly” environment, we always thought they could shine God’s Truth and Light to others - and they do. However, when surrounded by peers and teachers who don't believe or follow the Bible, most kids are more likely to go along with the majority - at least outwardly. Also, it is very difficult to teach children to see Absolute Truth through everything they are learning (which all comes from our Creator) if we are not even aware of all they are learning! And, if all their subjects are taught from a world-view that does NOT support the truth of the One True God, how can we possibly “supplement” that?
It’s completely opposite of what our family believes!
We know the truth of how God created our world - and so do our children - but it seems like at every turn, in every class, in nearly every interaction, they are met with opposition and are challenged on that Truth - and our teens have to regurgitate the lie of the theory of evolution and that all things (including human beings who are created in the very image of God!) were made by “chance” in order to pass tests!
Also, in public school, there is a trend of being exposed to many different subjects, but with the time restraints of each class, at least 25 other kids in the classroom, constant behavioral issues and distractions of other students, and the high teacher turnover, they are not able to learn about any of these subjects deeply. Just enough to do well on the exams. Our boys happen to do very well on exams - they are 'A' and 'B' students - but we don’t see “life-long learner” characteristics carrying over into daily life.
By teaching them at home with the Classical Conversations Christian Community, learning time will be maximized; peer interactions will happen during weekly Community Days, sports activities, and Church events; topics can be delved into deeper as we learn together; family and sibling relationships will continue to be strengthened; we will have a more flexible schedule to allow for more time to visit with non-custodial parents; and we can teach them how to best use their God-given gifts to prepare them for adulthood!
More often than not, in public school they have substitute teachers who either lack classroom management or put on a movie - either way, learning is not happening in any consistent way. Even their regular teachers often put on movies totally unrelated to curriculum "to relax" after all the time spent on standardized testing! THAT attitude and practice does not support “Learning for life” but instead, “Get it done then forget about it.” Learning should not be seen as a “necessary evil” but as a God-given gift!
All of this coalesced into really having to take a look at the gift of these children God has given us and to ask if we are really doing all we can to raise them as God instructed: To love God, know Him, and make Him known. We love spending time together as a family, and having the awesome opportunity to spend days with our boys, learning with them, and preparing them for adulthood is going to be amazing!
Homeschooling IS going to be a challenge I am sure - but God equips the called and He is calling us to this - We are looking forward to this journey!
UPDATE as of November 2018:
The past three months has been a fun and CHALLENGING journey! It is truly amazing how much closer we’ve grown! When the boys come home from weekly seminar, they share with us SO MUCH MORE than they ever did about a day in public school?! We gone as a family - or with other families - to the library, to hear a Holocaust survivor talk, fishing, rock climbing, to meet with a financial advisor...it's fantastic and REAL LIFE LEARNING! The boys have time with their Dad twice a week when they go to the park to play soccer, football, or baseball (and I get to stay home alone and drink coffee in silence!).
The boys are learning to take control of their own education by setting their own goals (within the perimeters of our curriculum) and choose to meet them in whichever order that works for them that day. They can take snack breaks or rest breaks as needed and they are constantly astounding us with how MUCH they are learning! For example, they can draw and label the entire Western Hemisphere and Europe from memory, they have memorized over 35 Catechisms (A summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers) and 80 Geology Terms (think: archipelago, bayou, crag, divide, elevation, fjord, gulch, headland, isthmus, etc), they know over 100 Latin words and can conjugate entire paragraphs from English to Latin and back again, .... AND they ENJOY it!!!
#ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you're in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them!
Some books that have helped us along the way: