Home Schooling: More Than the Three R's
How do you do it?
My you sure have your hands full!
I could never do that!
These are all things I have heard countless times from friends and strangers
when they find out we have 9 children that we have home schooled.
Here is my answer.
Here is how do I do it.
Here is my counsel to anyone thinking of homeschooling
or discouraged in their home schooling adventures.
Home Schooling is something I am passionate about.
Raising children is something I am passionate about.
Because I am passionate about these things, I love to talk about them.
We have been home schooling for 20 years now, and we have made mistakes.
We have also learned a whole lot and made progress, although,
there are those days when I can't see it.
Thankfully, those days end and new ones arise and with them hope
that this day will be different,
perhaps even victorious.
Over the years, I have come to a few conclusions about successful homeschooling...
and these conclusions arrived from trial and error,
and are listed here so that perhaps others may not need to have such trials and errors
to find these answers....
1. Home schooling must be consistent. Establishing a basic routine each season gives freedom and structure to the mama and the children, helping to ensure that each topic of study will get done in its time each day. It is near impossible to become proficient at something without consistent practice. I say in "each season" because as your family grows up, multiplies, jobs change, etc., new needs arise and a new schedule will need to be adapted. When we had a new baby, for example, our routines needed to revolve around when the baby needed to be fed, then later, when the toddler napped, and even later, when the teen went to work. As home educators, we need to persevere to be consistent through these changes and at the same time be flexible to the new needs of the family.
2. Homeschooling must be about discipleship more than completing workbooks. As Christians, our number one priority in home educating has got to be to teach our children about God, His word, and His way...living it out in front of them and intentionally teaching them as we go about our day. Just homeschooling is not an end in itself- that alone will not produce a generation who loves God and is devoted to Him. It is a lot harder than that. It must be intentional and deliberate, and you must be the example. To raise children who test well and get good jobs is great, but that alone must not be enough!! Home Schooling gives us as parents a great opportunity to teach character, to incorporate all of our daily lives into discipling the souls given to us. We need to teach our children to be diligent, to have integrity, to persevere, to think of others first, and most importantly, to love God.
This brings me to the third point....
3. Homeschooling should drive you to your knees. I literally wake up each morning begging God for help. I know I cannot be a good enough example; kind, patient, cheerful, loving, wise and industrious without His strength to uphold me, and I know I am an utter failure apart from abiding in Christ. Thus, our children become the sanctifying object that God uses to mold us and humble us, making us teachable and dependent upon Him...which then, in turn, enables us to be good examples to our children of what a Christ centered life looks like.
Is homeschooling overwhelming to you? GOOD!! It is when we are overwhelmed that we become desperate for Jesus. And that is right where we should be everyday.
In my twenty years,
it is the times that I have been consistent,
focused on making disciples of our children,
and earnestly leaning on the Everlasting Arms
that we have been the most successful in our home educating.
If I get all three things down, the rest falls into place.