I hear this question very frequently from moms who are considering homeschooling.
Here are 3 good points while answering this question:
Society portrays the majority of homeschoolers to be unorganized, uneducated and unsocialized. They really couldn't be more wrong. Well, for me, maybe the unorganized is true, lol but definitely not the other two. Our children learn what is needed for life and they learn the way they desire. We make homeschooling fun, challenging and adventurous! On the socialized part, good grief..... I am more busy with homeschooling sports, hobbies and activities than I ever was when they were in private school! Homeschoolers also tend to be more social / talkative with all ages groups, not just children of their own age. Think about this. A child is sent to a public school where he sits in a room with 25-35 other students and is not allowed to talk. He/she can only socialize during recess and lunch and then ONLY with their age group. Public school children are very intimidated by the teachers, adults, etc. which really is due to the fact they cannot be disciplined so I'd guess they'd have to be right? Now some children are just shy, but homeschoolers tend to be very talkative, helpful with siblings and very instructive. So I'm not sure what kind of homeschool 'society' is referring to.
So lets ask ourselves, "Who is qualified to teach MY children"? We, as parents, teach our toddlers how to walk, talk, eat with utensils, bath, use the bathroom, play, show emotion, etc. We even teach them discipline and consequences early on right?
So why not teach them academics too? I do not have a college degree nor did I have a 4.0 gpa in high school. I honestly hated high school and couldn't wait to get out into the real world. I wasn't ever interested into going to college either. I went from high school to a retail job. I learned how to live on my own, take care of myself and I now have a wonderful husband, three children and we live a good Christian life. Things weren't (and still aren't) easy at times, but I learn(ed) from my mistakes and heck, I made it this far. ;) (Don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraging college at all. It is great for some, just wasn't for me.) Point being, you don't have to earn a masters degree to master teaching your children....you are already doing it!
What does God say about teaching our children?
Let's take a look at his word.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - KJV
Proverbs 29:17 says, "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." - KJV
Deuteronomy 11:19 says, "And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou
sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou
liest down, and when thou risest up." - KJV
There are several scriptures on God telling us to teach our children whether it is values, morals, academics, scriptures, etc. I don't personally believe that he is telling us NOT send our children to public school, but he does make it clear that it is our responsibility to 'teach' them.
For me, God spoke to me and told me to homeschool. I obeyed. It hasn't always been a cake walk, but it has been a blessing for not just the kids, but me as well. Children grow up so fast and before you know it, they are teenage monsters! Hee,hee, just kiddin'. But they do grow up fast!
What could you possibly mess up? Really, think about it. God gave you such a wonderful responsibility as well as a blessing in your life....your children. He wouldn't have blessed you with the gift of motherhood without giving you the tools to help you. His tool is his word, the Bible. It will guide you through every step of the way...trust me, I know.
I won't get into my whole story (I've shared before) but God told me years ago to homeschool. I did. And my ex husband dragged me through court for years because of it! The judge was NOT on my side, the lawyers were NOT educated about homeschooling, and I was weakened to being almost physically ill.
I went to the Lord (at the altar in church) one morning and cried out to him. I said, "Lord, you told me to do this so you have to work it out. I cannot fight anymore physically, emotionally and financially. I'm done. If you want me to continue, than you will have to work it out. I give it all to you". Honestly, I did give the burden to him. I laid it upon his feet and trusted him no matter what would happen.
Two days later, the phone rang. My ex husband dropped all charges and I was allowed to homeschool! And that same ex husband tells me today (years later) that I am doing a great job on our sons education!
God is good! I knew God had heard me that day. I will never take homeschooling for granted. Because of him, I have this wonderful gift of not just 'mothering', but 'teaching' my children, which I had all along.
So God doesn't give you more than you can handle. If God has spoke to you and requested you homeschool, than I suggest you do it. If you were not called by God to homeschool, but you are interested, I suggest you pray. He will guide you. He loves you more than anything and wants the best for you.
Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."
I know this may sound weird to most of you, but I really do wish it was the 1950's.
I was born in 1973 in a small town in mid Michigan. I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in a good strong Christian family with two parents who loved me very much. I have one sister and one brother.
With all going on in our world right now, I cannot help to think that life was so much easier back then. How do I know what the 50's were like? I really don't. But I do know that we didn't have the media, crime or internet then. I do like my internet, but I would give it up for life to be more simple again. Every era or time had their own different struggles. The 70's was mainly about liberalism and woman's rights. I'm all for an independent woman, but the Bible talks about how we, as women, need to be submissive. (Oh my, I lost a reader just then. Sorry. But I do encourage you to let me finish.)
The Bible says...
in Ephesians 5:21-24
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
But be encouraged because this is what Ephesians 5:25-32 says....
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That
he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Wow! God didn't intent us to be slaves to our husbands, he intended us to make them head of the household so he (our husband) can love, cherish and take care of us! How blessed are we as women to have such a wonderful plan from God with marriage!
When I think of the 1950's, I think of a woman who is excitedly waiting for her husband to get home, having dinner on the table, the house cleaned, waiting for his company with a smile. Women were home with their children then. (Please don't take offence, there is nothing wrong with a hard working mother outside the home. Life was just more simple then I believe.) We didn't have all the drama and such we have now. There was no such thing as 'political correctness' or 'teen suicides'. Now, it is all about living in the 'now' and doing what 'feels good at the time', which is a lie from satan himself. And lets talk about family. Does your family sit at the table and eat a meal together every night? It's hard when there is basketball, football, drama clubs, 4H clubs, teen youth group night at the church, etc. When does family time come in? In the 1950's they sat at the table and ate, discussed the day everyone had, raised children with strong morals and values and living the 10 Commandments the best they could.
And prayer, well, that has been forgotten in some homes today. Our family prays together every night at the dinner table. It is important to pray and take the time to thank God for our food and things. For our family, we pray and ask God for several things needed in our lives and healing in others. But we need to just THANK him for everything we have within our everyday lives.
So yes, I wish it was the 1950's and I was raising my family then.
Does your child love to read? If the answer is 'yes', then you are blessed. I have one son that absolutely loves to read! I had to take books away from him at one point because he was staying up all hours of the night reading! Don't worry, he got them back the next day ;)
I also have one son who does NOT like to read. He struggles with reading. We've used several successful programs but for the free reading, well that has been challenging.
First, why free reading? I do believe that children need to experience free reading and part of their education to help them
not only understand that reading can be fun, but also to learn how to
sound things out and learn on their own a bit. If they are reading
something they enjoy, and they mispronounce a word, the sentence will
not make sense. They will notice right away and want to figure out
their mistake so they can get the just (or climax) of their story that they are so interested in.
So lets get back to the issue about helping a child love to read that is struggling. My solution is why not let your child read what he/she enjoys? Do they like Star Wars? My son loves it! Why not let him read those books for school (free reading time)? It will keep him interested and they are free at the library. Most of the Star Wars books I have found were above his reading level, so I let him pick others out. He chose 'Captain Underpants'. Now, if you all don't know what those are, in my opinion, they are stupid. This is from a mother's standpoint, which usually is the one standpoint that counts. BUT, they do not contain anything graphic, violent, cussing, etc. so I let him read them. I ask myself if stupid books (again, in the mother's opinion) are not education in anyway, should I allow him to read them? I am saying 'yes', unless they are disrespecting our family based, Christian faith life.
The most important thing here is to get him/her to love reading. So these silly, non-educational books may not be my first, second or even 10'th choice.........at least he is reading. I do believe that if a child reads what he/she wants to, they will learn to love to read.
I am so excited that very soon I will be blogging my TOS review on Apologia's "Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy & Physiology". WOOooo HOOooo, cannot wait! Apologia has been one of my favorite homeschool companies in the past so we'll see what this one has to offer.
Some people have their homeschool classroom mimic the public school classroom. Some people sit at the kitchen table. Some use the whole world!
Some great places to use the world for your classroom:
Children love to learn and their is no better place than the classroom that God has given us right in our own backyard! Bugs, flowers, grass, dirt, trees, sky, water, sand, animals, noises, smells, etc. These are just some of the tools that God has given us to use in our world classroom.
We sat in our backyard one day and wrote down all the sounds that we heard. We were studying birds from "Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day" from Apologia (great book) so we documented the birds as well. Sitting there, we heard so many creatures and smelled so many smells. It was amazing!
If we just take a moment to see what God has already given us to use in our homeschool, we will appreciate the homeschool classroom around us.
There are so many choices of curriculum out there and so many good ones! This is great, but it just makes it that much harder to choose. So 'word of mouth' and 'reviews' are a great way to help you decide. Just keep in mind that one curriculum may work for one family, but not work so well with another. So first decide what it is that your family needs.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I need a curriculum that is one on one or more independent work?
Do I want a boxed curriculum? (Something that all subjects are from the same vendor with teacher editions and possibly lesson plans.)
Do I want to put together my own (with worksheets, books and the internet)?
Do I want hand-on interaction?
Do I want some with little prep time for the me, the teacher?
These are all valid questions to consider. Also remember, these answers may change as your children grow and change. For example, my youngest is in 4'h grade and we still work one on one almost the entire school day. We sit at the kitchen table and work together. My older son (who is in high school) works independently up in his bedroom. He has his schedule and he knows what he must accomplish daily. So make the decision on curriculum for one year at a time. You may be surprised and realize that the 'free' online stuff works better than the expensive boxed material!
This time of year some get burned out a bit with homeschooling. Eventhough most of us were just off for Christmas break, we just can't get into the groove of things. Need to spice up your homeschool a bit?
Winter is a great time to do some home projects since most of us are cooped up inside for a while.
Here are some ideas for projects:
PAINT A ROOM!
Have a paint day of homeschooling in the kids rooms! You can find some cool colors in the 'oops' paint at your local Lowe's or Walmart. You can always just paint 1 wall. Hey, how about painting a few stripes or circles on the walls? You can always leave one wall for the kids to just have fun! They can make hand prints, draw their name, draw pictures, etc. Chalkboard paint is amazing and so much fun!
Are you renting? No problem, did you know you can paint wall paper? Hang some inexpensive wallpaper with thumb tacks and paint on it!
ORGANIZE YOUR HOMESCHOOL ROOM!
Ask your children to help organize. They may have some interesting ideas that you may not have thought of! Be creative. A soup can disguised as a pencil holder or a dish drainer for your books, pencils, etc. can be great organization tools!
DECLUTTER YOUR HOUSE!
First, pick a room and grab a trash bag. ;0) No, really....get a trash bag. Think about what you use on a weekly basis. I have a hard time getting rid of stuff. I get it from my grandmother :). So I have a rule: if I haven't used in the past 12 months, it's goes! For example, in the kitchen, do you need 4 sets of dishes? No. Do you need 5 soup ladles? No. Do you need 3 coffee pots? No. Do you need 20 coffee mugs when you are the only one who drinks coffee? No. It's always good to have spare things, like dishes. But keep the spares in a china cabinet, buffet, cedar chest, or just pack it away in storage. Why do they need to be taking up cabinet space everyday? Do you need 5 pie pans? Well, do you ever bake 5 pies at a time? If yes, than keep them. If it's a no, get rid of a few. The kids can help pack away and sort. Have a trash bag for trash, a box for donation/give away and a second box for yard sale.
You will be amazed how much space you'll have! Everything has it's own space. "A place for everything and everything in it's place."
I highly recommend everyone to watch the tv show "Hoarders"! My husband and I watch a few episodes every now and then and it helps us.....really. This is funny, and true! Everytime we finish watching an episode, we get up, grab a trash bag and start pitching stuff! LOL! It helps us stay organized and not become overwhelmed with STUFF.
If you live in a warmer climate.....
BUILD SOMETHING OUTSIDE!
Have your children always wanted a tree house? How about making a fort above a tool shed? We did this once. My husband had all his lawn and tool equipment in the shed and placed a ladder on the side for the boys to climb up into a fort they built above the shed! We cut holes out of the walls for windows! Let the kids design, cut wood, nail planks, paint, etc. Great learning experience!
TO SUM IT UP WITH SOME LAST TIPS!
Kids need things to do so they stay out of trouble so put the kids to work! The good kind of work! Make sure everyone knows what task they are to do. And remember to make it fun! Put on some loud music and dance while working! Why not incorporate Physical Education with it? ;)
I am seriously thinking that we may change our homeschooling to 4 days a week for this second semester. We have very busy weekends lately and we seem to have no downtime. Saturday we have basketball (starting this week) in the middle of the afternoon. Whenever we have things in the middle of the day, nothing gets done in my house, especially laundry! Then Sunday of course is church, the Lord's instructed day of rest. Unfortunately, last Sunday I found myself doing laundry all afternoon, so much for my day of rest... sigh. Mondays seem to be the worst for us. We just cannot get motivated. We often have a church activity on Sunday nights or birthday parties, etc. So Monday may be a good day to rest.
I know many of you already have a 4 day homeschool week, leaving the 5'th day for projects. This may also be an option for us to consider. If we could rest in the morning on our "5'th" day of homeschool, we may be able to do a FUN project after lunch.
Going to the library and doing errands really messes up our school day as well. This may be something we can often put on this "5'th" day to protect our 4 other days for 'real' schoolwork.
I am trying to figure out how this will work with my high schooler's schedule. With credit hours being acquired, this may be a challenge. So first, I will calculate all his credit hours and see where we stand being at the end of our semester. If we are ahead of the game, we may be able to do the 4 days a week with out any school work for the 5'th day giving us a week day of rest; which will be MY day of laundry and cleaning. But at least I'll have my Sunday to rest. If we are at 60 hours calculated, we may have to adjust our schedule for allotted time for certain subjects in order for change to the 4 days routine. Also, that 5'th day would work great for biology experiments!
Anyone have any comments about the 4 days a week homeschooling? I'd be very interested in feedback!