March 25, 2014

Why Being Home-Schooled Makes Me Want to Home-School My Children

My mom wrote here the other day about homeschooling me and my two younger brothers. She explained how she feels about homeschooling us, but as the child, my experience with it all is a little different.

I will repeat what she said: If God has led you in another direction, then follow Him. This is just my personal experience.

I was home-schooled most of my school years and went to Christian schools for kindergarten and my last two years of high school. There were definitely times as a kid that I longed to be “normal” and thought what a luxury it would be to not have your mom be your teacher. I remember kids in public school expressing jealousy that I was home-schooled, and I remember feeling they were so fortunate that they got to go to “real school.” (You may have guessed, I was a slightly dramatic child).

Other kids thought I was lucky because I could do my school in my pajamas and sleep in as late as I wanted. They assumed wrong: My mom had us on a schedule, and I also helped around the house a lot more than probably most “schooled” kids do... but I did love pajama pants.  I was asked on more than one occasion if I would home-school for college, and I would then be overwhelmed with a terrible fear that my parents would find a way to do just that.

Now, I see it differently. As a parent I see even more clearly the reasons my parents didn't want me in public school and how hard they worked to give me their best. I also see how homeschooling has benefited me.

I will never forget my mom repeating Deuteronomy 6:6,7 to me. This constancy of studying the Word of God was truly my parents’ lifestyle. The first thing we did every day was to read the Word together and to memorize Scripture. As I grew up and interacted with other people, it became clear to me that my knowledge of the Bible was greater than that of probably most people I met. I credit that time with my family, giving Scripture a place of first priority in our day, with the Word being so implanted on my heart.

I do think that having the chance to be at home with my family, being taught the Word, prepared me well to go to a secular college when it was time. By that time, I knew the truth and was able to easily see through the junk of the world. I knew better than to believe everything I was taught. I was given a firm foundation during my childhood. I spent my days as a child with my mom, seeing her love the Lord and others, and I knew what kind of adult I wanted to be.
My mom, my brothers, and me, on a family trip in Chicago
After college, I taught preschool for a few years. While I did my job, I was secretly horrified that these tiny children were spending their whole lives standing in line and being told to be quiet. Because they were in a room with 23 other 2-year-olds, it was necessary that they do these things. I remember noticing that kids didn't make car noises when they played. It might be silly, but I felt that not making sound effects was such a terrible waste of a child's abilities. Imagination and play were not what was being encouraged. I used to think that I didn't want my kids to learn to stand in a straight line but never learn to make sound effects. Yes, there are statistics about boys in particular not learning as well in a classroom setting, but what I know personally is that boys need to move.  I look at my 3-year-old son, and I know that even though he is very smart, he could never sit at a desk for hours of the day. It would break his little heart.
My Levi, with a Duplo Lego creation
We lived in Alabama when I was growing up, and it was never cold. I always finished my work as quickly as I could, and then I was free! I spent hours outside. I got exercise and built things and used my imagination. In the mornings I learned math, reading, and history, and in the afternoons I learned to think. I truly think that children naturally want to learn and figure things out. Homeschooling provides the lack of structure that allows that freedom of thought.

Our family always spent a lot of time with other people. Although I imagined that kids in school were having more fun than I was, I always had friends. I spent a lot of time in ballet class, in dance ministry, at church, with kids in my neighborhood, and at friends' houses. In fact, being home-schooled allowed us to be "social" any day of the week. What I also learned being "socialized" this way is to appreciate people of all ages, not just my peers. I never had trouble speaking well and politely to adults, because I went everywhere with my parents and was called upon to speak to adults and be polite. I also loved younger children because I had always helped with my little brothers. If I am ever socially awkward, I am pretty sure it's just my personality, not a result of homeschooling.

My husband, Ryan, with our children at bedtime

My husband went to Christian schools his whole life, but before we were married he knew that it was my heart to at least try to home-school. Now, our children are 3 and 1, and I really look forward to teaching them. Right now, we read a lot, and I make a point to encourage their natural curiosity. The time for difficult subjects are still very far away, and I know that the kids and I can learn together as they grow and there are challenges.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 
Impress them on your children. 
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, 
when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 6:6,7

No comments:

Post a Comment