Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are You a New Homeschooler or Thinking About it?

Almost two years ago I pulled all three of my boys out of public school. For years I wanted to rescue them out of the system, but my husband and I were no longer on the same page. I was counselled by a wise older women and men to keep them there to avoid family conflict. God saved my husband about five years ago, and out of the blue he told me to pull the boys out. I was super thrilled and yet super scared.

Several years ago I tried homeschooling, my now 16 year old, when he was in second and third grade. At the time I had two babies and I was overwhelmed with the responsibility and intimidated by other homeschooling moms. They seemed confident that they could homeschool ten kids with their lapbooks and science experiment gadgets, milk the cows, reupholster the furniture and preserve jam all in the same day. They also had a different lingo of "What curriculum?" people used and methods that were completely foreign to me. Like an ill-equipped failure of a young mother, I reluctantly re-enrolled my son back in to the public school system. I suppose I can't blame my husband for thinking the way he did.

Later, both of my younger sons were also enrolled, so I decided to work for the school. It was then that I really saw what was going on day to day. So much of what was going on in the school day was never told to the parents. If two children got in to a fight, there was often no report. We were bound as teacher's aides to never speak to the parents regarding their children which, as a mom, was really hard for me.

I also noticed that in a classroom you can't make a child pay attention. The class I worked in was for special needs children who had mild to profound learning disabilities and behavior problems. I had the privilege of working with a dedicated award winning teacher and four other teacher's aides at all time. Talk about the perfect environment for a classroom! While she was giving her science lecture, the boys in the back were messing with their desks and not paying attention. I would tell them to put everything away and listen, but they were in La-La Land. Without one-on-one instruction it is impossible for most children to pay attention all day long. and learning gaps may result.

Before I pulled all three of my boys out, there was a time I had to fulfill my contract with my job at the school. It just so happened that a book called "What a Forth Grader Needs to Know" was in the public school library right next to the boys bathroom where we went everyday. As I stood there outside the restroom waiting for the boys, I browsed through it. I was encouraged that I could homeschool.  I was determined by God's strength that if I was going to do this, I had to go the distance and never re-enroll them ever again in to public school.

If your husband is not on board with homeschooling, keep praying. It is better that your family be unified without strife.  If God changed my husband's heart, He can change your husband. Just remember, you as a parent can counteract anything that is being taught in school. I used a lot of Bible teaching and creation videos on YouTube that really helped my older son discern truth from error. God's word is powerful and it is an amazing tool to help your child to think critically. I'm a product of the public school system and God's sovereignty still saved me. Don't lose heart.

If homeschooling is an option for your family and you're considering it, and maybe your overwhelmed with all of the information and responsibility, first check out Cathy Duffy's book 101 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum here. It's a thick book, but it has a test in the first chapter to help narrow down the curriculum by your child's learning style and your teaching style. It was a life saver!

Homeschooling has been such a blessing on so many levels. One of the big reason is I have all the time I need to share scripture and pray with them. I did this as well when they were in public school, but it's different. I'm not tired from a long day of work, cleaning, homework, dinner, etc. The time I spend with my boys has been the biggest blessing of my life. Too many people try to rush to get their kids out of the house, but before they know it they are grown and gone. Homeschooling has given me that time to savor every moment and get to know them at a deeper level.

Has it been easy? No. Is anything worth fighting for easy? If I were you, if your thinking about homeschooling, pray, hold off on doing too much research, keep it simple and start with the book "101 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum" (Link above). If you need more convincing, check out this article I read this morning "12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Children" here.