OK. That part about extreme is a bit misleading. Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Anything you do with children is bound to be extreme, right?
We have been homeschooling for a fairly long time – our oldest is nearly 17, and we homeschooled from the beginning. If you want to get really specific, I whipped out the ABC flashcards when she was 19 months old. That was over 15 years ago.
But our exposure to homeschooling goes back even further. My parents began homeschooling me and my siblings in 1983; they are still homeschooling the youngest 5. During his high school years, my husband attended a one room schoolhouse with about 12 other students of widely varying ages. His father was the schoolmaster. I think that bears a striking resemblance to homeschooling as well.
Having been so far out of the public school mold for so long, our views may seem a little extreme to some. I do try to pull my punches, but consider yourself duly warned. We homeschool grads are just so poorly socialized, you know…
This isn’t the first time the topic has been addressed on our blog and we have to leave for 5 dentists appointments in less than 90 minutes so I’ll cheat and copy from a previous post. If what follows is encouraging, you might want to read some of my other posts on the subject here , here and here. If it makes you too angry to type straight, you might enjoy the comments on those ssame posts, where other readers who shared your opinion took great delight in verbal evisceration.
1. What reasons prompted you to start home schooling?
…This Chalcedon article explains why much better than I ever could, but in a nutshell we believe that:
- the public school system is anti-Christian in its very foundation. The presence of a nice Christian teacher cannot overcome this fact. (Did you know that John Dewey, the “Father of Modern Education,” signed and helped write the Humanist Manifesto?)
- parents are commanded to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
- we are to teach God’s words to our children night and day, at home and abroad (Deut. 6:4ff).
- the best way for us to do this is by homeschooling.
2. Have your reasons to continue changed?
Our reasons have been refined. Years ago, I would have said that the academic results and other benefits were among our reasons to homeschool.
Now I see these benefits not as causes, but side effects of our decision to homeschool. We would stand firm in our decision homeschool even if it meant a sacrifice in academics.
3. What do you wish you had known sooner or what advice would you pass on?
- Don’t stress about the days that you don’t seem to do enough formal schooling. Children are always learning, and new concepts often “click” during down time.
- Don’t push concepts before the child is ready. You can spend 2 years teaching a 4yo to read, or do it in a few weeks when she is 6. I don’t know about you, but my 4yo and I have better things to do.
- Read! Read with your child, read to your child, read silently in your child’s presence. A child who loves books will be a well-educated child.
- Don’t try to “Do School” at home. Your goal is to teach your child at home, not to create an institutional-style school environment in your home. Take a deep breath and relax.
More questions? Hop over to the other 3 moms, where you’re sure to get a different take on the topic at hand:
- May 6 – Picking a curriculum, method or tactics that work for a large family.
- May 13 – Teaching little kids
- May 20 – Teaching big kids. what changes? what do they need that little ones don’t and where do you need to give more freedom. How do you make the transition.
- May 27 - Putting it together. How does it work?
- March 18 - Live-blog day, in which all 4 of us live-blog a real day in our home. Find out what we really do all day. It’s our own reality show, just for you. Who needs TV?
- March 25 – Outings with only little ones. Mom’s rules of order, and how notto become the poster family for birth control.
- April 1 - A baker’s dozen for managing the food budget: budgeting in the kitchen to feed a crowd.
- April 8 – Menu planning, how we plan (or don’t plan) to feed our hungry crewmates.
- April 15 – Cooking from Scratch. What we make from scratch and what we would like to make from scratch.
- April 22 – Cooking for a Crowd. The big linky! We shared our own recipes, and you shared yours.