Proverbs 22:6 says,” Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

We began our first year of homeschooling this fall. When I think about it, we really have been teaching our children important things at home since the day they were born. The Lord has recently called Todd and I  to formally educate our children at home along with continuing the lifestyle of cultivating character and modeling a Christ centered life to them. Let me first say that homeschooling is not for everyone and the opinions on this page are just that- my opinion; and each individual family should choose to go in the direction that God would have for their own family.

The decision to homeschool was not an easy or quick one. We also think there are many benefits to going to public school. (Both Todd and I did). We also have some wonderful public schools in our area that our kids are zoned for. But our family needed a change. God was preparing us for something different. It all started with the decision of what Middle School to send my 5th grader to the next year. There were many doubts and fears that followed me in deciding on whether or not to send him to public, or private school. Then I came across homeschooling.

It sounded nice, and we know lots of homeschoolers who are great well-rounded kids who are not weird and whose family’s values seem to line up with what our family values as well. I’d really like that for our family too. But… It wasn’t for me. When the Lord continued to prompt me with the idea of homeschooling, I kept saying, “Me Lord? but that’s not me! I’m not the type! and I’m not even a teacher.”  Plus I don’t own a 15 passenger van, and there is not one long denim skirt in my closet… Many of my doubts and feelings of in-capability were relieved after hours of prayer and many hours of reading books and information on the subject. I wanted to know the good, bad, and the ugly. When I came across a chapter in one of the books I read, it helped tremendously. The author of the book stated, “The three main tools you need to homeschool are time, desire, and a basic knowledge of the 3 R’s.” That was a relief because, even if I didn’t have a teaching degree or wasn’t the most structured person, (or was an expert in Algebra!), I had the God-given gifts and abilities to do this! And who else will love and care to teach my children individually the way I will? In the meantime, we can get off the school supply and homework treadmill and  I am soaking up every possible bit of info so I can do my very best job.  We are committing one year at a time to this, so check back next year to see if we survived!

This is sort of a mission statement I came up with to help keep me on track as far as goals and an over all vision of what Todd and I are trying to accomplish:

Philosophy and Goals: We desire our home education to be under God’s direction at all times. It is a place tailored to fit the children it serves. It is a place where young minds may inquire freely, where individual interests flourish, and where children learn at their own pace. The academic portion of home education will include a solid understanding of all foundational subjects of education as well as what interest the child. Other goals include: developing excellent character and a healthy sense of self-worth according to the Lord’s standards, develop high moral and behavioral standards; become responsible members of the family and society; and become friendly, sociable, service oriented individuals.  We will strive to become more like Christ daily as we also seek a well-rounded academic education. We will seek a balanced life, be prepared, keep things simple, set priorities, and plan for rest within the context of God’s will for our lives.

These are a few books that helped in the decision making process:

Bringing Up Boys by James C. Dobson

The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start by Linda Dobson

The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 101 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling’s Most Respected Voices (Prima Home Learning Library) by Linda Dobson

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition) by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

Homeschooling for Excellence by David Colfax and Micki Colfa

Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell (haven’t read yet but it’s on my list!)

 

A few words from someone wise (wish I knew who!):

Homeschooling. It is really just a mindset. It’s the idea that you are a family, not a school. You’re a mom, not a teacher. You don’t have a classroom. You have individual relationships with your children. Your husband isn’t a principal, because there isn’t really a school. He is the head of your household, a dad, and your number one supporter.
God didn’t create schools. He created families, because that was his plan for the training and nurture of children.
There is no other earthly expert who can possibly know your children as well as you do. No one else will ever care as deeply for them. That’s why you are totally capable of doing this job successfully. You were made for this purpose! You were assigned this job! God wouldn’t have chosen you if he didn’t believe in you and know you were up to the task.
Having a “relaxed homeschooling mindset” will free you up from many responsibilities, and make the ones you do have clearer and easier to fulfill. If you aren’t a “teacher”, you don’t necessarily need to make lesson plans, purchase teacher’s manuals, test and grade your children, or teach them every subject known to man all by yourself. You don’t have to select a particular curriculum, and have everything in place every year on September first, the way a classroom teacher does. You don’t need to begin each day with a pledge to the flag, and divide the morning up into fifty-minute segments, each devoted to a particular subject. You don’t have to go from room to room teaching fifth grade social studies, third grade science, and first grade phonics. You don’t need to make a bunch of reluctant children sit at the kitchen table for hours laboring over boring workbooks.
What you do need to do is to set up a lifestyle of learning in your household. You need to understand each of your children as individuals, and make decisions about curricula and methods that recognize their differences; their strengths and weaknesses; their learning styles and personalities. You need to learn to set priorities and goals, so you have some idea of where you are going. You need to pause occasionally to evaluate your progress towards those goals. You need to communicate effectively with your husband, so you become true partners in this whole process. You need to learn to shrug off the criticisms of others, even well-meaning relatives. The only opinions that should really count are those of God, your husband, your children, and yourself. (Prov. 31:28-31) Establishing a lifestyle of learning implies that everyone in the family is actively pursuing goals, enjoying the acquisition of skills and knowledge, and sharing their discoveries with the others in the family. You need to re-discover a child-like curiosity about the world around you. You need to wake up every morning, singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” You need to see past the dirty diapers and the piles of laundry, and recognize what really matters in life. You need to loosen up your tendency to be control freak, and realize that, ultimately, you aren’t in control of anything anyway. While that may be a scary thought at first, understanding that God loves you and your family, and that He is the one who is really in control, will help you learn to trust His judgment.

These are a few websites that I enjoy reading to see how others do it:

1+1+1=1

Passport Academy

No time for Flash Cards

The Snail’s Trail

The Homeschool Classroom

Free Homeschooling resources:

Home education foundation

Home Education Magazine

Let’s Homeschool

Homeschooling for Free