Homeschooling, Seriously

Do you take homeschooling seriously?

“My child will never have a job where he needs to know algebra.  We’re just teaching consumer math and being done with it.”

“I know God isn’t preparing my child for college, so I don’t plan to worry too much about high school requirements.”

“As long as my kids know the Lord, the rest of it doesn’t really matter.”

“Neither my high school children or I are interested in history.  I think we’re just going to do a quick lapbook (*written for elementary students) and count it as a credit.”

“My kids give me so much grief about science that I’ve decided to stop teaching it for now.  It’s just too hard to fight them.”

“I know I need to get more serious about school, but ball practice two mornings a week, ball games at least one or two nights a week and co-op classes on Monday afternoons are really messing up my schedule.  We’re trying to fit school in, but we’re so behind.”

“God will fill in the gaps.”

Above are actual comments I have heard within the last four months.

They concern me.

 


Read or listen to this post!


Homeschooling Seriously

I am a homeschooling parent.  A parent who is responsible for teaching my children about the Lord and preparing them for their futures.  I take those responsibilities seriously – as should every single parent who decides to call herself or himself a homeschooler.

Believe me when I say that I am all for creative learning!  If a certain curriculum isn’t working, I don’t hesitate to switch.  If one of my children learns better in a hands-on way, I will try to honor that through the assignments I dole out.  If a certain subject just doesn’t jive with a particular kid, I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.  If I personally can’t stand a subject (or don’t know enough about it), I’ll find other “teachers” – like field trips, documentaries or co-op classes – to fill in for me.

And, most importantly, believe me when I say I’M NOT PERFECT.  I say yes to way too many events and find schoolwork taking the back seat sometimes.  I get lazy about planning and executing lessons sometimes.  I feel like I’m in uncharted territory with a high schooler and often wonder if I’m on the right course…

Also, I don’t have perfect children who absolutely love each and every task I assign.  Hardly! There are days when I would much rather give up than deal with another whine.  There are days I HAVE given up in place of dealing with another whine!

But, I am their teacher.

Because it is my responsibility to teach them – and their responsibility to learn, we keep on keepin’ on.

While I DO believe God will fill in the gaps, I also believe that it would be unfair for me to assume my role as teacher is meaningless.  Yes, He could choose to fill my children will every bit of knowledge they need, but why would God have given me such an honorable task if He didn’t expect me to do something with it?

And, while I DO believe each child has gifts and talents, sometimes very obvious, I think it’s very prideful of me (or my child) to assume we KNOW what God has prepared for the future.  In other words, why wouldn’t I prepare my child with at least a college-bound education so that God can do whatever He plans to do?  If college isn’t in the future, will it really hurt my children to have the extra education?

In fact, whether college-bound or not, Christians should be fully able to carry on an intelligent conversation about apologetics, world history from a Biblical perspective, or political-Christian issues, for example.  If not for changing the world, maybe such conversations will be part of bringing people to Christ.  In any case, our children will need to be able to stand strong against the wily devil and his schemes – no matter what their future “work” becomes.  And when standing strong against the devil, it never hurts to be “smart” about the things of this world.

Homeschooling is a serious responsibility.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not touting academics above discipleship of your children.  Nor am I saying academics come before opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ in a very thirsty world.  I’m simply encouraging you to take homeschooling seriously.  All parts of it.

I’m encouraging you to realize the awesome responsibility you’ve been given and honor the Lord with it.  To give you a pep talk as you begin to prepare for a new semester.  To remind you that you can never do any of it in your own strength, but only through constant prayer and guidance from the Lord.  Ask Him how you’re doing.  Ask Him what He needs you to work on.  Not only will He give you the answers, He’ll supply the strength!

Overachievers, hear me.

Some of you over-achievers are going to read this and think I’m talking to you.  I’m not!  In fact, I might actually advise you to back off a bit.  Give yourself and your children a break.  You know who you are!  Others will start comparing themselves to everyone else.  Don’t.  If you’re following God’s leading, it won’t matter what everyone else is doing.

Most of the homeschoolers I come in contact with are doing a GREAT job!

I’m proud to be among such a God-honoring, high-achieving, creative group of people.  I wouldn’t want to give the impression that homeschoolers in general have a lackadaisical attitude.  I have written this article to the few who need to hear it and to encourage the rest of us in our resolve.

I gave this homeschooling seriously talk as part of a devotion during a speaking event recently.  It was well-received there and I pray it serves to encourage here rather than stir controversy.  I welcome all comments, though, whether you agree or not.   

You may also be interested in:

 Legalism in Homeschooling Methods 10 Reasons I’m Thankful for Homeschooling Homeschooling Middle School

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15 Comments

  1. A great post and a most hardy agreement here.

  2. Wow!!! Wonderful post!!! I completely agree that homeschooling is such a God honoring task and we MUST take it seriously!!! What a great way to put that conviction into words!!!! I will definitely be passing along as encouragement to the mom’s in my support group!!!!! Thank you so much!!!

    P.S. We start our Pioneer unit when we get back to work after Christmas, and we are excited to use most of your resources!!! Thank you so much for posting!!!

  3. Wonderful encouragement Cindy. Thank your for all you do for fellow homeschooling parents – for sharing your devotion here too!

  4. A very balanced perspective. Homeschooling is an amazing task, overwhelming, actually. I think we must truly hear from God on each and every decision. Sometimes we need to let things slide. Other times we need to buckle up for some intense academics.

  5. I guess I am on the flip side of the argument. I have said those things. I started blogging to find other moms who were homeschooling their children with curriculum that was not intended to prepare a child for college. I started homeschooling because our school district wanted to place my oldest daughter in a locked classroom designed to accommodate children with severe behavior problems. My daughter was prenatally exposed to alcohol, meth and cocaine. Her IQ is borderline. On some of the sub-tests that are given on a standard IQ test, she scores in the bottom 5th percentile. As a teenager she didn’t understand fractions, decimal points or place value. Because she had a relative strength in language skills, I chose a worldview curriculum. We read classic literature, studied history and worked on consumer math. My daughter transitioned out of my home into a group home for adults with disabilities. She was doing well until she left that setting. She didn’t like being considered a vulnerable adult and having others make decisions for her. She is decidedly not doing well now.

    The Proverbs teach us to be diligent to know the state of our flock. It also tells me not to exasperate my children. When I have a child who has brain-based learning differences, continuing to push curriculum that required higher level thinking (synthesis or evaluation) in order to prepare her for college would mean that I ignored her needs as an individual. Many people are homeschooling because the schools failed their children and they are looking for another way. My daughter will likely live in a supported position all her life. She has tried to find employment but she is always fired because her “soft skills” (skills dependent on good brain function) are very, very poor.

    I doubt any of the moms who made those comments chose the path they did frivolously or that they are not taking their responsibilities lightly.

  6. Julie,

    Thank you for this perspective!!

    By no means was I focusing my comments on parents who have special circumstances to consider. Like I said, I am all for creative learning. I am also most certainly all for giving a child the perfect education for their special needs – and for allowing the Lord to lead in those decisions. I appreciate you allowing me to clarify!

    Unfortunately, the parents who have made the comments in my post are not dealing with unusual circumstances. I know each one of them personally and, while there may be the occasional learning difficulty, none of the situations are extraordinary.

    My post was intended to spur people on who find themselves on the easier road of homeschooling and need to challenge themselves and their children more.

    Again, I really appreciate your thoughts!

  7. Cindy,
    As always you’ve offered profound words for encouragement. Just this year, I have my 7th grade daughter attending a cottage school to be taught 3 subjects that were beyond me. I don’t want my limitations to limit her. She continues to do most of her subjects with me at home. It’s been a great transition for middle school angst for both of us! We need to stay open to the options God provides to do the best for our children’s sake. It is our responsibility before God. Thanks again for your words of wisdom!

  8. I loved reading this…yeah, I’m a little behind on your blog reading!! All the words you put here are so true of you. I know when I had problems with Kelsey and Math, we did FINISH getting her through Algebra 1, Geometry, and Business Math. Now she’s looking into starting her collegiate ‘career’ in September 2012 and we are SO excited!!! Love you and thanks for being such a wonderful mom and God-fearing woman!! 🙂

  9. I just found you on the HS linkup! I wanted to thank you for writing this, it’s never easy to stand up about something that can be controversial.

  10. Amen! Thanks for stepping out to encourage others. We all need to remind ourselves of this sometimes. It’s normally to get tired, but at some point we need to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and keep on running the race.

    Thanks you for sharing~ and thanks for linking up to HomeSchool High!

  11. Oh! Comments #2 and 3 as well as the last one are the ones that break me in half. And, it seems folks who cling to that mindset are the hardest to counsel. In this day in age, it is especially scary when the ‘no college’ idea is applied to young women. My soul quakes for those young girls whose parents never consider anything but a fairy tale like princess existence and don’t value the idea of preparing them for a less than fairy tale future. Divorce happens, layoffs happen, sudden deaths happen. Life happens. And life is messy and not a fairy tale. While there are some kids who are designed to be tradesman and encouraged to hone those strengths, all of our students, male and female, should be prepared to attain the highest level of academic success possible. Thank you, thank you for our courage in posting this article.

  12. Stephanie says:

    I feel that we need to stop trying to police others and or encouraging them to do what we think they should. I am preparing my girls for college; however, I have no right to strongly voice my opinion in someone else’s circumstance. I let God do that. I may have an opinion, but that’s MY OPINION not their problem or rule that they should accept. The sentiments expressed in this post were a part of the thought process that started the public school system. Certain people who felt others were not teaching their kids properly or at all, thought it was necessary to create a system of education for those poor souls. Maybe it was a virtuous mindset, maybe this post is from a virtuous mindset…or maybe they’re not. That’s left up to the individual to decide just like educating our children should be.

  13. Stephanie, I’m sorry you didn’t appreciate the post. However, it is still my opinion that homeschooling is a serious task that calls for a serious education. Those who disagree are welcome to ignore my advice and move on, as I have no plans to stop sharing it on my own website.

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