Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The "Why?" of Why We Home School

Bible time with Daddy

As the time approached for Eden to start school, I've felt a nervous excitement over the decision we have made to home school.  Finding curriculum and planning our future year was a bit overwhelming, but mostly fun. It feels like I’ve been in a “nesting” period with planning, organizing, gathering curriculum in anticipation of starting this new endeavor. There are days I’m so excited about the future, then there are other days when I can’t believe I am about to take this next step. I often wonder if I’m capable of educating my children. It is in those times that I rest in the fact that God has entrusted Eden, Josiah and Titus to Larry and me; and that through HIM, all things are possible.

Home schooling has come a long way in the past 15-20 years. The stigma that was once attached to it is giving way to more acceptance as more and more children are leaving the public schools for home schools. Those children are now excelling in college and professionally. There are also support group, and resources available that make the process much easier than in the past. In fact, there are over 45,000 home schooling families in North Carolina.

As we meet people in the community, they ask which school Eden attends, we share that we home school. I wish I kept count of how many times my heart has been blessed when people find out. Most people are intrigued.  A lot of moms have said they wished they could do it, or they don’t have the patience to do it. Then we get questions as to why we do it. So I have compiled this list of following reasons, I don’t share all these when people ask. I try to keep the image of home schooling as sane as I can. : ) As time and opportunity permits, I do try to share our heart for home schooling.

Our primary reason for home schooling is our desire for our children to know God thorough their education. We believe that Discipleship and Education are one in the same in aspect of training our children.  Discipleship = Education

Sadly in our country, Discipleship is something you do on Sunday; Education is done Monday through Friday in a public school. But when you look to the Scriptures you will not find this separation. Discipleship IS Education. Passages like Deuteronomy 6 show us that teaching our children about God should be intertwined in every aspect of our daily life. There are constant teachable moments throughout our days. This has as much to do with their character as it does their knowledge of the world.


We want our children to know God as the creator of all knowledge, that everything we can ever know or experience is only by and though Christ. As we study Language and learn words, I want them to know the Word that became Flesh, Jesus Christ. As they learn to count, I want them to know the God who gave us order and systems that are constant. As we study History, I want them to realize God is the one who ordained time, and is sovereign over all time. Before there was even time, There was God.  As we study the solar system and astronomy, I want them to know it was God who created all of it. In every aspect of what our children will learn; Science, Social Studies, Math, Reading, History, Language, Art, Music, we want them to know the God who created it all.

Developing the character of our children is the next positive on our list of reasons to home school. Who is better in tune with the heart issues of our children than we are as their parents? Public schools don’t have the investment in training our children like Larry and I do. We are the ones who will be called to give an eternal account of our leading in their lives. As we begin formal education, developing my children’s character is much more important to me than how quickly they learn to read or write. 

And while we are discussing the public school arena, please do not take our desire to home school as a reason to think we hate public school. Let me state it clearly,  WE DO NOT HATE  PUBLIC SCHOOLS. My Sister in Law and my best friend are both public school teachers. Larry was a public school teacher before he went into the ministry. My Granddaddy and Granny dedicated their careers to public school education. Teachers are some of the hardest working and most under appreciated people I know. They deserve super hero capes and theme music to follow them around wherever they go. They deal with constant struggles, as class sizes continue to grow larger, resources become more limited, and discipline is always an issue.

Curriculum is another issue we are excited to have control over. You can spend LOTS of money homeschooling your children. Sadly there are no tax advantages to any expense we put in to education our children, but that’s another issue for another day.  However, homeschooling does not have to be expensive. Resources are limitless as to what you can gather through library books, the internet and life experiences. When we study dinosaurs, we can go to the museums in Rocky Mt or Raleigh and see dinosaurs after we check out free book about them from the library. When we study butterflies, we can hatch our own, and I bought a book on butterflies at a yard sale for either 50 cents or $1. When we study community helpers, there is a whole host of people we know from our community that would invite our children in to watch a day in the life of a police officer, dentist, librarian, doctor and farmer, just to name a few.  When we study the solar system we can make a model of one using supplies from the Dollar Tree and NASA online. Learning will be hands on for our children. How exciting that will be! If I do it well, they might not realize they are learning because they will be having so much fun!

There are two other big issues people question: Will they be shelter? And will they be socialized? And the answer to both is Yes.

It amazes me that people think being sheltered is a bad thing! Don't get me wrong, There are extremes to this thinking. But when you actually think it over why would you want to purposefully expose your children to things you don’t agree with and have no control over if you could prevent it? I have many friends who complain about the language their children have been exposed to as well as other offensive things their children have learned at school. I am perfectly fine with keeping my children outside of that environment. When people ask me if I’m worried they will be too sheltered, I reply no, and ask what advantage do they think their children will gain by being exposed to language and behaviors they don’t support.

Will they be socialized? Yes. It’s not like as home schoolers we will stay home all day, every day. Our family is super social.  The children are loved by all of our church members and engage with them often each week. We go to the park, library, grocery stores, and restaurants on a regular basis. Eden plays a Rec. league sport.  I also started a local home school support group. We have over 40 people in our group. I’m looking forward to our home school times with these families as we have music and nutrition classes and play dates this fall. We also have plans to do community service projects at a local nursing home. 

Will our children learn how to do things like public school kids? No

Our kids are not going to have to learn how to take bathroom break in groups of 20 or how to carry a lunch tray. It was brought to my attention recently that Josiah didn’t know how to act in a classroom. When I asked if he obeyed the teacher, she said yes. He followed directions. But He didn’t know how to put his hand on a wall and walk in line with other children. I was really upset at first, and then realized. Well, why should he? He doesn’t go to day care and will not go to public school.  I was so worried that he would never ever learn to stand in line! Then I started to laugh, we stand in line all the time at the grocery store, Wal-mart, McDonald and the library. We practice taking turns with one another at home. So yes, there are some skills they might miss out on, like putting their hands on the wall at school, but there are others we will gain. I’m OK with that!

The bigger aspect of the socialization issue is that our children will lean how to be adults from adults. Neat concept isn’t it? The qualities and characteristics that we find import, we will train our children to accomplish.

This is a big step for our family. I’m still trying to figure out a schedule and how many outside opportunities to engage in. I know there will be challenging days when I will feel like chasing down the school bus and putting them on board. But mostly I am excited that God has blessed me with this opportunity to invest in the three miracles he has given Larry and me. I pray I don’t mess them up to much!  I’ll try to keep you posted on how things go at New Covenant Christian Academy.



Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day at New Covenant Christian Academy

Today we enjoyed our first day of home school. Our homeschooling adventure has finally begun!

Last night, I was sharing with Larry how excited I was that we were about to embark on this new season in life. I  realized that today would be be the first day of what will take at least 17 year to complete. The task at hand began to overwhelm me. Besides becoming a Christian, The only time I've committed myself to something this big was marring Larry. Those were the best decisions I've ever made! I have a feeling homeschooling our children will be as well.

As I was thinking about the next 17 years, with a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, Larry said, "Gee you'll be in your early 50's by then!" Wow, way to make it real honey!

We laughed and acknowledged how important this decision is to our family. We've decided to sacrifice a lot in order for me to stay at home and educate our children. A few weeks ago, I pulled out all the resources I have been accumulating over the past year in anticipation of homeschooling. As I lined the shelves with books and craft supplies, I told Larry, this was our treasure. He knew what I trying to say and smiled.  

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

Our heart is for our children to grow up with a knowledge of God, I've spent a lot of time and our families resources on material for our children's education.We take their education very seriously and want the very best for each of them. In every aspect of what they learn, we desire for them to see it as a reflection of the God who created them. 

We started our school with a study on creation. We spent the day discussing God and what he made the first day he decided to make Himself known. I am excited for my children to grasp knowledge that I pray will ultimately be the foundation for their personal relationship with God. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Butterfly in the Sky

We had friends go out of town and ask if we would butterfly sit for them. Growing butterflies will be part of our Kindergarten curriculum next spring. So I figured it would be a great starting point for the kids to experience.  Little did I know we would hatch a beautiful butter in less than 2 days. How is that for immediate gratification for the kids (and Mom).

Eden decided to name her Morning. I guess because she was born in the morning. She also called her black and yellow, for obvious reasons.

Since I needed to study up on what butterflies eat and how to keep them, we decided to let ours free so she could fend for herself. We also called her a "she" but I have no idea if she was a she or a he. I just hope we'll see her around again, because it was a windy day and she left after being loved on by the kids.

 Opening the cage to let her free.

 Checking out the flowers. Food maybe?

 The millisecond that Eden held her, it was an insect after all!

 My curious Josiah ready to touch and hold her.

I love that smile!

This experience gave me great hope for all we are going to
learn and experience in home school this next year.