While the first week of October I focused generally on blending the areas of our lives, this week I will focus on homeschooling. If you do homeschool, feel free to chime in on the comments. If you don’t, my hope is that this will give you a better understanding of the blended life that includes homeschooling.
So often it is tempting for those of us who homeschool to make snappy comebacks and snarky comments when people criticize or ask questions about our choice. I’m sure I have been guilty of that, at least in my own mind. However, I’m going to assume that if you are reading this and don’t homeschool, you are genuinely curious.
Big Question: Are You Qualified to Homeschool Your Children?
To be completely honest, I feel unqualified to even be a mother most of the time. However, there are a couple reasons I know I’m supposed to be a mother to these children.
1. God called me to marriage which includes at least the possibility of procreation.
2. God allowed me to conceive and bear four children.
Pretty basic, huh? Nothing you didn’t already know. However, it is necessary to know that since I am qualified in God’s eyes to be my kids’ mother, I am also required to be a steward of them and their education.
Many people delegate this responsibility. That’s perfectly fine, if that’s God’s will for you. However, my husband and I have decided since it is our responsibility to educate and prepare our children for launching in about 18 years, we want to have as much time as possible with them to teach them the things we want them to know. And not just the things we want them to know, but the things God wants them to learn.
Enough of the background information. Now to answer the question of qualification.
I know I am qualified to teach my children at home because:
1. Home education was the preferred method of instruction for most of history.
Without getting into a long history lesson, the public school system is a rather recent design. For centuries, children were taught at home or one-on-one by tutors. Even in early America, the one-room school house was the model of education. Many home educators follow this model of teaching all grade levels in one room where younger students can learn from the older students as well as the teacher.
2. No one knows my children like I do.
Although the basics of mathematics and grammar are universal, each child has a different way of learning things. I have birthed my children and have trained myself to know at a glance if they are sad, angry or have a headache. I realize I can’t possibly know everything that is in their heart, but I have made knowing my children a chief goal.
It stands to reason, then, that I know how they will learn best. No matter how good the teacher, she cannot possibly cater to all the individual needs of my children in the same way I can.
My daughter learns best reading from a large stack of books on a variety of interesting subjects in a comfortable place. One son often reads with his head hanging off the couch and feet in the air and repeats back facts from things he has heard audibly spoken. Another son requires a gentle approach and has an affinity for neatness and order. My youngest son is hands-on and constantly wants to “help”.
I believe that there is a possibility of the classroom style stifling or destroying my children’s love for learning. The love of and ability to keep on learning is the whole of education. A teacher is really only a guide to that end.
3. I have been taught all I must teach my children.
When someone is shocked that I would try to teach my child to read, I must admit I don’t quite understand their concern. I read quite well and often. I actually read before I ever went to school myself since my parents read to me in my preschool years. Why could I not teach my children a skill I can do myself?
I graduated from high school with more than passing grades as did my husband. We have successfully completed all courses that our children must complete. The ones I am less able to understand, I can always pass on to my husband who is my educational opposite. If both of us struggle with a concept or course, there are a multitude of resources available to help us teach it to our children.
4. I meet the law’s requirements.
I realize that all states are different, but all the law in my state requires of me is that I have a high school diploma or equivalent to be my child’s teacher. They have a bit more to say about the way I teach them. However, as long as I have a diploma, they trust me to teach my child.