Why Are You Home Educating Anyway?

Guest Post by Aimee Imbeau.

How do you respond when you are asked this question?  Are your immediate thoughts regarding the failing public system?  Are you tempted to argue that you are the one who can provide your children the best education possible? 

Maybe we chose this path so that we may protect them from the big, bad world.

If the above reasons, or reasons like them, are our main reasons for home education, I think we are missing something BIG here.

Why are you home educating anyway? @hsbapost

I’ve been in the homeschool world long enough to know that home education will not save our children.  It has become exceptionally simple to worship home education.  I’ve seen families use it to keep their family in a ‘safe’ bubble. Don’t get me wrong; I long to keep my children protected and sheltered.  I firmly believe that safeguarding our children is of utmost importance.  It is our responsibility as parents.

BUT

Our children’s salvation does not rely on home education.  

Only Jesus can save our children.  Let’s not lose our focus on this.

We need to understand why we have chosen to home educate our children.  In my family, these are the main reasons we “home disciple” our children:

1.     I’m home educating so that my children will fulfill the Great Commission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20, NKJ.

2.     Home education is a wonderful opportunity to develop the love for God’s word within my children and to deepen their belief in His word and in who He is.

3.     I can teach my children that His word is ultimate truth.  We need the next generation to know that God’s word is truth and to respect God’s word as authority.  We have absolutely no business redefining God’s word. 

4.     I am better equipped to teach my children to know God’s word.  If my children know what His word says, if they trust and believe God at His word, then it will be more difficult for them to be swayed and deceived by false teachings.  It is easier to deceive the biblically illiterate.

5.     I think the best reason for home educating our children is so that they will fulfill the greatest commandment.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37, NKJ 

This is the first and greatest commandment. My absolute main reason for home educating my children is to teach them to love an amazing God.  They can be the smartest kids, get into the best schools, make a ton of money, but if they fail to love God as Jesus commanded, then I have seriously missed the mark and done them a great disservice.      

A New Covenant

A favorite verse in the home school realm is Deuteronomy 6:7-9; and rightfully so.  Scripture should be spoken of regularly in the home.  But I’d like to add another verse to this premise:

“I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  Hebrews 8:10, NKJ

Under the new covenant, the word of God is written upon the heart, not just around the home.  I want the Word and the gospel to penetrate the mind and heart of my children.  I want their hearts transformed.  

How do I do this?  I have many methods and activities that we carry out consistently.  One area we focus on daily is our worship.  Here are some ideas:

  • We have a worship playlist set up in YouTube.  The songs are played and lyrics are on the computer.   This makes for a very easy worship time since I don’t play an instrument nor do I have the gift of singing. One of the blessings of our morning worship is when I hear my youngest tell me “I have a song in my head” – and it is the worship song we sang that morning – even an old hymn!   
  • I allow children to take turns choosing songs and ‘leading’.  My kids love picking songs for the family to sing.
  • We listen to Christian music through KLove online radio during our lessons.  Sometimes an upbeat song comes on and we have to turn it up (PE?).  
  • I recently discovered Hymn unit studies online.  My children have fallen in love with Jesus more through studying and singing hymns.  Hymns like “Before the Throne of God”, “Be Thou my Vision”, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” are ones we have journeyed through together.  
  • Many songs are based upon scripture verses – both hymns and contemporary music.  We find those verses in the Bible and discuss them.  My kids get excited and joyful when they correlate scripture and their favourite songs.  I’ve recently discovered that these songs have helped significantly with scripture memorization!
  • We investigate other ways to worship God such as through visual arts, making up our own songs (writing a Psalm!!), dance, poetry, appreciating God’s creation and more.

Worship is one of the many ways I instill God’s truth in the hearts of my children.  How have you brought worship into your home education?  

Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC.  Aimee has been blissfully married for 17 years and still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus.  When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking and having heart to heart talks with girlfriends.  She blogs over at A Work of Grace. 

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Division of Labor, Multiplication of Love

 

There are many non-obvious benefits to homeschooling.

In this post I want to talk about the fact that, done properly, homeschooling will actually strengthen marriages.

Homeschooling Can Strengthen Marriage ~ A Homeschool Dad's Perspective @hsbapost

Nothing pains me more than to see homeschoolers make classic mistakes. It can be so hard just to muster the courage to remove one’s children from *the system* in the first place….that I hate to see failure on much easier decisions and actions.

Just off the top of my head I would say that some of the classic mistakes include: recreating “school at home”, trying to purchase educational results, submitting to Minecraft, television, and cell phone mania, adopting the ridiculously low standards of government schools, trying to constantly make learning “fun”….and one more – having one parent do ALL OF THE HOMESCHOOLING.

Recently I was on a “homeschool dad” forum and one after another admitted that their wives do “99% of the homeschooling”. Some declared themselves the “principal” of their family’s homeschool, whatever that means. My gut reaction to reading all this, for the umpteenth time, was pretty negative. Although my wife’s was far more indignant! Her stance on the matter is very chauvinistic, “Hah….typical do-nothing men who think being in charge is work.”

You see, she’s employed by a large financial institution which is run by, well, the people she just described! And despite her lofty and vast responsibilities there, she still manages to play a very active role in the home education of our children. She does at least 50% of it despite 6 am commuter trains to catch and flying to so many countries that border control has trouble finding room for a new stamp on her passport!

There’s just NO EXCUSE for a homeschooling parent to, well, do nothing.

The off-parent can research materials and ideas on the web, can assign books to the kids, can go over their work each day even if for only 10 minutes.

The off-parent can help plan out each week’s assignments. They can do math. They can have important discussions with their kids. They can reinforce, rather than undermine(!), the daily rules and discipline of the household. They can email their kids interesting articles. My children, still only 8 and 10 years old, are emailing their mother all day long about their assignments and whatnot. All of this falls certainly under the heading of “homeschooling”.

Sure, exercise is important but the father who thinks his job is merely to throw a ball to his kids or explain televised football penalties, well, they aren’t doing anything more than a “school father”.

Sometimes it’s not totally the off-parent’s fault either. Sometimes they aren’t involved because the on-parent is territorial and all but discourages input or help. Think of the young mother who never lets or demands that Dad change a diaper….who then can never go away for a couple days because the baby (or Dad!) wouldn’t survive on Dad’s watch.

I’m old fashioned in many respects but am decidedly new-fashioned when it comes to the division of labor within a marriage. I feel strongly that both remunerative work and housework should be shared as much as possible. And the same goes for the homeschooling work!

After all, we are trying to raise polymaths, right? What kind of example is set for a son when Dad never does housework? How can a daughter ever learn to value math when her own mother avoids it like the plague?

It’s really incumbent on the parent who’s being squeezed out to insert and assert themselves more.

And it’s incumbent on the single homeschooling parent to demand more cooperation from their spouse.

Why?

What’s so wrong with having roles? What’s wrong with playing to our strengths as parents?

Nothing super horrible anyway. Except that such a working chemistry wastes a huge opportunity and can even introduce risks to a family.

There was a widely-read article in the Wall Street Journal recently that recommended couples marry while they are young, immature, and still struggling rather than when they were older and established in life. An early marriage was likened to a “start-up” – teeming with energy and potential and a later marriage was likened to a stodgy combination of intractable corporate behemoths.

Here’s the link again – Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray – take a moment to read it now. It’s short and worthy of your attention.

I couldn’t help but read that about “start-up marriages” without realizing that the very act of homeschooling is essentially a start-up.

A young family is a blank slate, a pile of clay,…it can be designed, dreamed, and sculpted into anything. Of course I’m talking about the kids, but also about Mom and Dad. Homeschooling presents a unique opportunity for a family to learn, work and grow together.

I realized that my wife and I, while having vastly different friends and hobbies, we at least have our kids in common. In addition to what we do directly with them, we’ve spent many, many nights up in bed talking about our children. We’re planning, hoping, commiserating, worrying, and strategizing any number of things: from hiring teachers, altering curricula, shifting foci of attention, how to better discipline them, etc. It can be so intense that many, many times one of us has declared, “Okay, no more talking about the kids tonight.”

Yeah of course we’ve had some legendary arguments: Spanish or French, punishments, how much academic work is enough, etc. and decision “spheres” certainly do take shape.

HOWEVER, most parents don’t have this; they don’t have this fodder to constantly talk about; as a couple, they don’t have common goals (i.e. children) they are working on, together. Sure school parents may also spend a lot of time discussing their kids….EXCEPT they are powerless to really do anything about how their kids are being raised, educated, and not to mention socialized!

The thing with marital relationships is, they either move forward and get better…..or they tragically deteriorate.

And as I said at the top, in the middle, and just above….done properly, homeschooling will strengthen your marriage – it definitely has in my case.

Lastly, I’ll explain the title of the post.

Mathematically speaking, when “labor” is “divided by 1″….it’s not effectively a division. In that case it’s more accurately a separation of labor and effectively a separation of people.

 

Dan (9 Posts)

Husband to Inez. Father of John and Christine. Homeschool Coach, Accelerated Math Teacher. Former derivatives trader and future scratch golfer! Follow our learning adventures at HomeschoolDad.com.


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Balancing the many plates of a homeschool mom!

Homeschool moms have a lot on their plate. We are teachers, nurses, cooks, moms, housekeepers and more.  We run ourselves ragged, and too often feel like what we do is never enough.

So, what can we do to help balance all we have to do? There are a few different ways.

Balancing

Seek Help

It is okay to ask for help when needed. When I had lots of littles (my own and daycare kids) I paid someone to come in and play with the kids for an hour or two a week while I caught up on laundry, paperwork, or ran errands. Later, when my youngest was born, I paid a teen in our church to come in twice a month and do messy art projects with the girls. She taught linear drawing, paper Mache, origami and more.

If you can’t pay someone to help, ask friends if they would like to swap child care with you once a week or once a month. Many moms would love the chance to have some down time to themselves, and this arrangement can work out well!

Don’t Do it All

You do not HAVE to do it all. Lower standards on housekeeping during the years of having little ones.  Teach your older children to help out around the house. By the age of 10, your kids can be a big help. There are tons of printables and chore lists out there on the web that can let you see what may be age appropriate.  Split some tasks or subjects with your husband.

No one said that you have to do all the tasks on your plate. Too often we moms assume we have to do it all, or that it is our responsibility. We can too often wear ourselves thin trying to keep up. So, do what needs doing, do the best you can, and the rest can wait!

Stop Comparisons

This is KEY to balancing all we have to do. Oftentimes we compare what we do to other moms. SHE has all three kids in 3 sports each. SHE has dinner on the table (on glass plates) every night when her husband gets home. THAT mom is teaching her child French, while our child has barely grasped English.

STOP. You don’t know that mom’s story. Maybe her gift is French, and yours is something else. Maybe the sports are a way for her to get a moment to breath. Maybe she really enjoys cooking elaborate meals, and her gift is hospitality.

When we stop comparing ourselves to other moms we can start looking more at our gifts. We can get a grasp on what we are good at. Maybe you didn’t have dinner on the table today, but you did take the time to listen to your daughter practice the piano. Maybe laundry is still in the baskets, but you took the time to practice some extra multiplication problems with your son.

The simple thought of balancing it all is a pipe dream. As moms there is no way we can do it all, never mind balance it all. We need to give ourselves grace, ask for help, and stop comparing our homeschool life to everyone else’s.

 

Misty (9 Posts)

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.


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