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Won't My Homeschooler Miss The Prom?

I had such silly fears when we started to homeschool.

Will my children have friends? Will I have enough time to myself? How will I teach them math? 

and, of course....

What about the PROM? 

That question is actually laughable to me now, but I GET IT. I understand how this could be a hangup to homeschooling, because the question really isn't about "THE PROM", it is about something much larger.

 

Won't My Homeschooler Miss The Prom?

It's Not Really About THE PROM

The world has told you to put your children in school - to send them away to others for the majority of every day. Most people (myself included) have done this, dutifully putting our children into a system because we didn't know any other way. 

We have relied on this system (either as parents or students) for most everything "social" in our lives, haven't we?  

From Valentine boxes, field days, and perfect attendance awards in elementary school --- to Honor Society, Pep Rallies, and THE PROM in high school -- we have been taught that these are just the things children DO.  

When you begin to homeschool guess what happens?

You slowly start to QUESTION everything about the system. You begin to wonder what the POINT of so many of these rituals are. You ask yourself what the point in them is -- other than the fact simply "everyone else is doing it".

(After I read Weapons of Mass Instruction the homeschool deal was sealed - I was officially questioning everything about education as I had knew it.)

Because you see, once you have the courage to homeschool you then begin to have the courage to question most things surrounding traditional school, and that questioning redefines the experiences you provide for your children.

And guess what?   

You can give them experiences that are JUST AS GOOD (if not better).  YOU get to decide what is best for them. 

And yes, one of those experiences is THE PROM.... 

 


But What's So Wrong With The Prom, Anyway?

(Please let me explain, this is meant to encourage you if you're worried about missing prom - it's not meant as an attack on those of you who participate in prom. Not everyone shares my homeschool convictions, but we can still be friends. I've also seen some lovely young people participate in prom and not get caught up in the nonsense. I'm writing about this to show some TRUTHS about why we have chosen a different path.)

We encourage our high schoolers (really still children themselves) to ask dates to a formal event.  Do you remember the heartache, drama, and embarrassment that went into finding a prom date?  Then, there is the distraction of asking your date to prom (many times involving elaborate signs, declarations, and Instagram posts), when you should really be focused on LEARNING.   

Next comes dress shopping, which can be a financial strain, not to mention have you tried finding a sweet, modest formal dress for a teen girl lately?  It's not easy. 

Let's move on to the expense of the event.  Dinner, prom tickets (yes, they sell tickets to prom now), sometimes a limo, flowers, and gifts.  

I'm wondering if this is really teaching our children how to best steward their resources? 

Finally, the event itself involves our teens on their own, many times staying out until the next morning.

Is this really the experience we want for our children - drama, spending too much money, embarrassment, staying out until all hours on their own, competing for status on social media? 


Give Them Something Better 

Giving my children something better was the main reason I decided to abandon the ideal of public school

And, as with most things, the issue of prom has turned out to be something we figured out -- and I think we are giving  better in this area, too.

Our local homeschool group has its own version of prom - it is greatly scaled back and most kids go as friends.  But, the option for a formal event is there. We also have several groups in our area that do spring dances, English Country Dances, and other social events.  There are ample opportunities for our teens to be together and have wholesome fun. 

My own daughter has already been to two formal events this spring - the most recent being Classical Conversations Protocol.  It's such a great alternative to prom.  

The young people receive etiquette instruction.  They attend a formal dinner (either in someone's home or at a restaurant) and then a cultural event. 

It's a meaningful, purposeful way to give our teens that social experience they crave - without the expense, drama, or potential of drinking and harmful activities. 

And that's just it - purposeful training of our children that instills manners, appreciation of others, themselves, and things of beauty. 

Don't they look great? 

 

Won't My Homeschooler Miss The Prom?

I watched these kids use impeccable manners, while spending time with all of their friends in an age appropriate, wholesome manner. They were genuinely interested in each other, esteeming each other and taking part in thoughtful conversation. 

Isn't this what we want from them when they are adults?  

Consider this (from a protocol participant)

Protocol creates polite, friendly atmosphere. Dressed in finery, our manners display our best; we are the same, but different. I like to think we reinvent our relationships from our day to day seminar experiences. I do. I relish my conversations; I esteem my dinner companions. The fellowship of a long, shared dinner is more than just eating. It is a banquet of hearts and minds.

I love opera: the musical drama of colorful costumes, of beautiful scenery, and of amazing singing. I reflect on emotions moved by brilliant orchestration combined with excellent libretto. Do people put a feather in their cap for seeing opera performances? Maybe, or maybe like me, they place their programs on a bookshelf to denote a special evening of dazzled senses. Either way, by making memories with management, by creating connections with context, and by reinventing relationships with relish, this marks more than an evening of artistry. This marks a slice of life that is worthwhile.
— Protocol participant

So, in answer to the question "Won't My Homeschooler Miss the Prom?" I would say NO.  

After you have been homeschooling awhile the issue of not having a "prom" will seem very silly to you, too. You will already be in the habit of functioning outside the box, and prom will be no different.

Talk to me about prom. What do your high school homeschoolers do?  

Won't My Homeschooler Miss the Prom?

Welcome to College

We have recently had a lot of discussions with our children about television and how some shows, while seemingly "entertaining" and "socially relevant" seek to promote beliefs that aren't in line with our Biblical beliefs.

Can you relate?

What are we to do in this world that is hostile to raising Godly children?

The solution isn't to shelter our children from all of this - they have to live in the world.  

One of our biggest prayers for our children is that they grow and mature in their faith through their teen and early adult years.  

We spend literally YEARS trying to live as examples of God's grace, teach our children the beautiful stories of the Bible, provide them opportunities for mission and service, and surround them with Godly role models who helps us instill a deep and meaningful faith in God and his abundant mercies.

The truth is, however, the world wants to tear that faith (and all of our best efforts) down. 

Help Your Teen Keep the Faith

*I was provided a copy of Welcome to College in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own and I never promote anything our family doesn't use and believe in. This resource is one I HAPPILY endorse and it is a blessing in our home. I was not compensated for this review.


Our children are bombarded at every turn with things the world deems "acceptable", "normal" and tells them that if it feels good - go for it!

It makes my head hurt just thinking about how HARD parenting a teen is in this age of social media, tolerance, and immense social pressure.

But here is the GOOD NEWS!  Sometimes you just KNOW God is moving in your child's life - doing a mighty thing. And many times, God equips us to provide our children with exactly what they need. 

 

Raising a Teen Isn't Easy

Homeschooling our teens can helps us fight the faith war we face each and every day. 

It isn't, however, a guarantee that our children won't face hard situations, cultural battles, and doubts.  Homeschool kids are just as susceptible to problems as other kids.

And, I believe parenting is uniquely difficult in this generation because of the emergence of social media and the quick dissemination of anyone's ideas - which our children sometimes accept as truth.

A wise author I have recently had the joy to get to know (more on that in a minute!) was just telling me that in the teen years the "protection" phase is over.  We can't protect our children from the things they will see and experience in the world.  We can, however, "inoculate" our teens and equip them to defend their faith and function in a world that is increasingly hostile to Christians.

We can no longer PROTECT, but we can INOCULATE.  (really think about that)

Once I heard that statement it completely changed how I thought about parenting my oldest - now 15. 

Help Your Kids "Keep the Faith"

 

My first line of defense in raising my children has always been prayer (and LOTS of it during the teen years).

I am also witnessing how God graciously provides the resources and people to help my husband and I raise strong, Godly children - to INOCULATE them. 

Today I want to share one of those resources with you - and you will want to add this resources to your parenting toolbox!


Welcome to College by Jonathan Morrow

Recently, I have had the joy of getting to know the author, Dr. Jonathan Morrow.

Jonathan's family is on the homeschooling journey with us. Our children are friends. Our families are friends. We are fortunate to be in such a supportive homeschooling community.

If you have a teen, you need to become very familiar with Jonathan's website and all of the wonderful resources he is providing for parents of teens - and for teens themselves.   (He offers a free download: Top 10 Biblical Worldview Resources for Teenagers.)

 

I first heard Jonathan speak in his role as Director of Cultural Engagement & Immersion at the Impact 360 Gap Year.   As time progressed and we began to form a relationship with Jonathan's family, I discovered what a wonderful resource he is not only for my own family, but for ALL families who wish to equip their children to maintain and defend their faith in their high school and college years. 

Jonathan wrote Welcome to College in 2008 and has revised it in 2017. I have been savoring every single chapter in this recent version - and also reading some chapters aloud with my 15 year old. 

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These topics are HARD to discuss with our kids. Sometimes we avoid them because they are hard.

But if we do that, the world will infuse our children with its beliefs. Thank goodness for Welcome to College and the dialogue it generates and the questions it answers.

The book is geared for students contemplating college, students in college, and those of us parenting them through it all. It makes a perfect graduation present, too!

I am more convinced than ever of the importance of the high school and college years in setting the trajectory for a life of following Jesus. There are real intellectual. moral. spiritual, and relational challenges. Students need to know what they believe as Christians, why they believe it, and how to live it out. Just because a student goes to church or attends youth group doesn’t not mean they are ready to follow Christ in today’s culture
— Dr. Jonathan Morrow / Welcome to College

Questions tackled in the book include:

  • How do you grow spiritually and follow Jesus on campus?
  • How do you manage your time to both study well and have fun?
  • What about peer pressure and alcohol?  Dating and sex?
  • How do you deal with doubts and challenges to your faith?
  • With so many beliefs out there, how do you know Christianity is really true?

Some of the chapters include Dealing with Doubts, Trusting the Bible, Preparing for Campus Life, Christianity, Homosexuality and the Bible, Unplugged and Offline, and a Christian View of Alcohol.  

There is so much goodness in this book - because our children are going to face so many of these issues as they leave the sheltered environments of their homes.  We must equip them with truth and how to speak that truth into others! 

 

So let's go back to the original question:  What are we to do in this world that is hostile to raising Godly children?

I think a great place to start is reading Welcome to College with your teens - you won't be disappointed. Let's keep them firmly pointed towards their faith in our loving, gracious, and merciful God. 



The Giveaway

Dr. Morrow is  giving away a signed copy of his book, Welcome to College.

Please follow the instructions in the widget below to enter.

  • This giveaway is for residents of the continental United States only.
  • Entries close on April 27 and midnight EST.

An Anchor to Our Days

Have you ever had a week where it seems like you are getting pulled in too many directions? Or maybe it's more than just a week. Maybe it's a few weeks or a season. 

I'm right smack in the middle of one of those seasons where it seems one thing after another keeps pulling our family away from our "normal." Some of the things are good things, positive things for our family. Other things are just hard. But they all feel like they are pulling us, pushing us, stressing us, and keeping us from the normal ebb and flow of our days.

I know I'm not the only one. 

Health problems, financial concerns, family responsibilities, over-committed schedules, or a whole host of other issues can place an extra burden on a homeschool family. And sometimes those things just seem to multiply all at once. Oh, how I know this to be true.

It's times like these that the anchors in our days show their strength. They help hold us steady. 

We have anchors built into our family life. Things like our morning and evening routines, regular mealtimes, weekly scheduled activities, family prayer time, etc. The predictability and consistency is good for our kids. It's good for me too.

But one anchor that has lately been helpful and healing to our family is our read aloud time.  

Some of our anchors have us going in different directions. Like when we are each getting ready for the day, or me preparing meals while the kids work on school work, or different extracurricular activities throughout the week. 

But reading aloud brings us together.

This is always a good thing. But when life is hectic and scrambled, it has even more significance. 

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*This post is from guest contributor, Amy. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your heart with us today! 


What We are Reading Aloud

We have been reading picture books during our family read aloud times for years. But we are now reading our first chapter book as a family read aloud with my youngest. She just hasn't wanted to sit still for chapter book read alouds in the past. 

We are reading Charlotte's Web. This is the first chapter book I read aloud to my oldest several years ago. It brings back such sweet memories for both of us. I hope my youngest will have fond memories of reading it together as well. 

Charlotte's Web was a favorite book of mine when I was a child. We are reading aloud from my childhood copy of this delightful book. It was given to me when I was seven years old and still has the inscription in the front of who gave it to me and the date. I have a few special books that I have from my childhood and this one is at the top of the list.

We are going to see a performance of Charlotte's Web in a few weeks. I can't wait to finish reading this aloud with my children and then experience it in person with them. 

I think Charlotte's Web is a wonderful book for a first chapter book read aloud. It really draws children in with the characters and the story line. Stories by E.B White are a must-read to children in my opinion. Why not enjoy them together as a family read aloud? Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little are two more children's books by E.B. White to add to your read aloud list. 

 


Read Alouds are an Anchor to Our Days

Last week we had severe storms in our area. Buckets of rain poured down. Tornado warnings sounded over the local stations. As our family huddled together in the bathroom, we read aloud

When my daughter had to wear an eye patch for several days due to an eye injury, we spent lots of time reading aloud. I read Charlotte's Web aloud. Her brother read picture books to her. She "read" her favorite books from memory out loud to us. Her Daddy read silly stories to her. 

My husband travels a good bit for business so it's important for us to maintain a steady routine for the kids whether he is home or not. This makes his leaving easier for all of us. When he was on an extended out of town business trip this week, the kids wanted to "camp" in the living room. We snuggled together and read aloud.

With a close family member having major surgery and initiating cancer treatment in recent weeks, our days and our emotions are frazzled. But we read aloud together at night before bed. 

With the school year coming to an end in our Classical Conversations groups, our homeschool co-op, and other extra curricular groups, there are extra activities and events to attend. Some days we just don't get to all the things we have hoped to accomplish. But we try to make reading aloud a priority.

Reading aloud brings us together.

It calms us.

It helps bring peaceful moments to our hectic days.

It feels like an anchor to our days. 

I encourage you to make reading aloud a priority if you are going through a tough season, a busy few weeks, or just need some more predictability and steadiness in your days. You may find that setting aside the time to read together reaps exponential rewards.

You may find that reading aloud together feels like an anchor holding your days in place even when the rest of your world is trying to push and pull you in a thousand other directions. 

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An Anchor for Our Souls

Ultimately, I believe the anchor that holds our lives steady and sure is Jesus. One of my favorite verses is...

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19

No matter the ebb and flow our of days, Jesus is the answer to leading a life of hope and security. 

And along that journey, I hope you find reading aloud with your family brings you closer together and helps bring some steadiness and peace to your days. 

If you don't already have personal copies of Charlotte's Web or any of E.B. White's other books, you may click through the links below to order. These sweet stories have stood the test of time and would be a wonderful edition to your home library. 

Do you have a favorite chapter book read aloud for young readers?