This is Part Two of Homeschool Fears. I heard fears (and reassurances from all types of homeschoolers last week: newbies, veterans, and those contemplating homeschool).
The biggest thing that has jumped out at me in the past week is that if you are CONVINCTED you should be homeschooling, don't let anything or anyone stop you!
Some posts I've found particularly insightful are as follows:
- How to Homeschool Tips - from Daze of Adventure
- Homeschooling Do's and Dont's - from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
- Erasing the Fear of Homeschooling - from The Pioneer Woman
Perhaps the most convincing thing I read was this, from my friend Carrie at When Hearts Bloom:
If I acknowledge the importance of discipleship and personally adopt the commands stated in Deuteronomy 6:5-7, then I must be the teacher. If I realize the public schools distort and omit history to serve a humanist worldview, I must be the teacher. If my children require specialized attention or extra time to grasp a concept, I must be the teacher. If my daughters and son ask questions and want truthful answers as well as differing opinions, I must be the teacher. If I desire my children to accept Christ as Savior, I must be the teacher.
I hope you take a minute to remember the first three homeschool fears I talked about last week. I will present a few more this week.
How Can I Be Sure My Child Is Getting What They Need?
This question, my friend, is tricky. Getting what they need according to whom? The government? The best private school in town? Or, how about what a popular series of books says children in each grade level should know?
Let me suggest a few simple ways to be sure your child is "getting what they need":
- PRAY Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Oh, some people think this is just leaving their child's education to "chance", but I beg to differ. I believe God knows my children's destinies and is merely helping me steer them through life, if I only LISTEN!
- RESEARCH You can't walk into homeschool blind. Research methods, curriculums, etc.. I spent a good six month researching before we took the plunge.
- DO NOT COMPARE Your child will NEVER know exactly what the children in the local public or private schools do. They may know less or they may know more. I love to think that mine know DIFFERENT! There is a reason I took them out of school, and it wasn't to replicate the school knowledge at home.
- TRUST Have faith everything will work out for the best. God has put just the right mentors, friends, and supporters in our family's path. He directs me to the resources and opportunities. I love the way my children's education is turning out, and it has been a combination of personal effort and trust in God!
I look back on the road we have traveled the past three years and see my children have gotten exactly what they needed at exactly the right time. It's amazing, really. And the coolest thing is -- I've been there to witness every single minute of it!
How Can I Juggle The Needs of Many Children/Small Children?
While I cannot speak to this directly, I know two bloggers who can:
Raising Arrows - Amy offers encouragement and support for large homeschooling families
Hodgepodge - Tricia has some VERY practical posts about scheduling and habits in her homeschool. She also offers wonderful art tutorials!
From what I can tell, and from limited experience with planning for two, there is much learning that can be done together, and children learn quite effectively FROM each other. Again, it's a fear I understand, but know that (again) if there is WILL, there is a WAY!
How Will My Child Be Socialized?
This question garners a collective GROAN from veteran homeschoolers, but it is a LEGITIMATE question for people who have known nothing other than the traditional school world.
Sitting at baseball two weeks ago a mom asked me that exact question. She said she had always wanted to homeschool, but was worried how her child would be socialized. I told her first that I hope she didn't think I was being rude, and then to please consider a few questions:
- What kind of socialization exactly are you looking for? Obviously the kind with 25 children the same age feeding off of each other all day isn't really working for your child.
- Are you a member of a church? Does your child play on a baseball team? Do they have neighborhood friends? Have you looked into our local homeschool group (400 families strong!)? You have to be willing to step out of the BOX and realize that socialization occurs in many places other than school.
- Have you considered that being socialized with the same group of seven year olds all day has a negative impact on your child's learning? Maybe he would learn more and better from adults and children of differing ages.
- Finally (and I take no credit for this, it comes from my friend Jimmie).... Socialization? I thought school was for EDUCATION!
I have seen my children's hearts flourish since they have been home. They have time to consider life outside the walls of a school. They are free to bake cookies for an elderly woman at church who is sick. They have time to write a letter of encouragement to a college friend who is lonely. They have time to go out to lunch and help their granddaddy do his grocery shopping. These are things that build COMPASSION in my children... these are things they wouldn't be doing if they went to school.
Yes, they have friends their own age - and friends older and younger. But they also realize that we do not live in an age segregated world and that the world is SO MUCH BIGGER than a classroom of children their own age.
There is someone in my life who has been critical of homeschooling. I've read veiled attacks of our choice to homeschool on their Facebook page and even listened to some less than helpful comments in person. The interesting thing is -- this person isn't a family member or even a close friend. They are simply an aquaintance. You know what? Sometimes you have to let people go that aren't lifting you up or supporting you. And that's OK. Yes, it's hard - but my children's education is too important to let a naysayer drag me down. I'm a big girl and need to focus on my own path, not what others think of that path.
This was shared with me last week -- it is the journey of one mom's journey from homeschool to public school. It is worth reading -- I love her candor, authenticity, and honesty. I share it with you because I want us to all realize that whatever decision we make to educate our children, as parents we do it with the best of intentions. There needs to be more support and lifting up of each other rather than criticism.
I hope this series has encouraged you. If you are considering homeschooling I want you to know that it has not always been a bed of roses. There are hard days, but as I look back to the days in public school, the hard days were much more frequent then. I wouldn't trade homeschool for anything in the world. Truly, I wouldn't.