If you're new here, maybe you don't yet know that we homeschool, much less why we homeschool. And even though I've told our story to many inquisitive people in person, I've never written about it here.
Grow up, get married, have babies…homeschool?
I remember growing up that I wanted nothing more than to get married (preferably into a big family) and have babies. I loved babies. But after the baby phase, I had these movie visions of what it would be like to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to drive a Volvo station wagon, drop the kids at school and then have the day to myself to tidy the house, have coffee with friends, read, shop, get a manicure and then at the end of the day bring my kids home for milk and cookies at the big kitchen island.
Well I did grow up and get married (into a very large family, I might add!) and have babies. Three of them in four years. (So far so good.)
But when it came time to register the oldest for kindergarten he was three and a half and pretty small. And he was supposed to get on a large school bus with kids of all ages and ride halfway across town to go to school.
Not exactly what this Momma had pictured. My brain started tumbling around random thoughts.
Perhaps we could wait until he was a little older. After all, where we live kids don't legally have to be schooled until they're six.
Let's just see how things go.
Then we moved to another city, directly into a not-so-good school district. (The only place we could afford a house at the time.)
Yeah, we could definitely wait.
In the meantime I was teaching our son letters, numbers, colors, etc. The stuff that parents have been teaching their kids for generations – my Mom had taught me to read before I went to kindergarten.
Then God started whispering to my heart about homeschooling.
When I mentioned it, Dean was on board, no problem. I however wasn't entirely convinced.
But that still small voice didn't let up.
It's always best to heed that voice.
Okay God, we can try that. For a little while. While the kids are small.
It seems funny now to look back and think how nervous I was/we were to tell our families. But neither Dean nor I had been homeschooled. It wasn't even on our parents radar. At the time it was not the norm in our world.
We said “one year at a time” for several years.
Then one fall God said, “Shannon, this is for good, unless I tell you otherwise.”
And I had a temper tantrum. A hissy fit. A full-on pouting, grumbling, foot-stomping tantrum.
This is NOT what I pictured. It is not how I imagined my days for the next 14 years or so.
Of course, it's always better when we just obey.
But I obeyed very grudgingly for that whole school year. Until the idea became the norm for us.
Why We Homeschool
So beyond the obvious “God told us to” (which is a really good reason in and of itself), why do we homeschool?
Dean grew up as the 6th of eight kids. He didn't like school. He didn't do well in school. Did I mention he didn't like school? He wanted and still wants our kids to have the one-on-one, smaller ratio, geared to individual learning styles that being homeschooled brings.
I grew up the oldest of three children. I LOVED school and everything about school. I loved the structure, the books, the learning. All of it. Until I got to high school. Then three things really tripped me up.
1. The peer stuff. I looked for love in all the wrong places. I was a mess. It's only by God's grace that I didn't get into more trouble than I did. That is a story for another day though.
2. The so-called literature. Some of the required reading still haunts me to this day. I am totally creeped out by George Orwell's 1984, among other books. It amazes me the stuff that high-schoolers are required to read. And then we wonder why they're even more depressed and emotionally messed up than before.
3. The idea presented by many of my teachers that all views are valid, that the goal is always the top of the mountain and all roads lead there. But then, they said, stand for something or you'll fall for anything. It was incredibly confusing for me.
So just what do we hope to give our children by homeschooling them?
Dean and I look at our roles as parents as a great responsibility. God has given us these three specific kids to love, nurture and teach. We know them better than any other person on earth (until they get married). We know their dreams, their fears and their beautiful faces from before chicken pox, bicycle accidents and pimples.
By homeschooling them, we hope to:
- instill in each of them a life-long love of learning and reading
- help each of them train for their desired career and discover their individual life-purpose
- give them a view of life and the world that makes them want to make it a better place
- grow in them a Creationist view of the world (the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, not a big bang, random chance or evolution)
- give them the opportunity to befriend people of all ages, not just those with the same birth year as themselves
It's a tall order and some days it's overwhelming to think that I am their main teacher.
But then I remember all the resources I am blessed to have at my fingertips (and just an internet order away) and that I have a very big God who is behind me. And if my God is for me, who can stand against me?
P.S. This is why WE homeschool. It does not mean we think everyone else should homeschool their own kids. That choice is yours and yours alone. We welcome your comments and thoughts in the comments section…but keep it kind please. No negativity will be tolerated. 🙂