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Friday, January 10, 2014

Mythbusters: Why I Can't Homeschool

Mythbusters: Why I Can't Homeschool -
10 Reasons Not to Homeschool
(and why I do it anyway)
10. "I have to work."
I'll be the first to admit that supporting a family on a single income is not easy to do in a double-income society. Much like the camel passing through the eye of a needle, it sounds impossible. It requires sacrifice and planning. It definitely requires trusting God and His plan for our good. What most people don't realize is that the sacrifice is well worth the reward of a trimmed budget. When you no longer spend money on work clothes and shoes, gas and auto maintenance expenses, grab a coffee or lunch with your co-workers, suddenly you'll see a shift in what you need to life within your means. Maybe you don't need to work full time any more. Maybe you could get away with part time work  for now while you spend more time with your family. I realize that some families aren't able to do that, perhaps a single mom or a disabled dad, but I've seen against-the-odds families like that homeschool anyway. And no amount of money can buy back the time I'd miss with my children. Trust God: It is possible.
Mark 10:27 says-
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
9. "I don't have a teaching degree."
Neither do I. I also do not have a culinary degree, but I cook for my family daily. I don't have a degree in theology either, but that doesn't stop me from actively studying God's Word. So what makes you "qualified" to teach, you ask? Well, how does experience sound. I'm pretty sure if you're reading this that you know your alphabet, how those letters form words. Those words are strung together in an organized fashion to make sentences to express thoughts and ideas, then grouped together into paragraphs. And so on. It's like building blocks. You have to start at the bottom, lay a strong, supportive foundation, and then build upwards and outwards from there. Trust me, if you have kids, you've ALREADY been teaching them for years. How to brush their teeth, button their pants, tie their shoes, say "please" and "thank you" at appropriate times. All of those things take practice. Homeschooling is no different. Ask God to give you wisdom and trust that He will equip you.
James 1:5 says-
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
8. "I wouldn't know where to begin."
That's okay. Most veteran homeschoolers, if they're honest with you, will tell you that they had that same thought 5 years in a row come mid-summer. This is (only) my 9th year of homeschooling and, let me tell ya- just when I thought I was getting the hang of it for the elementary grades, my kids were in middle school. Then I blinked for a minute or 3 and now high school's on the horizon. When you're just getting started, it's helpful to have a mentor or even someone who's a few years ahead of you, to encourage and help answer what will seem like a million questions. That's one if my favorite things to do now that I have a few years of experience. Truly a Titus 2 opportunity!
Titus 2:3-5 says-
Older women...are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
7. "I can't afford it."
When I started homeschooling, my husband worked full time and I worked 30 hours a week PLUS babysitting 2 of the neighbor's children. We lived in a "fixer-upper" that needed a lot of TLC. We did what we could to stretch what little we had. I had little time and even less money for homeschool supplies. We started with the basics, using supplies we already had at home, a couple workbooks from the dollar store, and several freebies I found online. ALL of our books came from the library. My school budget for the whole year was about $50. Most of that went towards printer ink. Since then, our income and budget have varied from year to year, but I've found that even when I could afford the all-in-one box, complete curriculum, I didn't stick with it and it was a waste of money. There is rarely a one-size-fits-all that works for each student...or each parent. They all require "tweaking" them to get the most out of them. Like #8 and 9, ask God for wisdom and seek a mentor for advice. Both with save you tons! I still borrow or buy used when possible to save even more. The way I see it, I can't afford not to give my children the best possible education.
6. "My kids will miss out on so much!"
Let's see...by choosing to homeschool, my kids are missing out on bullying and conflict resolution, recess, school lunches, field trips, dances and parties, building friendships, riding the bus...
Um, no. They've actually experienced ALL of these things, it just looks a little different.
• Bullying gets minimized, but that can happen even from an older sibling or neighbor! We get to instill our family's values when we are present and able to guide them through conflict.
• Recess happens at parks and in backyards and open fields and the beach and...the list goes on.
• School lunches. Really?
• Field trips, big and small, are a regular part of our homeschooling. Just an example of a big one, I organized for 150 homeschoolers to get a behind the scenes look at the local movie theater before watching a family friendly movie. And small, we went to a glass-blowing demonstration from a local artisan and got to work with hot, melted glass. Trying squeezing 30 kids into something like that! Can you spell danger and liability?
• Dances and parties- there are so many opportunities for these when you get connected with a homeschool group. They are as big or a small as your imagination and usually just require a volunteer to plan them.
• If you feel your kids are missing something by not riding the school bus, send them to youth camp with your church or, better yet, show them how to ride the city bus. A skill everyone should have "just in case".
5. "My kids need socialization!" 
Consider this: Webster's dictionary defines socialization as "the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status". Are you sure that was the word you meant to use? Other sources define it as "To place under government or group ownership or control" (freedictionary.com) Hmm...does that mean you were only good enough for training and educating your children from infancy through age 5 or 6? From there they need the government to "own or control" their learning. If you're half as confused as I am at that one, let me just say (for now) that God thinks quite highly of the FAMILY and He says it's for the parents to train their own children. A hard task of your child's gone all day.
Deuteronomy 6:7 says -
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 
If you're still thinking your little social butterfly princess is going to need her peers' influence more than yours, I invite you to visit your local middle or high school, shopping mall or other popular teenage hang out. Are you sure that's where you want your child's "habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society" to be formed? Let me know when that sinks in. 
4. "I'll never have time for ME if I'm with my kids all day, every day."
Yes, this is true. You will be sacrificing your time, your ambitions, your vanity, and probably a touch of your sanity for the sake of your children. Is it worth it? Absolutely. And you, like Moses, will discover the importance of finding a supportive friends and family, like Aaron and Hut, to "hold up your arms" when you grow weary. And you will. They will be the same ones who celebrate your victories. 
Exodus 17:11-12 says-
Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 
Before you know it, your children will be grown and you will have plenty of "me" time that you'd rather sacrifice to spend...with your grandchildren.
3. "I'm not disciplined enough."
Discipline requires training. It requires repetition and consistency. Think of what it takes to train for a marathon or even just training from a sedentary lifestyle to running your first 5k. It's generally not something you jump into without preparing and conditioning yourself. Weeks or months or maybe years of training. It's an ongoing process to continue improving and strengthening your body. You wouldn't consider doing doing it without the proper gear and preparation, would you? Once you make the decision to do it, you have to start somewhere, whether talking to a seasoned pro or researching "how to" books, to get a plan of action in place. Then you do what Nike's been telling you for years: "Just do it!" Oh, and the awkwardness of doing something new will pass. 
The same is true with homeschooling. Over time, it gets easier, feels more natural, and you begin to see the lifelong benefits that emerge from your hard work. 
2. "I don't have the patience." 
Neither do I. Every day I turn this struggle over to God and let Him deal with it. REALITY CHECK: Sometimes I pick it back up and see if I can do it on my own, but I can't. Homeschooling and fulltime parenting have been The #1 thing to grow me closer to the Lord and totally dependent on Him. I do not have the patience to do this, but God provides for my every need...if I let him. I have learned to surrender control over to Him, even as I create my lesson plans and organize my calendar. I make plans, but let God direct my steps.
Proverbs 16:9 says-
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. 
And, the #1 reason why I can't homeschool...
1. "I'm afraid I'd make a mess out of my kids."
FEAR is an ugly thing. It will rob you of your most precious dreams. It will lock you in bondage, unable to move freely. It will hold you captive as the Enemy whispers lies of incompetency and inadequacy in your ears. 
Isaiah 12:2 says-
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord  God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” (emphasis mine)
Choosing to homeschool means taking a huge leap of faith. It means going against society's "norm" and choosing the road less traveled. It means trusting God in all things, no matter what. It means drawing your strength from  God Almighty. Remember that He loves your children even more then you do and He choose YOU to be their guardians here on earth. 
I am aware that homeschooling is not for everyone. I'm just hoping to encourage anyone who has considered it, but hesitated or talked themselves out of it. If it is God's will for you to homeschool, I pray that you would trust Him to equip you for the journey. 
I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Photo: Science co-op at my kitchen table

2 comments:

  1. AWESOME Tika!!! I'm 'Sharing' this.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, S.Isaac.B!
      Part 2 scheduled for Monday, God willing :)

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