I’ve been challenged to consider my reasons for homeschooling my children, and to actually put it into words and hold on to it. It really made me pause and think about why we’ve chosen this path at this time, and I would challenge any parent to sit down and really reflect on your family’s choice for education- I personally don’t think there is any one right way to go about it, but it’s good to give it some thought and know why you do what you do.
It was certainly interesting for me to consider- I am a product of the public school system, I was trained as a public school educator, and I’ve worked in both public and private education. I love teaching and I love learning! And I am not opposed to public schools or charter schools or private schools- there are amazing curriculums out there, taught in amazing school settings by amazing educators, and I’ve experienced a little bit of it all. But, God has led our family in a different direction for this season. It wasn’t a path I thought we would be on three years ago, and I have wrestled with it for some time before finally accepting that this is where He has us right now. My reasons my change and develop over the years, but here are my “why’s” at this point in time…
- To encourage my children in their walks with Christ. Ultimately, I want my children to love God above all else. I want them to live lives surrendered to His will and His calling, and it is my responsibility to help them learn how to do that.
- To help my children develop a Biblical, Christian worldview. The world is a scary place. There is a lot of chaos and misunderstanding and sinful living going on. People are pushed to look out for themselves and do what’s best for them and not worry about morals and values. It can be so easy to be led astray. I want my children to not ignore the issues in the world or be sheltered from all that goes on, but rather to view it all through the lens of Scripture, and to process information and form opinions and make decisions based on God’s word.
- To teach the way they learn… Children are all different. God created each one of them uniquely according to His design. They have different learning styles and interests, different things that make them tick, different ways of viewing the world around them. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all teaching style that will fit all children. If they’re going to develop to their full potential, they need to be reached where they are and pushed in a way that will motivate them and encourage them individually. All children can learn- but they don’t all learn the same way.
- To teach them how to learn… Like I said, I am a product of the public school system. I was a master test-taker. I won the awards and graduated as valedictorian of my class… but all of that means nothing now! What matters now is the one teacher I had many years ago who took the time to help me grow in my learning- who pushed me to think, who challenged me to learn and ask why and how and not just memorize information for a test. Not everyone has that one teacher. Some are blessed with more than one, but some never have that opportunity and therefore don’t learn how to learn. I want my children to be lifelong learners. I want them to develop skills that will enable them to learn anything at any time in any setting.
- To instill a love for learning… This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous point, but it’s a little different. Not only do I want them to learn how to learn, but I want them to enjoy learning. I want it to be fun, to be exciting, to instill a sense of wonder and awe in them. Not everything is going to be fun and exciting, but there should be enjoyment in learning something new every day.
- To enjoy life with my kids… We are learning together. We are doing life together. We are exploring God’s world together. We are slowing down and embracing the gifts of each moment together. And through all of that togetherness, there are moments of driving each other totally nuts, but we are creating deeper relationships with each other and with God, and learning to value our family in new ways.
- To make the most of our time together… Learning doesn’t just occur during certain hours of the day. There is so much of this great big world to learn and explore and discover. We learn more when we get out there and live and experience things. We can learn through our books at the table, or through exploring nature at the beach or the park, or through playing a game or cooking a meal or taking a trip. I want to train my children to embrace learning opportunities whenever and wherever they may arise and not be confined to the four walls of a classroom.
- To challenge them… Some things are more challenging for my girls, and some things come a bit easier. I don’t want them to get stuck in a rut of doing what comes naturally and easily all the time. I want to push them to be better versions of themselves, the grow into the young ladies’ God has created them to be- and sometimes that means stepping outside of their comfort zone. I don’t want them to just do enough to get by or to take the high road because that’s what they know. I want them to always be striving for more, to never settle for mediocrity.
- To encourage out-of-the-box thinking… I don’t want rote memorization. I don’t want robots who can repeat whatever I tell them. I want them to think of things in new and different ways, to be bold and courageous and even a bit weird if that’s what it takes. I want them to question things so that they take ownership of their beliefs- so that they know what they believe personally and why they believe it. And sometimes it takes looking at the world in a unique way to figure that out. There’s room for that in our learning environment!
- Because this is what God has called us to do…. Sure, I’ve given this lots of thought and I have my own reasons for choosing this path, but ultimately, we are where we are right now because this is where God has placed us. It isn’t where He has placed everyone. It doesn’t work for every family. It wasn’t for us initially, and I can’t predict where we will be five years from now. But for this season, in this moment, this is where He wants us, and we are embracing that and rolling with it… and counting our blessings along the way.