I knew in my heart that we would homeschool our children even when our first baby was two months old (over twenty years ago). I remember mentioning to people that we might homeschool and they’d get all cross eyed, they’d start stammering and talking about GED’s.
When my oldest daughter was turning five and my second daughter was 2 years old, with great fear and trepidation, we became one of “those”.
Fast forward and that five year old is now twenty. She graduated from homeschool, got married, and is in her last semester of college. The two year old is starting her senior year. We also have a freshman, a sixth grader, a first grader, and a preschooler.
Lessons I’ve learned:
1. “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
I would not trade for anything the time that I have with my children. We love our homeschool schedule and the freedom it permits our family. I really know them and they really know me. I know how they spend their days. I know their study strengths and weaknesses. At times I move from one child to the next helping them with preassigned lessons. At other times a school day includes group learning. And even at other times, my children pursue their own interests and I facilitate their learning, especially as they get older.
2. I have learned that “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
For our homeschooling family, the world is our classroom. Homeschooling is as big and as flexible as our family would like it to be. At home, my oldest daughter who is so creative could create to her heart’s content and still learn math! At home, my middle daughter who needs to move can stand up at a table to do her work. At home, my youngest daughter who does not enjoy concentrating for long periods of time can break her day up into smaller segments. At home, my little preschool student thinks school is as fun as “play” and that is as it should be.
3. And finally, we have learned, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”
“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think, rather to improve our minds so as to enable us to think for ourselves, rather than load the memory with the thoughts of other men.”
Moms and Dads, we can do this. The things we do everyday that don’t seem extraordinary – they are. They make up eternity. Our kids will learn what they need to be well-rounded adults, who make an excellent contribution to society. If they don’t remember all the elements on the periodic chart, it will not alter their quality of life. Instilling character such as respect and honesty. Instilling a love for learning. Leading them to a relationship with Jesus. That makes all the difference.