Author: Cam Leedahl
Published in: REACHing Up (newsletter)
Published on: May. 1, 2005
Reprinted with permission
I had the most interesting phone call the other day. A mom called and challenged me to give her three reasons why she should keep on homeschooling her children. Now, I know this gal, and I was quite surprised at her request! I asked her why she would consider not continuing with home education. She said she’d give me the reason after she heard my answers. This is some of what I told her:
1. Most importantly, there is no better way to help your children become mature disciples of Christ than to have them with you. When you are with them in the daily events of housework, yard work, school studies, sibling relationships, Bible studies, neighborhood issues, and cultural challenges, you have the best opportunity to train and instruct them in the Lord. It is our relationship with Jesus Christ that is of most value. Being in the peer environment of a traditional classroom will greatly restrict those opportunities.
2. They can have the best social experience at home. Spending most of their time in the company of peers is not beneficial to children. Do you want them to model their behavior and attitudes after other children, or after adults? You can structure how much time they will spend in peer environments. You control who will be influencing them and how much time they will spend with those persons. The conventional classroom is a subculture that is not “real life.” The best social experience that will prepare your children for “real life” IS real life – the life of family, church, and community.
3. They have the opportunity for the best academic experience at home. Individualized instruction is premier in education. You are not tied to one curriculum or one teaching approach. There are many sources a parent can turn to for students struggling in a certain subject, as well as for students who are extremely bright. Many parents worry, especially in the high school years, that they cannot provide adequate academic challenges for their children. However, the child that learns how to think, how to find information he does not have, and where to find that information, has learned three of the most important academic skills. Couple those with good, strong character, and any shortfalls can be easily overcome later. Most importantly, a belief system cannot be separated from academics. Are secular textbooks written from the viewpoint you want your children to learn?
“Okay, Cam, this is why I asked you the question. I woke up this morning thinking, I am tired. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to plod through another chapter in math. I don’t want to deal with my child’s whiny voice. I don’t want to hear my mom ask me for the hundredth time how I know what I do for my kids will be enough.
“But do you know what I hear you saying? Homeschooling is not about me. It’s about the children and my responsibility to them. And it’s about God. Do you know what? I am not really going to quit homeschooling; I was just being selfish and wallowing in self-pity for a while. But what I am going to do is put away the books today. I think we will make muffins and bring them around to some neighbors. Get our minds off of ourselves. And do you know what? I think homeschooling is also about my own spiritual maturity. Ouch. It hurts to grow up. Bye, and thanks!”
I hung up the phone with a smile. As beneficial as homeschooling was for our children, now adults, it has been just as beneficial to my husband and me. Not only did we relearn history and science as it should have been taught to us, but in our efforts to bring up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord, He trained and instructed us.
May the Lord bless your efforts as you seek His wisdom in your parenting.