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Why We Homeschool, part 1 August 10, 2007

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Homeschooling.
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For quite some time, I’ve been thinking that I needed to write a post about our decision to teach our children at home. Somehow, though we believe strongly that this is what God is calling us to do at this point in our lives, I’ve had a hard time knowing how to tackle the topic. I seem to get too long-winded with information and history that is overwhelming. I’ll try to keep it succinct, but I still expect this explanation to be broken into multiple posts.

 

To give some background information- I am a teacher by trade. I have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education. I entered the classroom with stars in my eyes and ideals in tact. I taught for several years in public middle school and was crushed by the reality of public education (at least in the middle school where I “taught”). I felt like all I had time to do was crowd control/discipline when I was passionate about teaching. Almost all of my colleagues had decided on a path-of-least-resistance and given up the fight. I just couldn’t. (There are many sad and disheartening details to the story, but I’ve forced myself to delete them and move on. That story alone could go on for many pages).

 

I knew I couldn’t keep putting my dear husband through nightly rounds of my frustrated tears, so something had to change. Either I had to stop letting it bother me that the only education I was sure the students were getting was one that should shock their parents OR find other employment.

 

I took a teaching position in a private Christian school and was so happy to really get to teach. In many ways, it was a dream job, though it certainly wasn’t perfect. The parents, administration, and students all had appropriately high expectations and the learning environment was wonderful. I had all the materials I needed to really do a good job. My only real holdout about the situation was a social class/ financial one. These children were so blessed, yet unaware of it. The keeping-up-with-the-Joneses and air of privilege was not something in which we wanted our own kids to be immersed.

 

Benjamin had been in daycare for 2 years, but we felt very conflicted about this. Joe had started his own consulting company and health insurance was out of reach for us as small business owners, so I continued to work after Benjamin was born. It bothered me that I was expending and “investing” almost all of my energy on 66 of other people’s children, but had so little left for the people God had given me primary responsibility- my husband and child. I knew the effort put into my Christian teaching (using one of the gifts He had given me) was pleasing to God, but I was less certain that I was using it in the right place. Was sacrificing family investment (not just regular work days, but afternoons, evenings, and weekends when I was required to chaperone events, coach sports, host open houses, and so on), even for the lofty goal of educating many children in a Christian way what God was asking of us? We felt less and less sure that He had in mind for me to continue. At about that time, we found out we would be blessed with Rachel.

 

Knowing that we would be adding a child to our family gave us reason to seriously reevaluate our options. We did the math and figured out that after paying daycare for two children, with my small paycheck I would be working for about $100 a month (aside from insurance). God had always met our needs. Still, we were apprehensive about taking the step of faith required to drop down to one income and have me stay home. We prayed about it and decided to tighten the belt, apply for independent insurance, and have faith that God would continue to provide. I resigned.

 

That was the first step in the story.

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Comments»

1. Amy - August 10, 2007

I’m so excited to read about your journey to homeschooling! I can’t wait for the next installment.

I didn’t know you have a master’s degree. Wow! Here I am struggling to complete my associate degree. How pitiful.

Ideally, I’d enjoy being an elementary teacher. It is something I always considered. But like you, I think I’d be rather disappointed. I attended public school in a large, inner-city school district. I have no illusions. I know how bad it can be. My husband attended a school in a suburban district. And while they had their problems, he can’t even relate to my experiences. Besides, all I really want is to be a teacher to MY children.

If homeschooling turns out not to be feasible for my family, I’ve also considered Christian school. Do you think the good experience you had teaching at a Christian school was unique to that school? Or in your experience are Christian schools generally better than public? Overall, I mean. I understand that you can have problems at any school.

2. Entertained reader - August 19, 2007

I appreciate your first ‘installment’ on homeschooling.

I know of quite a few homeschooled adults (being that they were homeschooled when they were younger). I attend a private-mostly Catholic- Women’s college in the midwest, yet I attended public schools all of my life and my mother is an administrator for my district. I am definately aware of the drawbacks of the education i recieved, (being mostly related to finances.. or lack there of) but there are so many other benefits which I have gained. One of the bigget influences it has made in my life has definately been diversity. Not only Ethnicity, but Social/financial class, aswell. I definately feel that a large number of homeschooled children are sheltered from social interractions and society in general.

I am very interested in learning more about your decisions to homeschool.


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