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One father’s perspective on home schooling January 28, 2008

Posted by Joe in Homeschooling.
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Before we home schooled, I had very serious concerns. I don’t take my role as a parent lightly and I wanted to make sure that we were making the absolute best choice for the education and growth of our children.

I had absolutely no doubt that Laura could teach our children very, very well, at least as well if not better than the education they were receiving in a traditional school. She has an undergraduate and graduate degree in teaching and has taught for a number of years in both public and private schools. She has the knowledge to impart and the skills to do it successfully.

No, my concerns were not about what they would learn. It was about the the other skills, like socialization, that they may be missing if home schooled. So, before we home schooled, we talked with home school families.

We were told over and over that the amount of socialization opportunities would be so numerous that we would have to set limits and consciously help our kids select what they would do. Still I was skeptical.

Then I looked at the home schooled kids. They were very respectful to adults and very comfortable around other kids. They seemed to confident in both small groups and as part of a larger crowd of kids.

Laura and talked it over, prayed about it, and came to the conclusion that benefits of home schooling far outweighed any potential drawbacks. We began the home schooling adventure with an intentional awareness of the socialization issue and we made a conscience effort to include our kids in activities that involved other kids of their age.

And I am happy to report that the advice provided by other home school families – that the socialization opportunities would be plenty – has been confirmed in our experience. Benjamin, Rachel, and Lydia all have lots of opportunities to play and learn with other kids of their own age. Whether it’s in a structured environment like soccer, gymnastics, or Tae Kwon Do, or on a field trip to an ice skating rink or the zoo with other home schoolers, or in Children’s Church, or just a play date with friends, or whatever.

None of this is to say that we focus exclusively on the socialization aspects. We take the traditional school curriculum very seriously. Laura strives continuously to ensure our kids are learning what their traditionally schooled counterparts are learning – in math, science, literature, etc. For if we ever feel led to place our kids back into the school systems, we want to ensure they enter at grade level. We also want to provide them with a solid educational foundation so that when they enter college, the can pursue any course of study they wish, from medicine to engineering, from business administration to teaching.

In addition to the traditional school curriculum, home schooling provides other opportunities for learning important life skills. Since they are home most days (and I frequently work from home, too), the kids are available to help out with farm and home related activities. These activities, though not measured on any standardized test, can contribute to a child’s growing up with confidence and developing a good work habit. Activities such as loading and splitting firewood, fixing a leaky faucet, plugging a nail hole in a flat tire, and preparing a home cooked meal. As home school parents, we can take advantage of these learning opportunities as they arise. Education should be about preparing a child for life. These activities certainly help with that.

Home schooling is not for everyone and we certainly don’t look down our noses at those who choose otherwise. Each family must take into account their own circumstances, their children’s innate and God-given proclivities, and the school systems available to them, and draw their own conclusions. What’s best for one family is not necessarily best for another. And within a family, what’s best for one child may not be best for another.

Our hope is that each of our children will grow as Jesus grew – in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). I think that homeschooling provides the best opportunity for that.

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Comments»

1. Henry Cate - January 29, 2008

“These activities, though not measured on any standardized test, can contribute to a child’s growing up with confidence and developing a good work habit.”

In many ways the non academic things our children learn are more important to master some math concept or reading about a period of history. I want my children to be honest, hard working, have charity, and be contributors.

2. Sheryl Anderson - February 7, 2008

Joe, I admire your reasons for homeschooling and agree wholeheartedly with what you said about the non-academic learning they get. That is what prepares them for being capable, prosperous adults. And I think so many people overlook the value of the stuff that isn’t taught in school.
Rock on, homestyle.


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