Education in the Home

love of learning (1)

The good, the bad, the ugly

Homeschooling. This term causes people to pick up arms fast–for or against it. I have seen homeschooling executed excellently. I have also seen it fail miserably. Putting good and bad examples aside, working in public education made me realize that I wanted something different for my future children.

I didn’t want my kids’ creativity limited or their teachers stressed about standardized tests. Don’t misunderstand me. Public school teachers are amazing! They work harder than most people I know. I have nothing against people who choose public education. Growing up I always loved going to school! As an only child it was a social place for me, plus it gave me opportunities to shine academically. Nonetheless, I am intrigued by some of the unique opportunities homeschooling offers, if structured well.

Epihany

I was discouraged after deciding against being a public school teacher. Even though I hate disappointing others, I had to let go of other people’s expectations for me and unashamedly pursue what I was really passionate about.

I remember asking God, “Why did I spend the past few years pursuing teaching and gaining K-12 experience when I am not going to use it?”

God answered me while I was working as a nanny. I needed a break from the public schools and my friend needed a part-time nanny. It was the perfect chance to change pace for awhile. Working with her sweet two-year-old daughter on learning colors, numbers, and letters made me realize my experience would never go to waste.  I thought, someday when I have kids of my own, I will use it. Perhaps even in homeschooling!

I had already been exploring homeschooling after watching TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. Their children were raised with their faith and education centered at home. They were faithful to God, smart, polite, and motivated. I remember thinking, that’s what I want for my kids! Minus the skirts and perms. Though, I have on many occasions seriously considered perming my hair. . .

Why homeschool?

The opportunities it opens up are numerous!

  1. I can have more time with my kids.
  2. I can nurture their creativity rather than squash it.
  3. Homeschooling allows kids to explore more of their passions, while still gaining a strong foundation in all subject areas.
  4. Field trips! We can take as many as we want and connect what we are learning to them. Field trips can bring learning to life in unique, hands-on ways.
  5. Community. If done correctly, homeschooling is not always the solitary activity people imagine. There are organized groups that meet and learn together. For example, homeschool PE, theater, or music classes with other families.
  6. My kids will have more opportunities to learn about God and study the Bible.
  7. Character building. Public schools attempt this one a lot. However, it rarely seems to work.  I think what helps it stick is the affirmation of those qualities in the home. I love this idea of nurturing Christian character qualities in my children through vocabulary lessons, scripture memorization, and of course, practice!
  8. I can custom-design content and pace to fit my children’s needs.
  9. College classes are available online when they are in high school. Like AP classes in public education, homeschooling allows for older kids to get a head start on their college degree.
  10. We can take “summer break” in December if we want to do so. We live in Arizona, and I think kids would benefit more from outdoor time in the winter than the blistering hot summer.

Even if you do not homeschool, you can still employ some of these approaches and opportunities, such as character development, creativity, and family field trips!

For more information on homeschooling and whether it is right for you, check out this free guide from Onlineschools.org:

OnlineSchools.org

Check out these posts on Education in the Home:

Teen Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Usborne Books

Teen Book Review: Life As We Knew It

Thankfulness Family Devotional

6 Ideas for Nurturing a Generous Child

5 Ways to Practice Generosity as a Family

Creating Character: An Education for the Whole Family

Teen Book Review: I am the Messenger

Sharing a Love of Nature With Your Children

Building Your Own Personal Children’s Library

Teen Book Review: A Northern Light

Winter Picture Books

Motivational Books for the New Year

How to Encourage Your Child’s Education

Lengthening Your Baby’s Attention Span

An Educational Christmas Countdown

Tips for Creating a Functional Homeschool Space

DIY Baby Pat Mat

Indoor Activities for Kids During the Cold Winter Months

DIY Bible Box

How to Talk to Your Kids About 9/11

4 Children’s Books That Will Make You Tear Up

8 thoughts on “Education in the Home

  1. Wow thank you for these comments on homeschooling! My sister is expecting her fourth child in a couple months, and her 5- and 6-year-old have not been going to public school. They are shy and my sister wanted to bring them up in the home and in their faith. While I do not have a problem with these reasons at all and think they are great, I am concerned that having a newborn, the 2 kids she looks after during the day, plus her other 3 that she will need to be educating somehow, she just is not going to be able to give teaching enough time and energy. These kids are very bright and deserve educational opportunities like everyone else. I just don’t know if it is the right thing for this particular family. The kids are very demanding and not very disciplined (something my sister has been lacking in her parenting) and I think that will make homeschooling doubly difficult. Anyway, maybe you have some thoughts on this Nathana?

    • What I immediately thought of when I read this was the Duggar family from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. They have really perfected the art of obedience, homeschooling, and faith in the home. The show shares some of it, but I would highly recommend their books: The Duggars: 20 and Counting! Raising One of America’s Largest Families–How They Do It. and A Love That Multiplies. They are excellent parenting books with insights into how to build faith in the home, homeschool kids, and teach obedience. They practice “blanket training” with the babies when they are a few months old, which helps occupy them while Michelle, the mother, leads the group portion of their homeschooling. They also have an interesting approach to helping shy kids learn to be respectful and look others in the eyes. With so many kids they use a “buddy system”. I know other families with 4 or more kids that use this approach to chores and learning. It relieves some of the constant pressure on the parents. These are great books, I would recommend them to all parents, but especially those with the goals your sister has.

      Are the two kids she watches someone else’s kids? I could see that being challenging in a homeschooling environment. Maybe she could find ways to involve them in the group learning as well?

      Also, the make or break factor for how successful homeschooling is for many families is the structure. Yes, it allows for more flexibility, which is great, but sometimes that gets abused, resulting in less time learning for the kids. A schedule for the day helps. I would also recommend a group reading time, where she reads to them. And when they are capable of reading on their own, setting up individual reading time. Since she has a small group of kids, whole group activities like going to the zoo or a museum would open up an opportunity for her to build a subject unit around the experience by teaching and reading with them about animals, pioneers, (whatever the subject is that their destination deals with) before they go. After the “field trip” they can come back and talk about what they learned, write about it, draw pictures, research further, etc.

      Also, there are various curriculums and approaches to homeschooling from doing most of it online, to buying curriculum, to a more eclectic approach of combining different things. I tend to be more eclectic, because I like to create a lot of my own teaching resources. However, I recently looked into a great curriculum called Sonlight. They start as early as pre-school. They even bring in some Bible study elements. I know people who use it and like it. They send out free catalogs: http://www.sonlight.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwx4yfBRCt2rrAs-P5vtkBEiQAOdFXbUWlS3ojE9u5Ej4U3JofF-Lx8Cs4nILrUdPbxn9Ee_gaAujO8P8HAQ

      I hope I can have some more helpful resources in the future. Though much of what I am working on now is for middle school and high school levels. Here are a couple great sites created by homeschooling mothers with more eclectic and classical approaches as well as younger kids:

      1. Small Things: http://www.gsheller.com/
      2. Amongst Lovely Things: http://amongstlovelythings.com/reading/

      I hope this helps some! Thanks for the question! I am glad you are checking out the site!

  2. These are wonderful tips! My sister also very much looks up to the Duggar family on television, but she has not much interest in reading books or really putting this kind of work into discipline her family (although I will somehow give her these suggestions), and that is why I am concerned. None of the children know the meaning of “please” or “thank you” and other such basics that they should know by now. Not exactly sure why none of that is being implemented. The two kids she watches are not her own. The house (even when it is just the family there) is always very chaotic and stressful. Noisy, dogs barking, kids fussing, etc. Not very conducive to learning in my opinion. Like you said, make or break is the structure, and this household is very much structure-less. I hope they are trying to work on it, but again with a newborn and her history as a teenage parent without much time to grow up yet, it is an increasingly difficult task. I just wish I knew some way to get her to think again on how she is going about things…. Thanks again for any continued input Nathana!

    • You are very welcome. That is a tough situation. I know family members don’t always take advice very well, but keep encouraging her to instill discipline and structure, even in small ways. If she is resist to you, maybe find an older mother who is not related to her, who could come in and act as a mentor. I know I learn a lot from older women at church who take time to impart wisdom. Are there any women, maybe at church, who may take an active interest in encouraging and mentoring her? Also, I know some homeschooling families in York, Nebraska who may be willing to talk with her about their structure and approach.

  3. I absolutely loved being homeschooled. I had such a great relationship with my parents, and so many incredible memories with my siblings. I remember studying Latin together–and making jokes. Eating popcorn while reading through history. Having spelling competitions. Going out and playing hockey on the sidewalk for P.E. It was so worth it, and I am so glad my Mom and Dad decided to go that route. Would love to talk to you more about this, and my Mom would be a great resource if you have any questions about it all!

  4. I want to home school too! And you know what’s funny? I think the idea really solidified for me when watching 19 Kids and Counting! (I cracked up at “minus the skirts and perms.”) I’ve struggled a lot with this. At first I was thinking I only wand my kids in a Christian school. But I grew up close to Greater Atlanta Christian and saw all the politics that go on there. (My uncle was wrongly fired – but that’s another story). I also watched the school slowly turn from the Truth just to accomodate the rich and famous people who have started sending their kids there (Jeff Foxworthy, Atlanta Braves players, Atlanta Falcons players etc). They just haven’t stayed true and in some ways I’m not sure it would be much better than public school. So, I want to home school. And when my mom found out, she was furious and said “You are NOT home schooling!” Not that I will let that stop me, but it just goes to show you what kind of stigma people put on it. Also, I have a while before any of this happens because we’re, Lord willing, going to wait till my husband is finished with school before starting a family and that will be at least 3 more years.
    Charlene recently posted…Personal Goals for October // The Creative ClosetMy Profile

    • Yeah, I was inspired by families like the Duggars. I know there are some downsides and risks to homeschooling, and Mitch and I are still seeking and praying to make sure it is the right decision for our family. I have been blessed to know a couple families that have done an incredible job at homeschooling! I try to ask questions and learn what I can from them. I also make sure to ask about what curriculum they use, etc. One family at our current church had the great advice of trying to start Kindergarten a year early (if your child can handle it) because it gives you a “trial year” and if it crashes and burns and isn’t for you, you can put them in Kindergarten on time. 😉

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