Am I teaching them or are they teaching me?

Another way that Adam and I live out our faith is to homeschool. This is not to suggest that all Christians have to homeschool, but much like home birth, you are capable of it if you feel God leading you this way. God is so awesome!

I was public schooled, private schooled and homeschooled in my childhood. So I experienced the gamut. I felt that I learned more in homeschool, even though my teacher was my busy single father. Adam was public schooled and private schooled. He had also homeschooled his little sister before we met. He enjoyed that experience and it opened his mind to new ways of teaching and learning. We decided to homeschool our children before we got married. In the beginning, the major purpose of homeschooling was to live out our faith by being the best parents we could be. We wanted our children to embrace Christianity, but we knew from experience that the best way to ensure this was to teach them how to read, how to learn and how to think. We needed to teach them right from wrong. Then equipped with these skills, they would be prepared to take on the world.

We did not feel we could impart these skills to our children if they were attending school—whether public or private.   School simply takes too much time.   It is an incredibly inefficient and artificial way to learn. By the time children get home from school, finish their homework and do their chores, the day is over. A few hours in the evening is not nearly enough to teach your kids the important stuff.   Deuteronomy commands us to teach our children about God when we are sitting in our house, walking on the road, lying down and getting up (Deuteronomy 6:7, 11:19). How can we do this if they are locked away at school all day? As we engaged in the homeschooling lifestyle, so many more advantages became apparent. God did not design children to sit for 7 hours a day at school. (He didn’t design adults for that either.)   Homeschool allowed us to get outside and move every single day. This created a habit of exercise that my adult children still retain. It also solved many childhood behavioral problems.

outdoorsOne of the common concerns people have about homeschooling is that their children will not be able to get along in the real world—they will not be properly socialized. This is a valid concern. Schools teach lots of important socialization skills like how to stand in line, how to regurgitate information, how to pretend to listen to your teacher while actually listening to music, how to mock people and other important survival skills. Socialization is now one of the top reasons I continue to homeschool. Homeschooler learn how to really connect with all different sorts of people. They are not forced together will people of the same age group, because that is an artificial construct that has nothing to do with real life. They learn how to work with others in real situations like church, volunteer activities, political rallies, their jobs, and other social settings. They are not trained to constantly engage in meaningless activities that they do not enjoy.   Rather they choose activities that are meaningful enough to justify the extra effort it takes to participate as a homeschooler. Yes, it is a little harder to find and engage in social activities. But boy is it ever worth it.

Homeschooling is a family building activity, unlike school.   My children like each other. My older children who are off to college are friends with each other and their younger siblings. They are bonded in a way that will last a life-time. We all enjoy each other’s company. We invested ourselves in our children’s interests (from computers, to philosophy, to geology, to manga) when they were young.   We shared our interests with them.   We have tons of memories and a strong family culture (complete with inside jokes).

All of my children are believers and have a relationship with Jesus. I feel their relationships are very much a side effect of homeschooling. Faith, like most life skills, is learned through modeling and practice. Because our children were home, they were integrated into our lives. They saw us at our best and at our worst. They are a constant incentive for us to do better—to get more grace.   We taught them to think and expected them to do so. We expected them to figure out what they believed, defend it and live it. They all do this so much better than we did at their ages. We learned as much from them as they did from us.

This may sound a bit like bragging. Trust me, it is not. I have no illusions about why this worked so much better than I had hoped.   It had nothing to do with me. I was afraid that I was not smart enough.   I was completely intimidated to take on the responsibility of my children’s education without the help of experts. I was fully aware of the consequences for my children if I screwed up. God kept providing grace step-by-step every day. Now twenty years later, I can see how God worked through all our weaknesses and blessed all our efforts. God made it work because we trusted Him with it. God can take a self-educated girl with a messed up family and heal her so that she can get and stay married and homeschool her children. God is that awesome. He is faithful with everything we entrust to Him.

Sometimes, educating our children about the basics of God’s existence can take place in just about any setting, including almost any nature scene, where the glory of God is on full display. Does God Exist? addresses some popular apologetics arguments which all ages can grasp. We want our children to know only know the reasons for their faith, but to be able to share and express those reasons when they are questioned by others (I Pet. 3:15).

 

 

 

 

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