Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Do We Homeschool & What Does It Look Like?

Over the years, I have had people ask me what homeschooling looks like.  I have had other people assume that it's just like school, only done at home...some that think there is no way you could do "real" school at home...some think that I'm crazy and some that think I'm super-human!  (giggle)

Well, let me tell ya...homeschooling has so many different looks I could not begin to cover all of them in a blog post!

What I love about homeschooling is the freedom to do it the way that fits my family best!

I want to say I am not a hater of public or private or charter schools.  I don't look down on other people for the method they choose!  (That's a terrible misconception about all homeschoolers so please don't believe it for a second...and if you know someone who does, pray for them...a lot!)

My prayer is that EACH family would seek GOD alone in their path.  Homeschooling is NOT a good option for every family...but neither is public schooling.

God has shown Tom and me very specific reasons why OUR three sons need to be homeschooled, but I have friends who have been shown very specific reasons why their children are to be in public well as other forms.


What I HATE to hear is someone say..."I would really like to homeschool, but I just don't have the patience"...because that probably means God has given them a desire, but they don't trust Him to mold their character to be able to accomplish the task!  THAT breaks my heart because I know the blessings they are missing out on.

We homeschool because:
1.  God told us to
2.  God gave us the desire to
3.  God showed us that we would travel a lot and this option would be stable for our sons
4.  God showed us that mission work was in our future and our sons would be a major part of that...not spectators
5.  God showed us that we were to build Him and His Word into every aspect of our childrens' day, to prepare them for our future call and to arm them with solid convictions (knowing why they believe what they believe)
6.  God showed us that we are called as a remain as one and homeschooling would keep them bonded as brothers
7.  God showed us individual things about each of them that confirmed why they needed us present throughout the hours of their day
8.  God showed us that some things that are NOT fact are taught as fact in public school and He did not want our sons confused

I could go on, but I think you get the main point:  We do this thing because God said!  And when God says, we do!  THAT is how we roll in THIS family!

Would God love me ANY less if I didn't homeschool?  Certainly not...for that is NOT what His love for me is based on!

Will God bless me ANY more for being obedient to what He put on my heart to do?  Yes...His Word says He will.  That doesn't make me any more special than anyone else to Him...that simply makes me obedient.  God says if you love Him, you will obey His commands...and if anyone knows the good they ought to do but does not do it, to that one it is SIN.  He also says that He rewards those who seek Him diligently.  I know that we are reaping reward!  So anyone...regardless of what schooling method their kids walk, will be rewarded IF they have seeked God and are carrying out HIS plan for their family! we are...our 7th year into this deal.  I have loved it.  I have hated it.  I have been somewhere in between.  But, truly, most days, I really do LOVE it.  

I don't think I love the discipline it requires of me, though I have submitted to it.  I get very tempted to send them off for a six-hour break when they are really hyper or really argumentative.  But, I just can't explain how many teachable moments have come up when I least expected and hardly planned!

I LOVE learning WITH my children!  I LOVE the conversations I have had with them.  I love snuggling up to read a good story.  I love seeing them continue to "get" things for the first time.  I love watching them put concepts together.  I love that they can master what concept they are working on without being rushed.  I love that if they find something that really interests them, they can explore that.  I REALLY LOVE NOT HAVING TO PREPARE THEM FOR STANDARDIZED TESTING JUST TO GET MONEY FOR THE SCHOOL SYSTEM!  

I just love being with them.  It's not always easy or enjoyable.  But it is ALWAYS worthwhile.

Homeschooling has made us all less selfish in more ways than I can count.  It has stretched us and grown us to be loving and compassionate people.

Our "schooling" doesn't look like children all the same age sitting at desks for six hours with a little time to walk around in between.  We don't recreate traditional schooling in our house.  (Very few children really learn well that way!)

Our school looks like...a little time at a desk...boys sometimes hanging upside down off a couch...jumping on a trampoline or maybe building Legos while Mom reads a story that makes history come alive...painting outside...taking a machine apart-just because we wanna...serving a friend in need...field trips with grandparents...learning how to cook and clean...working with Dad...math on in the kitchen...

It's not traditional...but it's relational...and it sure is working well for us!  It's shaping our hearts as well as our minds.

As I heard someone say...our goal is not Harvard, it's Heaven!  If God chooses to stop us at Harvard along the way, that's cool, but if not, even if no college is on the page for my boys, that is totally cool too.  

As it says at the top of my blog page, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth!"  
3 John 1:4

If my precious sons are walking in THE Truth, then they are gonna hear from their Master and do what He says.  No matter what that is, I will find joy in it!

So that's us!  What about you?  Why do you homeschool or not homeschool?  What does your homeschool look like?


ZimboUSA Girl said...

Well said Mindy! But check - do you really have patience! :(:). I don't have much and I'm still homeschooling in between all the other things!

Laura said...

LOVE IT MINDY!!! Ditto to what you said!!!! Man, I want to come to your school!! Sounds awesome! Love you guys!

Mindy said...

NO! I wanna come to Smith School! I can only imagine the fun had there! We miss you all so much! xoxo

Mindy said...

LOL Julie! Girl, you have had a lot more to work through than most of us! I can say that, through constant yielding to the Holy Spirit, I do have patience now.

It's nothing I can manufacture...I am COMPLETELY reliant upon the Lord for it. But the closer I draw to Him, the more my selfishness fades away. I ask Him every morning to help me see Jesus in my sons so I can treat them with respect, no matter how they act!

That's why I get so sad to hear someone say they don't think they have the patience to homeschool. NONE of us do...on our own! But if someone really won't rely on the Lord and press into Him so they grow in patience, I really don't think it's best for their child to be homeschooled. NO child should be screamed at all day. Even if you get them to obey in action, you won't have their heart and you will exasperate them.

Katie Ashcraft said...

I absolutely LOVE homeschooling. I've done it a few different ways. Most of it was before I was even saved I just knew it was better for my kids to be out of the environment they were in.

When my kids started 3rd and 5th grade... can't believe it was that long ago... I started homeschooling them. I went thru the school district cause I was working full time- single for part of the time and just thought I needed the extra support of the "off campus" people to help me stay on track. Some people told me that wasn't true homeschooling, but I believe otherwise. I truly believe that every family is different. What works for some may not work for others. But this worked great for us.

After 4 years, we hit a rough patch (a tough break up for me) so the kids went back to public school for one year. I hated it, but looking back I can see some good came from it, my kids were so well behaved and respectful that they would tell me the "bad" things that happened at school and how they don't understand why kids do what they do, and then we'd talk about it.

Then for a couple of years the kids did half school at home and the other half at school. Each year we would re-evaluate what would work best for our family with the kids also helping in the discussion and we'd go from there.

I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING. My mom was really against it at first, she thought the kids would miss out, that I didn't know what I was doing, but the past several years she has said it is the best thing I've ever done for my kids.

So, other than that, I think we would be great friends if you were around here. Do you have plans for living here some time?

Take care and thanks for such uplifting honest posts!

Love, Katie

Mindy said...

Hi Katie! guys have been around the homeschool bend huh? I don't know your kids, but they look very loving and family oriented in all your pics! Unless God directs us differently we don't have plans to move back to WA. We actually had opportunity in the last couple of years and we did pray about it and consider it in case it was the Lord, but we did not feel that was His plan. We would LOVE to visit though. The boys BEG us to take them back! They want to see Laura and Jason! Thanks for sharing your experience!