Last month I shared a letter I wrote to my parents seventeen years ago dropping the bomb on them that we were going to begin homeschooling. The main reason we started homeschooling was to allow our little boys the time to play and be children. We entered this alternative education with the thought of taking it one year at a time. Now, with thirteen years of homeschooling still before us, we can’t fathom any other type of schooling for our children. Benefits we never dreamed of have come from homeschooling. I would like for this Mom’s Corner to be a testimonial to God’s working in a simple family who was set to seek His face.
By beginning to homeschool, we were better able to follow the instruction in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 to speak of the Lord when we rise up, sit down, and walk on the way. Our relationship with Jesus Christ could be a focus of our whole day, not just the early morning and evening.
Homeschooling allowed us to put Jesus Christ in charge of our children’s education. We could pray about what the children would study, what materials they would use, when they would do their schoolwork, how to address problem areas, and more. No longer did we have to accept others’ direction of how and what our children learned.
We became the controllers of our children’s curriculum. We could choose their school materials, avoiding the ones that were objectionable to us. We were able to search for curricula that was Christian in content and avoid worldly thrusts. Bible became a priority for us, not only for our family devotions, but also for school time.
We have had the pleasure of spending countless more hours with our children than we could have if they had been away from home at school. I suppose I could do the math on that number of hours. It would be something like seven hours a day times five days a week times thirty-six weeks a year times seventeen years and counting. The childhood years pass quickly. How often do you hear someone say they wish they had had more time with their children?
As a homeschooling family, we were able to set our own schedule. We didn’t have to put the children in bed at 8:00 p.m. in order for them to be up by 7:00 a.m. to prepare to leave for school. For us, this translated into a later bedtime and morning rising time. Since Steve had a forty-five minute commute, he often wasn’t home from work until 6:00 p.m. We relished the extra family time we gained by not needing to institute an early bedtime.
We reaped financial benefits. We saved the tuition money we had been spending to have two children attend a private school and ride the bus to get there. What would it have cost to send eight children to private school?!! We no longer have lunches to buy nor school clothes to purchase. While we have curricula to purchase and some school supplies, the cost has been a fraction of what we would have spent with the children in school.
Our first goal with the extra money was to buy a computer. Steve said, “Computers are the tools of the future. Our children need to be computer literate.” That simple start opened the floodgates to eventually provide computer-related vocations for all three of our adult children. Homeschooling allowed them to pursue their vocational interests as a part of their education before high school graduation. They were each well equipped to begin their careers upon graduation.
One result of allowing our children to pursue vocational interests was that it enabled one son to purchase his home debt-free prior to marriage. Our second born is able to do so now, as well, if he so chooses.
I was able to teach several of my children to read. I had the joy of listening to them sound out their first word. I was the one who encouraged them when the task seemed too difficult. I was the one smiling from ear to ear as they read their first book to Daddy. When I wasn’t teaching phonics, it was an older sibling who had that responsibility and the enjoyment that goes with it—not to mention the experience.
Homeschooling allowed us truly to be aware of how each child was doing. We could make sure they corrected mistakes in their schoolwork. We were able to discern whether the errors were from carelessness or from a lack of comprehension.
Individualizing studies was possible with our homeschooling. One child moved ahead in reading because it was easy for him, while another took his math more slowly. We were able to include typing for each child, piano lessons, Spanish—whatever we prayerfully deemed important.
Our children became each other’s best friends. They had playtime together off and on throughout the day. The extra playtime encouraged them to become lifelong friends. Sibling friendships remain close throughout life.
We were able to take vacations when other families could not do so. As soon as we began homeschooling, if we could take a vacation, we did it in May or September. That way we avoided crowds and often received off-season, lower rates.
There is one final benefit that causes Steve and I to believe that we could never educate our children in any other way. It stands as a giant above our other homeschooling reasons. Protection! Our children kept their childish innocence throughout their childhood years. Sheltered in the homeschool environment, they didn’t have to face vulgar, profane, ungodly, jeering, mocking, or hateful words and actions from other children. We have been so grateful to the Lord for giving us something in homeschooling that we never dreamed would be so precious.
Peer pressure did not push our children to develop an interest in the opposite gender before God’s time. It kept them from being around others who were dating through high school and perhaps before, and they maintained their moral purity. They choose not to give their hearts away to anyone except the one the Lord shows them is to be their spouse.
There are certainly days I would love to be at home alone, cleaning my house, answering e-mails, or doing some sewing. There are days when I feel like seventeen years has been long enough of doing something that doesn’t come naturally to me. However, I never think of calling the local Christian school to see if I can enroll the children, something I used to do in our early homeschooling days. Reviewing what I see God has done for our family through homeschooling reminds me that it is worth every sacrifice. May each homeschooling mom reading this recall the benefits of her homeschool and be encouraged in the sacrificial giving of herself to her family.