What Has Homeschooling Done for Us?

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.


Buddy was cutting my hair while the owner of the barbershop was giving a twenty-year-old young man a haircut. The man’s wife and six-month-old baby were watching “daddy” get a major overhaul. There was some teasing going on as six inches worth of hair was being moved from his head to the floor.

Blake, the barbershop owner, has had this shop for many years. I suppose when you stand there all day cutting hair, you find ways to make time a little more enjoyable. Blake had just put shaving cream around the young man’s ears and on his neck. Then, with a straight razor in his hand, Blake pointed at the wife and asked her husband, “Do you trust your wife?” This question not only peaked my curiosity, but I saw that she quit bouncing the baby, becoming quite interested in what her husband was going to say.

The husband thought just a moment and said, “I sure do!” With that admirable reply, his wife smiled, put a kiss on the baby, and began bouncing him again.

On hearing the words Blake was hoping for, he held out the straight razor to her and said, “Great! Come on over here and shave around his ears with this.”

I’m not sure I can adequately describe the emotions that husband and wife began to exhibit. Both of them were repeatedly saying, “No!” with enough zeal that Blake was feeling very rewarded.

After the couple relaxed again, Blake said he recently did the same thing to a couple about to be married. The groom-to-be had answered, “I’d trust her with my life.” (Good answer, if true.) However, when Blake tightened the noose that the groom-to-be had just stepped into, the future bride saw her “prince charming” do such a U-turn that she was crushed. Blake chuckled with a little satisfaction as he said, “It really turned into quite a squabble.”

Trust is an amazing thing. It is the foundation for the depth of a relationship. You can have a relationship without love, but if there is no trust, then there is no real relationship. Merriam-Webster defines trust as: “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something, one in which confidence is placed.” The more we trust someone, the more open we will be with him and the closer the relationship becomes. David trusted Jonathan and shared information that could have cost David his life if Jonathan had betrayed that trust by telling his father, Saul. That was an example of a friendship between two young men that had a deeper level of trust than the relationship between the son and his father. How sad, and yet that is common today, even in Christian homes.

As the straight razor in my barbershop story put into perspective, trust is only a word until it is tested. David’s trust in Jonathan wasn’t meaningful until Jonathan proved he could be trusted. Our children’s trust in us is a measure of our trustworthiness through the years. We need to guard it zealously.

The issue of whether my children trust me is critical to my effectiveness as a parent. What is their level of confidence in me? A little child initially has deep trust in his parents, but often as he grows that trust is eroded. This can happen throughout childhood, as the child perceives that his parents are making some bad decisions. “Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey” (1 Samuel 14:29). With the strength of Jonathan’s criticism of his father, this was obviously not the first time that Jonathan felt his father, the king, had made a wrong decision. Likely, he had watched his father’s pride lead him to make many other bad decisions.

There are times we, as dads, make bad decisions. There may be other times when we make the best decision, but our children’s understanding is not sufficient to see the decision properly. When this is the case we receive “credit” for a bad decision.

This is one reason I choose to have a weekly private meeting with each of my older children (eleven and up). I cherish that time on Sunday while lunch is being prepared and then cleaned up. The time I meet with each child varies according to what we have to discuss. It has proved to be critical in maintaining and deepening their trust in me. We discuss decisions that have been made and why they were made that way. It gives the child a chance to understand why I did what I did and why I felt the Lord leading in that direction. There also have been times when I confessed to them that I made a wrong decision and asked their forgiveness if it affected them. That way they are able to see that dad can make mistakes, but when he does, he makes it right with them. Both situations are so very important in ensuring confidence in me.

In the area of trust, think about what our poor wives go through. You and I know that no wife would make every decision perfectly if she was responsible for making the decisions. However, there are times when she would have made the correct choice, when her husband made the wrong one. Even if she doesn’t remember the times when she would have chosen wrong, she is likely to remember the times when she was right.

If any wife had reason to distrust her husband, it was Sarah. Abraham betrayed her twice out of concern for his own safety (Genesis 12:11, 20:2). Twice! Yet, she did not rebel against Abraham’s leadership and appeared to continue to trust him (1 Peter 3). She was commended for her faith in God in Hebrews 11, and that is probably the secret of her confidence in Abraham. (All moms would likely learn a powerful lesson in how to have faith in a husband, and that is by trusting in their Lord.)

A wife’s trust in her husband is to be treasured. Husbands can easily damage that trust, and it is difficult to regain. Frequently, we hear of a mom who has discovered her husband is into pornography. Why does it hurt a wife so badly? It is because porn is mental adultery. The husband into pornography or lusting after other women “drives a knife” into his wife’s heart, and she cannot trust him. She knows her husband is driven by lust and therefore can’t be trusted. Once an adulterer, will he ever really stop, and to what lengths will he go?

Repentance is the only way to begin rebuilding trust. The father who reacts defensively when questioned by his wife has not repented. He is only sorry he got caught. But the man who truly hates his sin, is repentant, and wants to change will accept any boundaries and accountability necessary. A man who is repentant will embrace boundaries as an opportunity to show those who love him he realizes his sin. He will gladly avoid all appearances of evil. He will be willing to spend the rest of his life trying to rebuild what he does not deserve. What do you think? Was the young man showing prudence in not letting his wife use the razor, or did he simply not trust her? I believe he didn’t trust her. If he had, he would have thought, “I trust that she loves me so much she wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. I believe that if she doesn’t have the skill to use that razor, then she won’t, because she doesn’t want to take a chance of cutting me.” In the same way, do we love our families so much that we choose to do nothing that may hurt them?

Trust is priceless. Do you want the hearts of your family members? It isn’t possible without trust. Have you damaged trust? Be committed to rebuilding it. We can’t demand it, but we must covet it and seek to always build it.