Monday, August 25, 2008

Reasons we decided to homeschool

There are many reasons we decided to homeschool. I will list a few in no particular order. It would not be possible to list all of them, because I think of more every day.

1. Family - It is such a blessing to be chosen to be the parents of these kids. We are honored to be able to raise them. Time with them is so short. We want to be able to relax and enjoy each other. We do not want to be apart for 8 hours a day and then be stuck doing homework every evening. When the kids were in school they needed to be in bed by 8:00 every night to get enough sleep. They would wake up dreading to go to school, so the mornings were miserable with everyone grumpy. They would come home from school unhappy because they were bored at school all day. Which leads to number two.

2. Learning - So many times last year the kids came home from school and said they were bored at school or they did not learn anything new. With this "No Child Left Behind" law, the teachers have to teach to the lowest end of the class. Where does this leave the higher end of the class? Bored out of their minds! They are expected to just sit there and wait until everyone in the class gets the new concept. The teacher may spend the entire day or more than one day on just a few students while the rest of the class is left to twiddle their thumbs. Why would I want my kids to sit there most of the day or even longer with nothing to do? Or with busy work? The teachers have to cater to the iLeap test and Leap test these days. After January last year it seems like all Michael did for the rest of the year was prepare for the iLeap test. There were special incentives if the kids did not come in tardy, get checked out early or miss a day of school for two months. The students were taught to memorize, not to think constructively.

3. Confidence - I want my children to be confident. I want them to see themselves for who they are, not for who a child or a teacher tells them they are. I want them to realize their potential. Annalee is scared to death she is going to get in trouble any time she has an accident(i.e. knocking over a cup, running into the cats' water dish, dropping something) because she fell at school one day and another child told a teacher that she tripped him. I do not want my child to be scared she is going to get in trouble because of something that was an accident. The last time I checked, not one of us is perfect. She is nervous around other kids because she was teased so much at school. Michael is worried he's going to be teased or bullied because of other kids. He had a teacher last year that told him to stop being a baby and grow up instead of disciplining the bully.

4. Time - How much time is spent in meaningful learning in a school day? How much time is wasted with discipline? How much time is wasted waiting on that one student to grasp a concept? How much time is wasted waiting on the class to be quiet and pay attention? How much time is wasted while the teacher talks to other teachers? How much time is wasted while the teacher checks and responds to email?

5. Socialization - My children are socializing with people of many different ages and backgrounds. They are socializing with children in extracurricular activities. They are socializing more with children we approve of, children with parents that are actively involved in their lives.

6. Shelter - Some people would say that we are sheltering our children too much. Or even that we are trying to keep them in a glass bubble. I disagree. I believe that these children are on loan to us from the Lord. It is our responsibility, and what a huge one it is, to protect them(shelter them).

7. Faith - We want to teach the children to have faith. We want to teach them to live by the golden rule. We want to teach them to be givers.

8. Teaching yourself - We want to teach the children to learn how to teach themselves. We want to guide them, but not give them a sheet just to memorize it for the week and be done with it. We want them to learn to think things out on their own.

9. The joy of learning - I have rediscovered the joy of learning during this past week. Children learn by example. You cannot expect them to only do as you say. They will do as you do. If you love to learn, they will love to learn. If you love to read, they will love to read. If you are curious, they will be curious. If you read the Bible, they will want to read the Bible. If you eat healthy, they will eat healthy. If you exercise, they will exercise. Having only 4 hours with the kids after school every day, fitting in homework, supper, baths, chores, etc. is just not enough time to lead by example and teach all of these things.

Homeschooling is not for everyone, but it is just right for our family. It is the perfect fit. I truly feel blessed to have the option to do this for our family. I do not have a degree, but I love my husband and my family more than anything in the world. I want what is best for them. I know that with God ALL things are possible. He will give me the knowledge and the grace to do this. We are having to retrain this fear that Annalee has and the low self-confidence that both kids have now from school, but I have faith that it can be done.

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