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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Questioning Homeschool?

You wouldn't believe how many e-mails I have received recently
with questions regarding homeschool, everything from:

Is it OK to homeschool a Teen in High School?

What about Middle School?

What about Kindergarten?

What about Socialization?

What about Sports?

Are parents really qualified? etc.

I can only imagine that the barrage of questions are due to the commencement of school, and parents trying to figure out what their friends are doing and somehow evaluating what is best for their children.

I do honestly believe that every parent wants the best for their child.

Before you read the rest of this post consider the following Quote:

"We routinely disqualify testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our judgement as to invalidate evidence that does not confirm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called truth could ever be arrived at by such means."

-Marilynn Robinson, The Death of Adam

Please note: I am no expert on Homeschool. I can only offer my perspective that comes from the experience of homeschooling our kids, working for 25 years in mental health, coaching kids for 10 years, and dealing with emotional and spiritual issues as a cleric.

1. I feel that in today's culture there has been a severing of family relationships, a disconnect. Most parents have a child and after 6 weeks the child is sent to a daycare to have another person raise them. Mothers have been sold a bill of goods in relation to "Needing Mommy Time," or needing to "Have a career."

If the child is lucky, they are able to be with mom until they are 5, then they are ripped away from the family unit for the rest of their lives.

Children spend more time being raised by others than by their own parents. Why do parents complain that they don't feel connected to their kids, or the opposite, they feel that the kids don't feel close to them?

2. One person asked me what about socialization? Especially at the young ages? First of all, I don't think this is a real issue, but lets talk about it.

I don't think quantity of relationships is as important as quality of relationships, especially at a young age. It is important to learn how to relate to other people, to problem solve, to compromise, and to forgive.

I cannot think of a better learning environment than the home, with the lessons being taught by a mother, between her own children. The lessons learned at home are then applied to others for the rest of their lives.

These same lessons are not being taught the same way by a stranger at school. Even the best of traditional schools, even religious schools, cannot even come close to the attention given to a child who is homeschooled, and I don't mean academically, but holistically.

And the idea that Homeschool kids don't socialize is a myth, at least in our current society. The average homeschool child attends only a few hours of homeschool a day, and due to the huge number of homeschoolers, this allows for daily social contact through a variety of programs outside of the home.

3. The other thing to consider is the dedication that it takes to homeschool. Our current culture has demeaned the role and status of a mother.

I often hear that a stay at home mom doesn't have a real job. Do you see what this type of statement does. If said enough times and by enough people, it erroneously begins to feel true.

I have also heard a statement that has to do with a women who attended college and isn't using her education because she isn't working. Well, that educated mother is using her education to raise her own kids. Is holding a job outside of the home worth more than raising your kids?

I don't care how it is spun, any time dedicated to a job away from your children is time taken away from your children.

4. We live in a world with so many different values and ideals, some consistent with our beliefs, and some so very different, that if you send your children off to school, you are allowing many different values and ideals to be taught to your children, many of which are contrary to your values and ideals.

It doesn't matter how strong you feel about something, if you send your children off to a traditional school, the school will have a greater influence over your children just by the mere fact that they have a greater possession of their awake time than you do.

5. I have been asked what about the idea that you are sheltering you kids from the real world. First of all, one must agree that before one can problem solve and decipher through difficult situations, one must first have some foundational training and have been given some tools.

I often think of a soldier that is trained and then sent off into battle.

Could you imaging taking a totally untrained man, calling him a soldier, and sending him out to battle, and then being surprised that he was killed.

However, we do this to our children and then wonder why they have such difficulty.

Also, do you really call a room full of 5 year olds, to be "the real world." Or a room full of 8th graders to be "the real world."

What I do see is so many 5 year olds crying in fear when their mothers drop them off at school. Many of books have been written to try to comfort mothers when the fact is they know in their hearts that this is wrong.


Parents are brain washed into thinking that it is even better to send their children off to Pre-K school, thinking that this will help them get a jump start - What a hoax, this only starts the dissection earlier.
6. I have also heard the complaint that many home school moms only like homeschool so they don't have to get up early and drive their kids to school.

Have you seen families in the morning that attend traditional schools? They wake up already exhausted, they are already late, tempers are short, the pressure engulfs them, they are frantically running around the house and then out the door and attempting to drive to school.

There is no peace...

Homeschool children wake up, have some breakfast, and walk into the room designated for their school. There is no rush. Agreeably, each family with be different in how they choose to home school, some more structured than others.

I have even heard the complaint, "Well if they don't have to be ready for school at a certain time, how will they ever be ready for a job." I just have to laugh....

In our home, they have an assignment in each subject. If they choose to sleep in, then they choose to work a little later that day.

Natural Consequences

It didn't take long for the kids to identify when they needed to get up and get going. I think self taught lessons that have real relationships and natural consequences carry much more weight then making a child do something because you said so, even if you are right.

7. I have received many more questions in the e-mails than I have been able to answer in this post, forgive me if i did not help you with your dilemma. Please e-mail me directly and I will share the little knowledge that I possess.

I must say, making the decision to buck society, take the reigns, and to truly choose to educate your children and prepare them to be a real presence and force in the world through homeschooling, takes courage, at least in the decision making process and taking the initial steps.

However, many families have been the pioneers, making this journey years ago, and showing us the way. The fruits of their labors, their children, are unmistakably proof of what comes from this process. These unique individuals are the true leaders of the new generation. They possess ingenuity, self-motivation, a character far superior to traditionally schooled children.

8. Since most men are not the main homeschool teacher, and do not spend the day at home with the kids, I think there is something very valuable regarding the benefits to the father if the children are homeschooled and should be said.

In most homeschools, there is no such thing as homework. The kids work on a subject or a project until it is complete, with no need for homework.

Why is this so important?

Because, when the father does return home after a day of work outside the house, he has the access to his children for the rest of the night, not to be shared with homework stress.

The statistics say that most fathers who send their children to traditional schools average a whopping 3 minutes a day with their children. Just how much influence do you think that 3 minutes has on those kids.

With Homework not an issue in our house, and my decision to be involved in many of their activities, I know how many minutes a day I spend with my kids. Let just say, it is no where near 3 minutes.

I will end this post at this time.

If this topic still interests you please see these
Additional Resources:

Benefits of HomeSchooling

How can you stand having your kids around you all day
and not be out there seeking your own fulfillment?

Why Homeschool Teens?

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