Friday, February 27, 2009

FROM MY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW

Why Home School?
My father in law asked me a couple of months ago to write something on home schooling for his website. I did not know what to say about it, not because I don’t have strong feelings concerning home schooling but because I was not sure how to put it into words. So, I have prayed and asked the Lord to lead me in this writing.
I will start with the bottom line: the U.S. students’ math and science scores are below other nations, we substitute Ritalin for gym and recess, prayer in school for drugs, condoms, and gangs, “sir” and “mam” for knives and guns, acceptable corporal punishment in exchange for innocent children being shot down in the very, place were they should be safest. All while the history books are being rewritten to remove any mention of God or patriotism, lest our children miraculously rise up and keep the American embers alive. We really don’t have a choice if we love our God, children, and country, but to home school or use an alternative form of education to the public school system. If you cannot, don’t despair trust in God’s strength to raise up your little man or lady to be a light and a missionary in the public system, and God will give you the grace and wisdom you and they will need.
Things are about to get hard for all of us who are called by the name of Christ . Be vigilant in raising God -fearing, young patriots, like that famous home schooled patriot Patrick Henry who said “Give me liberty, or give me death“. It is our duty to our God, our founding fathers, and our children’s children. Who knows, but the million plus who are home schooled may just be a preserved remnant of an otherwise lost and desolate generation
Having said that, home schooling is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work and commitment. What you need, besides God’s grace, is consistency and a vision for your calling.
The choice to home school is not just a choice in and of itself, but rather a calling from God you decide whether to choose or not. What you don’t need is a degree or a fancy room and materials or a rigid by the book schedule. Flexibility is important, especially if the parent also has toddlers or infants. One very important thing I am learning is that a lack of flexibility robs you and your children of the joy home schooling can bring.
My husband was the one who wanted me to home school from the beginning. I wanted to send my children to Christian School , however , when the time came for my oldest son to begin school we did not have the finances. The one thing my husband and I agreed on was that we did not want our children to go into the public school indoctrination if at all possible. The only choice I saw was to submit to my husband’s home school idea, temporarily. But, while I viewed home schooling as my only choice at the time, God later revealed to me it was my calling for this season in my and my children’s lives. I am now in my fourth year home schooling and have two students, next fall I will have my third student when my youngest son begins pre-k. When it is all said and done I will have four students within the next year or so.
When I first began it seemed like a daunting task, everyday I could only see where I had failed and would cry tears in frustration and fear over my children’s education. But, God was patient with me and I heard good speakers on the radio, read some encouraging Christian literature whenever I could, and little by little God began to mold me into a home school mom ( and He is still molding me, I am living proof of a very , patient God to whom I am eternally grateful!)
The Lord has encouraged me a lot lately in seeing my children excel academically, my five year old being a full year ahead and reading so well. He is also ahead for his age in karate and made student of the month. My oldest is doing well in math the only area he struggled with. He is also, becoming an avid Bible reader and is able to quote relevant scripture passages during spiritual conversations he contributes to at a higher level than his age. He also excels in karate and has received an award for perseverance. All, this shows me God is in control and will bless the work if it is His will and being done for His glory. I did not say this to brag in any way because all good comes only from and through God Who alone is perfect. I merely noted the accomplishments as examples to what home school kids can do.
One of the things I discovered that I needed was to loosen up a bit. For example, if something came up where one or two subjects could not be completed that afternoon I could just make it up the next day or refigure the schedule. After all, public schools have snow days, PTA meetings, and various other events that cancel school days and cause parents to have an unseemly amount of homework to do with their children.
Schedules and planning, however, are invaluable. Stay consistent which is an important virtue of anything in life or in any stage of life. And it serves our children well, to have it modeled. I try to stay on schedule consistently. I usually start school the day after Labor Day and take very, few holidays which gives me leverage when we need a sick day, or another unexpected occurrence. And, we have been blessed to finish the year a few weeks ahead of the public schools. However, every parent chooses what works best for their family.

Another thing I discovered from speaking to parents who use public education is: THEY ARE ALREADY HOME SCHOOLING THEIR CHILDREN EVERY NIGHT WITH THEIR HOMEWORK! More often than not the parent is teaching the child the material, seeing to it that they do the exercises, memorize their various tables and charts, and supervise the reading. That is home school! The only difference is that the child can be taught earlier in the day at home when both parent and child are more alert and fresh and your child has the afternoon to be outside and be a kid. Home schooling also puts the indoctrination and protection of the child back where God Almighty in His Sovereign will intended it to be: With the parents of that child.
If you are afraid of lack of activity or exercise or interaction from home schooling, you don’t need to worry. Home school students are often more active in extra curricular activities than their public school counter parts. In fact a lot of home school families are in danger of burn out because of over compensating. My family is guilty of this, as well. The truth is there are many ways for exercise and activities in home school. You can order a good program in a home school catalog, CBD Home School Catalog is a good example. You can enroll them in the soccer and baseball leagues in season, karate (what my sons do, is not only good exercise it also encourages strong character and perseverance as well as teamwork) also, dance studios for children and even the YMCA swimming program have special home school classes during weekday mornings and afternoons. And since public schools are completely phasing out gym, homeschoolers are getting more exercise anyway!
There are home school co-op meetings( we go to one on Friday mornings) where homeschoolers get together. While the school age children take advantage of classes such as creative writing, algebra I, II, and science labs, taught by the various parents of the co-op, moms get to talk to other moms and the toddlers get to have a play date. And, don’t forget Boy and Girl Scouts and the many wonderful youth programs your local church may have to offer. We personally do AWANA at our church and my children love it and have excelled in Scripture memorization. All this can be checked out online or by making phone calls.
Another worry can be in registering and having your schooling checked on. Also, purchasing the right literature and doing the grading and transcripts can be stressful. Some moms are old hands at this and can check with the Board of Education and put together from various sources their curricula for the year, and expertly grade and transcript. For people like myself this would be overwhelming, so there are different churches around the community that do umbrella groups. They basically, handle the BOE for you, at a reasonable fee, and you merely give them whatever information they may need from you . And, a simple way to get curriculum is to enroll in a home school system that prepares the year’s literature and tests for your student as well as does the grading and transcripts. That is what we do. We use Christian Liberty Academy School System or CLASS. They handle everything, even legal help if you, God forbid, need it. For a parent bringing children out of the public school system you may find their curricula a bit challenging. They have a high academic standard and their graduates have even gone on to Oxford. But, they give you a full twelve months to finish a school year, teacher’s manuals, teaching aids, and online/phone help. The Home School Legal Defense also has a website of invaluable help.
I pray the thoughts and information were helpful. God bless you and your family as you seek out His calling for your lives. I know what I must do.

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