Whenever I mention that I homeschool, I get questions about how to get started, what curricula I use, what to do with little ones while working with older kids, etc. Since the primary emphasis of my blog has been adoption and related issues, I haven’t devoted much time to writing about homeschooling. However, as a mom who is in my nineteenth consecutive year of homeschooling, I have a responsibility to offer what I can to other moms. When my elusive new blog is up and functioning, I’ll have areas devoted to family life, homeschooling, etc., but for the time being, you’ll have to wade through one topic to get to another.
First, if you have questions you would like me to address about homeschooling, please leave them as comments in this post. It may be awhile before I get to them, but I have plans to dig into this topic.
Second, I have to say how funny it was to get eleven comments on the post about my pencil sharpener! I had no idea there were so many moms struggling with the same problem of not having the right tools to do the job of teaching our kids – whether as homeschoolers or as moms helping with homework.
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DeeDee, however, got me thinking with her comment (part of it is below):
Where to start, now that is a great question and I could probably write many posts about it – in fact, I probably will, but here is my first bit of advice about educating children:
Think and pray about your vision and objectives for educating your children. Consider the needs of each child in your family. Consider your needs and those of your husband. Consider the educational opportunities available in your community. If you are a Christian, ask God how He wants you to educate your children. Once you have done this, you may decide not to homeschool at all. Homeschooling is not for every family or for every child…the fact that Dimples attends school is an example of this in my own life.
If, however, you are strongly persuaded that you want to homeschool, the objectives you’ve created can be applied as a filter through which to view the myriad of choices homeschooling offers. You must have an overall vision for your family as well as goals and objectives for individual children.
To give you an idea of what I mean, I can share with you the three objectives Russ and I have in homeschooling our children. To be honest, we didn’t have these objectives 18 years ago; we had a small vision that grew over the years. I suspect that is true for many families, but you still need a vision as you set out on a journey. Otherwise, you may not end up near your destination.
1. We want to provide our children with a distinctly Christian education. This means we want to pray with them, read the Bible with them, instruct them in God’s ways, incorporate Bible study into their education, and so much more. We want our children to know Church History, the stories of great missionaries and heroes of the Christian faith, and our own life of faith as a family.
2. We want our family to be tightly-knit and our children to be not only siblings, but the closest of friends. We want our children to be family-oriented rather than peer-oriented. I’ve written about peer-orientation in the past and cannot recommend Hold On To Your Kids highly enough. Now that our five oldest children are 22, 20, 18,16, and 14, I can say with confidence that this part of our vision is being fulfilled and I give great thanks to God.
3. We want to customize our children’s education to suit their specific needs, interests, and goals. This is the fun part of homeschooling when you get to look at your child and ask yourself, “What are her gifts and talents? How much time (and money) can we devote toward developing this gift?” It is also an opportunity to look at our children’s weaknesses and ask ourselves how we can help them overcome those areas. These may be academic, character, or spiritual weaknesses, but as parents, we want to devote ourselves to helping our children grow past them.
I’ll write more on each of these topics in a future post. Until then, if you are considering homeschooling, or if you are homeschooling without a vision, take the time to think and pray about what you most want for your family and each of your children. Write it all down and then begin to explore how you can accomplish your vision.
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