Throwing Myself Under the (School) Bus

Dear Lindsey,

Some of the most entertaining responses I have received when I said I homeschooled were:

  • “And you still have your hair?! That is amazing!” (Thanks, Melinda!)
  • “If I homeschooled, all that my kids would know how to do is shop at Target!” (Thanks for not homeschooling, my friend 🙂 .)
  • “I could never spend that much time with my kids; [and even worse,] they would never want to spend that much time with me!” (Thanks, lady at the park.)

Many feel compelled to tell me why they don’t homeschool – which really isn’t necessary – I know it is not for everyone. I am not a homeschool Nazi who thinks there is only one way to do well for your children. I have no vendetta against public school; I love all of my friends who send their kids to school; and I pretty much adore most of the teachers I have met.

More and more often, I hear, “How do you do that?” or “I wish I had done that.” And my favorite response: “Can you tell me why you would do that?” (Thank you, drug store employee!)

Children Who…

Chris explained to me one day, “I don’t look at our children as clay that we should mold, but as seeds God entrusted to us, and we should provide the best garden for their growth.”

The educational methods we have chosen are purposeful to allow our four children to grow to be adults who would:

    • Glorify the Lord
    • Reach their fullest potential
    • Are Hardworking (Prov 13:4)
    • Have a good attitude, showing the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)
    • Are leaders in their homes, their churches, communities, and country

In summary, the principles we would like to instill would raise happy, healthy, productive Christian Americans.

The Princess Bride Story (sort of)

Have you heard this story about a princess? She was of marrying age, so her father began his search for the right man to whom he would promise his daughter’s hand in marriage. Man after man lined up, trying to impress the king to win his favor and take his daughter’s hand. A chariot race was arranged on the dirt path at the edge of the mountain and the husband wannabes prepared their horses and carriages for the show. One man stepped forward to gain the king’s attention and said, “I would like your daughter to ride with me; I will get her within one foot of the cliff’s edge and bring her safely to the end of the race.”

The next man could not be outdone, so he had a different promise: “Sir, I would love to win your favor so much that I will get your daughter within one INCH of the cliff’s edge and bring her safely to the race’s end.”

The third man walked slowly toward the king. He meekly began, “Sir, your daughter is of such value; I would not risk getting her anywhere near the edge of the cliff. I will deliver her safely, in the right time, as far from the cliff’s edge as I can.”

The king cancelled the race and promised the daughter’s hand to the third suitor who promised her safety.

Why Homeschool?

I suppose I feel as if a King has entrusted four children to me, and I want to deliver them

Thomas Built Buses Mighty Mite school bus. Thi...

back to Him as safely as I am able. That is not to say that someone who does not homeschool is sending children over the edge of some cliff! Hear me out: I have met MANY public school educated people who are far from the edge of any cliffs themselves (including my perfect husband and perfect me! LOL).

“I can say that we have tried all kinds of schooling for our four kids: public school, private school and homeschool, and none of them works!” – Stephen Davey, tongue in cheek

Principal’s Principles

“Methods are many.

Principles are few.

Methods always change.

Principles never do.”

Homeschooling is not a principle in the Brady house; it is a method. This may be obvious since we currently have two in school and two schooling at home. This school year of 50-50 has shed light on both sides of the schooling methods, and spurred me to write you.

I have heard that data shows that the factor that is most influential over a child’s education is the parents’ active involvement in the education – whichever method is chosen.

“The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next,” Abraham Lincoln said. If that statement is true, then we parents had better know, and heartily agree with the philosophy of whatever schoolroom in which our children spend their weeks. (An article and a two minute video below tell a little bit about “Common Core,” a new classroom curriculum which has already started in 45 states. There is a core philosophy being mandated by the government, so I guess in those states, Lincoln’s quote could be restated: “The philosophy of the government in THIS generation will be the philosophy of the schoolroom, too.” But I digress…)

Normally, I would put a list of “recommended reading” at the end of a Letter, but the recommended reading here is practically more important than this Letter! So I want to include it here. Whether you homeschool, public school or private school, these books should be required reading for any parent:

Recommended Reading:

Thomas Jefferson Education (and its sequels by Oliver DeMille). I cannot quote DeMille enough in this Letter regarding school choice. I just want to print the whole book, which ironically I didn’t find until I had been homeschooling for 7 years! But even if you do not have children of school age, this book is an inspiration for any of us to never stop learning! (It is a great precursor to another of his books, Leadershift (by Woodward and DeMille).)

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling (Debra Bell, $2.99 at the link). A must-read for parents of school-age kids. Read the first few chapters and her great school debate. If you are not choosing to homeschool, skip the rest of the book. The first few chapters provide good insight and conviction, as well as a balanced look at school choices. The back of the book has many, many options of “how-to’s” which show the vast range of types of homeschooling.

Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World (Freed and Parsons). ADHD is a growing diagnosis among school-aged children. This book (by someone who is not pro-homeschool) not only helped free some thoughts regarding that diagnosis (and some other options besides medication) but also shed light on some of my own weaknesses. I was amazed at how my kids fell in line with his test. He helped me find strengths in them I didn’t know they had. It changed everything for one of my children, because I deal with him in all areas in a different way, and for us, it works!

The Reasons We Homeschool:

In her book, Debra Bell recommends writing down WHY you homeschool. (And I would recommend writing down WHAT YOU WANT AT THE OTHER END OF SCHOOL whichever method of schooling you choose – to keep yourself accountable to your principles.) This list has kept me “in” many times when the “bad wolf” was whispering contrary thoughts in my head; but it has also guided many decisions of ours, “Should we hire a teacher?” “Should we participate in a homeschool group?” “Should I offer to teach other like-minded families in a group or start our own school?” to name a few. We just look at how those decisions affect (or don’t affect) this list of benefits and then decide.

This list will be different for all families. Just because some of these are available to homeschoolers does NOT mean that these benefits are not available to public school or private school.

Brady Family: goals and benefits of homeschooling

  1. Biblical values being taught and “caught” – consistent without wavering based on denominations, legalism, or tolerance. This includes consistent discipline – not 6 hours of one way, and then a totally different magnitude at home.
  2. Closely knit family relationships. No age-group segregation to foster segregation within a family. Friends of all ages.
  3. Flexible schedule for travel, neighbors in need, and visitors.
  4. Speed of learning catered to individual and/or individual subject. Teach at a 1st grade level in reading, but 3rd grade in math, for example.
  5. Style of learning catered to the individual Spoon-feeding methods and memorization versus self-teaching and reading classics; audio learning versus visual versus kinesthetic learning methods, etc.
  6. Avoid negative comparison or labeling by people who don’t necessarily have my kids’ best interest in mind or don’t love them the way I do.
  7. Avoid unnecessary negative influence of peers, teachers, or bullies.
  8. Subjects of MY choice, based on my priorities: Bible, Employment, Self-employment, Business ownership and Investment quadrants of Cashflow (by Kiyosaki), outdoor play, music lessons, languages, people skills, etc.
    1. Once they have learned to read, they should be able to read to learn in any subject so they can take that skill to be life-long learners.
  9. Emphasize learning and mastery, not grades, standardized tests or brownie points.
    1. Focus on learning to think, not learning what to think (DeMille)

10. Be influenced by other admirable homeschoolers.

11. Learn through experience. Learn history through traveling with Chris, etc. I will know what they have learned, so when we travel (even to grocery store!), I will be able to point out what applies to them at their level.

FAQ’s of Homeschooling:

  1. Is it legal?
    1. YES! Unless the government says our children are not our own…which unfortunately seems to be too common of a trend in what I see. Go to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website to see legal requirements for your state: www.hslda.org
  2. What about socialization?
    1. Yep. Schools are better at teaching socialism. Haha! J
    2. I asked this question about socialization originally of a homeschool mother and she said, “Do you want your 5-yr-old to learn social skills from another 5-yr-old? Or an adult?” Good point.
    3. When I began, I coerced 3 or 4 good friends to do it with me. (OK – they say I dragged them into it – but over a decade later, and they have helped guide me as much or more than any opposite force.) There was no “trend” of friends to follow, but homeschoolers had laid a path that we found with ease. We got our kids together once/week for gym, music and art. The group grew to be 40+ families of 100+ kids by the time I left Michigan two years ago. Now here in Raleigh, NC, there are thousands in the homeschool groups, and several from which to choose. Socialization is with the right people during socialization time; learning takes place one on one in a quiet (well, relatively quiet) home.
  3. Am I able do it?
    1. Did you teach your child to use the bathroom? Tie his shoes? Make his bed? You have been homeschooling all along.
    2. If you don’t know where to begin, there are many resources available for telling you word-for-word what to do and say daily.
    3. In my experience, 5 and 6-yr-olds practically teach themselves when we offer them the right educational options of reading and play.
  4. What about special needs? ADHD?
    1. Special needs do not disqualify the ability to homeschool. Part of the confidence I had when I began homeschooling was due to working one-on-one with an autistic child, to whom his mother and I (among others) taught lessons each day, recording progress in a notebook. Thanks to God and the behavioral therapy, the non-speaking three-yr-old became an active kindergartener in public school just two years later, with no diagnosis of autism present. (Read “Let Me Hear Your Voice” by Katherine Maurice for additional information.)
    2. ADHD children might fair well when treated individually, at their own pace and designed environment.
  5. What does it cost?
    1. A part of me wants to answer this one, “everything!” since every part of me becomes part of homeschooling. But in dollar terms, the cost varies based on the method chosen, which means it varies A LOT! Robinsoncurriculum.com offers a K-12 classics curriculum for under $400 for 13 years’ worth (less on eBay). Amblesideonline.org offers completely free downloads and reading lists by grade-level that provide most of the needs for FREE. A local homeschool group offers classes for most high school courses for about $500 each subject/year. Classical conversations costs about $1500/year for middle school. EBay changes all the numbers. As you can see, the cost varies greatly.
  6. How much time does it take every day?
    1. Oliver DeMille, in Thomas Jefferson Education, suggests spending five hours/day doing something academic. Some kids will drive themselves more from there. Younger kids, less.
    2. In the early years (K-3rd grade), I rarely spend more than 2 hours working with the student. Often 20min reading lesson and a little math and they are off on their own- reading, exploring the outdoors, etc. Last I checked, Kindergarten is still optional in many states, as well as the Brady home. The “incidental learning” through influence of reading aloud and playing games made Kindergarten “requirements” satisfied by age three or four for all four of our children – so I was never too worried about officially “starting school.”
    3. It is impossible to measure length of time in homeschooling. Maybe we work 8am-11am specifically teaching, but then I see Christine (9) off in the woods in the backyard, carrying a journal and the Nature Handbook with her. And I see JR (7) trying to get his remote control car to balance, holding the magazine that he hand-made for a friend down the street. Then we snuggle with popcorn and books (See the letter: “Raising Readers”) or get out the map at night, to see where Pagoo went on his journey during bedtime reading. How much time did it take to “do school”?
  7. What curriculum do you use?
    1. I highly recommend anyone trying to choose a curriculum to read the DeMille and Bell books (above), before choosing. I don’t use the same curriculum for all of my children (see “reason why Bradys homeschool” #5 above). Look for a future Letter to Lindsey regarding getting started.
    2. When I first began homeschooling, I simply brought school home; I even boasted, “I use the same curriculum as some schools.” However, experience has told me that I was not satisfying #4, 5, 8 or 10 of my reasons by just selecting a box curriculum (like A Beka or Bob Jones) and staying with it. So I branched. I got rid of the “chalkboard mentality paradigm” I had from growing up in school. Now, we do Bible, math and grammar/penmanship together and then focus on reading classics. Incidentally, if anyone asks, I highly recommend to anyone starting homeschool – especially with a child who has been in school – that they begin with a box curriculum like A Beka or Bob Jones, because it gets the daily routine right before you start picking and choosing creatively.)
  8. Is there an age when you shouldn’t homeschool anymore?
    1. My first “age” goal to reach for each child was 10-yrs-old. The goal was that after age 10, we could reevaluate whether homeschool was right for us. Dr. James Dobson says that if a child is given one standard consistently until the age of 8-10 years old, he is much less likely to veer from it. This goes along with the fact that most discipline for obedience within a home is heavily required until around age 6-10. If, however, the foundation has many “blows to its base” when a 1st grade teacher teaches evolution, for example, or promotes divorce, or doesn’t punish for a child’s lie, the child is more likely to not only question his beliefs, but his parents’ as well. So it was my first goal to get to age 10. Of course, we loved it and went beyond.
    2. My friend, Donna Ascol, who has graduated 4 homeschoolers with high school and associates degrees at the same time, and still homeschools two more says, “If I could only homeschool two years of their whole lives, it would be 6th and 7th grade.” I agree that those two years can be painfully unforgettable and unrealistic on the social skills of peers; I have not been put inside of a locker since 7th grade. LOL.
    3. We put our eldest in school at 9th grade, but I do NOT say that high school is the age where all should go to school…if they go to school at all! It was right for him, but it may not be right for all. My second son will be coming back home for 8th grade next year: his request; our choice.
    4. It goes back to praying through the pros and cons of your personal situation for each child. Reevaluating every year takes the pressure off. No for now doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind next year. Chris and I have often come to lean in a direction, just because it has less chance of regret. I will never regret the extra time I have spent with my kids, never.
  9. What obstacles are there to overcome? (The way to overcome any obstacle is to make sure the dream is bigger than the obstacle. Stay focused on your “reasons for homeschooling” any time one of these obstacles arises in your mind. Believe me, those school buses never look so appealing to me as every February; I get my list of “why” back out and read it!)
    1. Family and Friends: With any good decision comes resistance. Well-meaning family and friends can weigh a homeschooler down. I had to understand that even though it was TRULY not in my heart, my homeschooling implied that their schooling choice was not as good as my own. Not true, but I am guessing they felt it regardless. Time allowed us all to encourage each other in our choices, knowing God has a plan for each.
    2. Parenting: The fluency of homeschooling is limited by our own discipline within the home. Many have told me they want to homeschool, but their kids won’t listen to them. Sad. Excuse. If we can’t train them to listen to us, the parents, to what authority will they listen? Look at statistics of peer pressure and you get the answer. It is ok to make demands of your children – even in schooling. I am ashamed that I used to think that was “someone else’s job.”
    3. Toddlers: I don’t like calling children “obstacles,” but toddlers bring a challenge to homeschooling – not an impossibility – a challenge. You can do it anyway! Yes, it is easier now that I don’t have to try to dance with Cheerios in my hair to distract the 1-yr-old while, cleaning up the Play-Doh of the 3-yr-old, all while teaching the 6-yr-old addition, and the 9-yr-old science, but it was worth it. Much has been written about homeschooling with toddlers in the room, so I won’t bore with details, but I encourage you to look into it. (Help for the Harried Homeschooler is a good place to start.) It makes me oh so sad when I hear of a mom that gives up homeschooling her 6-yr-old because she is afraid her 3 and 1-yr-olds were too much of a distraction! (See answer to #6 above for how much time it takes. See Obstacles #9d (perfectionism) below and overcome it. Then re-read your reasons to homeschool before you consider putting a six-year-old in school due to younger siblings.)
    4. Perfectionism: My desire for perfectionism was such an obstacle, that it was the most common whisper/shout in my ear, trying to persuade me to put my kids in school. Sometimes the house fell apart. (THAT is funny that I just used past-tense, since it STILL falls apart!) The school day almost NEVER looks perfect. (“Almost” is optional in that sentence.) I too often imagined that some teacher, any teacher would do a better job than I was doing. SHE would be more organized. HE would get all of the checkmarks in the box for the day. But raising a child is not about collecting checkmarks! Raising the next generation of leaders will not always look organized! Now that I have some years of experience in homeschooling, I can confidently tell you that years of imperfect homeschooling are leading to mature children who are progressing in the direction of happy, healthy, productive Christian Americans.

Who should NOT homeschool?

  1. If the only reason you want to take your kids out of school is so they don’t wake you up in the morning, please don’t.
  2. If you are only half-interested in it, please don’t.
  3. If you are only mad at a teacher, please don’t. Rectify things with the teacher, and then make a decision through prayer.
  4. If you call your husband a “*&^#&*$^@bleep who won’t clean the toilets!” your kids could use a better influence. (HAHA – Remember from my last letter, “It Began as a Walk in the Park”?)
  5. If you don’t feel called to homeschool, nothing is wrong with you. There are other options and God may be using your life and your children’s in those situations for His glory! Press on!

In love,

Terri Brady

Two minute video on Common Core: http://youtu.be/9gyZDtzgta8

Article on two moms who who got involved and made a difference for their state when they noticed something had changed because their school started using Common Core: Two Moms Versus Common Core

Related Posts

It Began as a Walk in the Park

Positive Influence

Trees

The seeds had been planted 5 years earlier, but they didn’t actually begin to sprout until one day when I took a walk to the park.  I was married with one child. After walking my then one-yr-old to the park on a Thursday morning, I found teenagers playing on the playset. Disappointed that these “truant hooligans” were using the equipment for tag, I turned my stroller around to head home, since running teens would not make a safe environment for my newly walking one-year-old.

That is when one of the teens yelled, “Hey everybody! Get off of the playground equipment! There’s a baby here to play!”

I had somehow become accustomed to rude teenagers at this park, who were too often self-centered, (and likely skipping school). I couldn’t believe my ears! One of the girls came over, confidently looked me in the eyes with a smile and said, “Here, you can have the playset; we will go over to the woods to continue our game.”

“What planet are you from?” I asked.

OK, not really, but I could have asked that, because I was that surprised by their respectful behavior toward my son and me. Not one of them was wearing something I would not wear – nor wearing something I would be embarrassed for her to wear if she sat next to my husband on a plane.  I realized they might make good babysitters, so I asked them for their phone numbers. They excitedly gave me their names, when I realized I WAS ASKING COMPLETE STRANGERS TO BABYSIT MY KID!

I decided I needed references – which is when I asked which school they attended and found out they were homeschooled. For the first time, I thought, “These homeschoolers are different, and if this is the fruit of the homeschool tree, maybe I should stop judging them and investigate how those roots began!”

I had never heard of homeschooling until I was an adult.  Chris and I had gone to public school, and no other path for my children had ever crossed my mind. The first I heard of homeschooling was as a newlywed when I attended a family funeral where I met Chris’s cousins who homeschooled. “That is bizarre!” was my only thought.

It is sad, but my first look at almost any change is always a negative look, with my mind locked shut.

The family almost whispered about those cousins, as if they agreed on my “bizarre” label. My judging response was in the form of questions that I didn’t have the courage to ask – because I wasn’t seeking answers, only judging:

  • Isn’t that against the law?”
  • Do they think they are better than the mass public, so their children need different teaching?”
  • Do they know they can’t shelter their kids forever (assuming that is what they are trying to do) and those kids are going to have to face the real world one day?”
  • I hope they know what they are doing; lives of children are at stake!”

But seeds were planted, and they grew in God’s timing – which happened to be five years later– when I took the walk to the park.

Negative Influence

Fast forward from my park story two years, and I had a three-year-old and a baby.

My neighbor two doors down in that park’s neighborhood also had a three-year-old within a couple months of Casey’s age. She and I were very different. While my husband and I worked on beginning a business of striving for excellence in life and attended church regularly, she and her husband headed in a different direction. I devoured Dr. Dobson’s parenting books, chose to avoid allowing our children to watch TV or movies, and strived to improve myself with the same disciplines.  She had favorite soap operas, used R-rated language in normal conversation with her children or me, and often referred to her husband as the #@#$#%#$ bleep who wouldn’t clean the toilet! The f-word was her favorite descriptor; her husband was considered her servant and her children her burden to bear if they ever stepped away from the television. I will never forget the chill that ran down my back the day she excitedly told me, “Our boys will be able to walk to school together!”

I have heard that we are a product of the books we read, the words we hear and the people with whom we associate. I suddenly realized that although as an adult I can choose my books, CD’s and surrounding people, my some-day-5-year-old, would not have that option. He would be a product of his zipcode that determined which school he would attend.

During this same time, a good friend of mine innocently shared a story of her 1st grader.

English: A blackboard or chalkboard from the c...

She had gone to school to help with the class, and took pity on her son’s classmate, a 6-yr-old who was working through his lettering book. While the rest of the class used the “writing station time” to go through one letter at a time and had mostly progressed to the “R-S-T-U-V” stage, this little guy was still on the “D-E-F-G” pages. She knelt down and helped him, while he got more and more frustrated. The teacher ran over to my friend and told her to stop helping the boy. The teacher then turned to the almost tearful boy and gave him a verbal lashing for being so slow and behind the class, and he “would surely be doing letters in summer school if he didn’t pick up his pace!” My friend was upset, seeing the damage the teacher’s words could do to the boy, but not sure what to do about the situation. Obviously, there may have been much behavioral history with that child in that class, but the teacher’s lashing threats didn’t seem likely to inspire improvement. Besides, there were twenty-five other students that needed the teacher’s attention; she certainly didn’t have time to cater to every rabbit and snail, so she was choosing. I may have done the same if I were a teacher of twenty-five 6-yr-olds!

It was around this time that it dawned on me: If I were hiring someone to watch over my children 30 hours/week, it would not be a light decision. I would be interested in the person’s love for children, patience and understanding during challenges, religious stand, interest in flying planes into buildings and the many other rights and wrongs which people in our country coexist in disagreement. I believe we should take the same approach to “hiring” someone to be with our children (plus 20-30 others in the classroom) for thirty hours a week. Even if MANY kindergarten teachers could teach my children better than I, have more patience, more experience and more creativity than I, NOT ONE could love my child more than I, and therefore, we chose to homeschool…at least for a while.

Define what you want;  Learn from somebody who has it; and Do what they have done.

I hunted down the mother of those teens from the park two years prior. I was sure she thought I was crazy, (Since my oldest child was three, I was hardly putting him in school!) but I liked the fruit shown in her girls that day, and I wanted my children to display it. I wrote down a list of questions, and invited this otherwise stranger to lunch so I could grill her on them. I saved the list – and recently came across it. (The list and her answers are attached at the bottom of this letter.)

As with major decisions, we prayed while we listed the pros and cons of each schooling scenario, and then made the decision that was best for the Brady family. My goal with this week’s Letters on homeschooling is not to make my decision be your decision, but to encourage you to strive for excellence even in the education of your children. I am embarrassed to say that there was a time when I didn’t believe that my children’s education fell within my responsibility. “Isn’t that part of paying taxes?” Now I think differently.

Homeschooling

chalkboard

I have been very impressed with the homeschoolers I have met, and would love them to influence my children. When I hear, “Mom, can you wake me up at 6am tomorrow, so I can read before school?” from my daughter, or “I am selling my ski-boat that I bought when I was 13 with money from the business I started,” (selling CD’s of his piano playing) from a young man at church, I recognize fruit on a homeschooling tree. Homeschoolers do not go without criticism, though; I have met many that are too shy, some that seem non-perseverant, and a friend this week told me she knew a family of them that was “rude, just rude!” But in my humble experience, the odds are that the fruit is the kind of sweet that I want to experience in my home.

I am sure that God will continue to write a testimony for each of us. I am including links below of news articles in the past few weeks alone that continue to keep me happy to be a homeschooling mom.

In love,

Terri Brady

Related Letters to Lindsey:

Recent SHOCKING News articles:

April 13, 2013: A father finds a note in his fourth grader’s bag that says, “I am wiling toConstitutionalCrayon give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.” READ MORE.

May 2, 2013: “’Can I kiss you?’ That’s what middle school girls were told to ask one another during an anti-bullying lesson at Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, NY.” READ MORE.

April 10, 2013:  MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry says, “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” READ MORE.

January 23, 2013: “Common Core” is Obama’s “War on Academic Standards.” Accepted in 45 states, it will dumb our country down, one student at a time. “It doesn’t start with the ‘low-information voter.’ It starts with the no-knowledge student.” READ MORE

March 21, 2012:  Statistics of homeschools compared to Public Schools: READ MORE

 …

hs quest

My original questions of the “stranger” homeschool mom from the park: (Her answers in her words are in red. On a future Letter, I plan to include more FAQ’s with my own answers as supplements.)

  1. How do I get official requirements?
    1. Go to www.hslda.com and look it up.
  2. Are there associations (for social interactions, etc.)
    1. Yes. Search for the nearest homeschool store, and they normally have a list. [HSLDA also has a list of homeschool associations by location.]
  3. Trading kids for certain subjects: what do you think?
    1. We have not done it often, but it is helpful in higher maths, or foreign language if you don’t have the experience.  Also, we have found that apprenticing is the best training there is, so we often trade kids to apprentice in new skills at our businesses.
  4. What about sports?
    1. In Michigan [where I lived at the time], it is the school’s option to include or not include homeschoolers. [Since then, Tim Tebow has made homeschoolers in sports a little more visible, since in FL, they are allowed to play on school teams. It varies state by state, but there are many competitive sports (gymnastics, travel soccer and baseball, for example) outside of school that are even more competitive than the school sports. Today, there are many homeschool support groups that supply sports teams which compete against local private schools.  We have also recently learned that the highest level of competitive high-school age soccer does not allow the players to play for their high schools in addition to their clubs, anyway, so homeschool’s possibly limiting sports in school would be a moot point.]
  5. What about socialization?
    1. Socialization doesn’t occur with kids – peer pressure does. Social skills come from parents.
  6. How do homeschooled kids fair in college?
    1. They do as well as public school kids. [That was her answer in 2000, however my research as my oldest entered high school shows that colleges include homeschoolers as a “normal” part of their admissions. They have pages dedicated to homeschool requirements for admissions. Also, some states (at least FL and NC that I know) have a “dual enrollment” program that begins at age 16. Academically gifted students can take college courses for “free” at the local college, and actually earn an associates degree as they graduate from homeschool high school.]
  7. Do you schedule time or do it “as you go”?
    1. We do better with a scheduled start time and rotation, but many are more flexible than I.
  8. Do you have a formal setting for school? Chalkboard? Multiple ages together?
    1. It is as formal as you like. Subjects like history – where it doesn’t matter the order in which you learn it, we all are together. Subjects like math, I do each child individually. I used to think I needed a chalk board, since that is what I was used to growing up, but I found it unnecessary; it is more intimate on paper together.
  9. Gym class? Art? I don’t want to limit my son to my ability.
    1. Oh yes! There are plenty of classes available, so you are never limited by only your ability.
  10. I am all for a Biblical foundation, but am I limiting witnessing to other people who don’t have that opportunity if I don’t put him in a school with them?
    1. By homeschooling, you help create a foundation that will be strong for witnessing. If God calls you to homeschooling, then He has other plans for the timing of your kids’ witnessing.

Another wise mom, Sue Gray, taught me her principles for homeschool:

F – Fear God not man.

A – Acknowledge where strength comes from.

C – Conform to Christ not culture.

E – Endure all things because Christ did first.

 

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