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Friday, May 4, 2007

The "Hows" and "Whys" of Homeschooling

Just some excellent advice that I received recently about homeschooling and my response.

"I've spent most of this first year confused. As to what is important, how it's important and the "whys" and "hows". "

Without reference to anything else... I would like to say that this, in and of itself, is a biggie. I personally think that this is one of the biggest and important challenges that homeschoolers should conquer: developing a crystal clear vision of what is important, why it is important, and how to treat it. Amazingly, a lot of people who think they've got all this together can't succinctly define or describe it when asked.

I just want to encourage you that once you get this figured out, everything else is a LOT easier. From what I have seen, the most successful homeschoolers are the ones who have this figured out, and have a well defined vision. A lot of us here have worked through this, and a lot are still in the process. And, of course, it's going to look different in every home. What you do should be measured against this vision, not against homeschooling "styles". Whether you plan a lot, whether you do things on the fly, all this is about style and implementation. One can use just about any style to achieve any goal or vision.

Don't know if this helps or not... we could probably start a new thread on this topic alone because I think I'm changing the subject here, and this is something tha I am addressing to everyone in general (not just you... although it was your comment that trigged my thoughts) will have an interest in... but I just wanted you to know that if you have struggled with this that you are in very good company, and it's worth the effort to sort out.

The only advice I would have for someone who is still sorting this out is this: if anything you are doing leaves you wondering these questions, then it might be that thing is just a side adventure, and not a step down the path, kwim? It helps me to evaluate everything for how it builds on what we've done in the past, and for how it prepares us for what we plan to do in the future. Then I know exactly how to treat it (how serious to take it, how much priority to prescribe it). That's what works for me. Everyone finds something that works for them...

Don't know if any of this helps or not. Of course, I'm probably completely off base, because you probably meant something else by your comment than what I thought you meant :o). Either way, best of luck. -Robin in TX, WTM Boards

In Response:

The decision to homeschool is such a BIG one. It isn't just about taking over the academic portion of your child's life, it's about taking stock of what you've got to teach your child. Before homeschooling, I was skating along. The school would do this for my child, the church would do that, I don't have to do this because of this factor. Then "snap"!

The decision to homeschool was because of academic, spiritual and moral factors but these factors weren't being addressed probably how they should have been before homeschooling. The homeschooling world opens the door of possibilities, with all sorts of curriculum choices and advice, ways to, and ways not to. I honestly felt "behind" when we started looking at curriculum choices, thinking "we could have been doing this all along" with the character, spiritual and life training.

I didn't realize that by saying yes to homeschooling I would feel so responsible for my little ones, in a way I hadn't experienced before. "What I do is going to shape these children in some way, some how" is a constant thought whereas before homeschooling, it was busy-ness and going through the motions.

I feel so blessed that God has given me this opportunity to really KNOW my children and "see" them, not just look at them but to see them. "What a gift" to quote Janice. Homeschooling has challenged me in so many ways and it continues to, but it's just so much more than academics. I want my children to know God and to know they are not alone, I want my children to feel loved by their family, I want my children to know that they have a place in this world that is special and everlasting. That is the knowledge that I work towards building most of all.

This journey is the best thing to happen to me and hopefully my children will say the same later on. This past year has been filled with anxiously wanting to get it right, but I've learned that anything I "do" is right as long as I do it lovingly with their best interests at heart. And I mean Corinthians 1:4-13 love when I say lovingly.

It's all a work in progress but I am so grateful, so grateful to be on board.


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