Educating at Home

My 3 daughters are taught at home,and have been for five (going on six) years. E & A began third grade (with Sonlight's Core D) this fall, and H will use Sonlight's P4/5 package. We made the decision to educate our children at home for a number of reasons!

Reason #1) Scripture makes it clear that it is the parents' responsibility to oversee the instruction of their children. God's plan for parenting includes this. In America, parents have the option to choose public, private, or home education for their children. It is our personal conviction that we can and should teach our children at home during this season of our family life.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
[Deuteronomy 6:4-9]

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
and do not forsake the law of your mother;
for they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
and chains about your neck.
[Proverbs 1:8]

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
and give attention to know understanding;
for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law.
When I was my father’s son,
tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
he also taught me, and said to me:
"Let your heart retain my words;
keep my commands, and live.
Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget,
nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
[Proverbs 4:1-5]

Reason #2) One of the talents that God has given me is to teach. My degree is in Mathematics Education. I enjoy teaching, and I have a knack for it. Why not use my gift to influence the lives of my own children? Now, I am not saying that if you don't have a degree in education you are unqualified - oh, friend, far from it! There are so many outstanding resources out in the world to encourage and help you if you feel that you "don't qualify" to teach your own children. If God gave you children, He has qualified you to teach them at home if that's the direction He leads you in!!! (Note: In NH, at the time of this writing, no advanced degree is necessary by law for parents to homeschool. Please check with your state's current laws on homeschooling - some states may require proof of secondary education for homeschooling parents.)

Reason #3) The girls gain effective lifelong social skills by learning how to interact respectfully with people of all ages at the grocery store, bank, library, playground, restaurants, church, on field trips, and in our home. They learn that disrespect, unkindness, selfishness, and outbursts caused by anger are not acceptable and are given a model of what is appropriate and expected. They learn that it's okay to believe something absolutely and not worry about 'fitting in' with a popular crowd to avoid being picked on, because they know their worth is not mandated by random, subjective, emotion-based societal standards but it is found in their identity in Christ.

Children do not need to be "socialized" as we've been taught to believe, by attending public school. In a public (and even private) school setting, it would be easy for children to assume the following about society:
     a) people spend lots of time with people their own age.
     b) bullying, violence, ineffective discipline, disregard for authority, and peer pressure are a normal part of growing up.
     c) it's not okay to be unique. Everyone needs to be ready to learn the same thing at the same time in the same way. If you learn things too early or too late (according to a set of manmade standards of normalcy), you are "gifted" or "special".
     d) learning important things only happens from 8am-3pm, Monday-Friday, September-June, inside a brick building, and it's only officially measured by test scores and homework.
That is not the type of environment I want my children to experience for most of their growing years. No matter what I do to counteract those observations at home, my children would undoubtedly carry those lessons with them for a long time.

I went to college to learn to be a teacher. I taught in a public middle school before Elizabeth was born. Being a teacher is a noble ambition, and there are many stellar men and women who teach (and it's not just a job, people, it is a lifestyle! It is not just a 6-hour-a-day, 5-day-a-week, 9-months-a-year job; it is a career that requires dedication and commitment). What I am not saying is that teachers are dumb or horrible or useless. What I am saying is that the public education system is ineffective the way it is right now. It is impossible to teach hordes of children and young adults crucial information in a way that each of their needs are met and each of their talents and gifts are encouraged, while trying to keep order and discipline without the necessary support. If you haven't seen "Waiting for Superman," Netflix it.

Reason #4) I love being around my daughters, and realize that they will be grown up soon enough. No job, no career, no materialistic things could be so important that I'd be willing to give up any moments I can spend with them. When Elizabeth was on the cusp of being able to read - I was the one she read her first words to. When Abby was learning to write her name - it was an honor to watch her write it down for the very first time! The same way people applaud the milestones of their babies - I want to be able to beam with excitement for all of my girls' childhood milestones. I can give up a substantial income, vacations, eating out, a second car, new clothes, styled hair, etc for that.

We use...
Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd - for Preschool, Bible, History/Geography, Math, Science, Reading, & Language Arts.
Horizons (Alpha Omega Publications) - for Health, PE, and Penmanship

If you want to try out Sonlight, and your order will be more than $50, use my Rewards code to get $5 off: AH20264102

We also recommend joining the Home School Legal Defense Association if you're new to homeschooling and your children are of legal school age (6-18 in NH) and Christian Home Educators of NH for a stellar support system as you educate your children at home!

And check out my Resources page for some outstanding books for homeschooling families!

For His glory!

1 comment:

  1. Lisha, this is well said and I really respect and admire you for the choices you are making to educate your girls. I think of you often as I work on preschool lesson plans for Ava. Our family has many of the same reasons for wanting to home school. I know the time, effort, joys, and struggles of home schooling will be well worth it! Prayers to you, Will, and the girls as you continue the wonderful journey of home schooling.