Reflections of A Homeschool Mom
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Proverbs 31:25-28 (NLT)
This past Saturday my youngest son graduated from college. I consider this another parental milestone, even though he is married and on his own. It was an important day for me because it brought me a sense of accomplishment. See, I homeschooled all three of my boys. Not all three of them all the way through, but two of them for at least 6 years, and one all the way through high school. I began homeschooling when our oldest finished 3rd grade and our middle son finished Kindergarten in a private school.
When they went off to school I wasn’t overjoyed. I quickly realized how little time I actually had with them after dinner and homework were done! So much life and opportunity for the family that we were missing out on! There were many things we wanted to build into our children’s character that we were unable to accomplish with them being gone all day, five days a week. I was really unsure about taking on homeschooling, but after much prayer and research, my husband and I decided it would be a good fit for our family.
A Difficult Transition
Our first year, especially that first year, homeschooling was nightmarish in so many ways. I struggled, they struggled, but we did build character together. We really got to know each other! I learned things (both good and bad) about each of them that I would not have known apart from homeschooling them. In all honesty, I was also receiving an education; I learned a lot about myself in those early days, much of it ugly. That was when the Lord began working on my sinful anger problem. My kids were loving and gracious toward me as I grew and changed, repented and transformed.
We got better together and into a routine by the second part of the year. It was a joy to see the fruit of my labor as they grew is wisdom and knowledge in academics and in God’s Word. I loved being with my kids throughout those years. Even when they were behaviorally difficult and obstinate in their attitudes I loved waking up to their three little faces and conducting school each day in our upstairs classroom.
Learning Life Skills: In Spite of the Doubters
I think they learned more than academics. They learned to be independent studiers. I didn’t hover over them. I taught the lessons, gave their assignments and went on to the next thing. They learned responsibility, and they learned the value of self-starting and self-monitoring. Our youngest child needed the least instruction or monitoring from me. He knew what he needed to do and just did it.
Through the years there were many times I faced tremendous discouragement from extended family members who would look at our homeschool lifestyle and say to me, “Those boys should be in school.” These kind folks worried about me not knowing what I was doing, thought our kids weren’t receiving a proper education and assumed that they would never amount to anything. I was asked about their socialization, and their ability to function outside our “isolated” world when they got older. Family gatherings were tough back then.
What Am I Doing?
The truth is, I really wasn’t always sure what I was doing. I read the Teacher’s Manuals, studied grammar, history, science, and (ugh) math. I taught phonics to all the boys, spelling, and the 50 States and Capitols. They all knew how to diagram a sentence, and the importance of the history of our great nation. There were things I learned and relearned right along with them! When I didn’t know something, I found someone who did to teach them what they needed to know. I figured it out because it was important to me. I wanted them to excel.
Perhaps there are some parents who “homeschool” their kids and never teach them anything, but I wasn’t one of them. I took my responsibility to my boys seriously, because I knew I was affecting their futures. I did wonder about college and if I was hindering their ability to get into college. I did wonder if colleges would accept their homeschool diplomas, or look upon them as somehow “lesser than” the other kids in class. All for naught.
Their Future Is Bright
As of this past weekend, all three have graduated from college. Two have Bachelor of Arts degree’s and one is working on his Ph.D. All have excellent work ethics, are self-starters, and will go far in life. I do not regret the decision to homeschool our children, not one bit.
I know homeschooling isn’t a decision everyone will make, but for us, it was the right decision. I would encourage you to at least consider it, and even give it a try for a few years. You may be surprised at all the wonderful things that flow from those years you invest yourself into your children in this most intensive way.