Tuesday, June 4, 2013

10 Reasons Not to Home School #1


This last weekend I attended the Wichita Teaching Parent Association 2013 Conference. It had been a long time since I’d been to a home school function like that, and I found myself  flooded  with thoughts and feelings.

     I am super grateful to those who worked so hard to make it possible, - and while I really enjoyed some of the sessions, and loved the opportunity for my son to attend the Children’s Program, I found myself re-evaluating some of my past and present thoughts  about the home school movement in general.

 In typical Rebecca fashion, - I came home and started scribbling….
 I am working on a series of posts that could be called ‘Please don’t Home School Because…’, or ‘ 10 reasons NOT to Home School’.   This is part one.
Please don't Home School....


     #1  .....Because you think it is ‘the right thing to do’.

   Sometimes in life there are things that seem to be the ‘right’ thing to do; -the ‘best’ way to do something; -the ‘only’ way to reach a goal. This is especially hard because some things just seem true. Speakers and books can point out scientific facts and figures, and convince us of what is logical. 
Life has taught me, that while something may be the ‘best’ way to do something,if it isn’t working for you or your family,it simply isn’t the best.

    I have a friend who hires a girl to clean her house. This friend is young, healthy, and has two kids. She is a stay at home mom. At this point, some of you are wondering what she does all day. – Well, - she is a great mom and wife, who is also a highly gifted, and is involved in a ministry that reaches hundreds of children in her community. God has given her talents that allow her to personally affect the lives of young people that may otherwise not be reached.

      My friend puts her husband and children first in life, - but housework? Not so much. In her life, - hiring out jobs around her home is an option, and one I think she wisely chooses. She is still managing her home. She is still seeing her family’s needs are met, but she is choosing to allocate her time to things she see’s are most important, and delegating the rest.

  I love this example because delegation is NOT my strong point. I do feel the crazy inner impulse that says I am supposed to take care of everyone and everything in my family- that I should be able to do it all.   I have a hard time asking for help of my husband, - let alone un-emotionally evaluating where things are not going well. I love that she looked at her life, and was able to see an area that wasn’t working and find a great solution. –

    I don’t believe there is only one way to properly educate a child. Homeschooling offers some fantastic advantages, - but it also requires tremendous effort. I don’t think it is the best fit for every family. I have seen families use their local public schools and raise strong Christian children to adulthood.

    Likewise, - I have seen families who were so committed to the idea of homeschooling and living life within certain rigid parameters that they were unable to see or admit when those ideals no longer worked for their family.

   I have seen both children and parents in conservative families who were driven by  the best of intentions crash and burn; - I believe in part because the family was unable to let go of their ideas of the way things ‘should be’.

   There is something to be said for sticking with something that has the results we need, - even when it is hard. There is value in being willing to sacrifice to achieve a goal. But so often it is so easy to overlook the real goal, and get distracted by side benefits.

If my goal is to loose weight so I can be fit and healthy, - I cannot forget that my ultimate goal is to be healthy. Weight lose is a fantastic benefit to eating right and working out, - but if I forget my ultimate goal, and focus instead on the way I feel when I loose weight, or most dangerously of all, - identify myself only by the number on the scale, - I can become obsessed with counting calories, squeezing in just one more workout, -facing self loathing when I fail to ‘do things right’;  and or, developing dangerous food habits.

 By focusing on the benefit, instead of the goal, I actually undermine the very thing I am trying to accomplish....

     In the same way, as Christian parents, - we need to be very, very careful to maintain sight of our ultimate goals. What do you REALLY want for your children? Really. If you had to sum it up in a sentence, or just a few.

   For me, - while I am still sorting out my sentence, - I know for sure that a word I would choose as highly important to me,  is that I want to see my children THRIVE. To see them fully embrace life, - confident in who they are, - who God is, and secure in my love.
I do want my children to be highly educated, and posses a of love learning. 
I do want my children to be proficient in life skills.
I do want to encourage their gifts and talents and help them achieve their goals.
 I do want to help them learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships.

    Already, with these goals in mind, - my husband and I have examined the way we order our life, - the social circles we frequent, how we spend our time, and more. I think there will always and forever be adjustments we need to make in order to achieve these goals, as the needs of our children change.

   Right now, - homeschooling helps us reach these goals.  When people ask us where Justice goes to school, - I tell them that we are homeschooling this year.  We are not ‘homeschoolers’, we are home schooling this year. –This may sound silly to some of you. I say it this way, not as much for the questioner’s sake as my own. – A reminder of what I am doing, and why.

  I refuse to identify myself by one aspect of parenting I practice        I don’t ever want the side benefit of homeschooling to over shadow my primary goal(s)… And I do not ever want to be so comfortable, or set in what I do,  that I can no longer see what doesn’t work for us.

   What are your goals for your children?  Have you been surprised by the choices you’ve made to achieve those goals that don’t match your pre-conceived ideas of parenting?  Is it easy for you to recognize when things need to change?



You can find the rest of this series called, 10 Reasons not to Home School here.
 

3 comments:

  1. My goals for my children is that they grow to love God more and more and say "Yes Lord" to whatever He may call them to. Whether it's moving on to college in the future or not. Whether it's heading out into the mission field or not. Whether it's pursuing a family and working a simple job in our local city or not. Whatever God wills for them, let it be so, and let them be sensitive to His voice.

    We've worked through difficulties in our years of home schooling. Life is a challenge, and home schooling can be one of them. Christ doesn't desire to always take us out of these trying times, but to pray us through them- to cause us to cling to Him and trust Him despite what we see and feel.

    There is no one-way-fits-all-answer and every family must seek and obey the Lord in the direction He has for them. Because He doesn't call us all to the same path and He doesn't make all families look alike.

    Through the years I've been thankful for His patience with me as not just a homeschooling mom, but a mom period. We've had years of schooling alone, schooling with another family, schooling with a co-op, utilizing the public school system, and experiencing private school as well. And through it all, He has been faithful and patient.

    Yes, we need to be open to the fact that our pre-conceived ideas of parenting are not always going to be right. However, we also must recognize that just because something is hard, does not mean it's wrong.

    Blessings to you :)

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    Replies
    1. Stephanie,
      Thanks SO much for sharing!! I love hearing how you've utilized many options in achieving your goals for your children and family.
      You are so right, - there is no one right answer for us all - but there is One who does love and guide us!
      Thanks so much for your thoughts and best wishes to you and your family!:)

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  2. Rebecca, I love your series so far! (I have read all four posts). I was startled/surprised when you said you went to the Wichita TPA because I went that conference every year growing up!! (My family lives in Salina now). My parents were good friends with the family who started the conference WAY back in the day (the Farthings). We went to the conference when it was small and hosted at a church. Anyways, it is a small world. :)
    I did a series on my blog about adult homeschoolers last year--maybe some of the posts would resonate with you! Here is the first post: http://mengalings.blogspot.com/2012/05/adult-homeschoolers-speak-out-why-i.html
    I will eagerly keep reading your series. I also did your survey. Thanks for your wisdom and insight about reasons (not) to homeschool. (My twins are actually starting public school in the fall).

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