Home Education

Why Educate our Kids at Home?

(Or, “Why on earth are you STILL doing that?!”)

It all started the summer our oldest was 5.  His friends’ parents were all lined up to jockey for position in the top kindergartens in the community we lived in.  They were chatting about how this school offered full days or day care options, how another popular school offered exceptional art and music, or how yet another one would allow their child to learn the most about their faith and culture.  But try as I might, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we hadn’t found the right thing for James yet.

Somehow God began reminding me of a girl I went to school with in early elementary.  Her parents were practicing  Jeh*vah’s W*tness, and I am not sure if that contributed to their pulling her out of our small town public school or if there was another reason, but they had chosen to homeschool her.  Another family that we knew (the aunt and uncle of my best friend) had chosen to homeschool all along and after babysitting for them a couple of times with my friend, I remember thinking that these kids had something about them that was really attractive.

 At the time that we were researching schools, our pastor’s wife had invited me over to try and answer some of the many questions I would ask her after church (I know  I must have driven her a little crazy with my neurotic hounding!).  I came away with such a deep sense of peace.  I could relinquish the fear of failure and my desire to blend in with my peers.  My son would turn out alright!

Now came the tough part.   I had to get Stephen on board.

I’ve learned a lot since those days.  I now realize that the best way to get into God’s will and to follow through with where he is leading me, is to truly let.Him.do.the.leading!  Yep.  That’s it.  However, as I say, I hadn’t quite figured that out yet.

I came home from my visit with our pastor’s wife armed with a cassette tape of a talk given by Chris Klicka of the H*S*L*D*A and a determination that this was the way that our son should be educated.

Oddly enough, Stephen wasn’t half as startled as I had expected.  He was tired that night, but he listened to the tape and then he heard me rattle off everything I’d learned.

The clincher was when we began talking about the fact that homeschooling would give us a continuation of that much loved interaction with our son even through his early learning.

We didn’t know how long we’d continue with our little experiment, but we knew enough to give it a try!

Each fall family and friends and the general public in whichever community we happened to be residing in, would ask us, “Are you going to continue homeschooling this year?”  It was usually asked with much tact, but I could tell that there were concerns.  How could it possibly be good for our son and then our daughter, and now our sons and daughters, to be sequestered away from the norm, from other children, from the schools?

And each year we prayed.  And each year He answered.

A few Septembers back though, I read something that challenged me more deeply in this area.

Every year I would wrap up our checklists and our required learning outcomes for the year, as outlined by our province.  I would stress and fight and stew and worry and by the end of it you could stick a fork in me – I was D.O.N.E.

Can you say “burn out”?

Anyway, through what I read (and boy do I wish I had known what a significance it would have on my life – I should have saved it!), I was made aware of the fact that what we were doing was not living by faith.  Not even by half.  Instead, every year, with many nerves, I would set off on our journey to educate our children, “Just one more year and then we’ll see…”.  When really, He had done all the calling that He needed to!  And rather than living like Gideon and throwing out that fleece again and again, I needed to keep on in what He has called me to and persevere in it!  “Running the race”, as Paul called it.

 Suddenly that huge burden was lifted from my shoulders.  I could finally rest in His plan for each of my kids.

For us, that looks like this.

We pulled our kids out of the government supervised edcuation system (in our province we have a type of public school at home / distance ed /online program that allows parents to be the child’s instructor while still remaining accountable to the government).  Instead, we have chosen to accept full legal responsibility for our chidren’s education by registering our intent to do so with the Ministry of Education here in our province.

We began praying for and over our kids in a new way.  Each of our kids have unique learning needs and it was incredibly overwhelming to supervise and administer therapies and still be able to check off requirement lists from the Ministry of Education.  We began to trust that God knew what they needed to know before they became adults in their own right and that that might look different for each one of them.  Suddenly it wasn’t just about curricula any more.

And finally when we had a sense of what each child was about again (That’s what summer time is really all about for me.), we took a look at where they had left off in their traditional book work and we moved on from there.

And that’s it!

Does my Type A, box checker self love this new way of thinking?  No. Do I sometimes call up a loved one and gripe and complain about how the whole bunch of them are driving me crazy?  Oh yeah.  Is it worth it for the sense of peace that comes from knowing we are doing what He wants for us and for our kids?  Absolutely.

And I guess that is how I want to close this long introduction to our journey with homeschooling.  I don’t believe that God has a mandate for every child to come home for their education. It’s not that cut and dried.  I do however think that those of us who love and serve Him need to give Him the opportunity to speak into our lives about the way that we will educate our kids.  I promise, no matter the answer, the peace will be worth it!

And now for something that made me chuckle..