Today I will continue my series of things I said I’d never do (and now do). (Read the other posts in the series on owning a small dog, using cloth diapers, and drinking goat milk.) The one for today – homeschooling – I didn’t say I would never do, but I thought I would never do it.
Just to give you a background on me, I grew up wanting to be an elementary school teacher. I subjected my dear cousins to “school” during our childhood years. My dream lived on through middle and high school. Through the Lord’s leading and provision, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Millersville University in 2007. Then I taught third grade at Ephrata Mennonite School for three years before our oldest son was born in 2010. Those were wonderful years – I simply loved the classroom life! I still get excited thinking about freshly sharpened #2 pencils, eager students raising their hands, little bottles of Elmer’s glue that actually work, notes from students, new composition books, neat handwriting, and a whole host of other teachery things.
During my years of teaching, I would often get the question from people, “Are you going to homeschool your own children someday?” I would politely answer this question with something like, “I’m not going to say I never will, but I don’t plan to homeschool because my heart is in the classroom.” Inside, I was thinking, “Why would I homeschool? If people homeschooled, I wouldn’t have a job!”
Well, that was in 2010. This is 2015. If you’re good at mental math, our oldest is now 5 years old. School time, and, guess what? We are homeschooling him for the 2015-2016 school year. How did that come about?
Many factors worked together to bring us to homeschooling. First, let me lay out what three basic options we have here in PA – public school, private school, or homeschool. While there are many good schools and fabulous teachers in our public school system, we do not feel comfortable sending our children there due to the influences they will encounter that are in opposition to our Christian faith. Will we ever send them to public school? I won’t say never, but it would have to be with clear direction from the Lord. With public school off our list of choices, we were left with two options – private Christian school or homeschool.
Probably the biggest factor in our decision is that our son has a summer birthday, and we felt he was on the edge of being “ready” for kindergarten. We didn’t want to push him into school too early, but yet we felt he was ready for some formal learning. Homeschooling fits that bill very well.
We like how homeschooling is family-centered. It takes into account the needs of the family and child. It allows parents and children to spend TIME together. So many parents who have married children tell us how wonderful these years are with little children in the home. (Some days it is hard for me to imagine this being a stage that I will look back on and miss!) What a better way to spend these precious years than together with your child?
Homeschooling maximizes the use of the time. Even though my heart is still in the classroom, I admit that teaching a child one-on-one is a much better use of time. What is accomplished in a classroom of 20+ students can be accomplished in a fraction of the amount of time at home. The teacher in me still argues that other life lessons are being learned in the classroom that can’t be learned at home.
We were also encouraged by attending by the CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of PA) convention in May of 2015. We met many other excited homeschool families while being exposed to all the resources out there to aid in homeschooling.
Are we committed to homeschooling through 12th grade? Not yet. We plan to take a year at a time, but for this year we have a peace about knowing we are in the Lord’s will. That is what we want for each day. May you be blessed as you follow the Lord’s will for your life today!
Check back for my wrap-up post for this "I Never" series. Thanks for reading!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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