Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why I Homeschool - Part 2 Family Unity

I was sitting in a park with Lori. She was one of the La Leche League Leaders that I studied under when I went for certification. She was a pastor's wife, and had 7 kids. Chris, who was two years old then, was playing with her two of her kids, Hosanna and Zach.

"Why do you homeschool, Lori?" I asked. I was gathering data.

She pointed to Micah, her junior high aged boy, who was pushing his skateboard around gently, with her toddler riding joyfully. "I've never seen a boy who loves his brother so much....and he's not scared to show it. A lot of kids would be worried about what their friends would say. He goes to Scouts, and when the other boys start cussing or misbehaving, he is strong enough to say "no" and not follow along, because the majority of his day is spent with people who love him, who value him for who he is, and who emphasize doing what is right."

That really struck me. Lori has moved on, and then I did, too. I don't know if she knows how much she influenced me. What she said became the primary reason why I homeschool. I really do believe that Deuteronomy 6, as well as Proverbs, and Luther's Small Catechism put the primary responsibility for teaching children about God, morality, and reason at the hands of the parents. When children spend more waking hours in a classroom full of other kids than they do with their parents, their parents lose influence in this realm. Quality time does not make up for that.

It makes a difference in sibling relationships also. Because my kids do not live in separate worlds half their days, they have more motivation to get along than to fight. It also emphasizes where I put my energies. We live together, we respect each other's rights, belongings, and personalities. It may not be as important to a parent to enforce getting along with the energy that I do, because its not an issue half the day. Even with five years between them, they are each other's main companions, and they make it work. In our house, human needs come before books. Life is happening around us as we study. That means things interfere. My kids are not taken out of the home and put in a sterile environment for the sake of learning. Learning how to be patient with Maggie, not to invade Chris's space, and that mom has her moments where she just needs quiet! is just as important as debating who King Arthur really was....more so. They'll be in close contact with people for the rest of their lives, and hopefully, this will make those contacts more real and genuine.

I saw a homeschooling book once that was called "Homeschooling Is About the Baby." What the author meant was that homeschooling puts the relationships into the proper perspective. If the baby is crying and Junior has a problem understanding math, Junior learns that we deal with the baby first and then help with the math problem. People before things.

I'm seeing what Lori was talking about with the peer pressure. Chris has been in some pretty awkward situations and was perfectly clear on the right way to go, and despite his love for his friends, he had no doubt what he was going to do. I was proud of him....and lately, he's been making his sister breakfast and letting me sleep in a little..... :)

go to part 3

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1 comment:

Marie N. said...

Very nice post! My kids are five years apart too. I can keenly relate to your words on this point :-)

I like that you were able to begin your home school adventure with a positive motivation. I got the positive reinforcement after I started. At the beginning we saw home ed as an only acceptable option in order to escape all the negatives associated with our local schools.