“In the absence of Biblical conviction, children will go the way of culture.”
My first exposure to home education was when I was in high school. This was in the mid 1970’s. Nobody was talking about it and it was very “grassroots.”
I had great respect for the couple that was teaching their children at home. In fact, I loved them dearly. They were my pastor and his wife. I felt like they were my personal spiritual mentors for much of my junior high and high school years. They had more impact on me than anyone else in my life. When I think of how much they poured into me spiritually it makes me cry. They were all I had back then.
This is what I knew to be true. Their home was peaceful. They appeared to have a good marriage. Their children seemed to be well behaved and they got along with each other. I knew I wanted all that they had. I was determined that when I got old enough to be married and have a family we would be a home schooling family.
As I made my way through Bible College, Nursing School, and my first job, I began to meet more and more people who were beginning to educate their children at home. Their reasons were as varied as a bag of Jelly Belly’s, but I gleaned what I could from every one I met. I threw out whatever didn’t appeal to me.
I still had Larry and Linda’s example on my mind, so when I started dating John I casually brought up home schooling. He didn’t know anything about it, but I made a sound case for it and he seemed interested.
John and I eventually got married. We had five children and so the home schooling journey began.
All I knew was that I wanted to spend as much time as I possibly could with our children. If we put them in public or private school they would be gone 35+ hours a week. The thought of losing that much time with them was not appealing to me.
But more importantly we wanted to put into practice what Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
So this is what we did. We had our children in God’s Word every day, teaching and talking to them about knowing and loving and obeying God. It was the most natural thing in the world for me to do since I was home all day. John and I both had consistent time in God’s Word and we wanted to model this for our children.
On the academic side of things my greatest joy in teaching our early elementary age children was that I had the privilege of teaching all five of them to read. This memory is so dear to me that it brings tears to my eyes when I think of it.
Books and reading was a huge part of each day. We still have a special collection of children’s books waiting to be read to grandchildren. Reading aloud to our children is also one of our favorite memories.
Hand tailored academics for each child, unique extra-curricular activities for each one of the children—sports, music, art, international travel, and community service were all things we were able to do as a home educating family.
I was motivated to work hard with the kids because I didn’t want to have any regrets. In hindsight I realize you have to be nearly perfect to avoid any regrets. I’m thankful that I only have a few. There are always things I would have done differently. I made mistakes. I trusted God to fill in the gaps.
Family time was a priority. We ate three meals together for years. When the children got older and more active the evening meal remained a priority even if it meant eating Subway sandwiches in the Suburban on the way to a baseball game.
We took our children with us everywhere we could so that they were exposed to as many social settings as possible. We also had several small events in our home to teach them how to interact with a wide variety of people.
The longer we home schooled the more familiar people became with it. Finally, when I was schooling four different grades and had a baby on my hip John and I decided I needed help. So slowly over time we began to put our children into a University Model Classical Christian School two days a week. It was the perfect blend of time home and time at school.
We Met Our Goals
-Primary influence in the early lives of our children.
-Solid Biblical and Christian foundation.
-Uniquely tailored individual academics.
-Diverse extra-curricular activities.
-Socialization crossing many age and gender demographics.
This verse from Proverbs although not a guarantee, was highly motivating, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
With 20 years of home educating behind us we now have the privilege of enjoying our young adult children. I’ve been asked if I’d home school again given the chance. Absolutely! It is one of the most fulfilling things I have done as a woman and a mother.