Even now, I irrationally worry that our decision to dabble in home-school might turn Caroline and Amelia into socially illiterate and ghastly pale nerds, so that they speak in nasal tones and wear loose-fitting tube socks. Yet here, we are, dipping our toes in waters I swore to never approach.
|You see why I'm concerned.|
It all started with an innocent-looking series of audio sermons. I figured Dr. R.C. Sproul's Training Up Children would be about Christian parenting and discipline. Instead, it was about a Biblical view of education. Education, that is, meaning that even reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught for the single purpose of our children better knowing and glorifying God.
Sproul argued that the task of showing God to our children, Christian education, shouldn't be delegated to schools. That responsibility and joy rests squarely on the shoulders of parents.
Sproul made a fantastic argument. And while I don't think home-schooling is essential to good Christian parenting, I do think it's a worthwhile consideration.
And so, with great fear and trembling, I asked Brad if he'd consider home-school for our girls. I have to give Brad credit here. He's never said an outright "no" to any request I've ever had.
|number flashcards with Daddy|
We've weighed the options for quite some time.
We've read articles and blogs.
We've quizzed families we know who home-school.
And this year, we sent Caroline a couple of days a week to a 4K program, while simultaneously completing the Sonlight 4K home-school curriculum. (We love Sonlight so far!) It was our test run.
She's nearly completed the home-school year. Early. She did great.
So... do we order the kindergarten curriculum and keep trucking?
Yes. We won't be sending Caroline to a traditional kindergarten in the fall. We will soon begin half a year early with a 5K curriculum, and perhaps nearly finish first grade before she would have finished traditional kindergarten.
We're taking our decision one year at a time.
But I have to admit... I still hate telling people our decision to home-school. They think we're nuts. Recently, this worry caused me to waver. I rambled incessantly to Brad about the million pros and cons, wondering what we should decide, when he stopped me.
"If you weren't worried about what people think, would you believe home-school is the right option for next year?" Brad asked.
I thought for only a moment before nodding with confidence. "Absolutely."
And so, we're trying it out. And I feel peace.
We'll let you know how it goes.
Reasons We're Trying Home-School
- Christ-centered learning. Our number one reason. We hope to center the curriculum on Christ, so that even early reading and math are directed towards better knowing our amazing God.
- We as parents can be our children's primary influence during these early and formative years.
- Flexible schedule for family togetherness. As a preacher, Brad often works nights, and his weekends are not traditional. With home-school, we can adjust to his schedule and still have lots of family time.
- Cost effective. I have to remind myself of this before I hit "order" on an $800 kindergarten curriculum for Caroline later this week. (shesh!) Amelia will be able to use the same curriculum, cutting down the cost to $400 per child. If we add more children to the family, they can also benefit from the same books, further driving down costs. And even if this is the only year we home-school, it's still cheap compared to private school options in our area. (Many of the public schools in our city are poor -- although not all of them.)
- Children are a gift from the Lord. (Ps. 127:3-5) I'll admit -- I worry what my days will be like next year with nearly no time away from my girls. Will my hair fall out? (ha) Will my patience wear thin? But I know Psalm 127 is true, and I should enjoy my girls as a reward, rather than focus on finding moments away from them. Yes, we all need space and solo time. It's one priority. But another is enjoying and shaping our children as much as possible during this special, short season.
- Educational flexibility. We are free to hover on Caroline's trouble subjects until she grasps them, and we're free to fly forward in areas where she excels. It's a great way to maximize her learning potential. (I don't mention Amelia because she's two and a half. And she learns TONS, but not yet in the more formalized way that Caroline does.)
- Less time in the classroom, more in hands-on learning. In traditional school, much time is spent organizing large groups, walking in lines, long bathroom breaks, etc. With home-school, you wake up, sit down, get started, get finished. There is much more time for volunteering, visiting museums, helping mom bake and clean, etc. These are also valuable forms of education.
- I'd rather my kids be God-glorifying nerds than terribly bent on pleasing this world. Sure, I still worry that home-school could negatively affect my girls' social smoothness. But I'm highly encouraged by the ordinary, plenty-cool home-schooled children I've met recently. Furthermore, when I weigh the worst case scenario of home-school (nerdy kids) versus the worst case scenario of traditional school (kids preoccupied with cool much more than God), I prefer the first problem, hands down.