Close to 40 years later, we have never experienced a moment of doubt as to our choice. That little boy in kindergarten is now a college graduate, a lawyer and a married man with five children, all of whom he and his wife plan on teaching at home. He is also the eldest of our fourteen sons and daughters. His younger siblings, some of whom are also the parents of our 16 grandchildren, are homeschooling as well. Obviously, our children are as pleased as their parents are with the method of education we chose.
Over the years, of course, curious people have asked us why we made the decision to begin and continue homeschooling our children. There are many reasons we love it, but for the sake of brevity I’ll share just a few here.
In my homeschooling journey of 37 years, I learned a LOT and changed the way I approached education as well. When I started out, I had a pretty traditional approach to education and never questioned that what was in the book was what my child needed to know.
Here are some conclusions I came to and things I would have done differently from the start had I known.
Don’t feel like I have to teach everything that is in the book or finish every book.
Don’t be afraid to scrap a book mid-year and try something else. Some books that worked well for most of my kids, just frustrated others. What works well for one doesn’t necessarily work well for the next child. Kids just learn differently. If you’re rolling along and find something included in the book that you don’t think your child will ever need, feel free to skip over it. Or if you’re in mid-year and the book you’ve chosen just isn’t working, try another. It’s okay. It’s not only okay, it’s the wise thing to do.(Here are 5 tips for choosing curriculum)
Don’t assume that a government school course of study is best for my child
I just automatically thought that government schools had studied kids and knew what was best to teach each child at each level/age. That just isn’t true! You know your child so intensely. Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct, or better yet, God’s leading for each individual child.
Don’t hold my child to standards of “where they’re supposed to be” or hold them back because they are learning too quickly
Just thought I’d remind you of that, in case you’re like the average homeschooler who hears it said – or at least insinuated – frequently. I often tell my listeners at conventions that the reason we go to those things is that after having been told we’re crazy all year long, we need to get together once a year to remind each other that we’re not.
In the first place, it’s not crazy to teach your own kids if you’re not a ‘professional’ teacher. No school can match the individual attention each of your children gets from you. Not to mention the love you put into that relationship. Nor the freedom you have to individualize the program for the needs and interests of each child.