Thursday, June 25, 2015

Educating Your Children: Do What's Best For Your Family and Leave the Guilt Behind

It has been a while since I have been able to write, but my brain has been non-stop with thoughts and ideas to share.  There has been one thought that I can't seem to let go of, though. So today, I write.

I recently saw an article about homeschooling your children that really irked me.  (It doesn't take much to "irk" me.  One of the joys of getting older...you have to squelch the inner curmudgeon that tries to take over!) First, let me say that I am a big advocate of homeschooling your children and do believe that it is the best way, if possible.  Second, having said that, this post is not meant to demean or belittle anyone in any way.  What works for one family may not work for another.

The author of the article, basically, said that homeschooling your children was the only way and that any other way was not right.  I disagree.

For many years, I homeschooled my children the "traditional" way.  It took a lot of time and effort on my part and was not easy.  I understood that and was able to give time to researching curriculum and putting together lesson plans.  However, when my daughter was a freshman, there were some personal setbacks (death, sickness, etc.) that could not be avoided and it put some unwanted stress on our learning process.  My husband implored me to check out this online public school.  So, after much prayer, I decided to attend an information session with him.  I do want to say that I went into it with a bad attitude and was adamant that I would not do this and I was just trying to appease my husband.  Boy, was I wrong!

After sitting for a few minutes listening to the fifth grade teacher give the presentation, I began to gain interest and start asking questions. Was the curriculum challenging?  Do we still have a flexible schedule for extracurricular activities? What about sex education? I poured out several questions and was actually pleased with the answers.  Thus, we signed up and began our first year of online public school that fall.  A year later, my youngest two children followed in their sister's steps and we enrolled them.

There are some pros and cons to the process, though.  My children have a flexible schedule and most of the work is done online.  They get to attend "live lessons" each week, but most are not mandatory and are recorded for future viewing.  The lessons are set and can be done over a few days, so there is never any homework.  There are field trips we can participate in as a family, if we wish.  On the flip side, they have to attend mandatory state testing each spring before the school year ends.  The curriculum is not necessarily geared towards a Christian viewpoint, so I have to explain to my children certain theories and why they are not in line with Biblical teaching.  (However, I have found this to be a great way to dialogue with my children regarding world views and Biblical views. Our children need to know why we believe the way we do.)

Socialization, in my opinion, is not even an issue.  I have seen children in public school who are socially inept, as well as children that are homeschooled.  Sometimes, it's a matter of getting our children involved in activities outside of the home. Other times, it's a matter of personality.

Regardless of the method of educating our children, one thing is true:  there must be involvement from the parents.  They cannot move ahead or learn if the parents are tuned out to the learning process. We need to get behind our children and be an active participant of their education,
whether they are educated in a homeschool, public school, online school, or a private or parochial school.

Don't feel guilty about what works for your family.  Do what you think is best and do what you feel you are being lead to do. 

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