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Monday, July 7, 2014

Why We Homeschool – Reason #2

 

**  This post is part of a blog series.  Click here to start at the beginning.  **

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I am back today with another reason why our family has decided to homeschool.  Like I mentioned in the previous post, I could have totally stopped with reason #1 (God) because we truly feel like He has called us to teach our children at home but there are so many legs to that one reason that I thought I would keep going.  (Please forgive me if they all come back to reason #1.)

Reason #2 – Togetherness

We believe in family togetherness.  When you are homeschooling, the opportunities for family time and bonding are just priceless.  This is not only academically, but spiritually, socially, character building, and so much MORE. 

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Our pastor has been doing a series of messages on Sunday mornings entitled Family Works. They have been so good each week but it is sad to me that in so many homes and family trees that the traditional American family is disintegrating.  We all get caught up in the busy-ness of this world that it seems we forget about not only putting God first, but also we forget to spend time together.  Let me see if I can say this better…

Families who spend time every day growing and learning with each other are going to be close knit.  As far as our family goes, we just believe that homeschooling allows our family the precious commodity of time together so that we can accomplish this.  We have that time built into our daily schedule to spend together, and let’s be honest…  isn’t that really what our children want from us, our time?

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Yes, we are together A. Lot. Of. The. Time. but we really do like each other and we like it that way.  I often hear parents say how they just cannot wait for the new school year to start up again so they will have their time back.  I have often been in conversations where this topic comes up and not only does it make me feel so uncomfortable sometimes, but it honestly just breaks my heart because often times it appears that their children are burdens.  I know that the majority of people do not mean it that way but that is usually what I take away from our conversation.  Sure, I could get so much more done around here if my children were in school during the day.  For this particular school year coming up, that would mean that half of my bunch would be in elementary school and maybe even more if we put Joy Lynn in a 2 or 3 day a week preK program somewhere.  So yes, I could definitely have that clean, clutter free home that I dream of with all my chores done by the time Josh and the children arrive home in the afternoon.  But then I am very quickly reminded that “me time” is not in the Bible, but well I guess it is, and God refers to that as “selfishness”. 

Philippians 2:3 (American Standard Version)

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

This once again brings me back to how quickly time passes and how very few years Josh and I are going to actually have with these precious children before they are grown and out of our nest.  I really do not want to look back and think that I did not spend enough time with them when they were young.  I am just being honest here but 4 - 5 waking hours a day is just not enough for us. 

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Psalm 144:4 (New International Version)

They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Psalm 78:39 (New International Version)

He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.

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You do remember that quote I shared in the last post right?  I am telling you that thing comes up so often in my life that I just cannot run from it.  I will share it again just in case you forgot…

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Again, please hear my heart on this.  It is not that schooled children cannot have close relationships with their families, but I just feel like if our family choose that option we would have to fight harder to keep our children’s hearts.  For our family, it just feels like we would be competing with the bonds that the children are forced to make 6 – 7 hours a day with their peers (a bond that we feel occurs when the parents are absent daily). 

This was a huge part of our family’s decision to homeschool because as parents, when we send our children to school daily, it feels like we have removed ourselves completely from a big chunk of their lives for the majority of their day, almost every day. 

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And when I think about family togetherness, it also leads me to think about relying on peers.

Peer dependence and peer pressure is a huge part of growing up.  As children start to grow into young adults, why should it surprise us that so many often rely on their friend’s opinions, rather than their own family?  Why would a son or daughter turn to someone other than Dad or Mom with the little and big questions in life?  Why do they not value the opinions of those in God given authority over them, but rather, look to friends for what they think?  This really should not be a surprise to us since they spend far more time with their “friends” and out of daily necessity, have formed trusting bonds with them.  This is a survival method, so to speak when they are allowed to spend excessive amounts of time with peers instead of family together time and so they look to those they are around the most as a sort of “family”. 

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To be honest, I am just not comfortable handing these sweet souls over to their peers so they can influence them and just “hope” that we get a good teacher or good friends who will do it right each school year.  For my husband and I, it just felt like 5 or 6 years (kindergarten age) was not enough time for us to teach their hearts about God and how to make life decisions for Him. 

Stay tuned for more ramblings from my heart,
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***     Disclaimer:  I understand that everyone has their own reasons for your family’s educational choices.  Please realize that these are just a few of OUR reasons that we have decided to homeschool our children.  I would love to hear your comments but please choose to keep them respectful.  Thank you.     ***

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why We Homeschool – Reason #1

 
Is anyone else up to their eyeballs in school prep right now? Please tell me that we are not the only ones!!  I heard a great quote the other day that said "When you think you want to give up, think about WHY you started." I just loved that and so I thought I would share some of the reasons why our family has decided to homeschool so here goes…
 
 
At the beginning of each school year, I often find myself thinking about the reasons “why” our family has decided to homeschool.  It is not that I doubt our decision to actually homeschool each year.  Although sometimes I do doubt my own abilities to teach or I worry about the social stuff or maybe it is because I can be down right lazy and long to “just” be that stay at home wife and mom that I used to be and not have to add in the daunting role of “Homeschool Mom” too.  Regardless of the reasons, I often need to remind myself about the “whys” our family felt called to homeschool in the first place. 
 
Well this year I decided that instead of just keeping this list in my head or journal that I would invite you all to come along beside me as our little family gears up to start another year of homeschooling here at “Our Little Schoolhouse”. 
 
Reason #1 – God
 
Ok, I could totally just stop right there and not even offer you an explanation for this reason, right?    But I will give it a go and try to explain what I mean…  I have been blessed to be a Stay at Home Mom right from the beginning and I remember thinking right after our oldest child (Caleb Davis) was born how I was just not quite sure that I could ever enroll him in a preschool or Mother’s Day Out program.  It seemed so far away at the time and yet so real and in my face at the same time too.  Of course, I knew that was the “right” and “normal” next step thing to do when he was old enough but here I was holding this precious baby boy and I just dreaded that day (so I did not think about it much) and I just marched on each day as a new Mommy asking God to show us the way for this precious blessing.  I soon found how much I absolutely LOVED being a Mommy.  It was (and still is) the hardest job that I will ever have, but as you all know it is also the best.  I realized that my most favorite part of our day was snuggles on the couch as we read and I watched that amazing mind of his learn new things everyday.  It was those special heart to heart moments that I treasured.
 
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So as those precious days rolled by with my new baby boy (much too fast for my liking) and as I grew as a Christian and new Mommy, I soon realized that God’s plan for the family is the perfect plan and it also was what my heart was longing for and we truly feel like it was God who gave these children to us and it is His plan for us to teach and train them. 
 
I am just going to list a few verses here that Josh and I have read over the years  as we felt God leading us to homeschool our children. 
 
First up…
 

Deuteronomy 6:5-7  (New International Version)

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.


Now, I am not sure about you but I feel like the best way to impress God’s commandments on my children is when we are together, not just when we are walking, waking up, sleeping, and doing all the busy activities in life.  I feel like for our family this can only happen when we are together – ALL day, EVERYdayPlease hear me out and know that I am not one of those moms that is never away from my children.  This is simply not true or realistic.  If you know me in person, you know that I am a very simple and realistic girl.  If it does not make sense and it is not easy, I am usually looking in the other direction.  But please hear me out on this…  I just do not know how you can truly impress and mold these little hears for God if you are not with them a good portion of the day (most days).  One of my most favorite quotes that I think about on a weekly (if not daily) basis is this one…

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I mean does this quote NOT just take your breath away when you realize just how SHORT of a time you have with these precious souls, especially when you are referring to the time that you have to teach and train them before their adult years?  God has the family structure set up a certain way and it is in the best interest for you (and your children) to obey Him in all things and we truly feel like this particular area is one of those big things that He has called us to do. 

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I will list just a few more verses that spoke to our hearts, but that one above is the main one for me.  I always ask myself over and over “How can I hide God’s word in their little hearts if most of those daylight opportunities are going to occur when they would be away from me at school?”  Based on Malachi 4:6 (see below), I am also led to wonder “How can you turn the hearts of your children toward their fathers if those opportunities to spend time together and get to know each other are just not available?”

Malachi 4:6 (New International Version)

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers;
or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.

Ephesians 6:4 (New International Version)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 

Deuteronomy 4:9 (New International Version)

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 

Ok, I will stop there just so this does not turn into the longest blog post ever but I hope you see my point and hear my heart that God is the author of all and I truly believe He has called our family on this journey.  It is not an easy one, no one that I even feel equipped to do at times; but that is when I lean on Him and trust the promises in His word.

Philippians 1:6 (New International Version)

…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


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***     Disclaimer:  I understand everyone has their own reasons for your family’s educational choices.  Please realize that these are just a few of OUR reasons that we have decided to homeschool our children.  I would love to hear your comments but please choose to keep them respectful.  Thank you.     ***