Every family that has made the decision to home school has their own unique story to tell about how and why they started, and how it is progressing (or did progress, if you’ve already finished).
The reasons that a family would choose to home school can vary greatly. It could be a relatively simple decision for some, and a very thought-provoking, detailed process for others.
This is the story of our home school journey, or at least the condensed version of it (had you worried you’d be reading for an hour, didn’t we?). And it’s not over yet. In fact we’ve just barely begun.
Our decision to home school came before we were even married. Yes, we discussed this subject very early, to say the least! We decided that if we were blessed with children in our marriage, we would home school them.
As conservative Christians, we were adamant in our decision to not let them be exposed to the secular, humanist philosophies they would receive in public schools. A Christian worldview was a must for our boy’s education, where they would regularly be exposed to the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead of that “stuff”.
We were also highly concerned about the violence, bullying, and other negative socialization that would surrounded them in the public school setting. Therefore, the decision to home school was basically a no-brainer for us.
When our first child Matthew was born, we were ready. At two months of age, school started. Class consisted of flash cards, videos, and music. Matthew learned quickly and by 18 months he knew his alphabet, colors, shapes and numbers up to ten.
Matthew is a fast learner with a photographic memory. During the next two years many words were added to his vocabulary. Also during this time a little brother named Michael was added.
OK, so far, so good…
Having had such great success with number one we dove right into teaching number two. Now at two months of age a parent can’t really tell whether or not the child is learning. But mom knew something was different.
Now different isn’t necessarily bad, it just means that, well, he was different from his brother. As time went on we noticed even more differences, subtle hints. Michael is more introspective. He didn’t speak as many words as early as Matthew. Some words he didn’t say correctly, even when we tried to correct him.
When Matthew was 4 ½ we asked him if he wanted to learn to read. Of course he said yes. In 4 months he was reading his first grade readers. By this time brother number two, David, had arrived.
We started teaching David also. David is like Matthew, in some ways. He learns quickly. He is more of a self starter than either of the other two. But he also has some trouble with pronouncing words. We’ll be working on that in his reading lessons.
When Michael was 4 we tried to teach him to read. It went a lot slower than his brother. Now that he is six, he has, for the most part, caught up. We’ve been told that parents should not compare siblings, and we can see the wisdom in that now. All of our boys have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.
I suppose if Michael were in school they would slap some label on him. We don’t believe in labels. We think teachers should find new ways to teach when the traditional way doesn’t work.
One nice thing about home schooling is that the parent learns, too. We learned to love our children for who they are. We learned that there are different ways to learn. And we reinforced our belief that we don’t want our children to be like cloned sardines in a school where they are rejected for being themselves.
We like the freedom to choose the way we teach our children, and the freedom to impart the Biblical worldview and Gospel into their thinking. And we like being together as a family instead of everyone running off in a different direction daily.
Sure, it’s not always a breeze to home school 3 active boys. Come to think of it, it’s never a breeze. But we definitely wouldn’t trade it for sending them to a public school, knowing what we know now.
Could home schooling be YOUR journey as well? It may not be for everyone, but if you’re as dissatisfied with the alternatives as we are, it’s certainly worth your serious consideration.
Your home schooling journey would undoubtedly be different from ours, as no two are the same. And that’s the great thing about it–you’re in charge of creating your OWN unique story to tell.
Brian & Lisa Lee