Being a former teacher in a public school, I knew the troubles kids were facing these days. With the rise of "No Child Left Behind" came the onslaught of standardized testing (starting in kindergarten) and forcing children into "the box" in order to get proper test scores for the school. Out went creativity and alternative evaluations and in came math and reading intervention. Science is starting to disappear for more test preparations. Teachers are bogged down by student behavior, the administration, and continual training outside the school day. Now with the poor economy, schools are furloughing teachers, increasing class sizes, and cutting activities such as sports, music, and the arts. Bullying and negative social interactions are at a rise in schools along with school violence and drugs.
What did I do?
I started with research. I read many books, newspaper articles, studies, and learned what all our options are. My husband and I talked about it a lot, to many people. I spoke with a co-op near us and attended a curriculum fair. I heard God calling to us to homeschool, and we are listening.
I read from the bible, trying to look for evidence to support this calling I was hearing. There are many passages that explain that parents are in charge of bringing up their children in the way of the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.I then started to believe Him. Maybe we could do this, and maybe it is what is best for our children.
Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Our biggest "issue"
When we talk to people about our decision to homeschool, the first thing people talk about is socialization. We are not homeschooling our children in order to live in a bubble and keep them away from other kids. We have many opportunities in our area for homeschool kids to be involved with other children. That being said, who believes that the best socialization opportunity for an 8 year old is to be stuck in a room with 30 other eight year olds for six hours a day, every day. That sounds like disaster to me. Instead, we are going to allow our children to interact with children of all ages, and adults. They will learn to work with people of all ages, under our guidance with a co-op and other groups. There are music lessons, sports teams, homeschool classes, library storytimes and book reads, and many other opportunities for our children to make friends while staying in an environment in which they will be able to thrive.
The last straw
One day, while we were praying about our decision to homeschool, we drove by a local church and on their newsboard outside it read "Homeschooling is God's plan for children." I had been asking for a clear sign. I got it- in the form of a sign. The only way it could have been clearer for us is if it read, "Matthew and Elyse, homeschool your kids... or else... Love, God." For now, we will be homeschooling. This is a decision we have to reevaluate each year to make sure it is right for our family. Thank you, God for listening to us.