Remembering Why We Teach Them at Home

by tklicka on July 5, 2017

Last year in the spring, like I’ve done for many years, I stopped to think about the reasons why I homeschooled my children. Our journey lasted 26 years, from the time my oldest of seven children turned three, until my youngest child graduated this past December. While I loved teaching my children at home, there were several times I wanted to quit. It would help me to remember the benefits, right at the time of year (early spring) when I usually felt most like a failure.

Perhaps you have just finished your school year and are now breathing a sigh of relief, not ready to think about starting another one in three months. Whew! Yet, this is a really good time to look back and count your blessings. Here’s a list of just a few of the reasons why homeschooling has been the best choice for our family.

Through homeschooling:

1. Your family shares life together – yes, the ups and the downs, but also the most meaningful moments of our days. This strengthens the bond between parent and child, and between siblings. Through your example, your kids can learn what it looks like to form and develop healthy and deep human relationships, which can help them in building relationships with others. When my husband developed advanced MS the last years of his life, being with their dad was the most important thing in the world to us and to our children. Homeschooling made that possible.

2. Your kids can develop the qualities of a leader – because doing truly great things requires being someone of great character, homeschooling provides you the opportunity to both inspire as you teach and lead as you train. You can help your children value the qualities of loving truth, serving others, working hard, finishing a job, being creative, taking initiative, admitting failure, forgiving offenses, and loving others for who they are. I remember thinking several times while my seven kids were growing up together, “Well, they’re either going to kill each other, or learn to die to self and become great leaders!” Guess what? They’re all still alive! Seriously, they are all leaders who love each other and those around them, and have a vision to make a difference in their world.

3. You can encourage your children to be who God made them – beyond their primary academic studies, your kids can gain important life skills (so they can live independently and successfully as adults), and pursue, develop, and excel in areas in which they are gifted or have an intense natural interest (such as art, music, sports, debate, engineering, computers, missions, creative writing, etc.). For instance, my youngest son John was able to pursue acting in film when he was 11-13 years old, like the film Undaunted, in which he played the moving role of young Josh McDowell. During that time, he developed many skills and good character qualities that have helped shape the young man he is today.

4. Kids can learn subjects at their own pace – whether a child finds that spelling is easy or math is hard, the freedom you have to let them speed up, slow down, or give up (just kidding!) can make a big difference in how much and how deeply they learn. Homeschooling is particularly great for children who have learning disabilities. My daughter Amy, now 22, knows she has a very mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome and has been officially diagnosed with a math disability. It took her three years to get through Algebra, and even now, unless she is doing a certain kind of math problem on a near-daily basis, she forgets how to do it. Yet she’s working a cash register at Chick-fil-A, took honors English and history courses at our local community college, and still loves learning every day.

5. You work harder, but you can also play more, and enjoy the big picture – When it comes right down to it, life is about much more than formal learning. Playing games are a great way to learn, spending time in the great outdoors boosts one’s sense of well-being, and sharing time and talent through volunteering changes lives and expands the capacity of the human heart. These kinds of opportunities made possible through a homeschooling lifestyle make a powerful case for developing a well-rounded adult emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

These are just a few of the reasons that helped me stay committed for over 26 years. I wouldn’t change my decision to teach my kids at home, not for all the gold at Fort Knox.

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