When Peter was a baby and we had the dream of having more children we bought a Suburban. We felt that it was a good choice considering that if we decided to send him to school, the truck would be paid off just in time to start making tuition payments. At the time we were already considering homeschooling, but were glad to know that we had a few years to consider it. Of course the time flew, our family grew and during those years I did a lot of reading about homeschooling- and thinking and praying. The typical response when I told people that we were planning to homeschool was, "Wow, you must have a lot of patience. I could never do it." That always got me thinking, "Hmm, I'm not the most patient person. Maybe I shouldn't be so crazy as to try homeschooling." Yet it remained the choice of my heart.
There are different reasons to homeschool. For some it's strictly about money. For others it's about being able to have a flexible family schedule and not be tied to a school calendar. Some families have a strong conviction that homeschooling is the only way for a Christian family to educate their children. Some families homeschool because they want to give their children a Christian education, but don't feel that the available Christian schools are doing a good job.
You may be surprised to hear this, but none of those are our primary reason for homeschooling.
We homeschool because we feel that it is God's best for OUR children at this time. We are taking it one year at a time. I don't plan to stop anytime soon, but I also don't want to make a statement that I'll regret later. A lot of people I care about send their children to both public and private schools and I would never want to make them feel as though I am making a judgement of their decision. Is it really any of my business?! As parents we have a huge responsibility to train our children according to God's Word and we have to make choices regarding their education in light of that fact. Pete and I stand before God together asking Him what He desires for our children and we believe homeschooling is the answer. We love that we get to decide what method to use, what curriculum to use, what our schedule will be. I think the thing I love most about homeschooling is that it isn't about "doing school" from 8am - 2pm. It is a lifestyle! "School" is happening every waking hour of every day. From the time they get up and start their chores to the after lunch sitting at the table working on history and math and science to the family devotions, catechism, and stories before bed, they are being educated. I don't want to send them to school because I would miss my time with them, seeing the light of understanding in their eyes, being the one that gets to hear their questions, and giving them the opportunity to spend hours reading, listening to Jonathan Park, playing make believe, and helping me with things around the house. They get to really develop their relationships with eachother as well which to me is just priceless.
Perhaps now you have a better understanding of why we do what we do. And as far as the patience thing goes, it is still a struggle. Of course! Because I am a sinner and my immediate response isn't typically one of gentleness and long suffering! That's where my great God takes over and gives me strength for each day. One of the blessings of having many children and homeschooling is how the Lord is working to sanctify me through them. Homeschooling is fun, but I won't lie. It is also the hardest thing I've ever done. Especially when I have sick children or I'm trying to balance nursing a newborn with a 1st grader who needs help with a project before he ruins it or makes a mess AND give to the other three children the time they need. Still, it is our choice because we find value in it even through the difficulties. I don't ever want to come across as discouraging to those who have made a different choice regarding their children's education. And if I ever seem to "preach" homeschooling, it's just because I love it so much and think there are many of you out there who would be surprised how much you would love it and how much it would benefit your family if you gave it a try. Even if it's just for the first couple of years when your kids are still just so little!