- Tomi, this may seem a bit odd, but I’ve actually been wondering why you do homeschool your kids. Oh, I can think of a lot of reasons, but…I’d be interested in knowing yours – I’m sure you’ve thought it out well & prayed over it thoroughly. As I know you have other places to invest your abundant spare time (!), if you have already written something on this, or have a link that gives a fairly representative explanation, I’d appreciate it.
Why do I homeschool? I really do love that question and have been asked this many times over the past 15 years. This year I will be graduating my oldest daughter, and yes, from home school!! It truly seems surreal that I have arrived at this place when I began this journey.
I remember the question, I remember my replay – “Tomi, will you consider home schooling our children?” Darrell asked. “NO!” came my immediate reply. “Well, would you pray about it?” he responded. “NO!” I came back at him. We were both products of the public education system and home school to me, at the time, was a bunch of mammoth sized families that all wore jumpers, bobby socks and in some cases head coverings. That was so not my style!! (No offense to my now large family friends who might wear jumpers, bobby socks and the occasional head covering!!) He then very graciously gave me all the reasons he wanted me to think about home schooling.
. He worked for American Airlines and his seniority, though good, was nowhere near what it needed to be for him to get school breaks off. This would certainly put a damper on our number one goal – a healthy, loving family.
. He was a boy who had a very hard time in school. He was never taught to read properly and with his parent’s divorce in 1st grade, it left him with little desire to excel in his studies.
. His desire for our children was to raise leaders, not followers and felt this gave them a head start in that direction.
What else could I say to that, but yes, I would pray. God soon began to surround Bethany and I with friends who homeschooled their children. I made my 1st trek to the home school book fair and met 6 year olds who could serve customers with confidence and a smile. I saw students who were well behaved, attentive and looking for ways to serve and help others. Why wouldn’t I want this for my children? Suddenly, this became more about their character than their education, even though that was still a high priority.
As I began to pray, I asked God what would my goals be for homeschooling my children. I began to list them out and soon discovered that these goals though not impossible would be difficult to meet in a public school setting.
- My children would love to learn – this included loving the learning process.
- My children would see learning as something to last a life time, not just for a season of time in their life.
- My children could learn at their own pace. Excelling in areas they were passionate and able to diligently work through the things they found more challenging or cumbersome.
- My children could pursue their passions and spend time delving into the things that made them tick!
- My children would learn character through some of the following practices –
- Ability to self-teach – not expecting others to do the teaching for them but learning the skills of learning.
- Diligence – time management and timely goals
- Initiative – not working for a grade but for the sake of learning
- Self- Control – when mom was busy with others, waiting patiently for their questions to be answered.
- Patience – as they were to help the younger ones learn what they had previously learned.
- That life was not only about book learning but that learning also was about their hearts, their dreams, God’s Word, Will and Direction.
Year 1 began with a contingency; I would homeschool for a year and reevaluate the next year to see if this was going to work out or not. Year 2 came and even though it had been challenging because after all, we all begin with an ideal, then we meet up with the real, the mundane of day to day, and sometimes the two can really clash, I had to determine what things I would hang onto and what things I would let go of.
Each year held something new, a new job for Darrell, a new baby, a new curriculum, a new homeschool group, a new opportunity for ministry or even a new place to learn. With each year came many, many adjustments, some years we had to back off the “busy” work and hone in on the practical parts of running a home and family, one year God asked me to dedicate our studies to math and creative writing, leaving grammar and spelling behind. My fears were challenged and my faith increased as I saw my children thrive, excel and grow as I pressed into the ONE who knows all, especially all about my children! He knows what they need and how they need to learn.
When Bethany came home declaring that she was going to be Governor of Texas someday, I immediately knew she would enter the public school around the junior high years so she could take on student government. I didn’t’ realize God would provide another means, through home school speech and debate, she has been equipped, challenged and submersed into a world of political junkies who challenge what she believes and helps her to refine her abilities to communicate in a gentle yet firm means.
Will I continue to homeschool all my children through their high school graduation? I don’t know, I have learned not to say, “NO!” to God or my husband, but “I will pray about it!!”