If you missed Part One or Two, catch them here:
Homeschooling (Part One)
Homeschooling (Part Two)
So, we are planning to teach our children, at home, in the fall.
I believe that anyone can get an adequate education through the public school system. I believe that my children will receive a better education by learning at home, as a family.
I say the same thing every summer break, every Christmas Break and every Spring Break... My kids have so much fun together once they settle into being a family unit for day to day activity. I love listening to them play. I love being the one to help them resolve differences. I love that they bounce ideas off each other and forget about the expensive toys that their friends have. I love that their play is more creative and less expensive when they are together. And honestly, they don't bicker or argue nearly as much when they're used to playing together. I'm really looking forward to fostering best-friend relationships between the three of them.
I love learning and am looking forward to showing my kids how fun learning can be. My current plan (which is rather flexible at the moment) is to do grade-appropriate workbooks for Grammar/Spelling and Mathematics and then to learn about individual topics together as we come across them. We'll incorporate science, geography, history, social studies, and foreign languages into whatever we're doing. But we'll ease into it by figuring out how to learn together.
You see, I love my kids. I love my family. I love being together as a family. And I think that my kids will be primed for learning if they are surrounded by the comfort, love, and freedom that home provides.
"But what about..?"
I've thought the same objections that you might be thinking...
Socializing - How will they learn to interact with others if they're shut away at home? In all honesty, my children's ability to socialize is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to this. One of my children is very awkward and uncomfortable around nearly anybody. I think of a turtle, drawing into it's shell for protection. I don't want my boy to totally draw into himself to avoid the world. I want him to learn the right way to interact with people... Cashiers, folks at church, neighbours, friends' parents. Rather than learning to be intimidated by the many authority figures around him, he will learn that he has a voice, that what he has to say is valid, and that he needs to use his voice in many different ways. I'm very much looking forward to teaching my children proper social skills.
Proper Education - I hope you'll make sure they're learning the same stuff as their public school peers. Actually, I'm not planning to do this. Research has shown that Mathematics is the only subject in which it really matters if you learn your stuff in the right sequence. All the other subjects can be learned out of order. You can learn about the War of 1812 in Grade Three or Grade Seven. So, I hope to teach my children together on most of these subjects. We can talk about all sorts of things over dinner, telling Dad what we learned each day. And since we all learned the same thing, we'll be reinforcing what we learned that day. I just love the idea of learning things together!
Religion - If you teach your kids just what you believe they'll be naive and totally unprepared for the world. Let me tell you something that has stuck with me since I was a kid. As a young whipper-snapper, I asked someone close to me how we could know that our beliefs were right and others were wrong. The answer was, "We just have to have faith that we're right and they're wrong." That answer never sat well with me and has stuck in my mind ever since. As a result, I am constantly researching, reading, listening, questioning, to determine if something is true or not. I want to teach my children, with that same interest, to know for themselves what they believe and why they believe it. They can't do that unless they understand what others believe and where those beliefs originated. I don't think my children will be naive and unprepared. I believe they will have a better understanding of their faith (which will be theirs, not mine) for having learned this way.
Parenting - Won't you get overwhelmed and want to have a break? Probably. Doesn't matter. It's not about me always being perfectly happy. It's about what's best for my family. Even single people with no kids can feel overwhelmed. Next.
Future - Aren't you afraid you're going to mess up your children for life and turn them into weirdos? I've read about too many awesome people who were homeschooled (C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Tim Tebow, Jason Taylor, Bethany Hamilton, Jamie Grace, The Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks) to worry about that. Besides, from what I hear, "homeschooling is extremely efficient and forgiving*."
*Thanks for that mantra, Carol Barnier.
So, we shall see. Once we start, I'm quite sure everything will change. Ideals will go out the window and sanity may be in short supply on some days. But, God's grace is sufficient for me and where I am lacking, he will supply. It's incredibly arrogant of me to think that this obviously God-directed decision could succeed or fail on my actions alone. If we are keeping God at the centre of our family and at the centre of our learning, we will come out of it better off.