Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why I Don't Homeschool

Wise is the woman who ignites a fire

in the furnace of a child's heart.

~ Time-Warp Wife

Hi Darlene,

I just want to let you know that I love your web site and get encouragement from it every day. I was just wondering what your thoughts on home schooling were. I have a 4 and a 5 year old, and one on the way. I have not found anything on your web site.


Wondering Mom

Dear Wondering Mom,

First of all, thank you for reading, and secondly, thank you for your encouragement. I'm grateful for your kind words.

What are my thoughts on homeschooling? The truth is that I have nothing but good things to say when it comes to the topic of homeschooling. It's gives you 24 hour supervision of the children while they are growing, and you can incorporate faith into their learning. I even taught my son Biblical Greek!

I was a homeschooling mom for six years, and I never dreamed that I'd ever go back to sending my kids "off" to school. But what simply wasn't an option then, is our reality now.

So what changed for us? And when did this happen? The reason I haven't written about this yet is because my explanation is a bit lengthy, and I fear that some readers might nod off by the fifteenth paragraph. But since you asked, I'll give you my thoughts. :)

Like I said, I was homeschooling for six years. My son Brendan was the model student who could read any book by the time he was three-years-old. Teaching him was easy and I couldn't help but feel like we had accomplished a lot. We also knew other homeschooling families that we saw on a regular basis, and therefore socialization wasn't a problem at all.

Then along came three little ones--one after the other--Madison, Graham, and Nathaniel.

I was ready and willing to homeschool Maddy, just like I had with Brendan. So once the time came we picked up her curriculum, and got started. But day, after day, after day we didn't get anywhere. Weeks turned into months and she still couldn't recognize a single letter of the alphabet. I decided that she wasn't ready yet and we packed it in for a while. I thought it was best to wait a year.

The next year came and we opened the books again--same problem. Weeks turned into months and she wasn't able to grasp a simple concept.

Meanwhile my son Graham was a sick child. He spent a lot of time in the hospital and we were constantly going to therapy, allergists, hospital visits and doctor appointments.

Michael and I got to talking, and my only conclusion was that I wasn't a good enough teacher. I wasn't getting through to Madison and I thought maybe it was because I was busy with Graham's health and his very active younger brother Nathaniel. I had given it a shot for a year and a half and it was obvious to me that I was failing her miserably.

So we decided that since several other Christian families we knew were sending their kids to the school around the corner, we'd give it a try and send Madison too.

After talking to the school, we all decided that it would be best to put Madison into kindergarten mid-term rather than into grade one as her age dictated.

By the next September, we were moving to a new neighborhood. Graham was now ready to start school too, and Brendan was at the age where home schooling was very book intensive. (It does get that way in the higher grades--at least it did for us). My children's cousins would be attending the school in the new neighborhood, and so we decided to make the move and put all three kids into school. Nathaniel was still at home with me at that time.

The transition went very well for Brendan. He has since graduated high school with honors. For Madison however, it was a different story. It wasn't until a few years later that we realized that there was something else we were dealing with. The problem had nothing whatsoever to do with the way I was teaching her. Even being held back a year, she was struggling to keep up.

We took her to a Christian psychologist to have her learning tested and found out that she has severe ADD. This was an incredible shock to us because she's well behaved, very quiet and not one you'd call fidgety. However, she is on the "inattentive" side of ADD, and for many girls it goes undetected because they can be quite different from boys.

At this point in our lives, I would absolutely LOVE to return to homeschooling. But now that we've gone through this and the kids are all doing well in school, my husband isn't on board with the idea. We've talked about it extensively, and as much as it disappoints me, I have decided to respect his wishes and leave things as they are.

It's my greatest desire as a mom to see my children in heaven one day and so every part of their growing up process is vital to me, including their learning. Therefore I encourage all moms to seriously consider the homeschooling option. Yes, I struggled with Madison for a year and a half, but I can't even begin to tell you how much of a blessing those six years were to me.

And these words, which I command thee this day,

shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach

them diligently unto thy children, and shalt

talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,

and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou

liest down, and when thou risest up.

~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

You are loved by an almighty God,


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