We got Wyatt the Usborne Children's Encyclopedia for Christmas, and he poured over it for two days. He asked me questions about all the pictures, and I told him what the words on the page said, and he was just fascinated. It was so fun to watch him learning just for the joy of it. While I think we will follow some sort of curriculum, I want to make sure we have plenty of interesting books around that fit in with what we are learning, to make the whole year more fun.
I've been making book lists galore, but today I wanted to focus on Usborne books! A friend of mine, Brittney, asked me if I would host an Usborne Facebook party, and it sounded like a lot of fun - so I've been going through their thousands of books and making a list of the ones I'd like to get for school next year. I'll share the ones I'm thinking about getting, but first, let's talk quickly about the ones I have, shall we?
Usborne Books We Already Have
The Children's Encyclopedia - Like I said above, this one has been a hit. I think it's the full-page gorgeous illustrations that have really sucked Wyatt in. I'm not going to lie, there were a few pages I felt the required more explanation (like the world religions or aliens pages), but they are easy enough to skip if you don't agree with or your child isn't ready for some of it.
How Things Work - This book is just so cool. It's a flap book, and under each flap it gives pictures and descriptions about how the different things in this book work.
Horses & Ponies and Weather - I bunch these together because they are the same type of book. These books have fun illustrations and less text because they are meant for younger readers - but I love it because the few words are used really well, and these books get a lot deeper into the topics than you would expect them to. They have a bunch of these on different topics, and I'm hoping to get more!
Birds Pocket Book - Have I mentioned that our family is really into birds? We don't know a lot about distinguishing birds, but we would like to learn more. All of my kids love flipping through the Audubon bird app on my phone, and this is like the book form!
Starting Chess (not pictured) - I forgot I had this one until I sat down to start typing! Derek is very good at chess, and I picked this up as a supplement for when Wyatt is ready to start learning (which probably is sooner than I think).
So those are the books I have, now on to the books I want.
Usborne Books On My Homeschool To-Buy List
These are the books that I would love to have as we introduce different subjects over the next few years, in addition to the ones I already have.
Science And Nature
The Outdoor Book - I think we would love this for ideas of activities to do outside and nature study!
Human Body Reference Book and Shine-A-Light Human Body Book - This is my area of interest (biology), so I think this looks fun. And the shine-a-light book adds an interesting element!
Poisonous Animals (etc.) - This is one of those great books for young readers!
How Things Grow - I think I need this book to help my black thumb.
Astronomy And Space Reference Book - I don't know if I even need to explain this. Yay for space!
100 Science Experiments - Someone told me I need this, and I think I do!
Big Picture Atlas - I think this will be good for context with different historical events.
Living Long Ago - I'm still not sure my kids grasp how different life was 200 years ago, so this looks great!
Christopher Columbus - One of the few American history books. Usborne, I know you are British, but more on the American History front please!
See Inside Exploration And Discovery and The Story Of Inventions - These looked really interesting to me.
Reading and Writing
Illustrated Grammar And Punctuation - We are a way off from needing this yet, but my grammar nerd is coming out! I love this idea!
Illustrated Classics: Huckleberry Finn And Other Stories - This is one of a few classics collections that are condensed and rewritten for young readers, and I am really curious about them.
Miscellaneous (aka. Just For Fun)
Over 50 Secret Codes - I would have loved this as a kid.
Fingerprint Activities: Animals - This just looks adorable, and would be so fun for everyone, including the little two!
First Book About The Orchestra - The kids love Maestro Classics (#affiliate), and I think this book would be a great visual to understand the different instruments.
Big Keyboard Book - We are still hoping to teach our kids how to play the piano, and this looks useful!
I could go on, but you get the idea! There are just a lot of really fun books. Clearly it's probably going to take me longer than the next year to collect all these! Maybe I should retitle this post "Usborne Books For Early Elementary", because I think all of these will last well beyond first grade!
Now for a little plug - the Facebook party is tomorrow night at 8 PM EST, and Brittney has a bunch of fun things planned - including a drawing for a book prize! So if you want to check Usborne out, this is a good chance! If you comment below saying you want to join, I'll send you an email to add you to the party! Or if you have your eye on something and want to buy without attending the party...can you purchase through any of these links and select my eShow on the left before checkout? Because then I can earn discounts on books! (Shameless plug, I know.) Party is open until next Monday!
Do any of you have some Usborne books? What would you recommend to me for the elementary school years?
I'd love to hear!
P.S. Brittany also made me this handy graphic for Usborne books that go with different curricula! Pin this!
Is it just me, or are public schools starting earlier and earlier every year? When I was growing up, I remember starting school the last week of August or the first week of September. I have to admit, I kind of resent how schools start mid-August these days. Even though I don’t have any children in public school, it still feels like it’s cutting the summer short.
In our house we believe summer lasts until the end of August, so we started our homeschool kindergarten this week! And let’s just commiserate for a moment on the fact that my firstborn baby is starting kindergarten…
In honor of our first week of school, I thought I’d share with you all my homeschool teaching philosophy. When I was a homeschool student I never even thought about things like choosing a curriculum and philosophy, but as I’ve been preparing to teach my own kids I have been thinking about it more and researching different educational philosophies. I’d thought I’d share a little summary of what I’ve learned with you, including what I think about each philosophy. If you hang in there until the end of this rather long post, I’ll reveal the method we’ll be utilizing!
(Warning: this post is long, but I’m going with it, because I know those of you that are interested in homeschooling philosophy will eat it up. For those who aren’t already familiar with some of the “flavors” of homeschooling - I recommend watching “The Five Flavors Of Homeschooling” which is a great explanation, or checking out some of the books on my new homeschool mom’s book list!)
The first real philosophy I started reading about was Charlotte Mason, and as I tell you more about it you will probably be able to guess why I like it. Charlotte Mason was a teacher in England in the 1800’s, and she had a lot of things to say about education, but her biggest point was that learning should be done not through textbooks but through “living books” - basically high-quality books that you would read if you were actually interested in a subject. Her philosophy also focused on giving kids a lot of time outside to explore nature and a firm grounding in the arts.
What I Like About It
In case it isn’t already obvious, I LOVE the thought of learning through reading actual books! I think this is how we learn most things as adults - when I want to learn something new, I pick up a few books on the subject, I don’t purchase a textbook. I like the idea of teaching my kids how to find informational books to learn. I especially like this philosophy for learning history and art, and I think it could be done well with some science topics as well.
I also love that this method includes a lot of time reading aloud and having children recount what they remember from the book in either verbal or written form. I want to read aloud to my kids a lot anyway as part of our schooling, and I think reciting back everything they remember is a good way to cement the information for them and practice communication skills.
The Charlotte Mason books I have read talked about creating a “book of centuries”, which is a book the kids create themselves to place different people and historical events in the appropriate pages for each century in their book. I love how this could give kids a big picture of history and help them remember generally when things occurred because they wrote it down themselves in their book.
I also love the time spent outside that is emphasized with Charlotte Mason, though we are a bit limited based on the weather.
What I Don't Love
While I love the idea of teaching through living books, there are also things that would be hard to learn from that type of book. Math is a good example. I still haven’t figured out how learning math can fit into this philosophy, and I think we will have to resort to textbooks for subjects like that.
Another negative is time. Teaching this way would take a lot of time.
Charlotte Mason Philosophy discourages forcing kids to memorize large amounts of information, which is a negative to me because I actually like the idea of having kids memorize important facts, and especially Bible verses.
Classical education is based on the idea of the “trivium”, grammer, logic, and rhetoric. The thought process behind this is to take advantage of the natural development of children - younger children’s talent at memorizing, middle school children who like to argue anyway (so they might as well argue logically), and synthesizing that together for high school students as they learn to communicate their opinions. The bottom line is that a lot of information is memorized in the young years, around middle school students start learning to reason, and in high school they study long hours and learn to synthesize all these skills together to form and argue their own opinions.
What I Like About It
The concept of the trivium does make sense to me, and I particularly like focusing on memorizing important facts for younger children. That is the stage we are in, and I remember how easy it was to memorize things when I was in elementary school, so I like the idea of taking advantage of that during the younger years. I also like the idea of teaching middle and high school students to think logically and debate well.
What I Don't Love
Classical education is really very intimidating to tackle without a program or guide. One of the marks of classical education, especially for older students, is rigorous study. I see the value in that, but I also feel intimidated just thinking about keeping up with it as a teacher, and I would hope it wouldn't take up so much of their time that they couldn't also pursue their interests.
You get a little bonus section here! I know several people who are part of Classical Conversations, which is a group-based organization that forms the basis for a classical education for it’s members. Families meet each week to learn together and provide a chance for children to present or debate.
I have mixed feelings when I think about this program. There are aspects of it that I really like, and if we were to go with a classical model all the way, I think Classical Conversations would be a must. However, I can’t quite make myself join for a couple reasons.
First, I am not thrilled with the format of circling through different periods of history every three years, which is the model classical education uses. In this program kids will learn about ancient history, the middle ages, and modern history over the course of three years, and then they’ll circle back through again. Honestly, when I start teaching my kids history, I want to start with American history and work backward. I like the idea of starting young kids with the history of things that are most familiar to them, and then branching out from there. I personally think it’s most important for my kids to learn the history of their own country first, and once they have a good grasp on that I’ll be ready to introduce other historical periods and countries, so ideally that is how I’d like to handle history education.
Second, I am not thrilled with some of the things that Classical Conversations treats as important to memorize in the younger years. A lot of it is wonderful information, but some of it is not particularly important in my opinion, especially for young children. I would much rather my kids memorize Bible verses than lists of mythical Greek gods. It is more important to me that my child grows into an adult that loves and serves the Lord than an adult that knows how to win an argument. In the younger years especially, I would much rather focus on instilling values and biblical truth than secular facts, and I just am not sure there is a lot of the former in CC. For me, the perspective is a bit lacking with this program, at least from what I’ve heard of it so far. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Unschooling is basically the philosophy that children don’t need a formal learning program. Learning occurs every day, in everyday situations, and if you make the tools and opportunities available, children will teach themselves the things they need to know.
What I Don't Love
I’m switching the order here and am going to tell you what I don’t love first. I don’t love this as a complete learning philosophy. I heard a speaker once quote Proverbs 29:15 in the context of unschooling. This is what it says:
"The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."
It is clearly not biblical to leave a child completely to himself. Proverbs also speaks in many places about the value of hard work - and I don’t think that is something that a child learns without direction.
Now to be fair, I think that most “unschoolers” are not actually leaving their children with no direction or education, so I wouldn’t say what they are doing is unbiblical unless they are truly neglecting any education of their children. I think that is rare among unschoolers who are serious about preparing their children to be successful.
Overall, this philosophy is somewhat extreme to me, and there is too much variability. It would be so stressful for me not to have some sort of guide to follow as I educate my children. Some people make it work, but I don't think t's for me.
What I Like About It
That said, I think there is definitely something to be said for giving children enough time and space to learn what they actually want to learn. I’ve already seen how much Wyatt can teach himself and how much information he can retain when a subject interests him. The kid knows more about race cars than me. I read the book Free To Learn this summer, which talks about an educational philosophy that I would liken to unschooling, and it opened my eyes to some ideas I had never considered before. I like the idea of letting my kids have some time to pursue their interests and explore outside.
Traditional schooling is basically what you would find at a school, only at home. It uses mostly textbooks to teach, and tests to reinforce learning and measure performance.
What I Like About It
There is a certain comfort in frequent tests, and tests are a good way to evaluate where a student may need to review. Textbooks also have all the information in one place.
What I Don't Love
While there are exceptions, many textbooks are rather dry and don’t exactly inspire love for the subject matter.
The Reveal: Eclectic Homeschooling
After all this research, I’ve come to the conclusion that we will be an eclectic homeschool family - meaning we will be using bits and pieces of several different educational philosophies and ultimately doing the things that work best for our family!
Below is a summary of how we will most likely incorporate parts of each philosophy. I reserve the right to change my mind on any of this - obviously. A perk of homeschooling is getting to experiment until you figure out what works best for your family and each child.
How We’ll Use Charlotte Mason
While we may still use textbooks as a guide, I definitely want to read a lot of living books with the kids, especially for learning history. As they get older I love the idea of having them practice writing through recounting what information they retained from our reading. I love the “book of centuries”, and we will definitely be incorporating that into our school, as well as spending as much time outside as we can get away with.
How We Will Use Classical
We will absolutely be using a lot of memory work in our kindergarten and elementary school homeschool!
How We Will Use Unschooling
I want to make sure to leave space in our day for the kids to learn about the things that interest them. I also agree with the idea that every situation in any given day can be a learning opportunity if you take advantage of it, and I hope to do that as I teach my kids!
How We Will Use Traditional
I like the idea of textbooks and tests most for math, particularly in the higher grades. Math is a subject that is very hard to teach for a lot of people, and while I don’t know how we’ll fare yet, I think when we get to more complicated math we’ll make use of textbooks and tests. We may also do periodic tests with other subjects so I can evaluate where we may need to work a little harder.
These are the philosophy elements that I like right now, but that very likely might change as my kids grow and I figure out more about their learning styles. We will adapt as we need to. When it comes down to it, that is really the beauty of homeschooling - the flexibility. We get to do what works for us - for me as a teacher, for the kids as students. And no one falls through the cracks because I am their only teacher, and I am going to make sure they know what they need to know, no matter what methods we end up using.
What philosophy do you use in your homeschooling? Or do you take bits and pieces like I do?
This week we are starting kindergarten with Wyatt! What? Didn’t I just write his birth story two days ago?
I can’t believe my big boy is starting on his school journey already, and I am so excited about homeschooling! I was homeschooled, and I have so many good memories associated with homeschooling. I am excited to start on this stage of life with my own sweet family. I have a big post tomorrow coming about my homeschool educational philosophy, but today I thought I would keep it simple and share a few of our goals for kindergarten this year.
My main goal for September is to get into a homeschool routine. Developing good habits is going to be important for the kids to learn what to expect, but let’s be honest, good habits are going to be huge for me as a homeschool mom! Up to this point our days have been largely unstructured. We do whatever strikes my fancy that day. This month I want to get into a routine, and that is going to require me to be consistent with our daily tasks. It’s also going to require me to learn to say no, not just to outside events and requests that will mess with our schedule, but to my own impulsiveness too.
But if there is a year to work on this, it’s kindergarten! People who do not have a background in homeschooling sometimes don’t realize right away that just because your child will be in a public kindergarten for 4+ hours a day, that does not mean it will take that long to do your schoolwork at home. Everything that truly needs to be covered in Kindergarten can be done in about an hour a day - in a school environment a lot of time is spent just organizing children, distributing snacks, play time, rest time, etc. I will share an update and give you more specifics on how much time we end up taking for school each day, but even if it takes us a couple hours, we will hopefully have at least half the day where we can still get out of the house if cabin fever hits.
So beyond the initial goal for the first month, my goals for the entire year include the things below.
Homeschool Kindergarten Goals
1. Teach my son to read (or at least get him well on the way to reading). I am pretty flexible on this - if he isn’t reading independently by the end of the year, I’m not going to fret. I have no doubt he will pick it up at some point, and a major goal for me within teaching him to read is to present reading as fun. I love to read, and it’s very important to me that my kids learn to love reading as well, so I’m not going to push to the point that it’s no longer enjoyable for either of us.
2. Teach him to write his letters and spell his full name. Writing comes after reading, so I’m not concerned with anything but his name at this point.
3. Number recognition (hopefully up to 100), telling time, and basic addition and subtraction. If we cover all this for math I’ll be pretty happy.
4. Learn three Bible verses per month. I would love to cover one Bible verse a week, but I am giving us a little wiggle room. This is a prime age to work on memorization, and I’m looking forward to helping my kiddos hide some Bible verses in their hearts! We will be doing this as a family, so the younger kids will participate too.
5. Read one chapter book together a month. I want reading aloud to be a big part of our homeschooling, so I am hoping to get through one children’s chapter book a month. If we read a chapter a day I think this is entirely doable.
6. Do one simple craft a week. Maybe. This is purely because my kids enjoy crafts, and I am not a crafty mom, so I need to set goals.
These goals are all flexible to me - if we don’t accomplish something, we’ll just work on it again next year. That’s one thing I love about homeschooling - teaching your child is not a checklist, it’s a continuum. There are great advantages to having the same teacher (me), because we can make sure we don’t inadvertently skip anything he needs to learn. We will cover everything over time, and nothing will ultimately fall through the cracks like it potentially could if Wyatt had a different teacher every year.
Some of you overachievers may be thinking that your child has known how to do many of these things before Kindergarten - and that’s great! But I will tell you that Wyatt doesn’t do all of these things now because of an intentional decision on my part.
My Preschool Philosophy
My preschool philosophy is really simple - let them play.
I have heard some kindergarten schools these days want kids to be practically reading when they start, and I don’t mind telling you that I think that’s ridiculous.
I don’t push kindergarten skills on my kids when they are preschool aged for a few reasons:
1. There is very little time in childhood for children to play with no expectations. I don’t want to put expectations on my children too young and steal that precious time from them.
2. Kids teach themselves a lot through play, especially in the early years. And if my kids express an interest in learning something in the preschool years, I’ll do what I can to help them. Wyatt has often asked about different letters or animals, sang the abc’s, and requested crafts or books before now, and I oblige; but mainly I just let my kids explore through their own play, and we learn as we go.
3. An early start doesn’t ensure excellence later. We like to think it does, but kids who develop some of these academic skills early don’t necessarily do better than other kids when you look the course of their entire academic careers. Things have a way of evening out.
4. It’s more important to me in the preschool years to focus on the Bible and character. This doesn’t stop at kindergarten, obviously, but most of my teaching during preschool is about Bible stories, right and wrong, memory verses, and who Jesus is. In the long run, having a strong foundation on those things is much more important that getting a jump start on reading.
So there you go, my preschool philosophy in a nutshell and our kindergarten goals! Check back tomorrow for my post on different homeschooling methods and what we will probably be doing, and keep an eye out over the next couple months for posts on our curriculum choices and schedule.
Also, if you have any questions for me about homeschooling - now is a great time to ask! I’ll incorporate some of my answers into future posts!
My August goal was to get everything ready for Clarice’s first birthday party - and I think I am pretty prepared! I just need to send out invitations and work on the menu - and take her one year pictures. So I guess that sounds like alot, but trust me, it’s all under control.
Time for the linkup! Share YOUR goals below.
Welcome to With Grit & Grace – a monthly goal link-up focused on supporting each other as we work towards our goals! Please join us on the first of each month at to share your goals and progress for the week, month, or year. We are all about building a positive community; please remember to read, comment, and share the posts of others – and let them know you found them at With Grit & Grace!
Just a reminder…
- All forms of goal posts are welcome. They can be for a specific area in your life, or your general goals for the day, week, month, or year. We love to hear updates on your progress, too.
- Make sure to use the URL specific to your post and not your blog’s home page.
- Link back to With Grit & Grace with our button or link in your post or party page.
- Comment on the post prior to yours in the link-up. Support others through comments and shares – don’t forget to tell them you found them at With Grit & Grace.
- By linking up, you give us permission to feature an image on our blog and social media. Proper credit and links will be given.
- Join in on social media with: #withgritandgrace.
I am willing to bet that most adults who have the books of the Bible memorized learned them as a kid. Kids are such sponges! It's so much easier to memorize lists of information like that as children.
I think I was probably four or five years old when I learned the books of the Old Testament. I went to VBS at a little mountain church, and there was a teenage girl there with an acoustic guitar and long brown hair who sang the Bible books song every day. I have no idea who she was, but I can still almost see her in my mind. I hope wherever she is, the Lord blesses her for her service at that VBS, because it has served me well to have the books of the Bible memorized, and it all started with that song.
This fall we will start homeschooling Wyatt for kindergarten.
I was homeschooled myself, from 4th grade through high school. I wrote a series a few years ago about my experience as a homeschool student and why it was good for me (you can read all the posts here). Homeschooling has become more and more popular since I was a kid (some estimates say it is growing by 2-8% annually over the last several years, with 2.3 million children currently being homeschooled in the US), and there are resources galore!
But that doesn't make the idea of teaching your own children at home any less overwhelming. In fact, when I first started trying to prepare for homeschooling my kids a few years ago, I got a little stress-paralyzed (name that movie!). There are so many resources these days that it is difficult to narrow it down and figure out what to read, where to start.
It has been a good reading year.
I remember the year before I had Wyatt, I read 19 books. That is pretty low for me, and I remember thinking that it would only get worse after I had kids. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually the opposite - I actually read more books in the days after I had a baby! For one reason - nursing. There is not much to do while sitting there, feeding your newborn, so reading books just happened without my trying.
Every year that I have had a baby has been a good reading year, and this year was no exception. My original goal for 2015 was to read 52 books, about a book a week - and I'm on track to beat that goal by five books!
For me, these books were the highlights for me in 2015. I'm sharing my favorite five fiction books, and my favorite five non-fiction books! In no particular order...
We officially started a preschool program for Wyatt at home last week!
I feel weird saying "Preschool" (1) because 2 1/2 years old still seems so little for preschool, and (2) 2 1/2 is little for preschool. I think preschool at two years old is more about practicing school - practicing doing a "school" activity each day, learning more about every day things, learning through play, just basically getting "practice" for future years of serious learning. Learning readiness and all that.
And my goodness, all that is super-easy to do at home! In fact, kids probably do more early-learning at home than in a group preschool setting, in my opinion. Less distractions and more one-on-one attention at home.
So yes, we started "practice preschool", as I'm calling it this year. I found out about this really cute God-centered preschool program called God's Little Explorers, which you can find here. You can buy an e-version of the whole program at once for $14, or you can access each lesson on her blog for free! And free is a price I like, especially for a two year old preschool program.
I love this curriculum because each week is focused on learning a letter which is tied to a Bible story, so Wyatt will be focusing on God's Word at the same time as the letters. She gives a ton of ideas for different activities to incorporate the lessons for each week, more than we could ever actually do. I'm cherry-picking the ones that I have all the supplies to do, and the ones that Wyatt would actually enjoy doing (because I just know some of the activities are not things that he'd be into yet). I think if we decide to incorporate this program next year it would still feel new because there are so many additional activities we could do together, and it's one of those programs that you could add to pretty easily.
Last week was just an introductory week - no specific Bible story, just generally getting ready to eXplore God's Word. So the letter was "X". I taped a bunch of "x's" around the house and went on a treasure hunt with Wyatt (hiding some of his new crayons and stuff under the x's). The rest of the week he loved pointing out all the x's. We also got the sound that an x makes down pat. I also like it because she adds other things to work on learning each week besides just letters, so if he picks up a letter pretty quick (like last week), there are other things to do.
Overall, I think this year is going to be fun! We're not going to get too uptight about it, because let's face it, he's two, and this is supposed to be fun for him. But it amazes me how much he soaks up and how quickly he learns new things. I think he's going to learn a lot, and I'm looking forward to getting the practice on planning things for us to do for school during the week!
This week is about the Creation story and the Garden - the letter G. I'm off to cut out some "G's" out of construction paper now. . .
P.S. Also making sure to take some time out today to remember 9/11 and to pray for our country. We won't ever forget.
P.S. Also making sure to take some time out today to remember 9/11 and to pray for our country. We won't ever forget.
(2016: Please note that this is a series I wrote several years ago as a general overview of my experience as a homeschool student. If you have any questions about homeschooling and my homeschool experience, please comment below, and I would love to address them in future posts. Thanks for reading!)
One thing I left out in my recaps of my homeschooled life was the spiritual aspect of my homeschooling story. But that is one of the most important aspects, so I want to write about it here.
When I was in public school I remembering focusing a lot on what the other kids thought of me. It was mortifying if something embarrassing happened, or if someone made fun of me, and I conformed to keep myself from embarrassment (there is certainly conformity even in elementary school).
Once we started homeschooling that focus on what others thought was removed from me. I knew what my family thought of me – they loved me. I knew what my friends though of me – they liked me, and if there was someone who didn’t like me I didn’t have to be around them.
When I wasn’t focused so much on what others thought of me, it opened up time for me to be thinking about what God thought of me. I started wanting to please Him more, not out of a legalistic standard, but because I knew He loved me enough to die for me. I remember a lot more thoughts about spiritual things passing through my head after we started homeschooling. I’m sure part of the reason for this was because I was just getting older and naturally thinking about the things of God more, but that wasn’t all of it. I started doing my own devotions shortly after we left the public school system, the friends I was around were Christian friends, I was saturated with God’s word throughout the school day, andI believe this environment allowed me to grow spiritually.
I honestly don’t know how I would have turned out if I had continued in public school. I can only guess based on those three years of experience in public school, and during those three years I did what I had to do to “survive” the jungle of grade school. Would I have continued to adapt and “blend in” as I grew older? I don’t know.
I know I would have held to some standards, because even in elementary school I did that. I didn’t do what was wrong, I stood up to my friends when I felt they were leaving someone out, I asked my friends not to cuss around me. But I also remember not being very nice to other kids myself sometimes. I remember going along with what the other kids said at times, even if what they said was rude or wrong, just so I didn’t have to deal with confrontation. It’s hard for me to know which side of the spectrum would have won out as the years rolled on.
Some people argue that homeschoolers never have situations where they have to stand up for their faith, so when they are thrown into college or the “real” world they won’t have any practice and their faith will be shaken. That was not my experience. In my personal experience, and from what I observed of many of my friends whose parents were especially focused on training their children in the faith, those years of homeschooling provided a solid foundation for our faith, so that college could not shake it.
Those years of homeschooling gave me such a solid foundation in my faith because the gospel wasn’t just something I heard on Sundays or at night when I got home. When kids are in public school, they learn about the Lord on Sundays, and probably in the evenings and on the weekends from their parents. But the majority of the hours for the majority of the days of the week? The world gets those hours to pour whatever they want into them, and it’s frowned upon to talk about your faith or relate your faith to your education in a public school environment.
With homeschooling, it was okay to talk about my faith in the context of my education. My faith was reinforced to me daily through our devotions which my mom included in our curriculum. The curriculum itself was not against what I believed, and since we used Christian curriculum it often presented the evidence and perspectives that supported my faith; Christian kids don’t get the Christian perspective on subjects in public school. In fact, they often get the exact opposite perspective.
When I did go to college, and the professors started throwing their agendas at me, it didn’t phase me, because I had a solid foundation. It didn’t surprise me, because my parents and the curriculum we used had already discussed worldview other than my own. I knew why I believed what I did.
I will say this – I think my relationship with Jesus was much stronger through those years than it would have been had I gone to public school. I know myself. I know my weaknesses. I know that if I had been in public school, my faith would not have been the focus for me. It still would have been very important to me, I still would have believed in Jesus. But as far as really developing my relationship with the Lord, and making Him the most important thing in my life? I can’t honestly say whether that would have been the case.
Regardless, from a spiritual perspective I am so glad that my parents decided to homeschool me. It made me who I am today, it gave me the confidence to stand firm in what I believe, and it helped strengthen my faith enough to withstand everything that was thrown at me later without any wavering. For that I will always be grateful. And if I have a chance to give my kids that same advantage that I felt I received through homeschooling? You bet I’m going to take it.
Check out the rest of the posts in this series:
Note: Before I get comments I also wanted to clarify that I’m not saying kids in public school are going to have a weak relationship with the Lord, and homeschoolers will have a strong relationship with the Lord. I’m just stating my experience, I’m not making a general statement. Obviously, as always, every child is going to have a different reaction and is going to handle things differently. I’m just saying for me, with my personality at the time, it was a good thing for my spiritual life to be homeschooled. I also think that, for Christian families, homeschooling can’t do anything but help kids spiritually. It certainly isn’t going to harm the spiritual conviction of our kids – I’ve never seen that, and it always surprises me when people try to make that argument. That’s all.