From A Homeschooler–{Spiritually}

(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.

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Natalie said...

We feel the exact same way-if we CAN do something to ensure our kids get a more solid biblical foundation while they're young, we are going to do it. And for us, that means homeschooling. I loved this whole series because it reaffirms for me the reasons we want to homeschool, but this one is #1. I used to think the parents at our church who homeschooled were just 'sheltering' their kids from the real world and they would have to face it some day and not know how, but now I know that is NOT the case. I agree with everything you said. And I especially like that you learned all different world views so you knew what to expect when you got to college and so that you could really decide for yourself what you believed! Sounds like your parents did a wonderful job with homeschooling you and your siblings!

Unknown said...

Callie, I have really enjoyed your home school series. Especially, since here in the UK it is rarely done! I think something like 8% of British kids are home schooled or something like that.

Melanie said...

Thank you so much for doing these homeschooling posts Callie..they have been VERY informative and I've enjoyed each part!!!

Jessica said...

This is one of the most attractive aspects of homeschooling for me. While I went to a public gradeschool and high school, I went to a private, Christian college. I absolutely loved that faith was incorporated into every single class, and that several Bible classes were required by the university. Those college years were really faith-building years for me, and I'm glad I chose the school I did. I sometimes wonder if things would have been different had I gone to a different school where partying and rebelling were the norm.

CourtneyKeb said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and I thank you for sharing your experience!

I grew up in public school and have no experience nor do I know anyone with experience in homeschooling.

That is, however, the route we are going to school with our kids, so I appreciate your wisdom on having been through it.

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