A few years ago, I felt like God was calling me to homeschool. I fought it for a year because I had never even considered homeschooling. My friends were constantly asking me, "So when are you going to start homeschooling?" I would reply, "We're not!" I just never thought of it as an option for us. I was looking forward to my free time when both girls would be in school. I could go shopping, clean the house or even go back to work if I wanted to! Being a former teacher, I was very pro-public school and very pro-Owasso. Well, I slowly learned that God always wins.
I attended a homeschooling seminar the summer of 2006 and it really helped me with my decision to homeschool. After I finally made my decision, for the first time in a long time, I felt peace. I realized I wanted to continue to be a full-time mom - not just between the hours of 4-8 p.m. I wanted to be a part of my kid's learning and not just be known as a chauffer taking them from activity to activity. I wanted them to be raised in a good, Christian home and I realized with homeschooling, you can really put a lot of time into character development.
I also considered the facts - 30 girls in Owasso schools were pregnant in 2006 and 4 were in the 6th grade. Used condoms are being found on buses. Parents really have no idea what teachers are teaching their kids or how they are being treated. Many Christian parents argue that they want their child to be the "salt and the light", but are they really spiritually mature enough? Kids are so easily persuaded and I didn't think I, personally, had enough time to guide my girls spiritually during non-school hours. By the time kids get home from school, do their home work, go to their activities, have a little playtime, take showers and get ready for bed - what time is left?
Being a former teacher, I remember how some teachers treated their students very poorly. I always wondered why those teachers chose their profession because many of them should not be around kids. I remember many teachers talking down to and even yelling at their students. This is not only degrading to the child, it also strips away at their self-esteem and any positive feelings they might have toward learning.
I also considered the actual time that is spent in teaching and learning in school. Sure, kids are in school about six hours a day, but how much of that time is actually being used educationally? So much time is spent going class to class, teachers trying to settle the class down, reviewing from the day before, teachers spending a large amount of time on kids with discipline issues or helping kids who are behind in their work. One teacher told me that she only spends about 1 1/2 hours of school every day in actual teaching/learning time. With homeschooling, we're done in about three hours and we have the rest of the day to run errands, go on field trips, clean the house, play with friends, etc. And an added bonus: The girls can spend quality time with their dad when he comes home at night - going for bike rides, reading books, playing games - whatever they choose.
Many parents argue about the socialization issue with homeschooled kids. To me, it's a non-issue. We have plenty of time when school is over to "socialize". They also get it at their homeschool Co-Op, church and other normal everyday experiences. But the biggest factor I consider is "why would I want my kids to be 'socialized' at school?" Just because kids are exposed to inappropriate behavior doesn't mean they will know how to deal with it in a Christian manner. More than likely, they will become desensitized to it and will soon even become accepting of it. At home, we have time to deal with these issues. We role play and talk about what to do if they are around inappropriate behavior. We have time to grow our kids spiritually which will affect them for eternity.
Another common concern for parents who are considering homeschooling or for those who don't really understand all that is involved in homeschooling is that they are worried their child won't get the best education to prepare them for college. However, there are so many great curriculums out there nowadays that have a strong academic base - with a little research, you can find one that is right for your family. And they do a great job preparing kids for college. In fact, there are many colleges out there who are actually seeking out homeschool kids because they are so successful in their independent learning and academic excellence. (See http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,216847,00.html and http://www.themorningstaracademy.org/daily_education_news/colleges-friendlier-towards-homeschoolers.html .)
Homeschooling has changed so much over the years and is growing in numbers. One article I recently read said it grew by 29% in the last few years. We’ve been homeschooling for two years now and it really was a blessing for our family. It has not only drawn us closer together, but we found that learning together is really fun. I'M NOT TRYING TO PERSUADE ANYONE TO HOMESCHOOL. I am not saying all Christian families should homeschool. You have to do what God is leading your family to do. However, if God is calling you, He will provide you with the patience, knowledge, flexibility, wisdom and organizational skills you need. Rely on Him and He will direct your path.