The Homeschool Challenge
This past year, my oldest son was in first grade. For preschool and kindergarten, we had sent him to the Lewisville Christian School. In that environment, under the care of great teachers and excellent faculty, he arrived andrew and learned am blossoms. We have always tried to be proactive about our involvement in our kids lives as their parents. So when deciding what to do for his first grade year, we were not confident that the public school in our zone would be the best option. For one thing, the school is not very highly rated. Another thing, even the best schools in our area have a very high student to teacher ratio. Coming from the very intimate and a personal relationship with his teachers at the Lewisville Christian School, where the student to teacher ratio in kindergarden was 6 to 1, we felt that would not be adequate or advantageous. We know several teachers in the public school system who believe strongly that the public school system is not fertile ground for a child’s growth and education. It is somewhat adequate, but certainly not as ideal as the Lewisville Christian School environment was.
So we were left with the choice: public school, which we did not believe in as a reasonable option, private school, which we certainly could not afford, or homeschool. In my job as a youth minister, I know many many parents who home school. In fact, in our suburban area, this seems to be a popular option. There are well developed homeschool groups that meet regularly to share resources and have collaborative learning and even go on field trips or do fun activities. It is a good time and a good place to be homeschooling. The greatest appeal perhaps would be the ability to teach our own child what we believe is best for him to learn. academically, of course, we would need help there because neither my wife nor I are educated to be educators. It is part of our personality and consistent with our passions, but we do not know the particulars about what needs to be taught in first grade or about appropriate and creative ways to do so. But as I stated before, this is a great time to be home schooling because there is an abundance of resources for knowing what to teach and providing ways to teach.
As a Christian family, ensuring that our children are taught truth about the world and about bass is the utmost priority for us. homeschooling would allow us to teach the values and beliefs that are central to our family. we know our children are taught that in Lewisville Christian school, but we know that would not be part of the curriculum at d public school where they are zoned. And so we made the decision to homeschool, with much prayer i might add.
Much of homeschooling was a joy. Many days, my wife and son could complete the work early enough for a full afternoon of fun. it allowed us a great amount of flexibility and our family travels and in our daily and weekly schedules. My wife sound ways to teach creatively that my son enjoyed. Rather than being stuck in A classroom, the kitchen or the living room or the back porch or the trampoline or the tree or the alley or the park or the library or a museum or the car where his classrooms. The Word of God and Christian values were taught as a regular subject, as well as being woven into the other subjects (science and history, for instance).
Homeschool also have its challenges. It requires a great bit of discipline to get work done, particularly on those days when there are other family needs or on trips or when my son and or my wife were burned out on the schooling for that day or that week. Also, it was such an adjustment for my son to have to do this type of work load, that he often resisted. It did not help the matter that he was at home, where he is accustomed to freedom and being able to play. it is not as though he was jealous of his friends who were able to go to school. He just had very little frame of reference to understand that what was being asked of him and demanded of him was actually typical, if not a bit lighter. My wife did not set the standard low or require less of him, but the ability to get them done at a faster pace with individual attention in a more comfortable environment and in ways and place is not possible for kids in a school, he had it quite a bit better than those students and did not realize it. Another great challenge was that my wife had to switch roles back and forth from mom to teacher. she is excellent at being a mom, and for the most part, our children let her do that job and respond to her well that way. But as a teacher, it was so strange for my son to have to sit and be instructed by her that he struggled with ascribing her that a thority. It created a lot of tension and our family, and made my wife feel like a failure as a mom and as a teacher. She had not failed at either, but the feeling came from the tension that naturally arose.
One other thing about homeschooling is that the input into the child’s education comes from only one source. The pressure is solely on the parent doing the teaching to provide everything the child needs. In a school environment, there are often multiple adults giving input to the child’s education. They may have teachers for different subjects, 12 specialize in a certain subject, whereas in homeschooling, if a parent is naturally less interested or less competent in a certain subject, there is no one to make up for that deficit. Also, in schools, there are other staff and faculty and AIDS, a community of people surrounding the child and each adding something valuable to his or her development.
All these things considered, we have chosen to put our child back in school for second grade. fortunately, we were able to secure a place for him in a charter school, a local Classical Academy that has much more intimate student to teacher ratios and who teach, not necessarily overtly Christian values or worldviews, but good character and values that are consistent with our Christian beliefs.