Your children are being taught, but are they being taught well?
One of the biggest objections I hear from parents regarding homeschooling their kids is, they just don’t think they can do it. They don’t have the time or the patience to teach their kids at home. Teaching and training up your children is not an option. As a parent, you are charged by God to do so. In fact, whether you intend to or not, you are teaching and training up your children.
Your kids learn about life, faith, and responsibility by watching you and listening to you live your own life. If your approach to teaching your kids is unintentional, then they will come away with mixed messages as they try to connect what they hear from you, from teachers, and from peers with what they see you do, what friends do, and what they see in the media. Be assured, your children are being taught, but are they being taught well? Anyone can teach a child, but to effectively teach and train them in the way they should go, you have to know them.
Unless you are unengaged in your family, no one knows your children better than you. You know their strengths and their weaknesses. When my son was four, we enrolled him in a private, Christian pre-school. At the end of that first year we were told that they thought it would be best for him if they placed him in pre-kindergarten the next year because he was emotionally immature. If we did not know our son so well, that may have sounded like the logical thing to do. The reality was that we knew he was immature, but we also knew he was academically advanced and already reading at a second or third grade reading level. Were he to be placed in a kindergarten class, he may get in trouble because of his immaturity. If we placed him in pre-kindergarten, he would certainly be getting in trouble because he was academically bored. That is when we decided to begin the homeschool adventure.
It is not possible for a school teacher – public or private – to know your child well enough to teach them “in the way they should go.” There are too many other students who need attention, and they cannot effectively know, or teach your child or to your child’s learning style. Just like one spouse needs to be a student of the other to have a healthy marriage, so a parent needs to be a student of their children for that relationship to be healthy and effective. To pass that responsibility off to a “hired hand” is a disservice to your child.
Teaching your kids at home is no easy task. It requires sacrifice. In being a student of your child, there will always be those times where you feel like you didn’t get it right, but what a learning opportunity for both you and your child! Learning to work through failure, learning to overcome mistakes and adversity; learning to be faithful in the wake of wrong or lesser choices are lessons they will never get in a public classroom. There are things that I would approach differently with my son, but my mistakes have helped me to understand him better and work with him more effectively now. Additionally, there has been a trust built between us that seems so absent between most parents and children from classroom settings.
A friend and fellow homeschool zealot, Israel Wayne, has aptly said that as long as you teach your child how to read, how to write, and how to study they can figure out anything they need to. In a classroom setting they teach one way to learn – one way to study. That may not be the best way for your child. No one understands your child’s strengths and weaknesses better than you. You have the time, the relationship, and the influence that can best serve them. You, parent, can train your child up in the way they should go; not in the way that someone else thinks they should, that seems most logical, or is easiest. Isn’t that worth finding a way to make it work?