Homeschool Reflections-Running the Gauntlet and Finding Resolve

booksEvery once in awhile I have to revisit my mission statement as a homeschooling parent. Reminding myself of the “why” helps my resolve to find its feet again. Something I’ve found that all homeschoolers have in common is self doubt. The end of the school year provides a great opportunity to objectively evaluate your “why” in light of your fall semester goals as compared to spring semester outcomes. 🙂 
We are winding down our school year. It always makes me reflective. Katie has counted out how many lessons she has left in science and social studies, and decided this week she will put her nose to the grindstone so she can finish all her online school.  Now I can get her schedule lined up for next school year, and we’ll enjoy a more leisurely pace completing spelling, grammar, writing, and literature through the end of June. July is our month off. Grateful to see a *little* bit of discipline taking shape in how she manages school. She’s maturing and starting to take things a little more seriously. She’s got her sites set on our alma mater for college. Slow-but-steady progress on this on ramp for high school. 😉 This is gratifying for both of us!
Katie Grades Spring Semester 2019 END
 
I was proud of Katie last week, as a woman (who was a retired school teacher) plied her with all sorts of questions about her schooling. If you homeschool, you know what I’m talking about already. The gauntlet. 
 
What was she reading? Katie told the lady about the series she’s currently enjoying, and I told her how we are doing Peter Pan as a read-aloud and doing a literature study through that book. 
 
What was she doing for science class? Katie told her all about the solar system and space investigation–she’s doing Earth & Space Science.
 
Does she have any friends? (aka “Are you socialized?”)  Anyone who knows our daughter knows the answer to that question.  lol  I assured her that she goes to youth group, church, and art club and has interaction with her peers. But I don’t believe “socialization” is accomplished by spending the entire day with only those in your peer group.
 
What is her favorite subject? She shared what she is learning in history…which interestingly is about Ancient Rome and Christianity.
 
Did she cover Wyoming state history? I elected to save that until later…not in 4th grade which is typical in the school system…so she’d have more of an appreciation for it…we’ll cover it next year in conjunction with American History and Geography.
 
I was asked if I was a teacher.
I’ve always been a teacher by nature, and have been a lifelong learner. Both my husband and I are a little nerdy, enjoying documentaries and playing Trivial Pursuit. 🙂 I had to research reading disabilities and information processing disorder to help our oldest two. I made it my quest to understand their learning styles, and also my teaching style. I studied measurements and standardization and decided that I have a front row seat to best decide what each child in our family should have set as their benchmarks…and came to believe that there is no such thing as a standardized child. I taught on the University level for nearly a decade, and in many other venues through the years…speaking to all ages, all group sizes. I put our two oldest through nearly all their K-12 years, using nearly every homeschooling methodology available. I’d now describe our method as “eclectic”. However–and this is IMPORTANT– without having to list accomplishments, proficiencies or validations, any parent can be an educator.
Should everyone homeschool their kids? I’m not saying that. It’s not an ideal fit for everyone. In such cases, it is wonderful to have trustworthy, truth-anchored teachers available to come alongside…but this still does not negate the responsibility of parents to be engaged in the education process. Scripture reinforces the mandate that parents are expected to teach their kids. Deuteronomy 6 and the entirety of Proverbs are key passages which support this command.
“When it comes to my children, my ultimate goal for them is Heaven, not Harvard. If they go to the latter on their way to Heaven, that’s great. But if I reverse that equation, I’ve failed them.” ~Barbara Frank
The lady was kind enough, but it was a typical set of questions from someone questioning the viability of home education. Katie was very matter-of-fact, open, and confident. Bringing a defensive attitude to the table when subjected to this kind of questioning never helps anything. This kind of interview does not make me question or intimidate me. It strengthens my resolve, even more than a good report card. 😉 
Currently, in the US, a degree is not required in order to homeschool. Prior to the inception of the public school system, the responsibility of education was that of the parents and sometimes the church. The public school system as an institution has an interesting history, with which most people are not familiar.  Here’s a discussion on that background. Some who have never had formal education are brilliant teachers. Not all those who do have degrees teach effectively. Here’s a helpful article to provide a bigger picture. 
Right now we have the freedom to homeschool in this country. Largely, we still have the freedom to decide what our homeschool will look like. Some states have more requirements in place as far as record keeping, testing, attendance, and submitting work samples. Here is where you can go to find out what is required where you live. I highly recommend joining HSLDA, as there is a continual movement in government to acquire more and more control over the rearing and education of our young people. Know your rights. “Wise as serpents, harmless as doves.” 
Are there people who claim to homeschool who give the whole movement a bad name? No doubt. And they are usually the ones who end up in the news. Do I teach everything, every tiny scrap? Nope. Public school teachers don’t either. Do I teach perfectly? Nope. No one does. But I do my best, and I know this is best for our family.
If you are on the fence, considering homeschooling, I’d love to encourage you. Send me a pm!

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