Before I give you an idea of what homeschooling is, let me attempt to explain what homeschooling surely is not. Homeschooling is not “home” “schooling”. It is not school-at-home.
I was engaged in conversation recently with a dear friend who is also a veteran homeschooler. She homeschooled for over 25 years. We were trying to come up with a word or two that would give someone an idea of what homeschooling is. Why? Because when most people, who’ve never heard of homeschooling or experienced it in any way, think about or hear the word homeschooling they may literally have a mirror image of public/private school environment taking place in the home. Homeschooling sounds like we just switched the student from the public/private school building to the “schoolhouse” at home. Homeschooling is in fact, the exact opposite. Homeschooling is unique to the individuals that make up the family that are engaged in the act of homeschooling and therefore, my veteran homeschooling friend said “homeschooling is personal“. Yes! Exactly! The family dynamics drives the homeschool engine. It is what determines how the kids will be taught (curriculum), when (schedule), where (venue), and who (teacher).
I’ve seen homeschooling families function in many different ways. Part time, full time. Working parent(s), stay-at-home parent. Homeschooling using online curriculum only, or creating all their curriculum from scratch or any mixture of both. Homeschooling while travelling the great United States in an RV or homeschooling primarily in a little schoolhouse room set-up in the home. These are just very few examples.
“I also discovered that God calling us to homeschool had very little, if anything at all, to do with my kiddos’ education…”
Homeschooling (for us) is not about Education
Even though I make an overall plan for each semester and we have daily schedules and routines, I homeschool day-by-day, one foot in front of the other. If I try to look too far ahead it overwhelms me, because it scares me to think about all that will be required and all that I am responsible for teaching them. I also discovered that God calling us to homeschool had very little, if anything at all, to do with my kid’s education and most everything to do with our relationship with Him. Homeschooling is just the tool He’s using to refine us. It reveals our shortcomings and sins, it challenge us, it teaches us grace, it forces us to trust Him; all with the purpose of refining us into the image of Christ. You see, if I try to homeschool in my own strength and knowledge (which I’ve done before) I burnout and fail. Miserably. But when my dependence comes from the Lord, I have joy, I have peace, I can actually do less because I’m not trying to do my part and God’s part as well.
“The aim of education is to prepare children to live in contemporary society; to develop their relationship with God, His world, and people; and to cultivate an appreciation of culture and ideas. This includes the necessity of being able to ask questions, to draw their own conclusions, and to become independent thinkers.” -Diane Lopez, Teaching Children
Sometimes people think parents homeschool because they want kids that are not “of the world”, or kids that are “geniuses”. As far as what my kids will become, only God knows. I have heard many true stories to understand that there are no assurances in homeschooling. I’m no where near the end of our journey but I’m keeping my perspective in this way: if I do all that I believe God desires and wills for me to do for them, then for better or worse, I won’t take the credit nor the blame for how my kids turn out. I will also rest on the promises of God when He says if I train up my child in the way he should go, then when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).