Is Homeschooling Really the Problem?

by Martha K
(Kansas)

This was written in response to a post that had fears of homeschooling because even homeschooled children may hate school and consequently hate their teacher. Wouldn't it be better for them to not like public school and their public school teacher rather than their home life and mom?

**I think you have valid concerns but I look at it that the issue is not homeschooling but parenting. Just because we homeschool doesn't mean we do everything right as a parent. The world looks at homeschoolers who graduate, go to college and rebel like mad as a failure on the way they were schooled. Any child can rebel regardless of how they received their education. When I look at the laziness in my dd, I know that is a heart issue that I need to deal with. It's an issue where I have to teach her to do what's right regardless of the circumstances.

God's been working on me with balance in our life. I want my girls to love learning but they also have to be diligent because that's what the bible commands. If I'm yelling at my kids because they aren't doing what's right then it really just comes back to me...I didn't train them right in the first place. I don't mean that to say that we never have a bad day where they just choose to do what's wrong. But if I don't respond correctly it's my fault. The Bible says that the rod and reproof bring life and not to spare it for their crying - even God chastens us. It's not the chastening that most of us parents get wrong, it's 'how' we chasten. If I'm doing it in anger and lack of discipline then I am in sin myself. As far as school is concerned, we still have to make our children learn certain things - so there may be a reward positive or negative. Laying down the law ahead of time makes great strides in helping us use our time wisely - my dd was notorious for asking for an apple as soon as I would say it was time to start. I was getting so frustrated but then I realized I could nip it in the bud by telling her when it was appropriate to ask. That principle would work the same with going to the restroom or any other of the 100 things kids can come up with.

This year I've been blessed to have finally found some good fits as far as curriculum goes. Part of the complaining can be that how we are trying to teach just doesn't line up with how they're able to learn best. It's not that I don't want them to be disciplined but if we can enjoy the learning process then that's what I want to foster. I have a friend who refuses to look at anything other than what she used as a child. She loved it but her dd hates it - the dd hates every aspect of school. The more I listen to why she hates it the more I see that it's really how the mom is choosing to teach her. It's not the child who is refusing to learn. Other areas - like math facts - there's no way around it. It just has to be done. I can try it 100 ways but in the end they must do it. I recently read "A Thomas Jefferson Education" and "TJE Home Companion". There is a chapter in the Home Companion that talks about the lack of attention span in America. He goes through several fallacies of education. The first is that all learning must be fun and that's followed with good teaching is entertaining. In an email I can't explain everything he says in his book but there's a way to balance a love of learning and at the same time teaching our children that learning is their responsibility so they must be diligent. I had the mentality that it was all either/or rather having fun and discipline at the same time. I think another reason some homeschooled children may hate school is because they are pushed too hard too fast. You should know where most of us stand with that since we're on the Beechick site. I learned that the hard way (even though I had already read not to do what I did) with my youngest and reading. She just wasn't ready but I had a family member insisting that she just needs to practice every day no matter what. After a week or so of tears and her losing it at the mention of reading time, I realized I was the one in the wrong and was teaching her to hate reading. Thankfully God worked in me to change what I was doing.

Some people are deceived thinking that because they homeschool their kids are going to just magically turn out all right. Homeschooling isn't a magical cure but what it does allow is me the opportunity to disciple my children. It takes me being intentional and deliberate in my parenting - not just assuming they'll catch what's right and do it. I can ensure my kids learn the Word of God, hide it in their heart and I can train them to do what's right consistently (Lord willing). I have to model it myself though. If I "homeschool" and just set my kids in front of a TV or computer teacher exclusively and never interact with them they may be learning some academics but the whole point of molding their life is lost. Not to offend anyone who uses those forms entirely but it's very easy to guess what form of schooling kids get - even the homeschoolers. I don't want to be filling a bucket with information, instead I want to light fires in their hearts and minds. I want them to learn 'how' to think not just 'what' to think. When I interact with them I am working on their character. Again, it's all not just academics.

Ironically, my dds and I had a good discussion about that just a little bit ago. They may not like what they are doing but it is up to them to learn. It is still their choice. They can either not whine and just do it or God will use mom and dad to help them do what is right. It's still up to me to discern whether they have the maturity to do what I'm asking or if they are being lazy. We're learning about wisdom in our bible time and contrasting that to a fool. We're learning that a fool despises wisdom and instruction. I'm trying to inspire them to learn but also know that their flesh may need discipline in order to still apply it and that when it requires discipline I must do it with the right heart attitude myself.

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