"But what about socialization?",
"Aren't you afraid your kids will be social weirdos??",
"I could never homeschool my children. It's just not for me."
I hear those questions now, even though just last year I was probably saying it to someone who started to homeschool! This post is all about informing others, based on the decision Mr. Faithful and I made to start homeschooling our boys next year.
As I said in previous posts, I am an Elizabeth Minister. This was another case in following the Holy Spirit. It took me two years to follow the ministry calling. I was attending mass at a new church by our house and questioned if I should start the ministry myself there. I was also, on some weeks, attending mass at the church I had belonged to for almost 30 years, but now it's 20 minutes from my home. I discovered the Elizabeth Ministry was up and coming at the latter church, which I was both relieved and happy as this church feels like home to me.
The leader of the ministry, let's call her Faithful Minister, homeschools some of her five children. I kept asking her questions (at that point I was still in denial that God would ever want ME to be a teacher for my kids). She decided to hold a meeting to inform me as well as another woman who was curious. All the while, Mr. Faithful kept hearing homeschool stories and was being driven by the Holy Spirit to go in this direction also. When I told him I was curious and wanted to attend the meeting, which I thought he'd tell me I was crazy, he said he wanted to go too! We hadn't yet discussed our resisted interest (I say resisted because we were both so adamant on not ever homeschooling!).
We met another homeschool family that night. We learned so much just by talking to these wonderful people! They are just as normal as us, their kids are well behaved AND social?!?! I think we were already set on homeschooling by the time that meeting happened, but one comment made us realize we had to at least try it for a year...
"You hear of public school (or any school outside the home) being the best way to get your kids to socialize. But think about it, there are 30 or so kids all of the same age, all going through whatever stage at that age, locked in one room for 6-8 hours a day, with little fresh air, being told to listen and pay attention for long stretches. They must look and listen to one teacher. When they turn to talk to a peer, that one teacher usually says something like, 'Stop talking, we are NOT here to socialize!"
I laughed when I heard this, because it's so true! Also, if in public school, our children would be taught things we may not agree with. The Big Bang Theory for one. We will teach our children this, but with a Catholic approach. We want to teach them with a Godly view. And in this society, God has been taken out of schools. We feel it's so important to teach them all areas and views, but not in the politically correct and Godless views our government has imposed in the United States. Some may disagree with this, and that is ok with me. This is my opinion only and I am entitled as are you!
Another reason we are going to try homeschool is because of the grading curve. The grading scale is lowered if most children score low on tests (no child left behind). Even in "challenged" classes, they are no longer challenged due to this grading curve. This is not fair to the children who apply themselves and do well. We do not want our children to ever be held back to do their best ability because of someone else.
Violence. I have a friend who said her 4th grader (that's what, 10 years old??) ended up in a fist fight. I find this unnerving. At 10 years old they should be playing together, happy, never thinking of physical violence to the point where they actually do it. It's one thing to have a 5 year old hit. Reprimand them, have them apologize and they are moving on. A 10 year old is bigger and I'd think at that point uncontrollable. At 10 years old they fully understand what they are doing when they hit. This is unacceptable to me and I would never want my child to witness (or be a part of) physical violence at school. Nowadays you hear of kids coming in with guns and knives and really hurting (or killing) their peers in elementary school even. Again, a Godless society has a part to play in that.
Socialization. I used to think that homeschool children aren't socialized. Now I know that is just an ignorant point of view. I am no longer ignorant to the fact that homeschooled children are some of the most socialized people, if schooled properly. There are some parents that homeschool to shelter their children...those people are not socialized correctly. If you join a co-op group (A collective group of homeschoolers working together for a common purpose. All members of the co-op must contribute in some way toward the end goal; usually this contribution is in the form of effort, not money.) Each family has different ages and stages. In the same sense as the old "little red schoolhouse", the older kids are tutors and mentors for the younger kids. The younger kids look up to the older ones as they set the example of how to act when they are older. Instead of being locked in a room with 30 seven year olds, there may be a co-op group that has a 3 year old, a 9 year old, two 10 year olds, and two 15 year olds. I hope I am explaining this well. Remember, I'm learning as I go too.
We can monitor how they learn. All people learn differently. Hands on. Reading. Being told. There are all walks of life. Schools outside the home have one straight line. If you stray from that line, they tell parents the child is hyperactive and needs to be on medicine so they act like the other little lambs (Stepford Wives anybody?!). Maybe that child is bored? Maybe with that learning curve I mentioned earlier, that child is not being challenged? But if they seem like they can't pay attention, most times that is not thought of. Most times ADD or ADHD is mentioned, and another innocent child is forced to swallow a poisonous pill that makes them someone they are not.
With homeschool, we can have class ANYWHERE!! I can walk them to the park and have class while we're swinging. We can have a picnic lunch and learn arithmetic. We can start at 8am on a Monday and Tuesday start at 1pm. We can take a break if Faithful Boy 1 gets frustrated because he doesn't understand, and come back to it after he's calmed down. With school outside the home this is not possible.
Being their parents, we are their primary teachers. Anyone with toddlers are actually homeschooling their children. If you read to your child, teach them about what they ask (Mommy why is the sky blue?), sing the ABC's, help them to read the letters of the alphabet, this is homeschooling your child believe it or not! Right now, we are "un-schooling" our boys. I ask them what they want to learn about and we go from there. I also teach as we clean (How many towels are there in this laundry basket? Can you find the matching sock? What color is this plate?).
Why not try to learn with them and formally homeschool? Faithful Boy 1 will be 5 in March, so we decided to try out kindergarten with him. I am SCARED TO DEATH I will mess up!!! But, I've learned that kindergarten is not required in formal schooling, so what could it hurt trying, right?! We plan to take it one year at a time. We are not planning even 1st grade. If we all enjoy kindergarten and we can handle it, we'll order 1st grade curriculum when the time comes. If it doesn't work out, we'll try something else. Only God knows where we should be in the future.
I leave you with this Bible passage from Deuteronomy 6:6-9...
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and
when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door
frames of your houses and on your gates.
Homeschool is not about sheltering. Homeschool is not about purposely being different. Homeschool is not about being a supermom or dad. It's about giving your child the very best. To us, it's what our children deserve from us to become well rounded adults. I pray strongly we are making the right decision, but feel it is right. After all, we were led here by God Himself. Xoxo.