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Friday, October 10, 2008

Homeschool Tips: A Mission Statement

There probably isn't a single homeschooling family that hasn't been asked why they chose to homeschool. (Funny, I don't go around asking people why they chose to send their children to public school....) Fact is, when you do something different from the norm, you'll probably have your fair share of questions and criticism.

I have found it's helpful to make a homeschooling binder, not for curriculum, but filled with reminders of why you homeschool. There will likely be times when you feel discouraged or beaten down, so it's nice to have something to put it all back in perspective.

When you think about why you homeschool your children, a list of reasons probably pop into your mind. Take the time to write these reasons down, and explore each one in depth. There will be those who argue with you, and you'll feel better prepared to defend your rights if you have really solidified the reasons behind your choice. You'll be able to articulate exactly what you believe and feel, without getting flustered.

So, write a mission statement. Jot down what your homeschooling goals are. Write down what you want to avoid. Write down what is important to you. Go in depth.

Sometimes people ask me, "You don't want to shelter your children, do you? Don't you want them to be able to think for themselves?"

Well, let me talk about the first sentence first. What's wrong with sheltering my children? Why shouldn't I shelter my children? In fact, throwing my children out into the wild doesn't sound reasonable to me. It makes me cringe to think that people have fallen into the belief that we shouldn't shelter our children. Of course, there are people who take it overboard, but, I promise you, we don't choreograph our children's every move and thought. We don't stand over their shoulder all the time, breathing down their little necks.

There is nothing wrong with sheltering your children from the world. There is nothing wrong with desiring to protect them from filthy mouths and filthy minds. Little ones are like little sponges. They soak up everything. As parents, we need to be the filter, because they don't have one. I've received criticism for that, but, I'm sorry (not really), I don't want my children learning about sex at the underripe age of five, or being pressured into it at the age of twelve. Schools are poisoned with sexual misconduct, but parents and teachers have taken the ostrich approach (head in the sand). How can I raise children to be pure and chaste if, from a young age, they spend most of their time with people who don't care about preserving their innocence and encouraging purity?

I'm also told that I'm brainwashing my children by focusing on the bible. Therefore, according to this non-logic, anyone who raises their children "in the way of the Lord" as the bible directs is brainwashing. If that's the case, I think everyone could use a little brain washing using God's word as soap!

There are loads of things out there that could "brainwash" our children. Television is one of them, yet most people have no problem allowing their children to sit in front of the boob tube for hours on end. I know people who allow their toddlers to watch Family Guy, a cartoon filled with adult material and clearly marked for adults. (Although, I don't think anyone, even an adult, should watch it). Do they not realize or care that their children are soaking up the behavior they see displayed on television shows? You can't say one thing ("This is bad, Junior!") and then allow them to watch the behavior or take part in it as you all laugh.

I saw this plain and clear when my daughter became obsessed with Hannah Montana. I walked in the room to find her doing some sort of dance which involved grinding her hips and singing with a raspy, "sexy" voice, and I nearly had a heart attack. I thought the Disney Channel was for children, but it is sending forth a message that I don't care for.

For one, it's teaching my daughter to move her body in a way that's not becoming of a little girl (or a grown woman). Secondly, the show was teaching her how to be a drama queen. Check out some of the shows geared towards girls. There's a lot of fluttering about, emotional mumbo jumbo, and diva-like behavior.

We canceled cable.

My point again: There are loads of things out there to "brainwash" our children. What brainwash really means in these cases is influence. What do you want to be the biggest influence in your children's lives? A stranger? Another child? You? The people your children are around the most will influence them the most.

Of course people will have questions about (ugh) socialization, a subject most homeschoolers think is absolutely ridiculous (as if public school is the only place to receive socialization). Personally, I perfer healthy socialization with people who are kid, respect other's space and beliefs, and whose speech is encouraging and uplifting.

If you would like to read one of our mission statements (sort of), you can click here:

Why We Chose to Shelter Our Children

Now, back to the original question. "You don't want to shelter your children, do you? Don't you want them to be able to think for themselves?"

Obviously, I do want to shelter my children. Again, you can read more about that in my mission statement (linked above). Do I want them to be able to think for themselves? Of course I do? Sheltering children does not mean I forbid them to think for themselves. If anything, throwing them out into the world ensures that they will not think for themselves. They will be told by their peers what is cool. Their peers will define who they are. Their peers will tell them what to think. My job, as a parent, is to bring out the best in my child and to help them use their talents and gifts for God's purpose. In short, my job is to help them become the person God made them to be.

Our children are not birds. We don't have to throw them out of the nest to teach them how to fly. We can teach them how to fly within the boundaries of our home. We can teach them how to be responsible. We can teach them how to be confident and strong in their identity because their identity is in Christ. And because their identity is in Christ, they won't feel as tempted to bend to the pressures of peers and society.

So, I've rambled on, but this shows you the importance of really thinking about the questions you have been or may be asked, and to really get deep down into the reasons why you are homeschooling. Of course, there are other reasons that aren't so deep, like, "It's just plain fun!"

What are some of your reasons for homeschooling?


Lance said...

My wife and I homeschool our children for many of the reasons you mention. Our primary reason is that we want them to have a Christian education that we can afford and control. Sending them to a public school is not an option.

Oh and by the way, I think asking parents why the send their kids to a public school is a perfectly valid question. In fact, if asked more often, they may actually reconsider.

Thanks for your thoughts and the opportunity to share mine.


Kristin-Homemaker@Heart said...

everything that you just said is exactly how I've felt since Jesse and I first talked about home schooling.
When I was a sahm {when Kylie was about 3 months old} I used to babysit my cousins little girl who had just started kindergarten that year. She said that she saw one of the older boys go up to a girl and grab her. Josie and one of her friends went to tell one of the "helpers" that is outside with them, she told Josie to stop being a tattle tail!!
As soon as she told me that, I knew I was ment for homeschooling.

And a lot of people don't know it, but I went to school to be a teacher. I am 8 credits short of being a licenced teacher. {I dropped out when my mom found out she had cancer} I student taught for 3 years. some teachers were great and were really there to help young kids learn...they wanted to teach them. And some were just there for the pay check. They were jerks to me and they were jerks to the students. One woman teacher that I student taught for yelled at a student because she wasn't catching on to geometry! She said that she couldn't hold the class back to help her, that she had to figure it out on her own.
Gosh, I'm long winded tonight. LOL
so there's my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

my cousin homeschools all her 6 kids and will with her 7th. My neighbor and her sister do with their children and have a homeschooling group. There was a lot of drama in HS and teachers that were unreal at how mean they were. They didn't believe me when I was young and complained of tummy aches everyday to find I had Megacolin. In HS I complained of headaches and my eyes and they said I was lying. Junior year I found out I needed classes and then eye surgery. I have essential tremmor and one teacher for his ammusement made me write in front of everyone on a chalk board (I cant) and I walked out of his class. HS especially was an awful experience for me.

Rachel loved K and now this year doesn't like her teacher as much so she's not as into school. Hope it all goes well for your family. You have to do what is best for you and your family.

Rachel watched Hannah Montana onme day and I've never let her weatch it again. If you hadn't canceled, I would just go by the ratings because it is rated TV-G. She always wants to watch SpongeBob and we do not allow that show and I have actally written places about their ratings for that show and others.

-Soldier's Sweetheart said...

All parents want to give the best for their child, and, of course, to protect their offspring from the mischiefs of the world outside home. That's why some parents decide to educate their children at home, instead of letting them to school.
Is it worth to protect your child from the world, knowing, that sooner or later he will have to face it? Does homeschooling give a full learning experience and can serve instead of school? Vote and tell us -

Nancy Schacht said...

brovo to you! Iam unschooling my adopted daughter 7 and my adopted daughter 16. We have 6 grown children and 6 grandchildren to begin with! I LOVE TO hear from you on how yer doing it and why!Id never heard of unschooling only homeschool and christian school.I love not loosing them to the system, and guiding them to their destiny in Jesus! Have a blessed day, while Il keep reading! Love, Nancy in Il.