Thursday, March 5, 2009

Home Educating

"So--how many kids are you homeschooling?"
I get this question a lot.

Usually, I answer with how many of my kids do "book work"--which would be four. Nathaniel is a 7th grader, Isaiah a 5th grader, Linnea is in 3rd and Andrew does Kindergarten.
I'll be honest here and reveal that I don't even like giving them a grade to be in, because I think those labels are so the kids in government buildings can know which room they are supposed to be in. That may sound harsh, but seriously--that's what those groupings are for. You can't convince me for one minute that all "3rd graders" read at the same level or do math at the same level, etc. The "grades" are just a way to group kids. I don't need those distinctions in my homeschool, because my kids are not grouped in that way.

I also resist the word "school". I'd rather say that we home-educate. "School" is a building; a government-run place where children are sent day after day--and their parents must ask permission to see them. Isn't that strange? {If you'd like an eye-opening read, find a copy of John Taylor Gatto's Dumbing Us Down--The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.}]

For that matter, I'd really rather say that our family participates in Home-Based Christian Discipleship of our children. But let's face it, homeschooling is a lot easier to say.

But, back the question at hand...
I need to train myself to answer it differently:
I home-educate all of them.

When I say "put your arm in your sleeve" I am home-educating my two year old.
When I say "look at that jello block--is that a circle or a square?" I am home-educating my three year old.
When I say "ok, Ruby, it's time for your bath" I am home-educating my six month old.

Commenting on that bright red truck, or the brown horse or the big cow--it's all part of their education.

When I tell my kids that they may not hit one another, or say unkind things, or I explain why and how we must treat one another with love and respect, I am home-educating my children.

All of these things--and a million others--are helping my children to order their world, to better understand their surroundings, to learn what it is to be a part of a family, to grow in the knowledge of the Lord.

So the next time someone asks me how many kids are in school, I'll answer "none of them".
But if someone asks me how many I homeschool--I'll say, "All of them."


  1. You kind of make it sound like public school is so institutional and not a good place.

    We love our school, and our kids love every day of it.

    Tami (just some friendly debate)

  2. I would have to agree with you missy, I a can not even imagine sending out children to school. To let someone else have influence over them when they are so influencable. We have 5 children and we educate them all day long. Keep the messages coming missy.

    Matt Schweitzer

  3. There are outside influences every where you go. Not just public schools. I have enough faith in my parenting to know that my children will make the right choices when presented with thdecicions to make. I trust their teachers 100% to look out for their best interest each day. My kids are happy each morning going to school, and they come home happy. They know the difference between right and wrong. I feel that by sending them to school outside our home that they are getting good lessons on how to deal with many different personalities, and situations. There is no way I could intoduce them to so many social advantages by having them home with me each day.


  4. I think it's great that you are able to home school, but as a public school teacher, I have to add something too. In no way do I try and influence my students do anything other than: question, engage, listen, accept, disagree, empathize, and respect.
    This isn't about educating or not educating. To me, teaching is about exposing kids to that big wide world we live in. Up here in the midwest, we live in a bubble. It's a pretty WASP-y one that at. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but let's be real, it's a big world out there.
    I want my kids be able to examine several sides to a topic. I want them to understand that nothing is black and white. There are shades of gray too.
    I feel sad that people think that us teachers are pushing some sort of bad agenda on kids. I am not bashing home schooling or anything. All I am saying is that like all issues in life, there is not one right or wrong way to do things. I don't bash homeschooling. Should you bash schools?

    On another note, I have had a few homeschooled kids come into the public school as high school students. Interestingly, one was my worst student ever. He had no concept of deadlines, responsibility, and had poor social skills. The two others I had, were some of the most on the ball and responsible kids I have ever had.
    I still worry to this day how that first kid is doing in the 'real world.' You can show up late for work, 'forget' to finish your task, and certainly relate to others. Then again, those two other kids-I am certain--are doing amazingly well.

  5. I find the comments by the two ladies on here very interesting. Everything a person does is influence. To the restaurant we eat at and tell someone about to the movies we watch(I would suggest Facing the Giants and Fireproof) and talk to others about. To have influence is life. So to be a teacher and say you do not influence your students is a little scary to me. Because you are and if you don't know it that is even more intimidating. The bad agenda that you write about is that exactly. Look around, please pop the bubble you think you are living in and look at life. Remember how things were when you were a child and look at how they are now. When I was a kid, I don't remember hearing about any school shootings, or school violence involving guns and I grew up in a very large city and I went to public school. From what I remember of school is not the memories that I want my children to have of their youth. Thank you for teaching I am sure it is not easy. Have a great day.

    Matt Schweitzer

  6. I only have good memories from school. I had so many great friends that to this day are still some of my closest friends! My teachers were all very kind, and loving. There wasn't any violence in my school either. We can't put a sterotype on all public schools, because of the sad things that happen at some. I feel very confident that my kids are in a safe environment each day when they go off to school.

  7. I am sorry you don't have good memories from your schooling experience. Maybe that is why you are speaking out against them?
    Secondly, school shootings higher prior to Columbine in 1999 than after.
    Thirdly, my kids get to play in a neighborhood full of kids, take part in activities, visit parks, and generally have a great life.

  8. Melissa: I bet you weren't ready for this can of worms. I commend you on homeschooling. You know that, because I believe we have talked about it in the past.
    I was merely defending my career choice AND my choice to public-school my kids. This is your blog, and I apologize for taking away from it.

  9. I am writing here about homeschooling because I think everyone should do it. Why would anyone give the government permission to influence their childrens education? Schools teach kids to be good employees. Being an employee is not the most safe place to be right now. To learn to think outside the box, shut off the t.v. and use ones mind. As Henry Ford said to think is the hardest thing a person can do, that is why so few people do it. Being at a job doing the same thing over and over again is not thinking. Dale Carnegie said, Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most do. The way to understand criticism is to realize that all great achievement meets with resistance. In fact, attracting a few good critics can be a key indicator that you are on the road to success. Keep up the good work Melissa. Have a great day.

    Matt Schweitzer

  10. I am assuming you don't have children with down's syndrome, autism, asperger's syndrome, ADHD, FAS, or any other severe disability that requires extra assistance.
    Government does a darn lot of good in this country and for children. Homeschooling isn't for everyone. NOTHING is for everyone.

  11. You would be right is writing that I don't have any children that are challenged with those types of things. But even if we did have a child that was I would not take free money from the government because that would mean that I would be making americans pay for my child. I don't believe in that. By the words that you write I would read into what you have written here that you like are current president? Let me ask you this, does the government take care of the people or do the people take care of the government? Seeing as you like to read I would suggest you read the series by Richard J. Maybury. Now back on point, I believe a lot of the things you listed off can be prevented by proper diet, staying away from vaccines(another government curse used to control the people), and the elimination of free radicals from second hand smoke and alcohol. Also you statment that government does a lot of good for children, that is governments reason for doing anything. They use the schools as their ploy to tax more. As for nothing is for everyone, I would have to disagree with that statement, wide is the path narrow is the gate, but to believe that he died for our sins to believe in Jesus Christ that he was sent here for all man kind and to have a relationship with him is the way thru that gate is for everyone. Have a great day.

    Matt Schweitzer

  12. I don't think that Jesus would like us being so judgemental of each other.


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