Looking for a way to regain control of your family and put God back at the center of your child’s education? Home education may be the solution.
With a focus on common core curriculum, crime in schools and the removal of God in the classroom, Mary Hood, Ph.D., author of The Relaxed Homeschooler, said she believes “we have to band together to create real options to public education.” Whether it is through private education or homeschooling, “parents must take control of their children’s education.”
Speaking at the South Florida Homeschool Convention in Davie last month, Hood quoted from Martin Luther over four centuries ago when he said, “I am afraid that the schools will prove the Gates of Hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.”
In the ever present struggle for the hearts of our children, Hood said parents find they are often soldiers in a spiritual war. So what is a parent to do?
Questions to ask
She recommends parents start by outlining their own educational philosophy. What are the spiritual beliefs that guide your educational ideas and choices? What do you believe about the nature of learning? What do you think the proper roles and relationships should be among teachers and students? What methods of instruction do you think would work best for your family?
Once you have considered your educational views as a parent, take the time to assess your children’s current educational situation and think through your own set of values and goals. Consider what you want for your child in the following areas: values, attitudes, habits, skills, talents, interests, and knowledge.
With clearly defined goals, you are now better prepared to consider how best to attain them. Each family’s situation will be unique. Write down all of the options on paper – public school, private school, home education – and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each one for your family.
Advantages of Home Education
If you choose to homeschool, you may…
Transfer your values and beliefs to your children.
Build meaningful relationships with your children and share the everyday joys of life.
Teach to your children’s dominant learning styles.
Give your children personal attention in any subject with which they struggle or excel.
Create a schedule that fits your needs without the constraint of a traditional classroom schedule.
Control what your children learn and when.
Show your children that learning can be fun.
Protect your children from negative influences in the classroom.
Nurture your children’s natural talents.
Take educational vacations during the school year.
Challenges of Homeschooling
Home education is not without its challenges, however. You may have to…
Spend a lot of time with your children.
Be patient and encouraging with your children despite frustrating moments.
Justify your decision to homeschool to family and friends.
Spend money on educational materials.
Learn how to homeschool effectively and join a support group.
In order to honestly consider all of the options, parents may first have to educate themselves about what is available. Besides the many public schools options, South Florida is home to many Christian schools. But how much do we really know about the educational opportunities available to us? When it comes to homeschooling, the answer may be not much, and once they start investigating, many parents are pleasantly surprised at what they find.
This month thousands of home school families from across Florida will attend the Florida Parent Educators Association Homeschool Convention May 22-25 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. Many will attend seminars and gather information on how to homeschool for the first time. With about 20 nationally-recognized speakers, three days of workshops or seminars and over 230 vendors promoting home education products, the FPEA Convention is the place for parents to become educated about home education.
To some the prospect of homeschooling seems daunting. Perhaps that is the beginning of the spiritual battle that wages in our minds. Hood points out that it often begins with feelings of inadequacy or discouragement.
“It’s that little guy on your shoulder whispering, ‘You can’t even keep your bathroom clean. How can you be a homeschooler?’” said Hood. And many parents insist, “I don’t have the patience to home school my kids.”
Homeschooling is not an easy option and families should consider carefully what God’s plan is for their family. God calls each of us to a unique path, and when God calls he promises we will be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17 NIV).
Whether the answer is public school, private school or homeschooling, it is important that parents take the driver’s seat and purposely map out their children’s education.
For more information about the Florida Parents Educators Association Homeschool Convention visit fpea.com.
Shelly Pond is editor of the Good News. She and her husband, Andrew, have homeschooled their three children from preschool through high school. Contact Shelly at [email protected]