TO HOMESCHOOL OR NOT TO HOMESCHOOL

Drive, fly, use a boat, health practice, teach—these are but some of the occupation or activities that need government regulation or licensing. But homeschooling or home teaching? Nada. Just as anyone can be parents and the shaping, feeding, molding, and raising of a child are left to their care, parents who decide to homeschool declare to the whole world, “I’m in charge!”

As people become more disenchanted with the current education system there had been a rise in the homeschooling movement. More so, when this pandemic started, many parents are left to take charge of their children’s schooling. This decision to homeschool, however, should not be taken lightly, and is one that requires a lot of research beforehand.

Fear and trepidation, excitement and enthusiasm, or feeling backed into a corner with no other option; regardless of where a parent is, may it be that each family approach homeschooling with the right motive and reason.

Here are some thoughts to ponder and discuss as a couple and family:

  1. Why did you decide to homeschool?

In my 20 plus years in Christian Education (inclusive of homeschooling the eldest until elementary and the youngest until high school), the number one reason I encounter and hear is: homeschooling is cheaper. But here are questions to ask further?

    • Are you all right with living on one income?
    • Have you taken into consideration the costs for music, art, and other lessons or subjects you are not equipped nor confident to teach?
    • Have you included the cost for training and seminars needed to equip and make you abreast of latest updates on education? How about field trips? (Because homeschooling is not confined to your home just as education is not confined in the four walls of a classroom)

My take as always with finances as the primary reason to homeschool is this: anything of quality and worth is expensive.

Another reason heard during this season is: “it is easier to do it ourselves”. Homeschooling is never easy. Parents’ experience referred to as “pandemic schooling” and or “home-based” schooling during the extended ECQ is far different from homeschooling. In the home-based schooling or pandemic schooling, there are teachers who follow-up on your children, set the schedules, do the testing, score their tests, and make sure there is scaffolding of learned concepts. In homeschooling, the buck ends with you: from planning your annual, quarterly, weekly, and daily schedules, to testing, keeping records, reporting—you are the School Principal, Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Administrator. It is FULLTIME job with no pay.

Some say it is more comfortable. Others are concerned of distance in traveling from home to school (which is no longer an issue during this pandemic).

In all these reasons, whose well-being are you thinking about? Simply put, homeschooling is NOT about YOU—your comforts, dreams, expectations, demands.

  1. How well do you know your child? How’s your relationship with him or her when it comes to schoolwork?

When you decide to home teach, nothing changes. You will be the same imperfect parent with the same imperfect kids. If your children drove you crazy while they were in school or a school staff was supervising his or her work virtually, they will continue to drive you crazy while at home…all day long! If you find homework time to be stressful between the two of you, how much more for regular academic load EVERYDAY.

Thus, you need to ask yourself these questions:

      • What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
      • Is my child a self-learner?
      • Has he displayed self-regulating skills?
      • How does my child learn best?
      • Am I placing my child in the kind of environment where I believe he can be trained into the kind of individual God desires him to be?
      • Is homeschooling the right and fitting educational process for my child?

Yes, homeschooling opens the door for students to master concepts much quicker than in a classroom full of distractions. However, if the same distractions are in your home, you can easily coast through the year without really accomplishing something.

  1. What is your view and practice of Biblical discipline?

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

Discipline is not just for children. How are you modeling a life of discipline to your children? Because children in the SOT system are asked to memorize portions of and study the Scripture, how is your love for God’s Word manifested at home?

Though the PACEs are designed to be self-instructional, the child can’t just be left on “auto-pilot” as he navigates through learning Bible-centered concepts, he needs a more mature co-pilot—a parent who takes on an active role in making sure flight delays, dangerous and risky situations, and/or worse, crash landing, are prevented.

“When a child is small it takes very little effort to make an impact for good, or (one) that can destroy them. A child’s life can be launched or derailed, and the effects will last a lifetime.”– Wess Stafford[1]

  1. Do I have the following essential skills?
    • Short-term and Long-term planning (on courses needed for college preparation)
    • Goal checking
    • Record keeping
    • Motivating achievement
    • Mentoring and Scaffolding (answering questions by asking the right questions)

and strength of character in:

    • Integrity (making sure score keys and test keys are kept securely)
    • Accountability (e.g. carefully going over check points where Supervisor’s initials are needed)

Yes, one does not need an education degree to homeschool but the skills and character traits above are vital if one desires to be an effective mentor of students.

A word of caution to homeschool parents: Do not proselyte. You may have convinced yourself that homeschooling is the way to go—and now you want to convince everyone else. Sorry, but homeschooling is not for everyone. Thus avoid sweeping and rash statements such as: “As a Christian, I could never send my children to public school”, or “God has ONLY given parents the job of teaching their children”, or “I don’t want my children to be exposed with all those other kids”, etc.

Proverbs 27:1-2 is clear in its warning:

“Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”

The real proof is in the pudding. Homeschooled children will prove nay-sayers wrong just by being themselves. No need to start a “mommy-war” especially in social media for those who have chosen a different path.

So, to homeschool or not? It is our sincerest prayer that you take time to count the cost, learn from your child’s teacher perhaps, evaluate your options, and ask God for wisdom as He alone knows us and our children perfectly well. Whatever learning environment you may choose, let your motivation be for the praise and glory of the ONE who has entrusted that child into your care.

“God doesn’t want us to trust in principles, methods, or formulas, no matter how “biblical” they seem. God wants us to trust in HIM!”– Reb Bradley, Exposing Major Blindspots of Homeschoolers [2]

[1] Stafford, Wess. Too Small to Ignore. Retrieved from https://www1.cbn.com/books/too-small-to-ignore

[2] Retrieved from www.familyministries.com/HS_Crisis.htm

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