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Why we home educate – Part 1

February 19, 2009

This week we had a ‘guest’ teacher friend in; she knew we’d been studying the ‘human body’ and wanted to do something with the children on ‘how we move’. This picture is of the children pulling apart a chicken leg to look at the muscles and tendons etc. We had great fun – thanks Auntie Sam!

Our starting (and finishing) point…

I guess if you do anything against the ‘norm’ you going to be asked ‘why’; the question around our decision to home school is sometimes tainted with judgement or distain, sometimes with genuine interest in our lives and more recently filled with intrigue as more and more people are considering it for their family.

We made our decision to home educate our children in the early part of 2008; I was pregnant with our third child, N was in reception and J was doing mornings in the local pre-school (nursery). I was still working full time and our life looked very different to how it does today. We made our decision but felt to wait until the children had finished their academic year in school.

Our journey building up to our decision was long but necessary; the ‘seeds’ of wanting to teach our children at home had been there for a while (in me anyway!!), we could see the benefits but also had lots of questions.

We read, read and read some more, talked with and visited other families who educated their children at home, talked to children who were home schooled and of course prayed!

The more we looked into this fascinating way of life the more we saw how people do it for so many different reasons. Our reasons for home educating have become more concrete as we’ve journeyed with our children over these past 6 months and seen the fruit of our decision…in all of us.

Our decision was done in great faith for our children and for what we wanted to build into their lives for their future and their impact on the world. Our decision was not made in reaction to our local school, the UK education system or our children’s experience of the class room (all that was ‘fine’ and pretty ‘normal’!) but we just ‘saw’ something that we had to start to walk out.

In a nutshell we had a great rise of faith to not only educate our children at home but saw a fulfilment in doing this of the scriptures relating to training and discipling children in the Word of God – we started to understand our God given responsibility as parents to do this.

In Ephesians (6:4) the Apostle Paul instructs: “ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”, and then in Proverbs (22:6) we are instructed to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”.

From these poignant scriptures we were struck with the sense of responsibility for raising our children; not just to love, nurture, feed them etc. but to teach, train, instruct in the ways of the Lord. 2 Tim (3:16) tells us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”; it’s all there and all sufficient.

As we considered this more we were finding it difficult to see how we could effectively do our job as their parents when they were gone 9am-3pm every day. Deut 6:6 says: “Always remember these commands I give you today. Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” This scripture is a great picture of home education; your blessings by your side, walking through life with you; learning and growing.

The bible describes our children as arrows (Psalm 127) that can be shot out into the world one day. Our heart is to prepare our children to be ready to be used by God for His purposes. As parents we are committed to pouring ourselves into the task, the ministry, of sharpening and fine tuning those powerful, precious arrows, so that when they are ready to go, they will shoot with strength; they will shoot straight and far.

We have decided for our family that the most effective way to do all that we see in the Word is to have the children by our side all day, every day; learning and growing; being trained and discipled, loved and nurtured by Mummy and Daddy.

I LOVE being with my children all day; I love being their teacher as well as living out the many other facets of Mothering that every day brings. As a family we are committed to making Jesus the centre of our home with His Word being the lamp to our feet and a light to our path. In every possible moment Dave is reading the Word to us, teaching us what he’s learning and ‘watering’ us in the Word so that as a family we can grow to look more and more like Jesus.

This decision has been a very refreshing and liberating part of my recent journey in Motherhood – I may not have enthusiasm for it EVERY day or have copious pages of plans and resources but my God is ALL sufficient and I lean on Him for encouragement, direction and wisdom to raise, nurture, direct, train and disciple our children.

In part 2 (and possibly 3) will be looking at our family learning adventure, thoughts on curriculum, how to fit in home schooling and a baby, the ‘S’ word (socialisation!) and any other questions you may have so stay tuned!

Blessings
Leah

“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would have the courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. The mother would then be able to hold herself in “wise passiveness’ and would not fret her children by continual interference even of hand or eye – she would let them be.”
Charlotte Mason
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2009 1:09 pm

    awesome.I love that you chose to do it because you saw something great to aspire to and not because you saw something bad to get out of.amenz

  2. February 19, 2009 6:03 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. February 19, 2009 7:09 pm

    Leah – be sure that some of the ‘disdain’ you sense is actually guilt! I see what you (and Susie and others) do and feel so humbled. I know I have neither the will or character or even the desire to be such a wonderful mother or teacher. I love my children BUT I am grateful that the state takes care of their education (and gives me a break!). The possibility that God may require such dedication and similar action from myself terrifies me as I am not sure I could or would do it. Thus I justify my choices to ‘go with the flow’. I am sure I am not alone. When someone makes a radically different choice in child rearing to you, and that someone is a person who you respect and who’s opinion matters to you, it is hard not to feel like your different choices are, by default, wrong! In the meantime I trust God that my inadequacies will not befall my children and that when I get it wrong (maybe in spectacular fashion!) HIS grace and mercy will compensate! Love you xxxx

  4. February 19, 2009 7:14 pm

    Yay – it’s working! I left another question on your Facebook.

  5. February 19, 2009 10:37 pm

    Yet more encouragements lovely friend! I’m liking the Charlotte Mason quote too! (I read the book in less than a day!) Definately need to do more playing…Lots of love xx

  6. February 20, 2009 9:37 am

    I love you too Anna!! Our recent decisions for our family have been huge steps of faith and we couldn’t venture out on our home schooling adventure until all of us had faith to do it…everyday…for possibly the rest of my childrens ‘formal’ educational years! We’re really NOT saying everyone should do it or the choice of sending your children to a state school is ‘bad’ (I know you didn’t say that but just want to get it in!!), we’re simply sharing our journey of faith.

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