Post updated 28-4-13
I am Susan, married for nearly 25 years to John. We have a blended family whereby we have four children together and a 26year old son. Currently, the other children are 22yo daughter,a 20yo daughter, an 18yo son and a 15yo son. This is ‘officially’ our 16th year of homeschooling although we don’t think of it that way. We believe that homeschooling is simply a natural extension of parenting. We are a Defence Force family and have recently moved back to Adelaide after several years interstate. We’ve had 7 homes in 7 years and this is the last, for awhile. This is our story.
When John and I were first married we hadn’t heard of home education. We knew that we wanted to have a good, solid relationship with our children and raise them in God’s ways but school was just ‘what you did’. We had goals for our family and our children. We wanted to raise godly adults using a healthy process. We wanted to develop in them a love of learning that would continue throughout their whole life. Our hearts were turned toward our children and we wanted their hearts to be turned toward us and God. The godly training of our children was a priority. We recognized that the family unit is God’s design. We wanted a close relationship with our children…we wanted to capture their heart but we didn’t know about homeschooling…so, we sent our eldest, Miss A, to a small private Christian school. It was a nice school. John ended up as chairman of the P&C committee and I was at the school several times a week helping with reading and cleaning and canteen.
But we started to experience a few problems. Miss A would come home from school and be very emotional. She would either burst into tears for no apparent reason or she’d be snippy with her younger sister. We’d also help her with her homework, which was reviewing the spelling words, reading practice, times tables and Bible verse. On more than one occasion I wondered what on earth she did at school for 6 hours if we needed to do all this work at home. I felt like our days consisted of getting ready for school, being at school and then being tired from school. I felt like we, as parents, were missing out. School was getting the best hours of my child’s day! School was teaching her Bible stories and her character was being moulded by someone other than us. As it turned out that there were no problems at school… Miss A was just very tired. However, the seed had been planted in my mind- I questioned the whole concept of school. I don’t recall where I initially heard about homeschooling but I do remember saying to John,
“Oh, I wish I were one of those women who could homeschool her children”
John asked me what made me think I couldn’t? I responded with,
“Oh no way, I just don’t have enough patience!”
But the question nagged at me. Why couldn’t I? So we thought about it and talked about it. We started talking to others about it. We prayed about it. Eventually, we decided to give it trial run for 12 months. We informed the school principal that Miss A would not be returning to school the following year. Suffice it to say that we were not all that popular from then on.
I bought a series of progressive workbooks, worked out some schedules and away we went! I didn’t give the girls a break that Christmas. I had them complete the testing to see precisely what levels to start with. Then we started with what I knew of education– public school style. Yes, I had brought them home from school but I also brought school into the home. It was kinda fun…for awhile. But I started to get bored of doing the same thing day in and day out and wondered if I’d be able to do this for another 10 years or so. A few months later…
“Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”
Deuteronomy 6:48 (ESV)
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