Why We Chose Home Education (One Family’s Story)

Thankfully schooling has come a long way.

Thankfully schooling has come a long way.

Today’s post is by Cherie Werner

All parents are home educators and some decide to home school.

Almost 20 years ago, my home schooling journey began with the following words, “I will never home school my children.”

 The idea of being home all day teaching my girls was not the fulfilling life I envisioned for myself. After meeting some other home school moms, however, I realized that it was not as horrendous as I had made it out to be. As I began to look at the different schooling options, I felt my heart soften towards home schooling out of a desire to do what was best for my girls at the time.

I first tried to home school when my eldest daughter was four back in 1993. This did not last long because we have similar temperaments and kept butting heads. She loved to be right, was extremely social, and talkative. As you can imagine, these traits did not create the most conducive home schooling environment. When Kindergarten came into view, I gladly enrolled my daughter in school.

A year later, our family moved to California where my eldest attended a private Christian school during first grade. She thrived in school and had a wonderful teacher. Being new to the area and school, however, I was quickly overwhelmed when I was asked to be the classroom mom, coordinator for elementary classroom moms, reading mom, etc. given I was a stay at home mom. Hah! All these roles placed my middle daughter and I up at the school a lot.  Sure I could have said no, but it seemed that I was the only one available as most of the other parents had jobs.

Working in my daughters’ classroom was extremely enlightening because I was able to observe many things firsthand. For one, I was able to identify why my daughter was constantly being reprimanded for talking and not paying attention. Every day from September till December she was given warnings and her conduct grade was always unacceptable. While I would never deny that Caryn was a talker, her desk mate played a major role in instigating conversations too and brought up topics of conversation that aroused a curiosity in my daughter that we were not ready to tackle. After three frustrating months, I suggested that the two girls be separated. Caryn went from daily disruptive offenses to compliant focused behavior and I quickly realized how socialization could be positive or negative.

While in the classroom, I also observed how little time was actually spent on teaching verses simple busy work. I began factoring in the time students spent between classroom disturbances, recess, lunch, PE, reading groups, etc… and concluded that maybe three hours daily were spent teaching core concepts.

As I began calculating what it would look like to have two children in school, I realized that I would have very little time to myself if I decided to help in both classrooms, but I knew that I ultimately was responsible for their education.  In response I prayed a simple prayer, “Lord if I am to home school my children please make it really clear.” A week later on January 30, 1996, the Wall Street Journal headlines read  “Why More Parents Teach Their Kids at Home.” To make it even clearer, home education happened to be the main topic whenever I turned on talk radio.  After these little nudges along with attending our first home school conference in July, where we heard Clay and Sally Clarkson share their heart on Educating the Whole Hearted Child, my husband became increasingly interested and supportive, and I knew that this was the direction that our family was to follow.

After the Clarkson’s workshop I had the needed confidence and encouragement to try again. They helped clarify my reasons for considering home schooling. We began thinking biblically about God’s design for our family.  Suddenly creating a loving environment for my daughters seemed feasible by giving them encouragement and guidance so they could thrive.

We decided to home school for two reasons. First, ever since our eldest started attending school we noticed that the sweet caring relationship she once had with her younger sister was no longer intact because when she came home from school the first thing she wanted to do was play with friends. Further, our second child was extremely quiet, shy, sensitive, and cautious.  When corrected she would cry and be so hard on herself because she did not like hurting others. We felt that her temperament would ultimately be broken by harsh teachers or bullying children.

A few other reasons we choose to home school and are worth considering include:

  • We wanted to be the primary educators and influencers of our daughters. (Deut. 6:7; 11:19, 32:46; Psalm 78:5 ;) We sought to have greater personal influence in preparing them for the responsibilities of adulthood.
  • We wanted our children to learn the truth of God’s Word and wisdom for their salvation in trusting Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15) and as a basis for all other areas of knowledge (Pro. 1:7).
  • We welcomed the flexibility that home schooling offered to live our family life without having to accommodate to the structure and demands of a school schedule.  This appealed to us given my husband’s extensive travel demands and because our extended family all  lived in Louisiana.

Today, my daughters are 25, 23, and 12. Looking back, I realize that God desired to educate me through the process of home schooling. While things were different back then and there were not as many options, I had the opportunity to grow alongside the changes and include things that became available throughout the years. I am thankful for the time that I had with each of my daughters and I am proud to say that my life as a home educator and mother of three was more fulfilling than I could have envisioned for myself. While home schooling was the best option for our family, schooling decisions are a personal choice that each family should prayerfully consider.

Do you homeschool? What were some of the reasons you chose this path of education for your family?

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If you have questions about home education and what it looks like to create an environment of learning naturally in your home, you can still view Sally’s E-conference from last Monday night online. Click the link below for all the information!

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Comments

    • says

      It’s been said, “never, say never.” :-) Thanks Gretchen for sharing your story. One never knows how their story will resonate with others. I am grateful to be able to encourage others by sharing. Mostly I am thankful for the many lesson’s God has taught me over the years as a result of being obedient to what He asked of me. We have a super close family as a result of home education which allowed us to center around my husbands travel and being available to connect when he was home. Blessings

  1. Kim says

    Oh my how this resonates with me. For years, I felt The Lord calling me to home educate. Fear and doubt held me back. But I experienced so many “Godcidences”. He would place “things” in my way to say, “this is what you’re to do”. I “shadowed” the homeschool community gaining knowledge and courage. I purchased several HS books and magazines. One day I was reading an article about indoctrination and of the extreme liberal ideologies being taught in PS. I literally said to my husband, ” so thankful this isn’t a concern in our children’s school.”. They attended a rural school in our small community where many of the teachers are openly Christian. Prayers were said over lunch; Bibles were along side other “free reading” materials. Wouldn’t you know it? That evening in my 3rd graders folder was one of his reading assignment for that day. It was a factual story about Charlie Parkhurst. Well, “Mr” Parkhurst was actually a woman who had lived most of her life as man. She dressed as such and was a stagecoach driver. It was at her death that it was discovered her secret. Indoctrination at its finest. Yeah, God loves irony. What were chances that I’d read that article the same day our son would be faced with such “teaching”?

    There were so many “Godcidences”! Finally, I got the courage, and I jumped the fence. Teaching four boys is the hardest most self sacrificing work I’ve ever done. But the peace I have of being in His will substains me daily! AND He continues to send confirmations. A few months ago, I had a terrible encounter with someone whom I thought a friend. When I told her I began HS this school year, she made no attempt to hide her contempt. She even rolled her eyes! I left hurt and shaken. Well, the next day God gave me a big hug and affirmed for next year. I had been playing phone/text tag that week with a HS mom who was selling some curriculum. We finally were able to speak with one another. We had never met before, and she had no waying of knowing what had happened to me the day before. She had materials I needed to complete this year, for which I was prepared to give her fifty dollars. She told me that she was cleaning out and had lots more available to purchase. I was in SHOCK when she told me that she would sell everything for $100. She said, “I know it’s crazy low, but the free space is needed more than money and I dont have the time to sell”. I argued she could get more on Ebay. She
    had almost complete BJU materials that I’d need for next year for my my upcoming 6th grader along with some extras that I could use for my upcoming 8th grader. They are in excellent shape. I’ve not set down to get a firm total, but I estimate its worth between $600-700. Every time I walk by the two big boxes, I praise Him for blessing me and say a prayer that God will bless her family! So thankful I trusted Him because I knew He will carry us through!

    • says

      Kim,

      It’s so encouraging to see how God has blessed your obedience. Years from now you will be able to look back and see so many more blessings as a result of your obedience.

      I’m sorry you were hurt by your friend who didn’t encourage you. I’ve learned critical people are often misinformed and may feel judged by our decisions. That is their issue and not yours. Sadly I too experienced some rejection on many fronts from family members, church friends, and others. Remember we are called to serve an audience of one. Eventually over the years some of my loudest critical have come back to acknowledge that they admire that we stood by our convictions and can see the differences in our adult children compared to their friends kids.

      Blessings for an incredible joy filled journey.

      Cherie

  2. says

    Great post!!! We homeschool and are loving it (most days ;) )! Both my husband and I came from a homeschooling/Christian education background, so we’ve always wanted to! It IS a huge commitment though!! :D God is our Source!

  3. says

    Amy,

    I too have those days I love home schooling and days where I question this journey. Hang in there :-) Thankfully today there is so much encouragement available to keep us going. As I said above as I look back I am in awe of the many blessings I have experienced as a result of schooling my daughters. Maybe I will write about post about that soon.

    Blessings,

    Cherie

  4. Tami Cooke says

    HI Cheri,
    I thought the same about homeschooling. I had a vision of the mom baking bread all day walking around in an apron and barefoot. When our Christian private school closed, a dear friend of mine, was considering homeschooling her son. She came alongside me, giving me books to read and prayed for clear direction. I am so blessed to have began our homeschooling journey 8 years ago.
    I enjoy learning right alongside my two precious children.

  5. Samantha says

    I love that comment, “All parents are home educators and some decide to home school”. I may use that in future. We’re into our 11th year of academics (but up to 16 years of home educating as the quote defines it) and am so glad for all that it has done in the lives of our children, but most of all in their mum. Samantha in Australia

    • says

      Glad you like the quote Samantha. I hope to one day make it to Australia as it’s my bucket list of places to visit. Keep on keeping on, and may you experience even richer blessings as a result of your obedience to home school your children.

      Blessings,

      Cherie

  6. Brandi Michel says

    My story was also very similar. I always said (even joked) that I would never home school. But towards the end of my 7 year old’s school year I sensed I needed to pray about her possibly going to another school. So that’s what my husband and I did – we prayed. As I was seeking Him one morning about who would teach my daughter; He responded clearly in my heart – You. What?! Excuse me? Did I hear you right? I then very reluctantly brought the thought of homeschool to my husband for the first time, and he responded surprisingly that HS was on his heart too. Go figure!

    All I will say is this – when you obey God’s leading, success is always waiting. Sure, we’ve had a large learning curve and challenges along the way, but this has honestly been one of the best experiences I’ve had. HS fits me and our family better than I ever could have imagined. God is truly faithful.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • says

      Brandi thanks for the encouragement. Your response brought a smile to my face as you are correct that when we obey God’s leading success is around the corner. Even today as I witness my adult children live their lives I couldn’t be prouder of who they are and what they are doing. I am still on the journey myself with our 12 year old and still learning so much.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Blessings,

      Cherie

  7. Summer K says

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Your post so simply and cleary explains some of our own reasons for homeschooling. We are just in our third year, but with 4 little ones, we will be (Lord-willing!) homeschooling for many years to come! Homeschooling has been my greatest struggle and my greatest joy. It keeps me humble and dependent on The Lord. All the hours spent at home with these little ones has exposed my sin in a way that would not have been possible otherwise; and yet it has also brought out the best in me. A contradiction of sorts, yes :). It is only by God’s grace that we press on – realizing that even when we fail, Jesus take those failures, covers them in grace, and presents them as a beautiful sacrifice to God. So very thankful for this journey.

    • says

      Summer I totally understand your comment ;-)

      Jokingly I say that God used home schooling to educate me as I am a much better mom and person because of our journey. As sin reared it’s ugly head I had choices to make, will I be patience, slow to anger, kind, loving, etc… He is not finished with me yet as I am still learning so much.

      Yes, God’s grace allows me to press on with my youngest. Thankfully I know that despite my many shortcomings my older daughters (25 & 23) are both lovers of Jesus. I couldn’t be any prouder. They are my best friends.

      While the journey may seem long at time keep the end in mind.

      Blessings,

      Cherie

  8. says

    We started homeschooling after my husband and I paid a visit to our local kindergarten with our first daughter and watched the teacher attempt to herd 35 excited 5 year-olds through a counting exercise. The poor woman was the epitome of loving patience, but she was just as effective as you can imagine.

    We are graduating that same daughter this year after a career of homeschooling. I can’t tell you how fast it has flown by, or how grateful I am for the season. Our youngest is 14 months old, and I look forward to many more years!

    • says

      Heather,

      WOW! How exciting to do it all again ;-) That is exactly the gift God gave us. In 2007 my eldest daughters graduated from high school and the youngest was graduating from Kindergarten. You are correct, time flies by. I too am thankful to home school again. It’s surprising how different home schooling our youngest a decade later is because of computer advancements and social media.

      Enjoy every minute.

      Blessings,

      Cherie

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