Why We Homeschool, part 2

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So why do we homeschool? In case you missed my previous post, please note that I do not share this list as what I believe is the universal standard for all Christian families. Rather, my hope is that hearing our process can in some way help you in yours.

Family Values

Jordan and I spent some time over the past year developing a list of family values. We wanted to have a framework for evaluating decisions together. Making large purchases, planning big changes–we wanted to be able to look at this list that we’ve made together to help us align as we moved forward. We summarized our family values with four words: We want to be a family marked by conviction, courage, curiosity, and contribution. We homeschool because we have determined that at this particular season of life, this is the best way we can foster these values.

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CONVICTION

We homeschool because we want to teach our children to know God and love Him, to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We want them to know the content of our faith–what we believe and why we believe it–and we believe that, right now, the best way we can do that is by investing in our children’s hearts through daily, life-on-life discipleship.

We homeschool because we want to help foster a love for Scripture. While we do not believe the bible is a textbook, we do believe that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that all learning ought to find its way back to the creative God who designed it. Therefore we want to learn alongside our children every day, pointing them to the source of all knowledge.

We homeschool because we want the opportunity to remind our children and ourselves of the gospel as often as possible. Through the messiness of homeschooling and living and learning in such close proximity, we are bound to sin against each other often, so we anticipate many opportunities to celebrate God’s gracious provision of Christ in light of our many weaknesses and failures.

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COURAGE

We homeschool because we welcome the daily opportunity to help foster in our children a gentle and quiet spirit that is held upright by a backbone of steel. We want to teach them courage that can only come from an unrelenting belief that God is good, that He keeps His promises, and that He has given us everything we need in Christ.

We homeschool because we want to help our children grow into being comfortable in their own skin. We want to teach them their identity in Christ and help them discover their place in our family. We want to help our children find the courage to live their lives before the face of God and not for the approval of people, and we believe, right now, that homeschooling is the best environment for them to practice and grow in this courage.

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CURIOSITY

We homeschool because we want to cultivate a love of learning–to help our children become lifelong learners, that they would “search for God with childlike curiosity, wide-eyed and eager to discover who He is and the world He has made.” We welcome the opportunities homeschooling affords for us to be the ones leading the way calling out, “Oh, children! You must know the Lord!” Together, we want to watch for opportunities to wonder, to see God’s hand in the present moment and surroundings, to enjoy and be grateful. We want this to flow from our learning and our time spent together.

On a more pragmatic level, we want the opportunity to explore the world together and homeschooling allows us the greatest freedom because we are not tied to a particular calendar.

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CONTRIBUTION

We homeschool because part of teaching our children what it means to contribute is to contribute ourselves. We homeschool to share ourselves with our children–to pour goodness, beauty, and truth into them.

We homeschool because we want to come alongside our children as they learn how God has wired them and what their interests, passions, and gifts are. We want to know, enjoy, and celebrate each of their unique contributions to our family.

We homeschool because we want our children to see themselves as part of a whole. We want to teach them about more than school subjects–about how the world works and what it means to contribute to family, church, and society. We want to help them see that all that we have has been given to us for the glory of God and the good of others.

We homeschool because we believe that learning as a family will help us to learn how to be gracious and patient with ourselves, with one another, and with others.

We homeschool because of the discipline and hard work required with self-paced and self-motivated learning. We want to value faithfulness over achievement and celebrate hard work over perfectionism.

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Why We Homeschool

These values are not exclusively pursued via homeschooling. In fact, these are not new values. When we started Hadley in public school, we hoped and planned that we could be very intentional with the time we got with her before and after school. But we didn’t have a realistic picture of the nature of those two hours after school–the pre-dinnertime “witching hour.” We didn’t think about how fast the evenings fly by with suppers and baths and bedtimes. We didn’t think about how full our evenings and weekends could be. And so, as it goes, that time slipped away week after week. There was a growing distance between Hadley and I, between her education and our responsibility to train her up in the way she should go.

Our hope is that by choosing this educational method in the younger years, we will lay a foundation of relationship and trust that we can build upon in the years to come, even if it involves public or private school. But, I will say it one more time just to be a clear, a homeschool is not the only way to foster these values, and it is not the best way for everyone.

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Doesn’t our dream for homeschooling sound lovely?

Let’s just put it out there: I am an idealist. This all sounds very wonderful written down and proofread. But real life is messy. I can be lazy and selfish. I do not homeschool because I will miss my kids if they go to school; sometimes missing them sounds glorious. So before you read a list like this imagining what a happy home we must have, let’s be clear that this is all theory. Theory which we are very awkwardly and imperfectly trying to turn into reality.

As I said before, we are not prepared to declare an undying commitment to homeschool. My wavering commitment is the very reason I need to write this down, so I can return to it throughout the year. But we are thankful for the process of getting here and the continued opportunity to grow and learn as a family. And we welcome insight from those who have gone before us (who have lived to tell about it).

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