When the h-word slipped

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My wife let the h-word slip in conversation with Abigail a few days ago.

No, not “hell”—homeschooling. Which in our family, is far more scary.

Not too long ago, I asked if you’d mind praying for our family as we make some decisions about our children’s education going forward. We had always intended on having our kids in the public education system, but over the last couple years, our feelings on that have changed. Not because of any particular conviction that we must do this lest we disobey the Lord—we just want our kids to get the best education possible, and our schools aren’t doing that.

With teachers that hold Abigail back (“We don’t want her to get too far ahead in her reading,” her senior kindergarten teacher told me) or hypnotize them with TV during lunch (yeah, that’s been happening at a LOT), the impression that we’ve gotten has been they’re more concerned with doing what’s easy than what’s best. (And yes, I know not all teachers are this way, there are problems with the system, etc.…)

We’d always said we’d evaluate every year and every semester to determine the next step. Up until recently, we’d had concerns, but not anything that would have made us say “when.” Until we did. So over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking to friends, doing research, even having practice homeschool days when Abigail’s been home sick.

Through it all, Emily’s been approaching it from the “if we do this” perspective, something I appreciate. She’s been trying to be careful to not make a rash decision, or do something as a knee-jerk reaction to issues that have come up.

And then she let the h-word slip. And once that Genie’s out of the bottle, it’s really hard to put it back in.

Thankfully, our kids have been gradually getting comfortable with the idea. Abigail’s the only one with traditional school experience, but she’s been increasingly looking forward to the change. And honestly, so are we—if we 100 per cent decide to go forward, that is. But there’s a lot of work to do, yet. We have to find the right curriculum for the kids, find out if we’ve been accepted into the homeschool co-op… and then, figure out how to tell our parents.

That’s probably going to be the hardest part. My family tends to poke fun at the notion of homeschooling (which is funny since we didn’t know anyone who was homeschooled growing up). My in-laws place a very high value on education, but we’re not sure how they’ll react. Lord willing, everyone is going to be accepting of the direction we’re going (or at least polite enough to keep their disapproval to themselves). But if you’d mind continuing to pray with us about this, I’d sure appreciate it.


photo credit: Mohammed Alnaser via photopin cc

  • Kim Shay

    I will be thinking of you two, Aaron. We took our kids out for very similar reasons. My youngest, in Kindergarten, could count way past 100 by the time he started, yet his teacher was holding him back with learning more number concepts. Our daughter was ridiculed by her classmates for being bookish and nerdy. At 10, she was already pretending to be dumb to avoid the jokes. Today, all three kids are excellent writers, good readers, hard workers, and VERY SOCIALLY ADJUSTED :) Don’t worry about your parents; your success will change them. My in-laws (Christians) were dead set against it, and to this day, my mother-in-law says that she thinks my kids were the best homeschooled kids she ever saw. Praying for you both as you start this!

  • Persis

    I homeschooled my daughter (K-12) for academic reasons. Although we never did it perfectly and floundered on some subjects, she is now in community college and is an all around excellent student. She is not afraid to talk in class or interact with her classmates. Not that public school can’t provide this, but homeschooling allowed us to focus on critical thinking which is not only good for academics but for her Christian walk as well.

  • Pastor John

    Aaron I will pray God gives you peace about this. It is the right thing to do. The best public school will not only hold your children back but will subtly teach them many values that are contrary to the God you both love. Israel was told in Deut. to utterly destroy those they conquered so ” …that they may not
    teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin
    against the LORD your God. (Deu
    20:16-18 ESV) We cannot do what Israel did but we also do not need to give our
    children over to a worldly education system.. We had our three children in Christian school and it was still a challenge to be sure they understood the truth of God. What ever your concerns they cannot be as great as the concern that your children might be ill prepared for life or worse might one day turn away from God because they had received a fair and balanced public education.

  • Michelle Dacus Lesley

    Emily- be encouraged! You’re going to do a glorious, messy, fulfilling, mistake-laden, wonderful job, and you’ll learn a lot about prayer and God’s grace while doing it :0) Homeschooling is just like any other big life change. Once you get used to it and get into your groove, it’ll become second nature. You can do it!

    This came across my news feed yesterday. Thought it might be encouraging:

    http://www.home-school.com/news/homeschool-vs-public-school.php

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      That’s a great infographic, Michelle!

  • Jason Tucker

    Go for it my friend. It will be more work than having your kids in the public system. However, it is also infinitely more rewarding being so intimately involved in your child’s education.