by Shirley Erwee
So many parents second-guess their decision to homeschool their children. They worry about giving their children a good academic education, about depriving them of the experience that going to school gives every other child. They are worried about doing enough and they dread dealing with the attitudes and conflict that could potentially arise between siblings or between a parent and child.
Fear prevents many well-meaning parents from actually taking the plunge to even start. They miss out on the priceless “hidden blessing” that learning together brings to every homeschooling family:
One of the first lessons we have to learn as homeschooling parents, is to trust ourselves – to trust our ‘gut-instinct’ – that intuitive knowledge of what is best for our children. No expert, no professional, no teacher knows each of your children and their uniqueness as intimately as you do – and this is why you are the best person to be overseeing their education.
But education is not only about learning to read and write and solve algebraic equations. The goal of education is not only to score well on the final exam. Equipping our children to succeed in life requires much more than good test scores.
The secret of home education is that it is so much more than mere academic achievement. It’s demands the development of good character traits in both US and our children.
Relationships are always a challenge. Situations at home force us to face both our own weaknesses and shortcomings and those of our family members. Through the challenges, we develop the qualities that we need in order to grow and succeed in building healthy relationships and good communication skills.
Children who squabble and argue have to learn to show respect for each other, they have to grow in self-confidence so that they aren’t jealous and don’t feel threatened by their siblings in a ‘competition’ for parental approval, they have to be trained to become responsible and to make good choices. They have to learn to put the needs of others, above their own…and the list goes on. Parents have the opportunity to build this into their children’s lives and equip them for success in the adult world.
“Children should be involved in the adult’s life rather than daily life rotating around the children. Research has shown that children who have grown up to be productive well-adjusted adults are those who have been drawn into the parent’s world; their daily activities, work, and interests; rather than having parents who centered their world on the child. ” ~ Diane Hopkins, The Baby is the Lesson – an article worth reading.
As a parent, you will make mistakes, you will get frustrated and lose your composure, but you will have the opportunity to model to your children what we do when we hurt others or make mistakes – you will have opportunities to model showing them respect, showing humility, asking for forgiveness, admitting failings – and all of you are going to be challenged and grow in character.As you get ‘squeezed’ by the pressures of your relationships, so you will have the opportunity to develop the character traits that you lack – like patience, self-control, compassion and many others.
These are the priceless qualities that home education can develop in your family, far better than any teachers and classmates and better than any lessons found in the pages of text books. This is the hidden blessing of homeschooling.
So don’t be afraid of the challenges. Be prepared to grow through them.
Trust yourself. You can do this. You love your children and that makes you highly motivated to find solutions to any struggles that you face and that is what will make you successful.