Last week, kids went back to school. Some parents breathed sighs of relief. Other parents felt a tug deep down in their heart-of-hearts. If you fall into the latter category, I have some good news: You can do something about that gnawing feeling you get when you send those that you love most out the door and into the care of somebody you hope will be good to them. Remove the doubt. Guarantee your children will be taught by someone who loves them unconditionally. Keep your children home and teach them yourself.
I can hear all the reasons now (because I have already heard them before) home schooling wouldn't work for you. I'd like to address a few of those concerns:"What about the `socialization' of my children?" The longer I teach my children at home, the more peculiar this question becomes. When children are in school for so many hours a day, they become "peer-dependent." That means, for personal validation, they turn to their peers. For role models, they will sometimes look to their teachers. But more often, they model the behavior of their peers.
A child who can express his thoughts well is not rewarded nearly as often as a child who can sit in a chair and be quiet. At home, a child doesn't have to compete with 30 other children for the attention of his parent. At home, the child's role model is his parent. At home, a child becomes "family-dependent."
I am always surprised at my children's reaction to friends who are unkind. They might be sad for a moment or two, but they don't become emotionally wounded. That doesn't mean they are insensitive to others. They indeed can become very sensitive to the needs of others. Most families who teach their children at home teach them how to serve others. They have the time to do special projects or regularly help someone less fortunate. Their schedules aren't dictated by the public school system.
"I'm not a certified teacher. I'm not qualified to teach my children at home." Nonsense. I am a certified teacher, and it has been fascinating to contrast my public school teaching experiences with my home-schooling experiences. Though I enjoyed being around other school teachers, I found faculty and in-service meetings often focused on crowd control.
Now, when I go to meetings with home-school parents, I always come away energized and motivated to be a better teacher for my children. Parents (many without degrees and diplomas) can come up with great ideas on how to teach their children, when motivated by love.
Utah law does not require a teaching certificate from parents who teach their children at home. Parents are required to receive permission from their local school district.
"If my kids were home all the time, we would constantly be at each other's throats." If that is really true, what does that say about the emotional health of your family? I know families who have chosen to home school because they have recognized the need to repair relationships among family members. Often hard feelings are symptoms of unmet emotional needs. Home schooling gives family members the precious gift of time together in a hurried world.
If you are interested in teaching your children at home, the number of resources available to help you is astounding. In Utah, the Utah Home Education Association (made up of volunteer, home-schooling parents) can let you know how to get started. (This association is not affiliated with the public school system. It is a private organization.) The state is divided into home-school districts. Many districts plan field trips, have park days, newsletters, learning co-ops and support group meetings. To find out more, feel free to call the UHEA hotline at 1-888-887-UHEA.
Our family's home school isn't always perfect. My husband and I aren't always perfect. My kids aren't always perfect. There are flaws and frustrations. But, what is perfect is the peace of mind I have knowing that the ones I love the most spend their days learning with someone who loves them unconditionally. And when I send my kids out the door to go learn, I go right out the door to learn with them.