Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four children. She was an educator in “real school” in her past life but now is courageously following God’s leading along this homeschooling journey. She loves reading and reviewing and blogging in her (not very abundant) free time. You can visit her at As We Walk Along the Road.
When we began homeschooling many (many) years ago, there were some things I expected out of homeschooling.
I expected that we would have the ability to teach our children what we wanted to teach them. We could teach that the Bible is true. We could teach them that God loves them. We could show them their need for a personal relationship with God.
I expected that our children would be protected from some bad influences. I hoped that keeping them home would shelter them from learning bad words, witnessing unkindness, being influenced by false ideas.
I expected that homeschooling would provide physical protection for our kids. Being at home would protect them from bullying, school violence, and physical fights.
And homeschooling has done all of those things.
But homeschooling has also provided other unexpected blessings- some of them rather humorous and minor conveniences and some of them precious and sweet.
Homeschooling means I don’t have to get up early. I know, I know. There are homeschoolers who are up at the crack of dawn to begin schooling. I am not one of those. I like to stay up late. I like to sleep late. I like to wake up slow. I can do that with homeschooling. We’re spoiled. Now when we have a 9am co-op class, we don’t know how to act!
Homeschooling has protected our kids from lots of physical illness. When my neighbor’s children started school for the first time, they spent the entire year sick with something or getting over something. I had never really thought about the intense exposure to germs that comes when kids suddenly start school. My kids have been exposed to other kids and germs and illness. But it is less often, and when they are sick I can keep them home so that they can really get better.
Homeschooling provides opportunity for pursuing extra-curricular activity. When my oldest wanted to participate in a local Christian theater, she was able to do it- even though the practices lasted until very late at night. Because she didn’t have to get up for school in the morning, it was easier to stay out late. My third child is a gymnast. She has begun competing this year, and some meets are on school days. She doesn’t have to miss school to go. Her practice hours are steadily increasing also, and I don’t see how gymnasts who go to school can keep up with school, homework and practice.
Homeschooling means that we can pass on our worldview in everything we do. I guess I sort of knew to expect this benefit. But I didn’t really grasp how great this would be. We are together. All the time. Every day. There are many, many opportunities to not only teach our worldview directly but to model our worldview in everyday life. Am I patient when stand in line and deal with a frustrating cashier? Am I honest about that extra change I received? Kids are always watching their parents to see how they really act. Homeschooling just provides much more time for doing that.
Perhaps the most important and pretty unexpected blessing of homeschooling has been the relationships we’ve developed. Because we homeschool, the kids haven’t been separated by classrooms and peer groups. I’m not going to lie and say it is always peace and love in our home. But the kids do have a special bond and a love for each other that usually sees past the bad. And I have that special relationship with them also. Some would say that quality time is just as important as quantity. And it’s true that you can be together and not be in a good relationship. But I believe that the large amount of time we spend together has given me a unique and special relationship with the kids.
Homeschooling is something I’ve always felt God calling me to. I knew that to follow God’s leading would lead to blessing. And some of those blessings I expected. But there have many unexpected- and wonderful- blessings on this homeschooling journey.