I had a conversation with our family doctor the other day. I had to call him about a question regarding a prescription for my husband, but our conversation quickly turned to other things, including my children.
I have known this doctor for more than half of my life. My parents see him, my husband and I see him, and we wouldn’t trust our children’s health to anyone else.
He asked how the kids were doing and commented on how tall they must be getting. Then he said something that meant so very much to me: “Lisa, you know you are doing the very best thing for your kids by homeschooling them.” He gave me his reasons telling me that schools are not safe places anymore physically, morally, spiritually. He told me how wonderful it is that I can customize the children’s education to their needs, abilities and interests. Wow! Not that I do not agree with those statements 110%, but to hear them from a physician was validating and I hate to admit, very satisfying.
Like every homeschooling mom, I have questioned, doubted, wondered. But, I have also rejoiced, celebrated, smiled, laughed and felt so very justified in our decision. And, thank God, those moments have far outnumbered the ones of worry or second-guessing. Hearing those encouraging and affirming words from a medical professional gave me another boost of confidence in knowing we have chosen the best educational option for our children. My only regret is not doing it sooner. There are still remnants of the scars of their “brick and mortar” experiences, but I am very grateful that they lessen more and more everyday.
I may not know what the road ahead will hold, but I do know that I indeed am doing the best for my children; that no one could possibly know or care for them as much as their parents. It would just be impossible. I taught in a classroom. I know the difficulties and challenges of having 5 sets of 30+ students in a room for 45 minutes at a time. With the time to get settled in and the time to get packed up, that would leave, at best 30 minutes to teach everything that the district had specified. How could I possibly speak to each and every child individually, let alone get to know their interests, abilities and needs in only 30 minutes? Institutionalized education is geared to the masses; it is geared to the average student. In homeschool, my children can be on one grade level in one subject and on a completely different one in another. My hands-on learners can have curriculum that celebrates that learning style. I do my best to allow their creativity to flourish, not be stymied because of a set “learning standard” that has to be accomplished that day. Any of the world’s most accomplished scientists, doctors, writers or artists would tell you that they succeeded because their imaginations were fostered and encouraged, that their own particular learning style had to be embraced and understood and that a “one size fits all” approach just doesn’t work. Never has. Never will.
We are no longer out of the mainstream. We have become the mainstream with millions more joining our ranks every year. Perhaps our nation’s children will again thrive academically, socially and spiritually. Perhaps they will reverse the trend of decline that, no matter how much money is poured into the “system” for 40 years, has not improved. Faith and Family are the centers of our universe and with that as a foundation, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our children will thrive, using the individual and precious gifts that they have been given
Lisa and her husband Mike live in suburban Philadelphia, PA, where they homeschool their four children. Her interests include blogging at Home to 4 Kiddos, reading, travel, baking, making all kinds of crafts, taking lots of photos and being an active member of their church.