Do you ever feel like homeschooling is just too hard? Do you ever catch yourself watching the school bus drive by and wishing you could put your children on it? How about doubting whether your children are really learning what they should? Are you smart enough to teach them high school? Do you have a special needs child that you worry might be better taught in public school?
I think that most homeschooling moms and dads suffer from at least some of these fears and anxieties at some time during their homeschool journey. During especially discouraging times, it is often helpful to take a break and spend some time evaluating where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going in your journey. During times of evaluation, it is also helpful to read about other people’s homeschooling experiences.
Turning Points in Homeschooling, an e-book soon to be published by The Old Schoolhouse, is a wonderfully encouraging book on homeschooling. It contains the personal stories of 26 different homeschooling families and how they were led to educate their children at home. The book covers a variety of perspectives within the homeschooling community. Some of the families homeschooled their children from the beginning, while others initially sent their children to public or Christian schools. The book represents many different formats of homeschooling. Styles vary from the highly structured, school-at-home environment, to the relaxed child-led learning atmosphere, and from classical studies to unit studies and many combinations in between. Reasons that families have chosen to educate their children at home include their child’s sickness, bullying occuring at public schools, and children losing their love of learning. There are stories about gifted children, special needs children, and everything in between.
Within the framework of the widely varying stories the one element that ties them all together is the Lord Jesus Christ. God was working in the lives of each of these families and guiding them to begin to homeschool their children. He was showing them to trust in Him to answer their questions and to step out in faith to educate their children at home. He has given grace to these families to continue in their journeys. The message resounds: He will give you grace to do the things He has called you to do.
So, while you can certainly glean information about different homeschooling methods from this book, it is not a book on homeschooling methods. You will also see many of the educational benefits of homeschooling, but this book is not about educational methods. This is a book about following God when He leads you to homeschool. It is about following God’s command in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Reading this book has helped to remind me WHY I am homeschooling my own children. Our focus as a family is to learn about the Lord and learn to follow him as we go about our days. Obviously educational goals are important, but only as secondary goals. Our primary focus needs to be following the Lord and teaching our children to follow Him by our example.