Recently, I was sharing my news about becoming a contributing writer for this blog with a very close relative (whom I promised would remain nameless). I had just received my writing themes and was sharing my excitement about this new endeavor. To which he incredulously replied, “But you don’t homeschool yet.”
After I picked my jaw and my ego up off the floor, I sat quietly for a few minutes thinking about this statement. Stewing over it was more like it.
“Thank you,” I replied. “You just gave me the topic for my first post!”
You see, this remark was made due to the fact that the oldest of my three children was not yet four at the time (the others are two and almost one), so by our government’s, and most of our society’s, definition, I do not homeschool yet.
But those of you in this quirky, eclectic, swim-against-the-stream “family” called Homeschoolers know that’s just not true. We know that our children’s education begins from day one. This is why it baffles me when I hear others say, “I could never teach my child.” To which I say (with all the non-sarcastic tone I can muster), “What have you been doing since they were born?!” But that’s another rant, so I digress.
I have been educating, training, teaching, disciplining, modeling, whatever else you want to call it, since the day my children entered this world…even when I didn’t know it.
That is why I call myself a homeschooler.
Am I using a curriculum? No, not yet.
Do we have a schedule of reading, writing and arithmetic? No, not yet.
Do we do workbooks for 3 three hours a day or practice Latin? No, not yet.
But I call myself a homeschooler.
Yes, I have every intention of educating my children at home once they reach the required age of attendance, but that’s not all. It’s because I believe that every decision my husband and I make in raising our children, from the time they are born until the time they leave our home (or longer), is a part of their education. Homeschool is not so much about the “school” part as it is about the “home” part, and as most homeschoolers know, this is not an 8am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, 180 days a year thing–it’s a lifestyle. Every day. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year. Education is not just about the curriculum we use. It’s not just about math, science, literature, and history–as wonderful as they can be. Education is also about character, manners, giving, serving, responsibility, and most importantly, it’s about discipleship. If I don’t teach my children about Jesus, everything else is meaningless.
Every decision that has been made from the time my children were born has been made in the pursuit of this lifestyle. That is why I told this person, “YES, I do homeschool.”
I went on to explain that I have very intentionally chosen NOT to use a preschool curriculum–not because there aren’t enough of them out there–but that does not mean that I am not homeschooling preschoolers. We’re simply using a different method. I chose to let them learn through play (and it must be working because my three year old knows more than many kindergarteners and could practically teach her Sunday school class). I do make specific choices about the toys available to them, the books I purchase, and the shows/movies they watch. I integrate educational activities into their play that exercise their motor skills, teach reading and writing skills, and other concepts…without them ever knowing that they are doing anything other than playing. I look for opportunities to teach them things about the world, about people, about Jesus.
I have educated my children in a very intentional way…which is why I was insulted by that comment. Of course I homeschool. All parents do. The question is, what are you teaching them?
Donna is a former high school teacher turned homeschooler and homemaker. She is passionately in love with her Superman husband of 5 years – Matthew – and 3 delightful daughters – Grace (4), Joy (2) and Hope (almost 1). She has a passion for the written word and a calling to teach biblical womanhood. When she’s not caring for their youngest blessing – a miraculous, medically complex child with Spina Bifida – she can usually be found snuggling, cleaning spills, kissing owies, learning to cook “real foods,” or lost in a pile of laundry and dishes. Follow her journey at FullyMothering.com.