Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two Types of Homeschoolers

Image courtesy of [watiporn] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Homeschoolers. We're a creative lot. We can be very similar or we can differ greatly in our thoughts, ideas and attitudes about homeschooling.

But when it really comes down to it, there are really only two types of homeschoolers. Today I want to define the two types of homeschoolers and make a case for which type YOU should be.

Type #1: The homeSCHOOLER. You are a homeSCHOOLER if your primary approach to homeschooling focuses on the educational aspect of homeschooling. Some thoughts that might frequently run through your head may include:

Can I teach my child everything she needs to know?

Will my child have learning gaps?

Is my homeschool program rigorous enough?

What will I do if my child falls behind her public-schooled peers?

You are a homeSCHOOLER if most of the thoughts you have and the actions you take regarding homeschooling have to do with academics.

Type #2: The HOMEschooler. You are a HOMEschooler if your primary approach to homeschooling focuses on relationships. To the HOMEschooler, relationship is the key to all learning. Yes, academics are important, but the development of healthy relationships between your children and yourself is the most important aspect of homeschooling in your mind. Some thoughts that might frequently run through your head may include:

What godly character traits do I need to instill in my children?

In what ways do I need to grow in order that I may be an example to my children?

As a homeschooler, is the purpose behind my behaviors and choices solely to glorify God?

Have I prayed about the materials I've chosen to use to educate my children, and are these materials in line with my faith?

You are a HOMEschooler if most of the thoughts you have and actions you take regarding homeschooling have to do with developing relationships with your children.

Which type should you be?

Why do so many homeschool moms complain of burn-out?

Why do so many homeschooled children complain about their schoolwork?

I sat in on a conversation with two other homeschooling moms the other day. They were consoling each other as they lamented their homeschool experience with their teenage sons.

"After we are done with school for the day," said one mom clasping anxious hands in her lap, "we each go our own ways, and frankly, right now, I kind of need it that way."

"That's kind of normal, isn't it?" the second mom replied. "Everyone just needs a break from one another."

Can you relate to these moms? Have your children lost their love of learning? Are there character issues you've put aside in order to deal with the 'more important' issue of academics? Are you burnt-out? Do you sometimes wish you could just send them to public school?

Everyone has these feelings sometimes. Homeschooling isn't easy. But if these feelings characterize your homeschool days, you are a homeSCHOOLER. Paying too much attention to academics to the detriment of your relationship with your child isn't the ideal way to homeschool. A shift in focus is much needed. A shift in focus will bring joy back into your days.

I love what Chris and Ellyn Davis say in their book, I Saw the Angel in the Marble. "Children lose when parents don't have a clear vision for what they are really trying to accomplish. It's simply easier to "bring home the school" along with the child than to ask God what this is all about."

If you want to be a HOMEschooler, rather than a homeSCHOOLER, seek the Lord in prayer. Ask Him what He really wants to accomplish in your homeschool and in the lives of your children.

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