Friday, April 18, 2008

On Home-Schooling

I remember just after my first baby was born, I began thinking what kind of educational experience would she have. I was so very dissatisfied with the public schools, and yet, I did not know if we could afford a private school. Finally, I decided that even though we were not Catholic, I would look into having my daughter attend a Catholic school. I called to get information pertinent to enrolling Bonnie. As I began to ask a myriad of questions, the assistant on the line asked for my daughter's birth date. I believe she was just a few months old at this point---so I said she was born in March of this year. (1982) The assistant chuckled and then kindly requested I call back in 4-5 years! I was saddened. I thought, "This is such a huge part of a child's life! Why would they not want to encourage parents to carefully consider these options very early on?"

I did not enroll my daughter in a private or parochial school. Rather, she began attending the local public school. My husband, at that time, was continuing his education at the University of Michigan Dental School. I decided that I would become very involved in the school. This was no easy task, as by this time, I had three little ones with another baby on the way. But, I accepted the job of being a home-room mom for her Kindergarten year. Then as she entered first grade, I became the PTO secretary. I went to all the meetings and was as involved as I could be. I watched first hand all the politics and drama that is the public school system. I was amazed! This was an entirely new world. Then, one month, the agenda included the discussion of the school's sex education program. I had been very upset that they were trying to establish the new curriculum and begin teaching this topic to the Kindergartners! I asked why they thought it necessary to approach this topic so early in the children's lives---in a public setting. I had opted to have my daughter excluded from the unit. But, when I went to bring her home during the time the material was presented to all the other students, the teacher informed me that Bonnie would hear everything I was trying to protect her from----out on the playground the next day---and that it would likely be total misinformation as the children just were too young to actually relate what they had learned accurately! I was dumbfounded! I then asked if the children were too young to understand what was being taught---why then were they teaching this to them???? I was incensed that though they told the parents they had the choice of whether or not their children were exposed to the curriculum, once a parent actually tried to exert this choice, they were informed that they really did not have a choice.

More disheartening than that, was the fact that as I attended the PTO meeting regarding the sex-education curriculum, there were only 5-6 parents present! And, of that tiny group, one mother said, "Can't you just teach the kids everything there is to know about sex, so I will not have to?" I was blown away! I thought, these are the parents that "care"----in that at least they had taken the time to attend this meeting, but, to me, they really did NOT care about the type of MORAL education their children received. I was so very discouraged! I did attend the District level meeting on this issue, because I was so very concerned with the attitudes the parents had in our community. An OB/GYN physician was in attendance as well. He became my hero, as he told the teachers, administrators and parents that the only thing the school needed to do was to tell the children that those parts of their bodies that were covered by underwear, should always be treated as sacred and that the children should NEVER ALLOW ANYONE to touch them in those places. I just wanted to stand up and give him a standing ovation! That was exactly my opinion. The schools were NOT to usurp the parent's role in providing the moral training parents are obligated and responsible to provide to their children!

I eventually stumbled upon the exciting home-schooling movement. I say "stumbled" but in all reality, I was led to those in my church that were home-schooling! It was a huge blessing from the Lord for me and my children. That summer, I began with gusto to keep my own children home and educate them at home. That was the very best choice I have ever made. In contrast, as I met with area home-schooling parents, I saw a devotion and true love and concern for their children's moral, spiritual, intellectual and social training. These brave and dedicated families were devoted to raising their children to believe in God and Goodness in a seemingly God-less society. While involved with the public school system in Ann Arbor Michigan, I felt so hopeless and helpless about the direction society was headed. In stark contrast, I was encouraged, inspired, hopeful and filled with joy as I saw a growing movement of mothers and fathers taking their responsibility to raise up their children to the LORD---from all denominations---eager to spend all the time, energy and love that is necessary to rear a noble generation.

I have such a strong testimony that there is a GOD, that His SON, Jesus Christ, is in fact our Savior and Redeemer and that they are so very involved and interested in each of our lives. We are the ones that determine exclusively, how much they are able to be involved in our lives. I have just as strong a testimony that home-schooling is the very best way to raise our children in this worsening climate of moral degradation and corruption. If any one out there has ever thought about home-schooling, but just was too afraid to try, or are unsure as to how to go about it, please email me and I will happily provide all kinds of resources and encouragement! Believe me, if I could do so, anyone can. I will tell you that my children have excelled in College BECAUSE they were home-schooled. My children have been able to attend College with full ride scholarships! There is a way for anyone who desires to home-school, to do so and to provide the children we are blessed with, the best possible early life, moral education, and most importantly, the quality and quantity of our time while we have them in our homes. The children are in our homes for such a brief time. Looking back, I am so very grateful I chose to home-school. I have so many precious memories with my children. I have no regrets because I did spend all the time I could loving and teaching them. And, I was able to impart, on a daily basis, my values and beliefs.

As some of my children are now adults, it is far easier for me to accept their choices and to have a peace about those values they choose to make their own since I know I have truly done all I could to teach them all I could! IF any of you are unsure as to whether or not home-schooling is right for your family, please pray for guidance! It is so very worth each and every sacrifice! I am so very grateful Heavenly Father provided me the information exactly when I needed it for my children. May God bless all you young mothers and fathers with the courage, the strength and the commitment to do your very best with these precious children---while they are in your home. Believe me, the time goes far too quickly! I have only 7 left at home! With one daughter leaving to be on her own this summer! God bless you all and do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions at all! Kim