I recently snapped this photo of my daughter, Roxanna, sleeping on the couch. It was 10 a.m. on “a school day” and she was suffering from an annoying head cold. I love this scene because my daughter looks so warm and serene, protected from the outside world by her loyal companion, Boomer.
These are the moments I love best about homeschooling. Academics, character building, and faith development are all important facets of homechooling. But there are some things that are even more basic, even more important for moms and dads to do for their children. Things like love, care, nurture, and keeping their children safe.
Home is so much more than a school. Schools are institutions, but home is a place where all the cares of the world can be shut out and children can just be, well, children. No worries. No pressure. No stress. A place where, when you don’t feel well, you can grab your favorite blanket, bury yourself in the well-worn family couch, be warmed by the companionship of the family pet, and feel so comfortable and rested that you can fall asleep in the midst of the daily activities of a large family.
I learned the value of love and care in education when my oldest son was in second grade. It was the first day of school and we were looking at the teacher assignments posted on the front door of my son’s public school. There were a number of second grade teachers who were considered great teachers. But I was nervous because there was one teacher, Miss Sutton, who some of the moms in my neighborhood had warned me to avoid. Miss Sutton was considered too young, too nice, and too inexperienced to be a good teacher. But there was my son’s name…on Miss Sutton’s class list.
As I was still musing over my son’s bad luck, my friend, Kim, tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out that her son was in the same class as my son. She looked happy. So I asked her, “Did you WANT Miss Sutton?” She gave me a surprised look. “Of course,” she said. “Miss Sutton is nice. More than anything, I want my kids’ teachers to be nice.”
Kim’s answer raised my eyebrows. I had been a public school teacher in the past, but I had never aspired to be “nice.” I wanted to be a great teacher. I wanted to accomplish something with my students. I wanted to be respected. Could it be that I missed something?
That second grade school year my son got sick. He was so sick that just getting him through the school day became a challenge. Day after day, week after week, my son suffered. But Miss Sutton took care of him. She made him a priority. She called me regularly. She bought a book on his illness and read the whole book. She was nice. And my son survived. Even thrived. I had learned an important lesson. There is nothing more important in education than how a teacher feels about and treats her students.
As homeschooling parents, your greatest gift to your children is your love and your home, the place where your love reigns. Children don’t need great curriculum, fancy schools, decked out classrooms, and trained teachers. They need love and care. Providing for your children’s schooling in the comfort and security of your home is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. In view of that, here are:
Ten Very Sweet Reasons to Homeschool
1. When your child doesn’t feel well, he can curl up on the couch with a blanket and a book.
2. When the neighborhood children are huddled on the street corner at 6:45 a.m. in the morning waiting for the school bus, your child is still asleep in his bed.
3. When the bus returns 7-8 hours later, so full of noisy kids it takes an adult monitor to keep things under control, your child isn’t on it.
4. When other children are rushing through their 20-minute lunch period in the din of the school lunchroom, your child is sharing a relaxed meal with siblings at the family table.
5. When personal events disrupt the lives of your children, you can put school on hold without a moment’s hesitation or explanation.
6. When tragedies strike, events can unfold with your children by your side.
7. When you go on on family trips and vacations, there’s no make-up work when you return.
8. When other children are up late doing homework, your child isn’t.
9. When other children are going out for recess, your child’s school day is long over.
10. When school gets long, you stop. When lessons get hard, you rest. When bodies get tired, you go outside and play.
There has been much said and written about how the atmosphere for learning affects learning. Stress, pressure, fear, and insecurity can shut down learning, while the loving environment of the home builds it up. Michael and Susan Card wrote this in their book, The Homeschool Journey: “Home is a place of comfort and healing, a place of safety and security. And from this secure outpost we can explore our world. Home is where great things are spoken and where our imaginations are unleashed to explore and wander in the presence of warm, loving companions who both encourage us and teach us what areas are best left unexplored. Home is where you learn discipline and are disciplined, because home is where you are loved.”
Until next time…Be fearless.