The other day I went to visit a very sweet, elderly, home-bound woman in our church. She is not a "Food Lion shut-in" as my pastor friend Paul Beith used to say—a "Food Lion shut-in" according to Paul is someone who is able to make it out to do their grocery shopping at Food Lion on Saturday but who is too "sick" to come to church on Sunday. This is a dear lady who loved to be in the Lord’s house when in good health, but who is now confined to home with legitimate physical infirmities.
Anyhow, we were catching up on church and family happenings. She asked how my family was doing and I mentioned that we had started school last week and that I am teaching the children on Fridays, my day off. Then, with real bewilderment, she asked, "Why do you keep your children at home for school?" It is truly hard for her to understand why we are doing this.
Having been asked this a time or two before I gave her my three standard reasons why we decided to do home education:
1. Family closeness. Homeschooling has allowed our family to spend lots of time together. We are not operating according to the local school system’s (or even a private school’s) calendar or daily schedule. Our children are able to spend a lot of time with us, and they are also able to spend a lot of time with each other.
2. Protecting our children from harmful influences and positively shaping their worldview. Home education gives us a great opportunity to shape what our children read, listen to, and think about. Biblical studies is part of our curriculum and informal theological/spiritual conversations are part of the weekly routine.
3. Academics. Finally, we think we have been able to give our children a more challenging academic environment. The teacher to child ratio is low, and we can focus on their immediate needs.
My friend likely still thinks our decision is sort of odd, but perhaps she understands a little better.
I can relate to several things in this post (I love the "Food-Lion shut-in" title), but as a home-school parent, I especially appreciate your thoughts on this. Many do not understand, but the results are more than worth it.
Thanks for expressing so clearly why we do what we do.
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