Home education is a method of passing values, character and knowledge on to children, in which parents assume the primary role in their child’s total development as a unique person created in the image of God. In home education, a child’s relationship with his parent is elevated above all outside relationships. Parents direct their children’s educational achievement, stimulate their creativity and individuality, and cultivate their character growth towards maturity and godliness.
This does not require super parents—only parents who care and are committed enough to make an effort. Studies have shown that there is no relationship between the educational level of parents and the academic achievement of the children they are teaching. Because of the great variety of educational materials available and the wide range of children’s learning styles, there is not a ‘best’ way to home educate. You have the opportunity to tailor-make a unique program of study for each of your children according to their individual needs.
Home education is an adventure similar to mountain climbing. There are times along the trail that you can pause to enjoy the beautiful view and appreciate the sense of accomplishment. But there are also times when you become tired and discouraged, the trail becomes more difficult and your goal becomes obscured. Ensuring you connect with other home educating families will bring encouragement, edification, support and greater success.
We prefer the term home education rather than home schooling because home schooling conjures up ideas of ‘doing school at home.’ “School” as most of us know it is opposite of home education in many ways: individual vs. group learning, encouraging creativity vs. fitting into a mold, building Christian values vs. value free knowledge, learning through work, service and study vs. an ‘academics only’ approach.
Seek God: Pray for direction, wisdom, and search scripture. He will answer!
Do Your Research: Learn about home education by reading (online resources, newsletters, magazines, books, etc.) and by spending time with those already home educating their children. Understand the basic approaches to home education: traditional, classical, unit studies and combination of approaches. Establish your own philosophy of education.
Write Down the Reasons You Want to Home Educate: Listing these reasons will be a tremendous benefit later if you need to re-focus on why you are teaching your children at home. You will probably add to this list as you gain experience. Also write down Bible verses that help you make your decision. Because of the commitment needed from the entire family, we strongly encourage both parents to develop this list.
Set Goals: Write out goals (spiritual, character, academic, physical) for each of your children.
Name Your School: You may wish to consider naming your school and designing letterhead for your school correspondence. This is highly beneficial to receive teacher discounts and promotional items.
Choose Curriculum: Based on your educational philosophy and goals for your children, select the curriculum and materials you feel are best for your children.
Plan Ahead: Set aside time to plan your week. Begin a journal or plan book to record your school’s activities. This can include daily assignments and activities.
Learning Resources: Equip your home for study with dictionaries, an encyclopedia set, computer, etc. Don’t have some of these tools... don’t forget your local library has them.
Medical Records: Keep updated medical records for each of your children.
Stand Firm: Prepare yourself to answer questions and address concerns from others.
Discipline is Essential: Character training at home is necessary if we desire our children to make progress in their studies and is important for their success as adults.
Teach Good Work Ethic: Actively involve your children in helping with household chores. This is a must! You will not have time to clean your house like you once had. Besides your children need to learn to work and master domestic duties.
Keys to Being a Good Parent-Teacher:
Focus on You Too: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. See Mom’s Encouragement list! Mom, determine what it is you need that will help you persevere in the home-education lifestyle and then give yourself permission to have it! Do not feel guilty about helping yourself, especially if it makes you feel more effective as a homeschool mother!
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