I received a comment on a previous article I'd written: “My Homeschooling Advice to my Daughter”. I was going to reply to her in the comment section but my reply got so long that I decided to share my thoughts on a blog post. ~smile~ Here was the comment/question:
“This was my approach to homeschooling too. My girls are now 9 and 6, and I'm worried about how to homeschool for the next 10 years. I don't know if I have it in me to homeschool for the next 10 years, and I don't know if I would do a good enough job preparing them for college. A future veterinarian and doctor.... as a mother who has "been there, done that" I hope you'll share your insight.”
When I began homeschooling my kids I honestly never worried about the next year or the next and certainly not 10 years. You see I felt that God had led us to homeschool our children. It became and still is a matter of conviction. I determined in my mind that there was no obstacle that was greater than my conviction. I believed that what God had brought me to, he would see me through. Homeschooling for me has been a lifestyle of learning.
And after 26 years of homeschooling, with 7 children graduated, God has seen us through each and every step of the way.
Here is the rundown of my children and where they are today: I have one son who is currently working to get his degree in software engineering (he also has his aircraft mechanics licenses and spent 5 years in the Army), one daughter in the Army, one daughter who is a homemaker and raising her 3 beautiful babies, one daughter is working as an Accountant (earned her degree in 2 ½ years), she was just given senior account status at her firm, and she also spent one year in Denmark working as au pair because she wanted to travel and see the world before she settled down, one daughter who has an English degree (earned in 2 ¾ years) and worked as an English teacher in S. Korea for one year and has since come home and been working as an ESL teacher and pursuing her desire to teach special ed students (something that has been on her heart for many years), a son who is working on his college degree in computer information & technology and currently has his A+ certificate (IT certificate) and will help anyone in a heartbeat solve their computer issues, a daughter who is currently in school to be a dental assistant and finally a son who is still being homeschooled.
Did I prepare them for these pursuits? Can I take credit for the direction their academic life has gone? In one way, yes, in another more important way... no. I can't take credit for where they have gone in their lives or what they have endeavored to do.
You see... I took it one year at a time, I taught them the basics. I taught them to read, write, mathematics (at least the younger grades, hubby handles the upper levels of math), I read classic books to them all the time.. we read all summer long, we read through the fall and winter evenings (we did not have TV reception and that is how we spent our evenings), I taught them to look and explore the world around them. I taught them to have a love for learning.. and here is the most important part.. I gave them the time and opportunity to pursue the things in life they had a passion for. I taught them HOW to learn, how to educate themselves on topics of interest, and this showed them they could learn anything they desired. I remember my oldest son as a teenager checking books out of the library on chemistry, because he was so fascinated with it.
When my children reached their young teen years or even before this and showed an interest in something, I sought opportunities for them to be able to enjoy what it was they were interested in. I let them have time enjoying the wonders of whatever topic they were curious about. I kept most outside busyness out of our lives and gave lots of opportunity for them to learn and love learning.
I encouraged my children to work and seek ways to help others and make money. They had their own businesses, they worked for neighbors, they volunteered their time. I taught them that life was not about what you don't have, but making the most of whatever it is you have. And each of them have gone on to prove this. I could never have adequately prepared (in today's sense of the meaning) a software engineer, an accountant, a teacher, an IT man, a dental assistant, and so on... this has to come from within the child. This has to be their will and their hearts desire, not mine. What I saw was that when my children decided on their path, they were more than adequately prepared to do whatever it took to achieve their goal.
I like to look at the job of a homeschooling parent as one who teaches a child how to learn. If I did not have what it took for a child to pursue something, I found someone who did. Piano teachers, computer volunteer time (my computer fascinated boys volunteered their time at a store in the city that refurbishes old computers), photography lessons, and so on.. and sometimes they found opportunities for themselves.
There are so many options out there today to learn, it is never just relegated to what a formal school could teach. There are classes, homeschool co-ops, dual enrollment in colleges, online courses, (My 2 daughters with degrees earned them without ever stepping into a college classroom), and there are tons of helpful websites and books that can walk a parent through every step of homeschooling in high school. Any mom that desires to, can lead and provide opportunities to allow their children to reach whatever goal they desire!!