This week I have had two seperate conversations with people regarding our decision to homeschool our boys through high school. These conversations really got me thinking about what we are doing and again, WHY we are doing it. The first conversation was with my cousin, who is in the military. He doesn’t have any children of his own yet, but is very close to mine, and they chat frequently via email and instant messaging. They were having a conversation about the types of music they listen to, and my son listed a few of his favorite bands, along with mentioning that he was a fan of a few “old school” rap artists, but that I don’t let him listen to that music often!! (For the record, the Beastie Boys were very big when I was growing up, and I am a huge fan of theirs. My son has heard some of their songs when I listen to my “oldies” music, but he isn’t allowed to listen to them regularly).
My cousin sent me a message asking why he wasn’t allowed to listen to that music, as he is 14 after all. I pointed out that, while I enjoy their music, and it brings back many fond memories for me, when you listen to the lyrics as a parent, they just aren’t appropriate for a 14 year old boy to hear on a regular basis. My cousin then pointed out that by 14 he had heard far worse things from most of his friends at school. That was when I pointed out that that is the very reason we have chosen to keep our kids at home. Yes, my son does have many friends (homeschooled and not homeschooled) that he hangs out with, and I know that he does hear things like that from those kids from time to time, but by homeschooling our kids we are making sure that they are not exposed to those things on an almost daily basis!! This conversation reminded me again of our purpose in homeschooling our boys. Not to shelter them from everything, because number one, I’m not sure that’s possible, and number two, even it was possible, I’m not sure that complete sheltering is a totally good idea, but really, we just want to protect them from being inundated by the ideas that are saturate our society today. We want to fill their minds with the things of God, and teach them how to filter out the things of the world and measure them against the Lord’s standards. We feel this is best done by keeping our kids at home with us.
My second conversation was with a friend of mine who used to homeschool her kids but doesn’t anymore. We were talking about how school was going for her kids and for mine, and she asked me if my kids still liked being homeschooled (especially my oldest, since he is now high school age where “time with friends” is the single most important thing in life!!). When I told her that yes, my boys love being homeschooled and have asked not to return to school until they graduate she was genuinely surprised. It was as if she expected that when kids get older, they would just automatically long to be returned to regular school.
This was a cause of reflection for me. I began to ask myself “Do my kids really like being homeschooled, or is that just what I tell myself?”. So, I put the question to them, and their answers were “Why would we want to go back to school?” You see, my kids did spend time in school before we homeschooled them, and they both really appreciate the freedom and family time that homeschooling brings. They like being able to focus time on their interests (like my older son, painting and rebuilding a car with his dad), and to be able to get one on one help and instruction from mom. They also like being able to go out to lunch with the family, and hit the beach when we get done early. Both of them also expressed that they appreciate the fact that by being homeschooled, they are free of a lot of the pressures their friends face.
I have to admit, hearing them articulate why they like being homeschooled gave me a deep satisfaction. It is comments like that that I replay in my head on those days when they are being difficult and nothing is going right and I just want to give up. The Bible tells us not to store up treasures here on earth, for “Where you treasures are, there your heart will be also”. For me and my kids, our hearts are here at home, and I am so very thankful for that!