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The Graduation Cap

Day 14: The Graduation Cap – How to choose an educational route for your kids

We all want our children to succeed in their educational experience. Here's how I accepted the challenge God set before me, and how He changed my heart.In exasperation, I watched my 3 year old bouncing off the walls and thought, “That child will never be old enough to go to school, and I will be stuck inside this house with two toddlers forever”.

My best friend called me up.  “Ned and I are considering homeschooling.  What do you think about that?”

“Personally, the idea of homeschooling right now makes me want to throw up.  But you go ahead…if you don’t mind having the kids around all.day.long.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  A mother of five wanted to be in charge of her children’s educational experience??!  Had she lost her mind?!

That was 23 years ago. 

During the past two decades, my values and priorities have changed drastically.

 

I went from enduring my children to enjoying them.

From pushing them out the door to school to pulling them out of school.

From wishing time would hurry up to capturing the joy of each transition.

 

What was the change?  You ask.

I decided to accept God’s challenge on something I never in my life wanted to consider.

I took up the challenge to homeschool.

 

If you’re wrestling with a decision about your child’s education, allow me to share my heart on the matter.

Today I’m sharing the pros and cons of both homeschooling and Christian schooling, since that is the realm of my educational experience with my kids.


 

Christian school

My two oldest spent the majority of their years in a Christian school and graduated from there.  I graduated from the same Christian school myself (several years prior – ahem).

Our experiences were very positive and my kids loved their school.  They did not prefer the homeschool arena, and after giving it the “old college try”, I returned them to their beloved school because I felt it was the right move for them.

That being said, here are my thoughts.

 

Pros:

-Safer environment

-Subjects taught with a creation world view

-Many of the kids are brought up in Christian homes

-Biblical education

-Challenged with community service and beyond

-Teachers are believers and love the kids

-Opportunity to make some great friends

 

Cons:

-The kids can be cliquish

-They sometimes become hardened to things of the Lord

-Many are not in touch with the needs of others

-Many struggle with a thankful attitude 

-Many don’t care about lost souls

-It’s super expensive

Please.  I don’t think that every kid in a Christian school is like this.

But during the tenure of myself and my children, this was a pattern we all observed.

 

How to intercept that type of behavior

Don't shove it off on the Christian school to mold your child into a godly person.It begins in the home.

Make sure you are daily walking with the Lord, seeking Him through prayer and Scripture.

Have a spiritual growth plan for your family (for more insight, click here for Day 11 – The Pilgrim Hat – How to Create a family Map.)

Pay close attention to your kids, their attitudes, their habits, and who they hang out with.

Spend time with your children.  Listen to them, be attuned – communication is key!

Don’t shove it off on the Christian school (or church) to mold your child into a godly person

That’s your job.

 

Homeschooling

I did this for a total of 9 years and absolutely LOVED it.  Although overwhelmed many a day, I never regretted one single moment of the concentrated time with my kids.

The memories are sweet and full.

Pros:

-It’s economical

-You are the main influence on your child

-You can teach with a creation emphasis

-You determine your schedule

-No homework in the evenings!

-Your kids have extra time to develop talents or obtain jobs

-Your kids have interaction with all age levels (Granddad even taught history one year.)

-Your kids think outside the box

-Your kids are open to relationships with others, regardless of school, race, or status

-Your kids become like you

-Your kids grow closer to you

-You have more opportunities to teach them homemaking skills

 

Cons

-If your kids don’t see other kids a lot  they can become withdrawn and shy (if they tend towards an introverted personality)

-If you are weird your kids will be too

-They can’t be with their “peers”

-They miss out on certain school sports and other opportunities

-If you’re not disciplined, they will receive a poor education

 

None of these things were a problem for my girls.

We belonged to a fledgling co-op of sorts where they interacted with others, but my kids were in church with other kids 3 times a week and also had scheduled play dates.

My homeschooled children became more open minded to others, regardless of social status or affiliation. Click To Tweet

They actually reached out to others.

I’m a very disciplined person so I stayed on top of their studies and if I didn’t understand a subject, I got help.

Many resources are readily available for the homeschooling mom.

 

The myth:  homeschooled kids are weird and unsocialized

Your kids begin to take on the characteristics of those with whom they spend time!I am sick to death of this.

However, before I homeschooled, I used to think the same thing.

Psssst:  wanna know a secret?

Your kids become like those with whom they spend time.

You are their mama.  They are going to take on your characteristics.

If YOU are weird

…they will be weird.

Are you weird?

Then stop worrying about it.

 

My kids are some of the coolest people in the entire universe.

I’m not biased – just ask anybody.

Know why they’re cool?

Because they learned to be comfortable in their own skin and think outside the box.

(Plus I’m cool.)

 

Spiritual growth begins in the home

My kids all graduated with good grades and went on to college (we currently have 3 enrolled – ya’ll pray for our pocketbooks, sisters).

They each have a mature walk with the Lord, and serve Him in their homes, college, work, and church.

I’m humbly thankful that all of my kids grew educationally and spiritually, whether homeschooled or Christian Schooled.

As a matter of fact, I feel like they would have done just fine in public school too, had God led in that direction.

Because it was all about what happened at home.

{*NOTE:  I have no qualm with public school!!!  We just didn’t choose that route for our children. }

 

Please don’t think me arrogant, because I’m painfully aware of my own humanity and therefore their humanity.  They are not done with life, and neither am I.

If we’re not careful to walk closely with the Lord, we will stray and fall.

It’s only by the grace of God that we stand firm today.

 


 

God’s ways are not our ways

You can see from this post that I obviously prefer homeschooling over everything else – and I still marvel because that was totally a GOD thing and not a me thing. 

He changed my heart!

 

“He does great things that cannot be explained, and awesome deeds that cannot be counted.”  Job 9:10

 

You never know which way He will lead you, but if he does lead you to a decision you hadn’t expected, He will enable you for that decision and give you joy in the doing, whether it be homeschool, Christian school, or public school!

And someday, when they walk that aisle and move the tassel, your heart will be blessed, knowing it was all because of God’s faithfulness.

What’s your story?  What educational route did you take with your children?  Be sure to share in the comments below (just click “comments” to share!)

 

Day 15: The Sherlock Hat!

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Johanna
    October 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I love this post Ruthie! The Lord has blessed you in so many ways, and wisdom is one of them straight from the Lord’s heart to yours! Thank you for passing that on to us mommas in the drenches homeschooling, loving the Lord, working from home and managing a home. God is good! I LOVED what you said

    “I went from enduring my children to enjoying them.
    From pushing them out the door to school to pulling them out of school.
    From wishing time would hurry up to capturing the joy of each transition.”

    AMEN sister! What a privilege we have teaching our children and helping them become who God has created them to be! Love this post for so many reasons but mostly because it is the heart of most homeschool moms.

    Thank you friend!

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Johanna, you have blessed my heart this day. I struggled to make this a voice for homeschoolers and yet also to be fair to those who don’t! As you can tell, it is my passion. I can’t even begin to tell the many ways I’ve been blessed through this experience. And yet, I seek to offend no one.
      God has taught me so many lessons (some the hard way), and I just want to share His message and not my own. (Nobody wants to hear a tinkling cymbal, right?!)
      Hang in there, sweet mama! The years are hard, but fleeting!! 🙂

    Now it's your turn!

    © Ruthie Gray and Rear.Release.Regroup, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruthie Gray and Rear.Release.Regroup. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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