Homeschooling is a Lifestyle, Not Just an Educational Alternative

My first reason to school my children at home came about when my second daughter was born severely premature at 24 weeks gestation. One of her NICU nurses, Sue, advised me to tape up black and white pictures all around her hospital isolette and around her bassinette at home, the day they released her from the hospital. I took her advisc to heart and discovered more ways to stimulate her hand-eye coordination. This first step towards actively teaching at home gave me a sense of well being. A mom can feel so helpless when the contemplating the uncertainty of the potential of a premature infant. The need to do something, anything, to help her, felt less stifling as I began to apply techniques found in books about prematurity and early infant development.

Now equipped with the confidence to help teach my daughter in her infancy, I began to see the possibilities of continuing to do so when it came time for her to learn to talk, read and to socialize. The local library, became a close friend, as I found more information than I could imagine on child development. I located resources that led me to organizations designed to educate parents of children with special medical needs. I also found groups of moms who had also given birth to premature infants. This was my early ground work for networking in our homeschool. Our family rejoiced at our triumphs and we embraced each learning challenge and the positive steps we took to overcome them. We were on our way to carving out a new lifestyle for our family to embark on. I embraced the steps I had taken; research, seeking advise, networking with others, and being active at home to provide a learning environment that I had done during her infancy; and applied them to her preschool years, and then her school years.

Now, every day provides us with many opportunities to explore the world around us. Meal preparation, a walk in the park or at the zoo, or a shopping trip, all these things is wonderful opportunities to explore math, vocabulary, science, and more. We find that there is some excellent curriculum to choose from at book fairs, online, or in our local library. We network with other home school families both locally and online.

Another reason I choose to teach my children at home, is to be able to use the Bible as our guide to learning about how the world was created, how we are to care for it, and how we are to live our lives. Reading about laws being passed that dictate to us, concerning being able to pray at school, or having to remember to separate school from our belief in God, just does not seem right to me. I want my children to learn about all subjects with God at the center of their learning.

Lastly, I choose to not send my children to learn in an environment where graduating seniors still do not read at grade level, or can not even spell, or do math as a class that is passing according to our state guidelines. It is becoming common to hear news reports of violence in our schools to the point that society is becoming desensitized to the reports. Teachers feel that they are disciplining more than they are teaching.

My children are happy to not have to stop learning just because a bell rang, they can continue reading, writing or exploring a board game until they are ready to stop. They can help decide what topics we study and they design our field trips based on what they want to know about. My children do not have to wake at 5 in the morning just to be on a bus at 6:30, so they can take a long bus ride to a school far away as a neighbor child does. My children sleep until they are well rested every day. My children chose to learn when they are interested in doing so, even if that is at night, or on Sundays. Homeschooling has been a way for us to learn about anything we want to, in the safety of our home, our neighborhood, and thanks to the internet, the world.

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