I was surfing around on the internet one evening looking for a Christian school or two to contact for a featured article. That`s when I saw a few headers on the search page regarding home schooling. I thought that might be an interesting topic for anyone to read about. I had my pre-conceived ideas about what home schooling meant and I`m sure a man on the street interview would also reveal some opinions. While researching the topic I found some fascinating statistics about home schooling. One statistic I saw stated that home schooled kid`s rate higher in testing versus their counterparts in public school. That fact sparked my interest even further.
On the same search page I saw the acronym GCCHSA for the Gloucester County Christian Home School Association and contacted them for an interview. So off I went to meet Kathy, Jill, Shelly, Debbie and Melissa at a local sports facility in South Jersey. WE met there because it was the location they used for Physical Education or gym class. The facility also holds a “moms class” for moms who home school to exercise or relieve the stress of the week.
From talking with these ladies I soon realized that home schooling is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, determination and supreme sacrifice to home school a child. Some have more than one child being home schooled. Imagine that! Most stay at home parents love to shuttle off their little ones to school so they can go about their day doing what they want or just being alone for some quiet time. Not these brave ladies. They put their children and their well-being before themselves and they honor God by doing so. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Children are a gift from God. It is our duty to raise them up in the ways of the Lord, to teach them, to minister to them and to love them. We honor God when we respect this gift, our children.
You may ask yourself, is home schooling available for everyone or is it just for those families lucky enough to have a stay at home parent? Some might even call it an elitist thing not available for all especially since most families have and need two working parents.
Kathy, the association chairwoman, responded to that statement by saying, “With some of the families both parents work. It is all about structure and sacrifice. For example, they may have school in the afternoon, on weekends or evenings.”
Jill added, “You make the sacrifices when you make the choice to home school. God will provide a way.”
By their account, social or financial status has nothing to do with it. You do it because you can and want to. You do it because along with a normal curriculum you want your child exposed to the Bible and the teachings of Christianity and want them to learn daily what Jesus would do. You want to have that control over your child’s education.
There are statistics that show there are over two million children being home schooled in the U.S. When I presented them with that statistic, Jill, a certified public school teacher and activities director for the association, said “I believe that number is greatly underestimated.” It seems that only children who were previously registered for public school are considered in that statistic. It does not take into consideration the many parents who home schooled since their child was born until they graduated college.
While considering the idea of home schooling a question arises, why? Why would you sacrifice your free time to teach your children when there is free public schooling available for everyone? Well the obvious answer of course is that these parents want to dictate what and how their children learn. They also know that their child is in a safe and secure environment without fear of bullying and tragedy. A quick reflection on recent events in schools over the last 15 or so years gives you the understanding why they might think that way.
Jill quickly responded to that question by saying, “Our children learn at their own pace and at their level. We can talk about God freely. We do Bible study every day and you can take your Bible to school in our school”
A home schooled student doesn’t have to worry about moving up. The student sets the pace.
There is a vast network of help and support for families that home school. Parents share their experiences and proven techniques. There are plenty of resources at your local library or on the internet. It basically gets down to one famous saying, if there is a will there is a way! In addition we all know that through prayer and devotion God will also help make a way!
I asked them, how do you turn mom off and teacher on when it is time for school? Shelley, the field trip and events coordinator for the association advised me that, “I’m mom ALL the time!” To which they all agreed.
There are always pros and cons to everything. Here are a few from a student’s point of view”
CON…Can`t stay home from school. Can`t cut class.
PRO…There is no peer pressure or bullying, you are never late for school, no waiting at the bus stop.
Oh yeah and you can make a snow day anytime you want!!
So if you have children or are planning on starting a family you may want to consider home schooling. Remember it’s about them, your children and their future. Wouldn`t you like to have more of a role in their development? My kids are all grown but if I could do it all over again my wife and I would definitely home school!
If you would like more information about home schooling contact The Gloucester County Christian Home School Association at their website www.GCCHSA.org.