Monday, June 28, 2010

A Husband's Perspective on Education

A sweet friend of mine recently shared with our local Catholic home school group this letter that her husband wrote for an interview that our local newspaper did of their family about why and how they home school. I thought it was so well written and sincere that when I asked her if I could share it on my blog, she was gracious enough to let me. I still don't know which path God will choose for our family in regards to schooling our children. I pray about it almost daily, but I thought that maybe this could help someone decide or maybe help someone else understand a little better why some people choose to home school. please share this with others. Thank you again Judy & Jim. Here is the letter written by my friend Judy's husband, Jim: "Thank you for taking time to meet with Judy yesterday. Sorry that I wasn’t able to attend. Judy did mention that you were also interested in my thoughts about our decision to school our children at home, otherwise known as St Bernadette Academy. So, here ya go…. J First, as you probably have surmised, Judy and I were a bit apprehensive about opening our lives to you because of the often negative perceptions about homeschooling. Our decision to home school our children was not made lightly and we also recognize that it is not a path that many parents are willing to traverse. For us, the decision to home school was not without sacrifice either, but the rewards, we believe, far outweigh the ‘things’ that we have had to give up in return. As Judy probably mentioned, if we were to describe what the ideal school setting for a child would be, then what would that look like? In our opinion, the ideal school would be where the teacher truly had the best interests of each child at heart, and would have the same value system that we as parents have. It also would be where the child could receive daily one-on-one instruction. Further, the ideal school would be where the teacher could tailor the curriculum and teaching techniques to the individual needs and learning styles of each child, and cover the material at pace along with the child’s comprehension and understanding. This ideal school would also provide the flexibility to explore specific interests that a child might have. So, we ask, what model best fits this teaching-learning environment? The answer for us was homeschooling. There are also other logistical advantages with homeschooling, as well. It seems that we are able to cover more material in a shorter period of time. Our children don’t have to wait for a school bus. They don’t have to be shuffled from class to class. They can take more frequent breaks. We can go on vacations when it suits OUR schedule, and they can even attend class in their pajamas! J We also learned that there are other benefits, as well, such as the concern for the whole socialization issue, for example. We have discovered that all socialization isn’t necessarily good. While our children are not ‘sheltered’ from the world, they are not ‘over-exposed’ to it either. Within a typical school day, in our opinion, children today are introduced to, and immersed in, too many unhealthy behaviors at too young of an age. Kids are just not able to be kids anymore. Home schooling also provides a great environment for parents and siblings to get to know and love each other at a much deeper level. AND, lastly, but just as importantly, there are the ideological benefits to homeschooling our children. As parents and teachers, our Christian values can be integrated into the school curriculum and school activities. As Catholics, for example, we are able to attend Mass on a daily basis! One of the things that I personally have come to realize is that our primary vocation, or job, as parents is not necessarily to raise scholars, although a good education is very important and we always stress this, but our primary responsibility as parents is to raise Saints! That is, we are trying to teach our kids the main purpose for being on this earth. It is not necessarily to accumulate a lot of wealth or things, but, as Christians, we believe this purpose is to know, love, and serve God. How does this manifest itself in our daily lives? It is honoring God and thanking God for His many blessings. It is trying to be Christ-like to everyone and in everything that we do. (Though we often fall short, God is a forgiving God, and He is always there to help us get back up on our feet.) It is also discovering and fulfilling that unique and special purpose that God has for each and every one of us. For God does not create junk, but makes everyone in His image to do His work. True happiness, we believe, is ultimately in doing and fulfilling God’s will for us, that in which He is calling us to do. Eileen, I realize that you can’t possibly write all of this in your article, but wanted to put into context, and provide our perspective, as to why we choose to home school our children. With Highest Regards! Jim


Kelly said...

For anyone else trying to make education decisions for their family I would say that what Jim states here is very true. My husband & I were just talking this week about what a blessing homeschooling is and how fortunate we feel to be able to offer this to our children. Thanks for posting Robina!

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