|Mimi Rothschild - Homeschooling|
In most families, the mom is the parent who is primarily responsible for the day to day homeschooling of the kids. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of homeschooling families are a single income families or mom tends to work in the evenings after dad gets home to avoid daycare costs. Sometimes a homeschooling mom can feel alone in her endeavors, and get discouraged or even resent the lack of involvement on her spouse’s part.
In other situations, dad is completely MIA from homeschooling due to military deployment, traveling for work, or chronic illness. In these situations, a mom can feel like a single parent and has many of the responsibilities of a single parent.
Where Does Dad Fit In?
Biblically, our husbands are to be the head of our homes, spiritually and in the decision-making process. Homeschooling should be no exception. If dad is MIA from homeschooling, it is usually because somewhere along the line, he has been pushed out of the homeschooling process.
When you make the decision to homeschool, it is seldom a decision that one spouse makes on their own. Usually, you talk it over and decide what direction you want your children’s education to take.
The problem is that over the years, there is a breakdown of communication between mom and dad and dad begins to wonder where he fits into your homeschooling. With mom as the primary teacher and his time with the kids limited, dad slowly fades out of the picture.
Most men will not push their way into a situation where they are not truly respected and wanted. By not consulting with your husband about the direction your homeschooling is going to take and involving him in the children’s education on whatever level he can participate, dads tend to retreat instead of causing conflict.
The feeling of not knowing where he fits in can be exacerbated for a dad who is away from home for work, military service, or illness.
How can we involve dads in the homeschooling process? First of all, dad’s opinions and desires as far as the education of the children needs to be respected. Most dads have very simple desires for their children’s homeschooling. Moms need to sit down and discuss mutual homeschooling goals with dads to make sure everyone’s wishes are valued and implemented on some level.
Secondly, we need to find practical ways to involve busy dads in homeschooling. Maybe there is a subject or skill your husband excels in that he would enjoy teaching to the children. Find community events in the evening or on dad’s day off that he can take the kids to and get plugged into the homeschooling process.
Technology gives us so many opportunities to involve dad in homeschooling. Shoot dad a text and keep him posted on the day’s events. Better yet, take pictures and shoot video of the kiddos in action for him to enjoy later. Skype is a fun way for kids to keep in touch with a dad who is traveling.
Homeschooling is a family effort. As Christian homeschooling moms, it isn’t God’s perfect will for us to go it alone. Plug into the built in support system that God provided in your spouse.
About Author: Mimi Rothschild is a CEO of Learning By Grace, Inc and provide online homeschooling services.
In Psalm 127, Solomon refers to children as a “heritage” or an “inheritance” from the Lord. It’s easy to miss how revolutionary that statement is. Solomon isn’t saying that children will receive our inheritance. He is saying that they are our inheritance. But what does that mean?
It means that the most important task we have as a church is to teach the next generation the gospel.
An inheritance is what you leave behind for future generations. So when a church thinks about what they are “leaving behind” for their city, they shouldn’t be thinking of ministry plans or church buildings, but kids. The children in our church are the first ones that God has given us to win for the gospel. They are the inheritance we are leaving for our city.
That means our primary responsibility for our children is to teach them the gospel—and to equip them to teach it to others. That is the most important task any parent has. And I don’t exaggerate in saying it’s the most important task of any church.
God has two “gardens” in which he intends to grow our children—the home and the church.
The home is the primary garden in which our kids will learn the gospel. If a family is actively involved in church, the pastors and volunteers only have about 100 hours a year with the kids. Parents, on the other hand, have about 8,736 waking hours with them. No matter how amazing our kids ministry is, what we do on the weekend pales in comparison to what happens in the home.
The home is the place where our kids will see the gospel lived out. It is where they see the unconditional love and forgiveness that flows from hearts touched by grace. It is as we do everyday life with our kids—cleaning the garage, driving in the car, going to bed—that we have the opportunities to apply the gospel to brokenness, pain or conflict.
It should go without saying, but that can only happen if we as parents are present with our kids. You can find lots of people to replace you at work, but your kids get only one daddy and mommy. So rearrange your schedule to ensure that you’re prioritizing relationships in the home. And for those of you who think, “Well, I’m not sure I’ve got that much to offer,” remember: What your kids need from you is not another coach, teacher or college prep specialist. They don’t need you to be a perfect role model. They need mommies and daddies, broken parents who will teach them to love the Savior who loved them first.
The church is God’s other garden for our kids. Almost all of the great parenting passages in Scripture are addressed not to parents alone, but to the entire community. That’s no accident. As Reggie Joiner says in Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, our kids need a “second family” to have a full sense of belonging and identity. They need mentors other than their parents to speak into their lives or for them to confide in.
The church can’t make up for what isn’t happening in the home, but it can complement it. That’s why it’s so important for our kids to have significant relationships within the church. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” In other words, show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.
Your kids are going to be visitors somewhere and a part of a community somewhere else. Sadly, many kids are visitors at church, while their true community is, for example, on their athletic team. So look at their peers on their sports team, and you’ll see where your kid is headed. Not happy with what you see? It’s up to you as a parent to prioritize the community of God for your kids. Kids who walk away from the faith their freshman year in college don’t do it because of philosophy arguments but because of the community their parents valued when they were in junior high. So choose their community wisely.
Read about Mimi Rothschild on Joomag.
Virtual charter schools are luring homeschoolers in with their promises of free curriculum, free computers for each student, and access to certified teachers. What seems like the best of both worlds is really a new spin on government controlled education. In fact, most homeschool experts feel that these virtual charter schools are nothing more than public school at home, a far cry from the vision that early home educators had in mind at the beginning of the movement.
Homeschooling parents find themselves the recipient of multiple glossy advertisements annually. This aggressive campaign is a bid for virtual school administrators to gain the fiscal benefits they get from drawing children into the public school system.
Virtual Charter Schools vs. True Homeschooling
Virtual charter schools are non- religious entities that use the exact same secular curriculum used by public schools. The requirements for virtual charter schools are set by the public school districts that sponsor them. The virtual charter schools are funded by the government and are closely monitored. Visits from the government school teachers to evaluate the learning environment are often the norm. Because of this government intrusion, HSLDA refuses to offer legal protection to homeschoolers who choose this option.
Homeschools are private, and although various states have individual academic requirements for homeschoolers, ultimately the parents are free to choose curriculum for their children. Parents are free to use Christian curriculum and make Christ the center of their children’s educations. This is a main reason many parents have chosen to homeschool their children in the first place. To forfeit that right sets the homeschooling movement back decades.
When you enroll in a virtual charter school, you are inviting a government entity to take full charge of your homeschool. You will be told what to teach, when to teach it and how that should be accomplished. Yes, the curriculum is free, but you have to weigh the spiritual cost of opening up your home to government scrutiny. For virtual charter schools, it’s all about bringing in dollars that come from luring homeschoolers into the public school system.
Christian parents justify enrollment in a virtual charter school by pointing out that their children get cutting edge curriculum and a free computer for their use. They point out that their kids aren’t actually going to a public classroom, so that cuts down on outside influences. While these may be true, the secular influences that government curriculum brings with it are counter culture to Christian morals and values. It confuses children to teach them Biblical values and allow them to be contradicted by government curriculum.
When we invite government involvement into our homeschools, we defeat the true purpose of homeschooling. Homeschooling should be far more than secular education at home, it should be parent directed, and Christ-centered. A homeschool that is meticulously monitored by the government, can not achieve that goal. To allow the government to influence our curriculum decisions and the influences in our private homes derails the purpose of true homeschooling altogether.
About Author: Mimi Rothschild