Today I received a thought provoking letter from my friend and aforementioned hero, Becky McCotter, and in it, she laid out many reasons to encourage me toward home schooling my two youngsters. I'll share it with you and it will also keep it handy for me to be able to read more easily.
Dear Heather (and Dave and children),
Greetings to you! Such a treat to be able to see you recently, and to get to meet your children. They are precious~and a beloved responsibility. As I considered your challenges as a mother~the questions/issues arising, I have taken it upon myself to write, at length, a rationale for homeschooling. I figure any other mode of child-training probably doesn't NEED much explaining--homeschooling is "the road less traveled," and therefore may need a "closer look" in the Marketplace of Ideas. So, if you'll permit me: Since I truly believe that our culture is NOT getting more and more godly (as we approach the end of the age), this mode of teaching our children may gain increasing attention. Homeschooling allows for exploration of God's world, supervised free experimentation, exposure to "real life" as disciples with a master model. They (the home educated children) get to experience "normal," home-based life rather that a room full of 30, 3rd graders and one harried teacher (maybe not harried, but at least 'divided'). The homeschooled child gets to see: What does is look like when Christian faces trials, hardships, sorrows~meals to others, bearing others' burdens, praying together--considering God in any and every pursuit. They can experience the joys of clean living, in simplicity. I've read that a homeschooler "plays longer and matures faster." We've found that creativity can proceed in an unstifled, unsullied, unashamedly encouraged manner; academics needn't be SO overwhelming (homework occasionally, perhaps but NOT every night/heavy), pick a few good things to study, there's plenty of time later for specialization and mastery. God provided opportunities for broader interests: expenses are minimal versus private education or even public (which is costly in OTHER ways!). Life skills can be learned naturally, and even interaction with Creation can be a part of study: integration of ages (not just age-mates), animals can be brought into the picture more completely, plants, gardening, etc. You can experience adventures TOGETHER~even reading aloud adventures together--living books, not revisionist history bled of anything VITAL or Christ-revealing/exalting, TRUE science is NOT foolishness! You can organize co-oping groups with friends to add some flavor or extend hospitality to others TOGETHER by inviting another family over for "tea" or lunch or "play day" or "art day" or field trip day. Determine your needs/requests (social skills)--then ask God for HIs provision for them. There's time to DO REAL THINGS (instead of rushing out the door to planned group activities). (Always GROUPS! when so much of life is in then reality one needs to know "who one is" ALONE, before the face of God. Solitary.
You can say "let's pray together about _______________________", a more realistic lifestyle for those dependant on Christ. You can take advantage of situations/teaching opportunities where one or two children involved isn't overwhelming to the staff (where a classroomful might NEVER be allowed to participate because logistically there are just too many little bodies being busy!) : Elizabee and Trevor volunteering (at different times) at Doctor's Hospital! They got to do all sorts of amazing things~each as "just one of them", instead of a big group of them--also Trevor, caddying at Boone Valley (while his compatriots were sitting in a classroom somewhere, or riding the bus:(). The childred and I volunteering at Daniel Boone Home was another shared adventure in understanding people/life/history. You might try volunteering at a Nursing home together--or a garden somewhere: hands on. Botany is so much more "catching" than book learning.
You might ask Dave what he would desire his children to learn. Get your direction from GOD, via Dave (maybe plan a date-night/lunch or breakfasst to plan and pray together and trust God together for His leading you!) Ask his (Dave's) advice frequently; he'll grow into it. he is, as the head of the home, being given a tangible opportunity to do what God will enable him to do. You won't be perfect at this--at least WE never have been, but it's definitely WORTH the doing.
Heather, there's plenty of advice out there, plenty of curriculum, plenty of guilt trips, even but you'll need to sift through it all wlith the Lord and determine what's doable for you guys. It CAN be done!
You are loved and prayed for regularly,
Keep me posted!