Why I Love Valentine’s Day… Now!

I’ve never really been a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  For me it was just a marketing tool used to rake in thousands of dollars and convince millions of people to buy and eat large amounts of sugar…. commercialism at it’s best!

However, five years ago I started a new Valentine’s Day tradition with our family.  A special evening where we focus on God’s love for us and the love we have for each other.  I decorate our house with lots of hearts and bible verses that express God’s love for us.  I usually make chicken cordon bleu because the entire family really likes it and then I make a special dessert.  This year, dessert was VERY simple as being 37 weeks pregnant I’m low on energy!  I bought gluten free pretzels and put a Hershey’s kiss on each one and popped them into the oven at 170 for about 5 minutes.  Then I topped each one with a pink m&m.  They were a huge hit.

I also try to make something special for each family member.  This year I made each person a presentation of 10 things I love about each one.  Each night starting on Valentine’s Day everyone scratches a heart off to reveal one thing I love about them.  We have all really enjoyed this nightly activity.

Rather than give in to the commercial take on Valentine’s Day try making it a family devotional time and an opportunity to be a blessing to your family!

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Why We Homeschool

I’m often asked why we homeschool and there are so many reasons I thought it would be helpful to get our thoughts on paper… so to speak.   (Disclaimer: Everyone has their own reasons for deciding how their children are taught.  These are OUR reasons for homeschooling.)

1.  God.  This is the number one reason: I am called.  Our oldest went to public school kindergarten and every single day I dropped her off at 7:30 and picked her up at 3:25.  They kept her ‘busy’ the entire day.  Although she had a good experience and had a wonderful teacher I just felt God telling me “I didn’t bless you with these children for them to spend their entire day with someone else.”  t tried to deny it at first, but I believe the bible lays it out plainly for me.

Ephesians 6:4 states: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Deut. 4:9 says “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

But the verse that the Lord used to convict us the most is Deut. 6:5-7.  It say “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I wondered how am I to teach my children when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up if they are gone all day long? How can I hide God’s word in their heart if they are away from me for more hours then they are with me? How can I truly impress upon their hearts if I only see them in the evening for a few hours?

2 Cor 10:5 says “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” How can I make sure they learn to bring every thought captive to Christ if they are spending 80% of their day with someone else?  Someone who, most likely, does not hold the same beliefs or even if they did would not be allowed to discuss it in the public school setting.

Isaiah 38:19 “The living, the living–they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.”

Luke 6:40 states “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Which teacher do I want them to be like?

And finally, Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I really had no idea what homeschooling looked like but I realized that I do not answer to this world, but to Christ.

Again… how can have this kind of impact on my children if they are away from me all day.

2. Opportunity: The opportunities for spiritual, character, academic, social, and family time when homeschooling are a gift from the Lord! I truly believe the traditional American family is disintegrating. It’s too easy to get caught up in the business of this world, running from one activity to the next, playing with the latest technology or whatever takes up our time. Homeschooling affords our family the precious commodity of time. Time spent together, and frankly that’s really what our kids want from us, our time.  I sometimes feel that if my kids were in school I could get so much done!. Then I am reminded how quickly time passes, and how few years we have our children with us before they move on to their own lives. If the average person lives say 85 years, then the 18 years our kids spend with us is less than 1/4 of their lives. I don’t want to look back and think I didn’t spend enough time with them, and 3 hours a day just isn’t enough time.

3. Academically speaking homeschoolers typically rate 37 percentage points higher than public school students. The average homeschool 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average (Rudner study). At home, I can teach each child according to their personal learning style.  I can switch curriculums if a particular one is not working. I can go at the right pace for each child, have one-on-one (not one-on-twenty) teaching.

4.  Our Goals: We asked ourselves what kind of adults we wanted our children to become.   In Luke 2:52 it says “And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men.”

  • We want them to learn to trust in the Word of God, to have it hidden in their heart.
  • We want them to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope they have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Pet 3:15)
  • We want to train them in the way they should go, so it may go well with them.
  • We want them to be healthy, confident, and to know they are beautifully and wonderfully made.
  • We want them to keep their childlike faith, and we want them to be a light in this world.
  • We want them to have good manners, to be compassionate, to be respectful, and to be humble in spirit.

Those are some big expectations for any teacher, and, honestly, I don’t think our public school system is capable of meeting those expectations.  In all honesty, I’m not sure I can do it either, but I’d rather trust God to work through us than leave it up to a stranger.

 5.  Innocence.  We can protect their innocence a tad longer. We don’t have to deal with peer pressure, my kids haven’t watched Harry Potter (no, I don’t think Harry Potter is evil but some images and themes would frighten my 10 year old so why go down that path yet?  There is plenty of time for them to see this kind of stuff) and they still love watching Veggie Tales. They don’t wear suggestive clothing or makeup just because that’s what they do in public school.  They don’t look down on their younger siblings because they aren’t cool anymore.

But more than this, we can protect their sexual innocence longer.  I came across a news story recently that just shocked me.  The link to the article is here but basically a very explicit poster was hung up in an 8th grade sex education classroom titled How Do People Express Their Sexual Feelings and I couldn’t believe what I read.  Some of the things listed were innocent enough although I don’t think telling someone ‘I like you’ has to necessarily be related to sex.  However, many of the acts listed were shocking.

I realize that it’s been almost 30 years since I was in 8th grade and society has changed but I had never even heard of a few of these in 8th grade and I was not raised in a Christian home.  And yes, I do understand that many 13 year olds these days are sexually active but does that make it right?  What happened to parents raising their children to honor God’s plan for sex in marriage and not leaving it up to the public school system and peers of their children to teach them a secular worldview of sex.

In our circle of friends and support system we see parents protecting the innocence of their children, not just throwing up their hands saying ‘well I guess it’s just the way it is.’  They aren’t making sex taboo or anything to be ashamed of.  Rather it’s a gift from God given to those in marriage.  Our society has turned it into nothing more then an act that can occur without any emotion or commitment whatsoever.

We are teaching our children that FAMILY is the foundation, if you will, of society and that family starts with a husband and wife and them sharing in the joy of intimacy.

6.  Socialization.  Well… I think I covered this in my last post!  The LAST place I want my children to be socialized is in the public school system.

Well thanks for sticking with me through this long post.  I’m sure there are other reasons but these encompass the reasons that are most apparent to us.

Gaylene

 

Socialization

As a homeschooling mom I often hear from those that don’t homeschool about the lack of socialization in homeschooling kids and it just makes me wonder how much time they actually spend with homeschooled kids.  More then likely, it’s an issue they have heard about and assumed must be correct or they see some odd and rare example on the news or internet about a secluded homeschool family.  Therefore, this must represent all homeschool families.

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) recently posted an article about a bill proposed in France to limit homeschooling rights to only those with physical or mental disabilities.  All other students would be required to attend the government run public school.  The main reason as stated by the Union for a Popular Movement is they believe homeschooling drastically limits socialization.

I believe this reason is just an excuse because the government just wants control of what the kids in their country are taught.  If they truly spent time with kids that have been homeschooled they would see that a vast majority of them actually have better social skills then those taught in the public school system.

My children spend times with other children of all ages, not just their peer group.  I get many, many compliments when I’m out and about with my kids.  Here are a few:

  • Eating lunch at a fast food place recently, an elderly woman had been sitting close by and as she was leaving she stopped to talk to the girls and said what a lovely family we have.  There are all so pleasant.
  • While recently looking at used vehicles I had Pooh and Belle with me.  The owner’s father in law stopped to talk to us about all kinds of things. He engaged the girls in talking about school, crafts and family life.  After the conversation the girls went to look at a different car and this gentlemen said to me “Whatever you are doing with them keep it up.  I’m retired and I drive a school bus part time and I always take my sunglasses off and make eye contact with the kids as they get off and on the bus (middle school age) and very, very few of them make eye contact with me let alone hold a conversation.”
  • My mom has had many dentist appointments over the last 3 months at 3 different offices.  I usually leave the 3 girls in the lobby while JT and I go back with my mom to talk to the dentist.  Staff from all 3 offices have told me how pleasant my children are to be around and how they can be left alone in a lobby and they still behave without me close by.  I’ve even been told by staff that when they see several children come they cringe inside because it’s usually not a pleasant experience for the staff or the other patients.
  • As a family we got to a nursing home once and sometimes twice a month to sing songs and give hope and encouragement to the residents.  My girls LOVE the day we go to the nursing home.  Without any prompting from us they approach the residents and talk with them and show them love.
  • Because my kids are together everyday they’ve learned to play with each other, learn together and encourage one another.

If this is what non-public school socialization looks like then I’d say it’s more successful then the government controlled, lacking in morals, God denying public education system.

Unfortunately, so many parents in our society say the typical attitude of children is just the way they are rather than maybe the way they are being raised.  Children (especially teenagers) are given a pass because of hormones or puberty or whatever excuse the parents can come up with.  It’s ok to not acknowledge an adult speaking to them, it’s ok not to show respect or be annoyed with those they just don’t want to take the time to talk to.  Well… this is probably another post all by itself… maybe titled Teenage Years and It Doesn’t Have to Be as Bad as Society Says…. hmmm… I like it!

I will take our homeschool socialization over public school socialization any day!