Thursday, February 7, 2013

HELPING NEW HOMESCHOOLERS {what would you share?}


Last night as I was sitting and talking with one of my daughters about what it will be like to adjust for female hormones in upcoming years, and the self control she will need to employ when her feelings are exaggerated from the norm.  

She looked over at me fondly and said,  "I am so glad you are not perfect.  If you never messed up I think it would be WAY harder on me."  

"Ha!  Well... you. are. welcome!"  I laughed.  So nice to be the imperfect, mess up example, right?

And maybe that is one component of homeschooling that is difficult to embrace at times.  Perfection is not our friend. 

When the Lord called parents to disciple their children as we sit in our house, when we walk along the way, when we lie down and when we rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7) He wasn't expecting perfection from us.  He was expecting diligence in teaching His commands; He was expecting us to engage our children in conversation about living for Him, but I am convinced He was not expecting perfection- or He never would have given me children.  :)

In a few days I plan to bring my imperfect self, and a few of my imperfect peers, to speak with several Christian sisters who are considering pulling their children out of public school.  As I have been giving this opportunity some real thought and prayer, I have been wondering what (beyond the practical HSLDA information and local connections to help them with curriculum)  should I share?


When I signed up for my first year of homeschooling in 2002, I remember confiding in the administrator of our umbrella school that I wasn't sure I could do this.  I think we all feel that way at the beginning.  But we can do it!  How do I know?  

Because God will help us to do it.  

Paul tells us in Philippians that we have strength to do all that God ordains because He infuses us with His power in our times of need.  In other words, if He has called you, He will enable you.  Paul uses a Greek verb that means "to be strong" or "to have strength" because believers are strengthened (he uses a Greek word that means "put power in") by the Holy Spirit.  God tells us that we can do all things through Christ.  

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  
-Philippians 4:13   


And just while we are struggling with our own insecurities, well meaning family and friends usually have a lot of questions for us.  And- truth be told- they are often voicing some of our own fears as we head out into the unknown.   So I will want to share a few of the common questions, and answers from the perspective of a mom who has been in the trenches a few years.  

Q.  Is Homeschooling legal?
A.  Homeschooling is completely legal in every state within the US, but with varying restrictions within each state (see for the guidelines for your state).  We follow state law, which in CA means notifying our state that our children are being educated privately and where.  We always register within an umbrella school, which is a private school made up of many other families.  You also have the freedom to register independently if you desire to.  

Q.  What about college?  Won't homeschoolers be less prepared?  
A.  According to US News & World Report* students coming from a home school "graduated college at a higher rate than their peers... and earned higher grade point averages along the way."  The truth is, many of the homeschoolers we know that have their eye on college begin testing out of a lot of the lower level courses while still in High School and actually get a jump start on their college coursework.  

Q.  Are you really qualified to teach your children?
A.  As parents we are able to follow a curriculum just as well as a public school teacher.  And the reality is, we are more invested in our children's future, character and walk with the Lord than anyone else.  Isn't it ironic that those of us who have gone through the government's education program would be seen as unqualified to pass on what we have been taught?  I am not sure that speaks well of the quality of education they think we received.  

Q.  What about socialization?  Will your children be able to relate to others?
A.  Different children have different temperments.  Some homeschoolers are shy.  Some public schoolers are shy.  My kids- which sometimes gives their Mama sweaty palms- are not shy.  When my teen daughter asks to hand out gospel tracts to those around her, I am not too worried about socialization.  We want to create godly socialization.  One in which our young people are not divided into peer groups and pressured to go with the flow, but where they have a heart for those around them and can relate in a healthy way with all ages.  

Q.  What about the areas I know that I have weaknesses in? 
A.  It is healthy to know your own weaknesses and compensate for those.  There are so many options available to the homeschooler these days:  Textbooks designed for homeschoolers, CD's, Videos, "Living books," Supplemental classes (local or online), co-ops, hands on experiences, internships and so on.  As homeschool parents we are actually seeking to work ourselves out of a job in some ways.  We want to teach our children how to find the information they need and excite them about learning and working hard to accomplish goals.  We don't have to know everything or teach everything to well manage our children's education.

What things would you share with these new homeschooling moms?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.



* "More than 2 million U.S. students in grades K-12 were home-schooled in 2010, accounting for nearly 4 percent of all school-aged children, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. Studies suggest that those who go on to college will outperform their peers.  Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers­—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009."  According to US News & World Report, Article Home-Schooled Teens Ripe for College by Kelsey Sheehy, June 1, 2012 


  1. What a great post Rebecca! My oldest is twelve and I have many moms asking me questions about homeschooling. So many in fact that I've decided to host a dessert and invite them all to come so that I can encouraged them to begin this rewarding journey.
    The difficulty I often have in these conversations is that I forget what it was like six years ago. I forget these questions. So, thank you.

    Can I have your permission to print this for my friends? I will print the source and web address with it because I want them to come here and benefit even more from your words. But I would love to give them your words in this post (better than what I would produce) as a starting place.

    Grace and peace to you from our Father today,

  2. Thank you, Amy!

    And what a great idea to host a dessert to minister to these younger moms! I am praying for your meeting.

    I would be honored if you wanted to share this article.

    Also, feel free to friend us on Facebook ( to see some of the things the veteran homeschool moms I admire (those who have graduated homeschoolers) are sharing about this topic. :)

    Blessings friend,

  3. That reminds me, one of you emailed me a while back and asked if you could friend me on Facebook. I am so sorry, I lost your email and didn't respond! I feel terrible.

    Yes, I would love to share more with my likeminded friends. Come say hi! At:


  4. I think that was me, Rebecca. :). So glad I read the comment section. Amy in CA