Only Child

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 I have an only child and my relatives and teacher friends say this is why I should never homeschool.  Is this true?

Absolutely not!  False, bummer info, phooey, phooey!  If I listened to my relatives 20 years ago and particularly my teacher friends my son would not be the person and student he is today.

I will take this opportunity to share my "testimony" of how the good Lord directed me to "homeschooling" for our two sons. I have had several hurdles to hop over through the years but the starting gate was my biggest challenge. 

The first hurdle I had to overcome was the fact I was trained and received my degree in Elementary .Education and Early Childhood Education. Both my husband and I were "certified" teachers.  I am a rule follower; I obey and if given a manual I will follow it to the "T" (whatever that means).

So, that killed my creativity right there.  Most of the home school mothers I knew who didn't share that degree did a far better job with enthusiasm and creativity than I.  I take my hat off to all of them and many will never know the way they so inspired me.

The second hurdle was that my peers couldn't believe I would stop teaching to stay at home and raise my own child (what a novel idea)....hmmm,  while I had worked to "train" other mother's children; kind of ironic.  Along with that hurdle was having our income cut in half and me feeling rather unproductive as just a "stay at home mom" (big lie from the enemy, of course).

The third hurdle was the fact my husband (when my son was pre-school/ kindergarten age) was now a principal at a Christian school and as part of his pay, our son's tuition was included. That sounded great!  However, it was an hour drive to the school and they had only half-day kindergarten.  Since I had taught kindergarten, I rationalized I could do that with him at home and when 1st grade came he could ride with Daddy to work and have great quality time.  But, Daddy's schedule kept him away from home a lot.  Typical of Christian schools you may have one job title but numerous jobs and expectations.  His included early morning meetings (why do people succumb to all those meetings?), late night basketball games, evening church services and afterschool meetings.  I would still have to drive one hour each way to get him to that Christian school.  I began to have some concerns with the school children attending, too. The same children shared his little Sunday school classes.  Their parents were letting them watch movies and play with toys that we found very counterproductive to the character training we were trying to instill in our child.  Children are very "black and white".  God wired them that way.  I felt I had a responsibility to nurture our son in righteousness and a love for God and clear rejection of evil.  If he were in public school and he heard and saw children doing questionably wrong behavior, I could have said, "honey, they don't know the Lord, that is why they are 'blind' and doing that, or watching that, or playing with those evil looking creatures".  But, how do you explain the fact that fellow Christians are doing all of that?  It would be very confusing and destructive to a very young child's faith and I wasn't willing to risk that.  I was initially against home-schooling in favor of a Christian school education but while I was doing Kindergarten with my son, the Lord was beginning to bring conviction to my spirit and turn my heart toward home-schooling through several means.  No time for that here.

Believe it or not, my husband's biggest concern was that I would not be able to teach our son to read.  HELLLLOOOOO....didn't I teach other children phonics and reading in my public school position??  I guess somehow it doesn't work for our own children?  That is laughable to us now but to me was another hurdle; he didn't believe in my ability as a mother and now my ability as a teacher was in question.  It was deflating!  In his defense, I will say his Master's degree was in secondary reading (teaching the kids in high school to read who didn't learn in elementary school) so reading was a big issue to him.  And, it should be.  Nevertheless,  I had to pray hard for his heart to change and allow me to do this.

Hurdle #4 was the fact that we had turned down paid tuition for our son to attend our church's Christian school, when my husband was the high school principal in choosing to home school him.  That was not "politically correct" to say the least.  That was his third and last year of working at that school.  I had peace in my heart (with poverty in my pocketbook) that somehow God would take care of us and lead us because of my choice to obey the conviction of the Lord in my heart.  It was tough, it was more than tough, for everywhere I turned I felt opposition except from those I knew who had chosen to whole heartedly pursue the Lord and follow His call to sacrifice for their families in raising and training their children at home.  I had new appreciation for the Pilgrim's after that, believe me.  This was nothing compared to what they did to follow God's leading.

Hurdle #5 was relatives.  I was criticized for teaching him manners.  My family was tolerant and observant, but a brother-in-law who sister's also taught in pubic schools, kept remarking, "it was fine for us when we went through, what's wrong with it today?"  Do you get that unrealistic question??  People can be very unreasoning and naive in their thinking.

Hurdles #6 was friends who didn't share my convictions about the eduational system of today and our choice to home educate.  One friend chose public schooling for her son and often questioned what my son was missing by home schooling.  But, as always, the Lord is faithful.  My son is now grown.  He was raised as an only child for a full nine years.  I struggled with my decision through the years, probably each year and especially when some fellow homeschoolers jumped ship when their children hit middle school or high school to "ensure they get into college with an adequate education".  I questioned if I was still doing what was best for our son.  I cried, I sought the Lord, I did without things my heart desired but God helped me persevere.  I learned that is really what faith is about, doing something because you know in your spirit that God told you to and trusting Him with the results when you can't see the evidence He is working it all out.

My conclusion will be brief.  God is faithful.  My son has risen to call me blessed, as Proverbs 31 says.  Every Godly mother lives to hear those words and that is something no amount of money can buy.  I am a blessed woman. God has promoted my son to positions of leadership at the United States Air Force Academy; a very difficult institution to gain entrance to.  That is God's blessing and abundant favor. He has earned the Superintendent's pin for excellence in Academic achievement, Athletic achievement and Military leadership.  My son homeschooled all the way through. It can be done.  God honors his Word.

My friend's son is precious.  But, his education didn't provide better socialization than ours.  In fact, we got lots more with all our son was involved with that public education wouldn't have provided.  We were blessed.  I guess they are all reconsidering their concerns and criticisms now.  Both sets of parents now applaud our decision.  The fruit is there and they love it!

I will close with the following words of encouragement:  Hangeth thou in there!  And, you WILL be blessed!

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