Why homeschool? Home is a healthier place to school!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Home is a healthier place to school!

We continue our series on why you should consider homeschooling your children!  In this Heart of Dakota post, we explore homeschooling as a healthier place for children to be schooled.

Home is a healthier place to school children because there are less germs!

Schools have closed down due to more than a third of the children being too sick to attend. Influenza A, influenza B, and strep throat have forced schools to close their doors and send children home. Schools certainly try to stay on top of the spreading of germs as much as possible! However, it is a difficult task with so many children all using the same small classrooms and restrooms. Antibacterial germicide was even listed on the necessary list of school supplies. However, when one child ate the germicide and was hospitalized, it was removed from the list and banned from local schools. In contrast, the home is a healthier place to school children. It is smaller, easier to clean, and has fewer people to pass germs among. Where are children sent when the school is full of sickness? Home. Why? It is simply a healthier place to be.

Home is a healthier place to school children because allergies can be taken into consideration!

Our son is deathly allergic to fish. I know children who are allergic to peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. To say it is a challenge to feed them is an understatement. I also know children allergic to cats and dogs. Pet dander clings to sweatshirts, coats, and hats, so it easily finds its way into classrooms. One would think opening the windows to air out the classroom would be a good idea! However, what about the children with bee allergies or with outdoor allergies? Tree pollen in the spring, grass and weed pollen in the summer, and ragweed pollen in the fall all make certain children stay indoors. But then again, mold and dust mites thrive indoors and love carpet, pillows, and blankets, which in turn brings us to lice. Hmmm. This is why home is a healthier place to school children. Individual allergies can be taken into consideration!

Home is a healthier place to school children because clothes can be changed and recess can be moved in response to the weather!

Weather tends to change. What makes sense to wear in the morning often doesn’t make as much sense to wear in the afternoon. Likewise, recess for 15 minutes at 11 AM and 1 PM  might not be the best time to venture outside.  I sometimes see my children change clothes 3 different times during our homeschool day. They might start out in shorts, change to t-shirts and jeans, and then throw on sweatshirts and athletic pants. Likewise, we may move recess earlier if snow is coming, or later if snow is coming (no, that is not a typo). Certain kinds of snow are perfect for building snowmen and forts. Other kinds are best viewed looking out a window from the warmth of the home! In homeschooling, clothes can be changed and recess can be moved, which just makes home a healthier place to be.

In Christ,

Julie

Why homeschool? You can share your faith with your children!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? You can share your faith in God with your children on a daily basis!

Before my husband and I had children to homeschool, I taught other children in public school. Barb Wigg was a second grade teacher who I dreamed of my own children being taught by someday. She loved each and every child in her classroom, she played guitar and sang, she loved finding amazing books to read, she came early and stayed late, she loved teaching, but even more importantly – she loved Jesus. Perfect, right? Well, I was right about Barb Wigg – she truly was a fantastic teacher, and she probably still is today. Just one thing was wrong; she taught in a public school. And that meant as much as she loved Jesus, she couldn’t share her faith with her students.

2003: Wigg vs. the Sioux Falls School District

In October 2002, “The Good News Club” (or the “Club”) requested to use 5 of the 26 elementary schools in our school district after school hours. Many other groups met there already, like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). The Club’s request was also accepted. In December of 2002, Barb Wigg decided she would enjoy teaching in the Club. It was a Christian Bible study group for children, which Barb loved. However, when Barb attended the first Club meeting after school hours, the school district said she could not attend any more. Barb stood up for her rights, and that was the beginning of a long, expensive, and exhausting year in the court system. In fact, Barb Wigg eventually wound up in the United States District Court and on Fox News.

Changes in Our School District

Though Barb did win, and she did go on to teach children about Jesus after school hours, she still couldn’t share her faith with the children in her classroom. In fact, she had to be extra careful she didn’t share anything – ever – about her faith in her classroom because now the school district was watching. Very closely. In fact, they were watching all of us very closely. I saw many changes in our school district after that. Our Christian music teacher did her first Christmas concert without Christian songs. The school calendar committee changed “Easter Break” to “Spring Break,” and “Christmas” to “Holiday Break.” High school valedictorians had a ‘moment of silence’ instead of a prayer at graduation. The school talent contest banned violinists and pianists from playing Christian music pieces. Coaches quit praying with their players before games.

Even the most wonderful Christian teachers can’t share their faith with children in public schools!

As I had my own first son, my dream of having Barb Wigg as his teacher began to fade. Barb Wigg was still an amazing teacher, and she still had an incredible heart for the Lord! But I began to realize, even the most wonderful Christian teachers can’t share their faith in public schools.  I began to look ahead and try to handpick the best Christian teachers I could for my son. For first grade, there was ‘so-and-so,’ and for second grade there was ‘so-and-so,’ and for third grade there was ‘so-and-so.’ But there were a few problems with this. First of all, each of the ‘so and so’s were at different schools. Second of all, some grades didn’t seem to have any ‘so-and so’s.  Third of all, I was a Christian myself, and the truth was I knew I’d lose my job if I shared my faith with my own students. I had to assume other Christian teachers were in the same predicament.

In homeschooling, you can share your faith in God with your children every day!

Every day I wake up thankful I can share my faith in God with my children as I homeschool with Heart of Dakota. I don’t have to be careful what I say, what music I play, what books I read, what questions I ask, what discussions I lead. No, I can choose because I am the teacher in my own home, and as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. What an incredible blessing! What a gift to cherish! We start our day with Christian music. Each meal we begin with prayer. Throughout the school day, we pull out our Bibles to seek God’s wisdom. When we get the call my Dad has cancer, we cry and pray and pray together, as a family, right there in the middle of our homeschool day. Sometimes I run into my former students. They are old now! Married and with children themselves. We hug and catch up with one another, but one thought makes my heart ache – I taught them so much, but I didn’t teach them about God. That grieves me.

No one will share their faith in God with your children like you can.

Children can have the best teachers in the world, but no one will share their faith in God with your children like you can. You don’t have to be the most eloquent, you don’t have to have all the answers, you don’t have to be perfect – no one is. All you have to do is live it. Your greatest testimony is your own personal faith in God, your own relationship with Him, your own walk with Him. You have within your power to daily share your own faith in God with His greatest blessings He’s bestowed upon you – your children. Don’t convince yourself someone else can do it better. You can. You are the one for the job, and no one can do it better. Dig in!  Your children await.

 

In Christ,

Julie

Why homeschool? The principal, teacher, and students love your children!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Your children will always be loved by the principal, the teacher, and the other students!

In this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series, we are exploring reasons why you should homeschool. When you think back to your own elementary, middle school, and high school education, do you remember a principal or a teacher who just didn’t like you? Maybe you dreaded being called upon in their class or being summoned to their office. Or, maybe a fellow student or two just seemed to have it in for you? No matter how you tried, they just didn’t like you. Maybe you dreaded being partnered with them, sitting by them, walking past them, sharing a locker with them, standing in line by them, or going to recess or gym class with them. Negative experiences such as this impact children’s learning and hamper their potential to do their best.

In contrast, what if your principal loved your children?

The ‘principal’ of many homeschool families is also known as ‘Dad.’ He is often the support system, and the behind-the-scenes driving force that makes homeschooling possible.  The ‘teacher’ of many homeschool families is also known as “Mom.’ She is often the manager of the home, making homeschooling happen in the day-to-day.  Sometimes these roles are reversed, shared, or done solo, but no matter which scenario fits your homeschooling, one thing remains the same: both principal and teacher love the children. The bond between parent and child is strong. In homeschooling, having the support of both the principal’s governing force and the teacher’s educating capabilities just helps children have a better opportunity to do their best and meet their highest potential.

What if every single one of the ‘other students’ in the class loved your children?

The ‘other students’ of many homeschool famlies are often known as ‘siblings.’ They are the other members of the ‘class,’ and they make up the team that year-after-year attends ‘school’ together. They are there to encourage one another, to support each other, and to cheer one another on as they celebrate milestones and victories. They take an interest in one another because they are truly invested in each other’s lives, not only for the present, but also for the future.  Why? Because they love each other. Forever. That is how God designed families; blood truly is thicker than water.

What if every school year, you knew your child was absolutely, completely 100% loved by the teacher?

Do you long for your child’s teacher to love your child and give him a bright future? What if you started every school year knowing your child would 100% absolutely, completely be loved by the teacher? And what if the teacher woke up every day dreaming of how she could make just your child’s future better? What if, year after year, she moved up with your child grade by grade? And she really got to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses, honing in on just what your child needed the most?  What if she hugged your child every morning? Personally read to him every day? Asked only him discussion questions to make sure all was well-understood? Well, look in the mirror… that teacher is YOU!

No one will love your children like you will.

I had 7 years of public school teaching before I homeschooled my own children. Admittedly, I cared for each of the children in my 7 classes.  I tried my best to teach them all that I could and to give them a happy, safe environment in which to learn. However, I didn’t LOVE them like I love my own children. I wake up each day thankful I can homeschool my own children. I know the ‘principal,’ and he loves them with all of his heart too. Furthermore, I know all the other ‘students,’ and they think the whole ‘class’ is great – every one, best friend material. Finally, I know the ‘teacher,’ and she loves my children to the moon and back. I know because I am her.

One of the best reasons to homeschool is your children will always be loved by the ‘principal,’ the ‘teacher,’ and the ‘other students.’ No one will love your children like you will, and that makes for a pretty amazing learning environment. So, why not start homeschooling today?

In Christ,

Julie

Why homeschool? Enjoy Self-Paced Instruction and Learning

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? You can enjoy self-paced instruction and self-paced learning!

In this From Our House to Yours series, we are exploring reasons why you should homeschool. One of the many reasons we enjoy homeschooling is we can take advantage of self-paced instruction, while our children can take advantage of self-paced learning.  Self-paced instruction is any kind of instruction that proceeds based on learner response. There are many different settings where self-paced instruction is employed. It may take place in curriculum, in corporate level training, in technical tutorials, and in a variety of other settings. With self-paced learning, your student can make his own decisions and instead of working within a certain amount of time, he can work with the time that is needed for him to complete his best work.

How I would have loved self-paced instruction and self-paced learning, especially in high school!

I would have loved self-paced instruction and self-paced learning in high school! Let me explain. I used to love high school math class. It was just something I enjoyed and understood well. However, when I finished early, I felt like I was just killing time until the bell rang. It would have been so nice if I could have just moved on to the next math concept! Or, maybe better still, just moved onto my next subject – a natural reward for finishing early.

I also used to love creative writing class. In contrast though, I never felt I had enough time. I would just be on to a new and exciting idea, in my own happy world of choosing just the right words, and then the dreaded bell would ring.

Chemistry posed yet another pacing problem. I needed more time – period. With more time, I could have possibly understood the concepts better, or at least not been in such a rush to finish by the bell that I lit the wooden table on fire with my bunsen burner! How about you? When you think back to your own education, how could have self-paced instruction or self-paced learning positively impacted you and your education?

Ways Heart of Dakota Encourages Self-Paced Instruction

With Heart of Dakota, each guide is complete and has an easy boxed format of plans. This empowers me to spread out the different boxes as time allows throughout my day. Furthermore, I can do the boxes in any order. For example, I never want to rush through Bible Study or devotionals when homeschooling. So, I have always chosen to do Bible first thing in the morning, at a leisurely pace, so I can allow ample time for reading and discussion. Additionally, beginning with Creation to Christ and continuing through U.S. History II high school, plans are just 4 days a week. They are not connected to any seasons, holidays, months, or days of the week. So, I have always chosen to homeschool 5 days a week in the winter and take 2 weeks off at Christmas. These are efficient practical ways I take advantage of pacing my instruction with Heart of Dakota.

Ways Heart of Dakota Encourages Self-Paced Learning

With Heart of Dakota, each guide has a range of ages with multiple levels of language arts and math.  This allows me to place my children in the guide that fits them best, so not all my children at age 10, for example, were doing the same guide. For one of my sons who was a more advanced reader and writer, I placed him in Resurrection to Reformation at 10 years old. I placed another son in Creation to Christ at 10 years old because that fit him best. Likewise, subjects like reading, spelling/dictation, math, and grammar have plans for multiple levels in each guide.  Two of my sons did Drawn into the Heart of Reading Student Book Level 4/5 their 6th grade year with 5/6 Boy Interest Books. One of my sons did Drawn into the Heart of Reading Student Book Level 6/7/8 his sixth grade year with 6/7 Level books. Similarly, they were all in different places in their dictation passages, math levels, and grammar levels.

It is a blessing to enjoy self-paced instruction and self-paced learning now by homeschooling my own children!

Each one of our children has natural God-given abilities and interests. In homeschooling, we can recognize and celebrate that! It is such a blessing to enjoy self-paced instruction and self-paced learning.  With self-paced instruction and self-paced learning, each individual can make the best use of his or her time in order to meet his or her learning objectives.  Teachers of large groups in typical schools must aim the pacing of instruction at the middle third of the students, which means it is not uncommon for a large portion of the group to be either under challenged or over challenged. Likewise, there are just too many students and too few teachers to offer self-paced learning.  Homeschooling with Heart of Dakota gives you the opportunity to embrace both of these efficient and inspiring ways of teaching and learning!  This is just one more reason why you should homeschool!

In Christ,

Julie

 

Why homeschool? Free Time for Personal Interests, Hobbies, and Skill Development

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… Stop waiting for time to pass, and start choosing how to pass your time!

I bet a lot of you are like me and attended public or private school growing up. Large class sizes with one teacher often meant wasted time sitting at my desk. I would whittle hours of time away… just watching the clock and waiting.  Waiting for the teacher. More waiting for other students. Still more waiting for the class period to be over. Waiting for the bell to ring. More waiting for the lunch line to move. Even more waiting for the school bus to come. WAITING! Well, that brings me to one more reason why you should homeschool… so you can stop waiting for time to pass and start choosing how to pass your time!

Free time gives children time to pursue personal interests, develop  hobbies, and learn new skills.

There are so many things our children can do with their free time! When children are young, free time simply gives children time to think, to imagine, and to play!  Free time such as this for young children is the springboard for future interests, hobbies, and skills.  God has given each child different gifts and talents, and free time gives children time to discover them.

An Example of Free Time Helping Children Pursue Personal Interests

One of our sons as a young boy loved to build with legos, castillos, and blocks. Heart of Dakota‘s art, history, and science projects helped him learn how to build things systematically, step-by-step.  I was glad Heart of Dakota’s hands-on projects allowed for creativity, so he could design his own project rather than make a cookie-cutter project. Through the years, I have watched his creations become more and more intricate. With a lego computer program, I have seen ample 3-D creations be designed and then be built.  I imagine this personal interest could impact his future career, in a field such as drafting or engineering.

An Example of Free Time Helping Children Develop Hobbies

Our sons as young boys rode old 3-wheelers that my husband fixed up one at a time. They could often be seen racing around the yard on their 3-wheelers in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, they made a figure-eight track through the snow, hooked up a sled to their 3-wheelers and raced some more. I asked my husband for his brothers, who are excellent welders, to make small trailers to hook up to 3-wheelers. Soon I saw 3-wheelers with trailers whizzing to the garden to pick raspberries, down the gravel to exercise our dogs, and around the yard to pick up sticks.

One by one, each of the 3-wheelers broke down. They were old, so it was inevitable. I watched my husband fix each of the 3-wheelers, one by one, with whichever son owned the broken down 3-wheeler. Recently, I watched one of our sons rebuild an entire 3-wheeler with my husband’s help. I believe this will be a lifelong hobby for this son!

An Example of Free Time Helping Students Develop New Skills

Our sons as young boys built a tiny snow fort that promptly fell down. However, as they matured, they discovered making snow ‘bricks’ out of ice by adding water to slabs of snow made stronger bricks. I watched their tiny snow fort grow to a massive snow fort through the years.  This was all under the tutelage of one of our sons. He took a keen interest in building things, systematically, step-by-step in a way that would cause them to last.

I watched him lead his brothers in carefully creating a final fort that would withstand the elements for longer and longer periods of time.  In fact, I took a picture of one of their snow forts surrounded by grass!  The fort withstood the spring’s warmer temperatures for longer than I’d have imagined!  A few years later, I watched as this son built our retaining wall with cement bricks using a similar concept! Brick by brick, the retaining wall emerged, and it still stands strong today!

In Closing

I have found giving our sons free time gives them time to pursue personal interests, develop hobbies, and learn new skills. I think you would find the same to be true with your own children! So, in closing, why should you homeschool? So your children can have free time to discover the gifts and talents the Lord has given them! Why not homeschool, so you can stop waiting for time to pass, and start choosing how to pass time?!?

In Christ,
Julie