Why homeschool? Home is a safer place to be!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Home is a safer place to be!

Were you ever bullied in school? Did you ever worry about who you would play with at recess, sit by during study hall, or shower next to after basketball practice? Was there a certain person you dreaded being partnered with for a project or sitting next to in class? Did the thought of walking home after school or riding the bus scare you? Although I usually felt safe at school, the times I didn’t remain fresh in my mind. Unfortunately, bullying is on the rise with about 20% of students being bullied on school property. In fact, our U.S. federal government even has a ‘Stop Bullying’ website to help children learn how to try to stand up to bullying, so they can be safer at school. So, why homeschool? Home is simply a safer place to be!

At home, you can always sit by someone at lunch who loves you!

When it comes time for lunch at home, your children can always sit by someone who loves them. I love to hear our children laughing and telling stories around the kitchen table! We all look forward to mealtimes with one another. We find it is a great time to first pray with one another, and then share food and fellowship with one another. I know these are all things our children would miss if they were not homeschooled.

At home, it is always safe to walk through the ‘halls,’ to go to the restrooms, and to change clothes!

Some of the most common places bullying in schools occurs are the hallways, restrooms, and locker rooms. Changing clothes for gym class, for sport-related activities, or for extracurricular activities is another magnet for bullying in schools. Undressing next to strangers is not ideal. I still don’t really like to do this at the fitness center I attend, and I’m 47 years old! At home, I love that my kiddos are never worried about walking through the ‘halls,’ going to the restrooms, or changing their clothes.

At home, children are safe from school violence.

On Dec. 18, 2018, the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety was completed and submitted to the President. Within that report, I found a startling chronology of school violence. The list begins with the Grover Cleveland shooting in 1979 and ends with the Santa Fe shooting in 2018. Within this “Tragic Chronology” (as it is aptly named), I counted one shooting in the 1970s, nine in the 1980s, five in the 1990s, six up until 2010, and ten so far from 2011 to now. School violence is on the rise. Why homeschool? Our children are safe from school violence! I’d say that’s a pretty compelling reason, wouldn’t you?

A Few of My Less Than Safe Experiences at School

I taught for 7 years in public school prior to having children of my own. While I do have good memories of teaching, I also have memories of some less than safe experiences. For example, I waited to see a principal for my first teaching job interview. There were 2 girls waiting to see the principal with me. One had a broken off pencil stuck in her leg. The other girl was threatening to do worse to her after school. Yet another time, I had to restrain a student who took a scissors and raced outside to ‘go stab a first grade girl’ at recess. Still another time my class had to all stay indoors for recess for an entire week. Why? A student’s father had escaped from prison, and he had made mention of kidnapping his son prior to escaping.

Why homeschool, you ask?

So, you ask, why homeschool? At home your children won’t be bullied. They also won’t have to worry about who they will eat lunch with. At home your children will always find it safe to walk through the halls, to go to the restrooms, and to change clothes. Finally, at home your children won’t have to worry about school violence. In contrast, your children will feel safe being homeschooled. They will look forward to meal times, to ‘recess,’ and to being part of a school in which every single person loves them! And not having to worry about safety frees up brain power to be able to more fully focus on learning! That’s a pretty good reason to homeschool, if you ask me.

In Christ,
Julie

Why homeschool? Be socialized by multiple ages rather than grouped by one age!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Be socialized by family of multiple ages rather than grouped by one age!

Are all of your friends your exact same age, or even within a year or two of your age? I am 47 years old as I type this, and right now the ages of my closest friends range from 26 to 78 years old. Not one of my closest friends is my exact age or even within a year or two of my age. Moreover, my best friends are still my sisters and my mom, along with my husband. When we homeschool, our children are socialized by family of multiple ages. This is in contrast to the usual grouping of children by one age in public school.

Socialization in a Homeschool Setting 

Socialization in a homeschool setting encourages interaction of multiple ages. Every age is considered worthy to exchange ideas with, to talk to, and to play with. No one is left out in the cold. In fact, age is something that rarely comes up. Siblings of all different ages consider each other friends. When ‘recess’ time rolls around, games are made to work for all different ages. During lunch, everyone talks freely, and shares all sorts of things without fear of judgment. During school, every person has something meaningful to share, and not everyone has to be learning the same thing. When grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins stop by, everyone stops to enjoy their company. People are not grouped solely according to their age in any other setting outside of public school.  Socialization in a homeschool setting is much more like the ‘real world!’

The Impact of Socialization in a Homeschool Setting

Our children have only ever been homeschooled. As my husband often travels, my sons have had to help with many things. They answer the door and visit with the mailman as he delivers our packages. When the fireplace repairman needs tools, they find them and hand them to him as he needs them. If the propane truck stops to deliver gas, they introduce themselves to the driver and show him the path my husband prefers he takes to fill the tank. When the contractor is redoing one of our closets, they help him hold shelves and hand him tools as he asks for them. If our trees are being trimmed and sprayed, they head outdoors to help load the trailer with the trimmings. I share these specific stories because every one of these men have commented positively about our sons’ interaction with them. In fact, many have offered them jobs.

The Impact of Socialization of Homeschool Children Outside of the Home

Our children don’t really consider age when socializing outside of our home. When assigned random teams when playing dodgeball at Skyzone, they are happy to play with any age. Younger children are seen as assets, as they are quicker, but they are also seen as little ones to protect. Older children are seen as assets, as they can throw farther, and it’s okay to throw harder at them. When assigned random teams to play basketball at our fitness center, they are happy to play with any age. Older men are seen as assets because they are great at setting up plays, but they are also seen as prone to injury, so they don’t guard them as hard. Younger children are seen as fast and fun, but they are also seen as little ones to mentor. Everyone is someone to get to know, and age just doesn’t enter their mind.

Socialization of Homeschool Children Within the Family

Our children (who are currently 11, 15, and 19 years old) do consider one another best friends. They like to come up with games they can all do together. In our basement, they have 2 mini-basketball hoops. Countless games have been played with all sorts of different rules! They’ve found card games or board games that work for all ages. They have also made outdoor obstacle courses, nerf gun bases, basketball games, snow forts, and 3-wheeler races. Everyone can play because they make the games fit all ages. Whenever we have friends or family over, they blend in just fine. If two of them choose a movie to watch, the next time they choose a movie to watch all together. They each have their own hobbies, music playlists, books, and outdoor interests, but more often than not, they find ways to enjoy time together.

Socialization in Brick and Mortar Schools

When I used to teach in brick and mortar schools before I had children of my own, I had recess duty with multiple ages. I was always sad when children refused to play with students who were not their same age.  However, I was even sadder when children who were siblings refused to play with one another. I also saw older siblings walking home with their classmates, with their younger sibling trail far behind. Their reasoning? The younger sibling was embarrassing to be around when they were with their same age friends. Of course not all students behave this way. Some children in school really do try to take care of their siblings, stand up for them, and hang out with them. Unfortunately it is just harder to do, as for most of the school day, they are separated from their siblings.

Worried About Socialization 

One of the reasons families worry about homeschooling is often due to socialization. I find this ironic! It seems to me the opposite is true. Homeschooled children are not used to being separated into groups by age. When they see an elderly person, they talk to him, assuming he may have something interesting to share. Or if they see a young person at the park, they think it’s great because they have one more person to join their game. This way of thinking more naturally aligns itself with life in general. As long as we expect our homeschooled children to socialize with their siblings, their family, their neighbors, and other people they meet, they will be just fine. In fact, they will probably be better socialized when it’s all said and done, because they will be used to being around people of multiple ages, all the time.

In Christ,

Julie

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