Five Reasons to Homeschool High School-Part 2

homeschool-highschool

Previously, in Part 1 of “Five Reasons to Homeschool High School,” I encouraged those of you who were thinking about homeschooling high school to really go for it. Here’s the rest of the reasons why it would be worth your while.

 

4.) Your children will never forget your sacrifice.

One of the most satisfying moments has been when our kids told us individually that they were glad we stuck to homeschooling them through high school. When they were in the primary/middle grades, they had asked to be transferred to the local high school just up the street from us. They wanted to try out what everyone else was doing. My heart sunk at first; I knew the day would come when I would have to handle this situation.

So, what did we do? Every day after our own schooling sessions, I would bring them down to the local high school. I would make sure they were able to interact with the kids there. Every single day.

Long story short, after about a few months of doing this, they both came to me to tell me that they didn’t think they wanted to go to the local high school after all. I asked them why.  They talked about being ostracized because of their background of being homeschooled. They mentioned their shock that so many of the kids could not converse on current issues; they were only interested in topics about popular culture.

They did find one or two who were willing to get to know them. I’m sure there were a few more. I imagine these students who might have differed from the status quo came from families where parents made a point of interacting purposefully with their high schoolers.

Regardless of what the schools taught, these parents were proactive. Isn’t that what homeschooling is about? Most of us have been brainwashed into thinking we can’t do high school, but we’ve been teaching our kids since they came out of our wombs.

Eventually, our kids came to realize that we put our hearts into their schooling. We answered their questions and didn’t shy away from uncomfortable subjects. And those questions were tough, I can tell you. There was no one else to answer those questions- we were the school counselors and the teachers to our kids, as you are.

Success in parenting and homeschooling doesn’t come from never making any mistakes; it comes from our kids seeing our own acceptance of ourselves despite any failings or inadequacies, and doing our best despite it all. Those of you who have teenagers at home know that you can’t pull the wool over their eyes. You have to be real 24/7. It is in this that you have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference in your kids’ lives in an unmatched way.

Were there other parents who were skeptical when they found out we were homeschooling high school? Oh, yes, I assured our kids that we adults also faced our own brand of peer pressure as well. Quite a few people assumed that our sheltering meant that our kids would not survive the college experience. However, I always talked to them about nature when this topic came up.

I told them that other mammals sheltered and taught their young until such time as they were ready to thrive in a dangerous world. We home gardeners shelter our seedlings until such time as they are able to withstand the elements and thrive, producing for us succulent tomatoes, zucchinis and peppers. Why should we not shelter and train our children until such time as they would be strong and ready to take on the world? We can create opportunities for them within safe parameters as we teach them. The criticism of this narrowness of the ‘home’ in homeschooling is an old, tired put down that our detractors have chosen to shame us with over and over again. Unfortunately for them, the accomplishments of homeschool graduates continue to give the lie to their arguments.

5.) Your work will bless future generations.

Thinking outside the box has fueled innovations and inventions throughout the centuries. These blessings borne of individuality and personal tenacity cannot be underestimated.

As we were making our wedding plans years ago, my husband casually mentioned that he really wanted to see his future children homeschooled. I had thought he was joking at the time. Why, everybody went to school, I thought! I didn’t think about it until the kids were old enough to be put into kindergarten. I was flabbergasted that he still hadn’t forgotten our conversation even then. When he told me about his experiences in high school, I was forced to recall my own painful ones growing up.

Here’s the thing about public schooling: it’s one size fits all and if you don’t fit the prescribed size, the general conclusion is that you must also be defective. You are labeled and may then be transferred to more appropriate programs which will re-educate you according to what those in authority have decided is best for you. Parental rights may or may not be respected in these considerations.

But what about those of you who cannot homeschool high school right now? I want to reiterate what I said in Part 1: it’s how you live that’s most important to your teen. It won’t matter if you homeschool full time but your religion is only real to outsiders. Your child has to see that even though you’re not perfect, you’ll do everything possible to disciple them with compassion, wisdom, courage and love. Don’t give an inch on your most important values, but always let them know you love them. For teens, this is done by listening to their concerns even as you teach them. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to apologize, but don’t be afraid to hold firm on your rules either.

Remember the quote from ‘Miracle’ that I used in Part One? Herb Brooks was right. I want to say the same thing to all of you: this is your time. You were born to be wives and homeschooling moms. You were meant to be here and nothing in the world’s going to stop you. I’m tired of hearing the naysayers have their day with us.

This is your time.

So go out there and take it!

 

 

Five Reasons to Homeschool High School-Part 1

homeschool-highschool
image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Have any of you ever watched the movie ‘Miracle?’ It’s a 2004 movie starring Kurt Russell. He plays the US Olympics Hockey Team Coach, Herb Brooks, who leads the young men under his charge to victory against the Russian team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Americans won gold that year; they were vastly considered under-dogs as the Russians were a formidable team greatly feared by all who played them. Two of my favorite quotes from the movie are:

Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have…This is your time. Now go out there and take it.

Two days later the miracle was made complete. My boys defeated Finland to win the gold medal, coming from behind once again… I’ve often been asked in the years since Lake Placid what was the best moment for me. Well, it was here – the sight of 20 young men of such differing backgrounds now standing as one. Young men willing to sacrifice so much of themselves all for an unknown. A few years later, the U.S. began using professional athletes at the Games – Dream Teams. I always found that term ironic because now that we have Dream Teams, we seldom ever get to dream. But on one weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed most – a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance, once again, to believe.

I want to focus on two words for one minute: Opportunity and Believe. While you read the five reasons why you can homeschool high school, let those two words percolate in your mind as you grab a cup of tea, sit back and relax. :)

1.)  You can do it.

We were always a homeschooling family, and things weren’t going too badly at all until high school came along. The naysayers came out in droves then. People asked what I was going to do for Math and Science. After all, I didn’t have a Science background. They wondered if our children’s college prospects would dim with such an ‘education.’ Yeah, you’ve all heard it too, I’m sure. I always thought it strange that not one of them ever offered to teach those hard courses so that our kids could get into college.  But, I’m here to tell you today that you can do it. Our kids are in college now and doing well.

Some people would say that moms are intimidated by the prospect of teaching high school. I understand that fear. It doesn’t help that we moms have been told that this accomplishment is best left up to the experts. Well, too many of us have been listening to that spiel for decades. Unfortunately, what the experts have produced have not encouraged nor comforted us; their assurances ring hollow in the face of another school shooting, another high school teacher sex scandal, another school district misappropriating education dollars, another teen bullying scandal ending in death and yet another year of sub-standard student performance in Math, Science and English with the requisite excuses.

Are you tired of it all moms? I know I am. Yet, so many of us are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Some of us are already bogged down with stressful jobs, maybe we have a special needs child at home, maybe our financial circumstances are in thebred zone, and maybe our marriages aren’t going too great at the moment too. I know we’ve been through all of that. I’m no different than all of you. Just like you, I want good things for my family, I want my marriage to be happy and most of all, I want to see my own children thrive and navigate successful adult lives with courage and wisdom.

So, this first tip says, ‘ You can do it.’ I want to reiterate the importance of telling you this. Once you decide to press on, your perseverance each day will determine success. This holds true whether you’re good at Math and Science or you can’t tell the difference between a beaker and a pipette. In future posts, I will show you how you can homeschool high school with tools already out there, whether you can homeschool full time, part-time or just help your child with homework.

2)  You don’t have to know everything.

No, you don’t. Sure, it’s still hard work, but the main reason you are doing this is to train your kids to be able to navigate the adult world with confidence and courage. Naysayers might say that sending them to school does that. No, it doesn’t . All it does is prepare them to navigate a small segment of the population not always indicative of the real world. Our schools are bogged down with politically correct rules, and I see young people graduating high school without the tools of financial responsibility, the social graces and skills which make for a smooth transition to the work world, or the ability to interface with people of all ages, circumstances and origins. School is just a small sub-section of society.

I went to public school and I can remember being devastatingly shy. I was always in the ‘uncool’ group, and definitely not in step with the current norms created by the cool kids of yesteryear. However, in our homeschool, we taught our kids to be the ones to set the norms instead. The ones who would tell others to do the right thing, whether it was cool or not.

3) You will never regret it.

It’s hard to go through the day to day motions and not feel discouraged. Oh yes, we had late homeworks and days of shoddy work as well. You might think it should never happen. But it does, doesn’t it? It’s part and parcel of homeschooling. Life has always been a battleground. It has never been any less so just because others think you should send your kids to high school. In my town, parents have to deal with drugs in our local high school, peer bullying and under-aged smoking. How about sex education? The schools are deciding when, how and what your child learns about porn, marriage, and pedophilia. Well, what’s a mom to do? What if you ARE satisfied with the high school your child goes to or you have little ones that you are currently homeschooling and you just cannot handle the extra high school load now? No problem. Just keep the lines of communication open with your high school teenager. It’s what they need more than anything else. Be a safe place for them to ask questions, no matter how uncomfortable those questions are. The relationship you forge with them will give you great comfort and courage  when they’re far away in college in the future and you’re missing them greatly. You will never regret it because they will never forget that you were there for them.

Homeschooling high school can be a daunting task, but I promise you it’s something you will never regret doing. Read Part 2 (coming soon) for a continuation of two more tips,along with personal anecdotes, and my personal philosophy about homeschooling high school.

What Saved Me From Destroying Family


		
		destroying family
			
			
		
	
A devoted wife and mom shares what saved her from destroying family and brought restoration.

After I weaned my 17 month old baby, I, a devoted and loving Christian wife and mother, began to destroy family with my own hands.

Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. ~ Proverbs 14:1 (AMP)

I wanted to be the best wife and mother I could be. However, I was emotionally out of control. These bad emotions were driving my choices. I made some good-intentioned but bad decisions based on these out-of-control emotions. These misguided choices left the well-being of my family teetering on the edge of a cliff.

What saved me from destroying family was my choice to stay connected with extended family and friends who kept praying for us. These same folks also took loving, firm action to see our family restored. Since that time, part of what has continued to help is joining women’s prayer groups and homeschool support groups where prayer is openly embraced. This has been a very powerful way to plug into our local (and global) community. Even when the prayer has been by phone, it has been powerful and effective because God is there with us all adding his power to our prayers, as He promised.

For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I Am in the midst of them. ~ Matthew 18:20 (AMP)

YOU CAN PREVENT DESTROYING FAMILY

Just like me, you may also be a homeschool parent dealing with stress, anxiety and hardships. To compound these troubles, you may have also become isolated. This is a recipe for disaster that could end up destroying family.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose to plug-in locally, or at least by phone. Trust the Lord to connect you with compassionate, empathetic leaders. Ask them to stand in prayer of agreement with you. Have expectation for God’s power to bring results for you and your family.

When you take that first step by just showing up, you will be amazed at how the Lord will use others to help you. Part of my story is that I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. For a period of my life, I had blocked traumatic memories. Then, when I did start remembering, it was an overwhelming flood that left me feeling like I no longer wanted to be here. And I kept it secret because the enemy had me deceived and scared.

HELPFUL SUGGESTED RESOURCES

My life and family was restored through making a choice to get plugged in with those who could help. What and who have helped us include a combination of the following:
• Christian Therapy
• Prayer Groups
• Church Worship Service
• Personal Prayer and in-depth Bible Study Time

All of these have helped me to grow as a person and to transform my relationships with my family members. They also helped me become wiser to successfully manage emotions and overcome them with better coping skills. Now I can share and reach out to help others. My need for help was literally a life or death situation, not just for me only, but also for my family’s well-being. I am so grateful for all the help the Lord provides for us. I look forward to every opportunity Father God gives me to now pass on that help to others.

UPCOMING PRAYER CALL TO HEAL HURTING HEARTS

One way I am passing this help on is by hosting a prayer call with women leaders who are expecting emotional healing from Their Help, The Lord God Almighty.

Pray With Us On

Saturday June 6th at 9am EST

I would love to have you join us. To register for private phone access, go to this link and sign up:
http://www.itrainwomen.com/prayer.html

Here is why the focus of our June prayer event is about healing hurting hearts:

Have you heard the expression,

‘Hurting people hurt people’?

How many times have you seen this scenario play out at home, at work, or at church? Remember that this expression doesn’t just apply to everyone around us, but also to our own selves. We need and deserve healing, too.

Get the support you need to heal so that you can help others around you also heal. It is never too late for you. It is never too late for them. Father God deeply and compassionately loves us all. He heals us. He uses us to help Him heal others.

I hope to connect with and pray with you soon. Also, please share this with other women leaders who you believe would be blessed by it.

~ Donna

Image Credit For Demolition Photo Shared by PhotoBucket user: omnislasher

Finding Homeschooling Mentors

I love my homeschooling friends.  It’s always so fun to find someone with children the same ages as mine.  These ladies know all too well how hard it is to teach Kindergarten in the middle of potty training a toddler and nursing a baby.   They encourage me and provide wonderful opportunities for play dates.

But just as much as we need homeschooling peers, we need homeschooling mentors.

When I talk to older moms who have homeschooled, I gain perspective that I miss if I simply stay among my peers.  No, they may not be up on the latest curriculum options (but then again, maybe they are!).  But what they might lack in relevance, they make up for in wisdom.

In fact, when I talk to my peers about homeschooling, I always feel like I should be doing more in my homeschool day.  But when I talk to older moms, I come away feeling refreshed, encouraged, and challenged.  They usually have a “less is more” perspective and often encourage me to spend more time snuggled up with a children’s book and less time with the latest printables online. One friend just simply said “let her be three” when I asked a question about my daughter.  Now that’s the wisdom and truth I need.

Finding Homeschooling Mentors - Christian Homeschool Moms

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In this context, when we talk about finding homeschooling mentors, I’m not talking about formal discipleship.  Yes, I’m a big believer in discipleship and it has impacted my life immensely to have an older, godly woman to meet with on a weekly basis.  In terms of our relationship with Christ, it can be a real game-changer–a real life-changer, in fact.

But today, I’m talking about more of an informal mentor.  I’m talking about finding one or two (or more) older women who can speak truth to us.  We need older friends, not just peers, who have been down the homeschooling road.  They can point out our blind spots and help us sort through the myriad of homeschooling decisions that must be made.   I have a handful of women that I can call or email when I’m sorting through homeschooling decisions.  These are godly, Christian women who have raised children who treasure Christ and have been through the homeschooling trenches.  They are nothing less than a treasure to me.

Where to Find Homeschooling Mentors:

1.  Church

This is ideal because you already know you’re on the same page with your beliefs about God, so it can be the perfect place to find a like-minded mentor.  Even the busiest of homeschooling moms would love it if you called to pick their brain about something.  I’m notorious for asking moms homeschooling questions in the hallway after church.  It’s how I gained the confidence to ditch my phonics curriculum and move on to reading real books.

2.  Local Homeschool Groups

These groups are a gold mine for building relationships with other homeschooling moms.  I miss the group I belonged to before I moved.  It was an easy way to catch up with some of my favorite seasoned homeschoolers and receive information & training in various areas.

3.  Past friendships

Facebook and social media are a great way to connect with old friends.  And you know your old friend you haven’t seen in 10 years, the one who homeschools now?  Yeah, I bet she would love an email from you asking about her curriculum or how to balance homemaking and homeschooling.  You just never know what kind of friendship will come from it.  My friend, April, is one of these ladies for me.  I can always go to her with a homeschooling question and I have no doubt that she’ll speak the truth to me, even if it’s not what I want to hear.  And we met for formal discipleship when I was in college, so that’s an added bonus.

4.  Homeschool books

I call this the “make your own mentor” option.  If you don’t know other homeschooling moms, then read books from godly, homeschooling women like Sally Clarkson.  I remember reading Seasons of a Mother’s Heart many years ago.  She said that when she talked with moms who began homeschooling with her 20 years prior, they all agreed on one thing that they wish they would’ve done differently.  No, it was not about curriculum.  They all wish they had spent more time praying for their children.  As this thought came to mind this week, it has actually made me pray more for my children.

5.  Homeschool blogs

Now I love a good homeschooling blog, but I think this should be our last option for mentoring.  Online relationships are no substitute for real life relationships.  But if you have no other option, then follow some homeschooling bloggers avidly and talk to them about school!  If you have a question, email any of the women who contribute to this blog.  I assure you, they won’t mind a bit.

These seasoned homeschoolers have the perspective that comes from years of homeschooling combined with years of motherhood.  They are gems.  If you’re one of these women, thank you.  Thanks for sharing your wisdom and enduring the questions of a newer homeschooling mom.

Do you have any homeschooling mentors?  How did you find them?  

Going Green

I’m thinking March might be a good time for me to “go green,” to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Now, I’m talking about something more fulfilling than turning a plastic cup into a leprechaun craft, something any homeschooling mom can do in her sleep. It’s more complicated, more personally meaningful.  Going Green

A good friend and mentor inspired me when she asked, “If money were no object, and you could do anything in the world, what would you do?”

In a second I ruled out the obvious:

  • cuddling with Hubby on the sofa; traveling together; watching endless, first-run episodes of “The Good Wife”
  • enjoying my children; reading aloud favorites on that same sofa; taking weekly field trips that don’t involve bugs; doing our Mother’s Day walk every Sunday and not just once a year
  • eating pepperoni pizza with extra cheese without gaining an ounce or spending a dime

Of course, spending time with Jesus went without saying; I’d actually finish the Bible in a year; join the choir; pray—and not just without ceasing, but without dozing off. All those things being said—or not said—if I could do anything…

I would write.

I’d script thank-you notes many wedding guests have waited twenty years for (consider this my heartfelt, written apology). I’d scribble in a month’s worth of lessons in my teacher’s book. I’d send e-mails my little people’s “Mama!” “I’m hungry,” and “I don’t understand…” interrupted. I’d follow through on those complaint letters I’ve mentally composed, voicing my dissatisfaction in fancy, perfect, rarely used cursive.

I’d pen long love letters to Hubby like I used to before life blossomed about us. I’d sign my name to a load of “just thinking of you” cards. Christmas greetings would no longer get pushed to Presidents’ Day. I’d text, private message, post a comment, and hash-tag to my heart’s content. Birthday cards? Check. Love notes on Valentine’s Day? Check. I’d even give “Happy Columbus Day” a shot.

And then, I would really write. Essays and devotionals. Novels and children’s books. Poetry, music, journal entries. Oh, and weekly blog posts. I wouldn’t just “like” Facebook posts; I’d comment. I’d give voice to all those thoughts that flit through my mind in the shower but dissipate with the steam.

It’s not that I wouldn’t pursue other directions in my life, not because they’re all good, but they’re all necessary—studying God’s Word, parenting, teaching, even sweeping the stairs. But if one day the rocks will cry “Jesus!” surely I can lift a Papermate pencil in His name. After all, He commanded His children, “Whatever your hands find to do, do it verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Well, my “hands” love writing, a skill I use—however rarely—for His glory and my pleasure, just as He talks about in Matthew 5:15, 16. Just how do I take this “road less traveled by” a little more often?

First, reduce. 

I need to invest less time and energy on activities that others can do—in other words: delegate! I can deploy my army of little people to dust, slather peanut butter and jelly on bread, and build tower blocks with M&M. Sometimes Maven can listen to Brown Sugar read about what Dick and Jane are doing these days, and I can even turn a blind eye to Hubby who struggles to fold a fitted sheet or a towel into thirds. I can complete tasks in stages, unpacking boxes over time or investing thirty-minute chunks planning or brainstorming.

Next, recycle. 

I can repurpose a few daylight hours for grander pursuits by not wasting time refolding Hubby’s towels. That carves out time spent writing. Sharing family chores keeps me from typing at 3 a.m. when I’m “weary, worn, and sad.”*

When I recycle my time I must truly, diligently convert that time into something reusable—once I crush a can, I can’t refill it with soda. If I dedicate to edit my novel, that’s what I should do. I can’t get distracted playing solitaire, watching “House Hunters,” managing sibling squabbles from afar, cleaning the refrigerator, or catching up on e-mail.

Finally, reuse. 

I’m reaping the benefits of doffing my micromanager hat even if I can’t completely retire it. Delegating certain chores serves higher, more beautiful purposes than I planned, like using a one-gallon milk jug for a flowerpot. My little people build trust and dependence—on God and each other. We develop a sense of responsibility—personally and as a group. It pokes a hole in the pride balloon—not one person can do everything. It’s definitely taking a village to teach M&M his colors and letters. Hubby gets to spend more time in the family hurricane—He can give the Crusader more manhood training before college starts and somehow learn how to fold sheets.

Consider your own skills, talents, dreams, or desires in terms of Matthew 5:15, 16. It could be knitting, reading, or beading. Perhaps you enjoy running marathons (why, I’ll never understand), eating 300 hot wings in 30 minutes, taking 15-minute power naps, or writing children’s curriculum. Maybe it’s interpretive dance, painting, baking, or music composition.

Whatever the gift, stop wasting it under cover of some elaborately woven bushel basket you designed in your spare time. Keep in mind Colossians 3:23, 24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

Go green, or go home.

*from “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” a hymn by Horatius Bonar