It is hard to believe we have been homeschooling for seven years already. We began when our only son started fourth grade. He is now a junior in high school and is enrolled in the local university, taking his first college course (concurrently). Amazing! Going back in time a few years to watch how all this came about is an interesting trip we like to take every once in a while.
My wife, Lorena, and I built our home in 1985; one year later our son, William, came into the world. Our neighbors already had four children and were homeschooling them. We watched the family next door and decided that what they were doing for their kids probably was not all that good because the kids were all too often outside during the day. Sometimes we questioned whether the kids were learning at all. Occasionally Lorena and I would look at each other and agree, “We will NEVER do that to our child.”
Not long after, Lorena’s sister, who lives in Oklahoma, announced that she was going to homeschool her two boys, and we were less-than-enthusiastic. As we watched over the next couple of years, however, we noticed the boys did quite well. Both of us are public school teachers and often engaged the boys in conversation, asking them questions about this home schooling thing they were doing. It was obvious the boys were doing well academically.
“But what about their SOCIAL skills?” Just being with the boys for a little while quickly dispelled that concern. They were involved in a good number of outside activities, were active in church and Bible quizzing, and interacted with different age groups with ease. “Okay, that is good for them,” we thought.
Our other neighbor just happened to be my wife’s other sister, who, by this time, had two children and decided she was going to homeschool as well. “What is going on here?” we wondered. We were now watching three families close to us who were homeschooling, and it was obvious something good was happening. The kids were not suffering but instead were most often excelling. Our nephews in Oklahoma had taken their first shot at the ITBS and were doing remarkably-especially in reading and math. To any public school teacher, these are the two biggies. The other family next door was still doing things a bit differently, but even their kids were
We continued enrolling our little guy in a private Christian school through the third grade. At the end of that year, we paid off our home. Now Lorena would not have to work anymore. “Cool,” I thought. “I wonder what she will do with her time.” She seemed reluctant to actually resign, so I encouraged her to do so by writing her letter of resignation while we were on summer vacation and told her, “Sign it.”
She needed that little push, and with that one act, we determined we were going to get much more involved in our son’s education—we were going to become home schoolers. After all we were “highly trained” public school teachers; if we could handle thirty-eight kids in a class, times six or seven classes per day, SURELY my wife could handle her own son. If it did not work out, we could always put him back in school before we messed him up too badly.