Why Everyone Should Homeschool

She looks up at me, excited but a little unsure. A smile and a little nod are all it takes. She sounds out the next word and skips down the rest. For a moment – for just a brief moment – her confidence wavers and she depends on me to steady it.

Head tilted, brow furrowed, eyes squinted, mouth agape. He’s running calculations in his head but it’s not adding up. Waiting on me, the one who’s supposed to have the answers. I gulp. “I’ve never been good at math,” I think to myself and then slap my own wrist. Your thoughts eventually become your truth, Bridget. And for the first time in ages (or maybe ever) I respond not with the lilt of a question in my voice but with authority.

I’ve got this. Yeah. I’ve got it under control. (For now.) But it hasn’t always been that way. I’ve had to look up at others and with a smile and a nod, they’ve steadied my confidence. I’ve looked with baffled eyes at people who’ve held my hand and pulled me onward – even if I didn’t get it right the first time or the next time or the time after that. I’m grateful for all the teachers I’ve had, both in school and in life.

In this season of our life, while we are doing school at home, I’ve come to realize just how many teachers children really have. Those little suckers are always learning, everywhere you go. Everyone you meet, every one you see, everyone you hear…they are all teachers. But as a parent it’s my responsibility to be the primary source of learning. And the same is true for you, no matter if your children go to public school or a co-op or if you use Montessori methods or Waldorf standards or if you unschool or whatever path you may be on with your children. Ultimately it’s our responsibility as parents to teach our children the ins and outs of living. Does that frighten you as much as it does me? Sometimes I can’t even handle my own thoughts, my own desires, my own deamons…much less all the ones of four tiny humans!

But here’s a little secret I’ve learned during our homeschool journey: The biggest lessons your children will learn won’t come from books or flashcards or their favorite educational app. It won’t come from that unit you slaved over to prepare or the vocabulary words you drilled into their heads. It’ll come from what they see you do, how they see you respond, the choices you make and how you work through the consequences, both good and bad.

Maybe you figured this out long before I did. If so, why didn’t you tell me? ūüôā And if not, here…take this tidbit and jot it down. It might come in handy some day.

Teach them to love reading by letting them see you read. Teach them to enjoy music by getting lost in a song. Teach them to cook by cooking with them. Teach them to respect others by being good and kind to all people, even when it’s hard. Teach them thankfulness not only by telling them thank you, but by telling them about the blessings in your life. Teach them to give by letting them see you give to others and by giving to them what they want the most: you.¬†With the timbre of your voice, teach them when to speak up and when to shush. Teach them patience by waiting for them to stutter out the whole sentence without rushing them or by letting them scoop up hundreds of tiny rocks as they walk to the car, even if it’s going to make you late.¬†Teach them gentleness by wrapping them up in your arms, even when they’ve messed up. Teach them faithfulness and self-control when you want to give up, but don’t. Teach them peace when you help them begin to navigate the waters of controversy (and if you have a two year old, you have controversy!). Teach them love not only by surrounding them with hugs and kisses but by giving firm correction when that’s what they need. Teach them joy by smiling at them and laughing with them, by celebrating with others and letting them see you soaking in the little things.¬†And teach them that they are unique and special and wonderful by letting them see you dare to believe those things about yourself.

(Oh, wait. Some of that sounds kinda familiar.)

But there’s more.¬†While I’m giving out tidbits, here’s another one: Teach your children, but also let them teach you. (This is the one that took me the longest to see and even longer to learn). Let a caterpillar inch up and down your arm and be mesmerized at how it moves. Take their offerings of sticks and rocks and treat them as the rarest of treasures. Look for the sparkles hidden in the gravel and the beauty of a little yellow weed. Watch them play with others at the playground – often there’s no us and them, just smiling, sweaty faces whirring round and round on the merry-go-round. Listen to them sing, with nothing holding them back. Watch them dance at the dinner table (and maybe even join them). Laugh at their terrible jokes and teach them better ones. Color – with or without staying in the lines. Swim (without obsessing about what you look like in your suit). Build things and paint things and create things and believe that they are masterpieces.

Be their teacher at home so that when they aren’t with you, your words will guide them.
Be their student so that they know they have something worth sharing; that they are good and helpful and useful.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. ~Deuteronomy 6:5-9{emphasis mine}


7 Responses to Why Everyone Should Homeschool
  1. Traci
    August 13, 2013 | 9:30 am

    You keep out doing yourself. I think this one is the BEST evah!

  2. Kimberly
    August 13, 2013 | 10:42 am

    ah, this is beautiful. The other day RJ and I were outside after it rained and I (for the first time ever, I think) was noticing little teeny snails crawling out of the grass and onto the sidewalk; he was moving too fast to concentrate on them (after trying to eat them, naturally) but I was mesmerized, don’t think I’ve ever noticed their tiny little bodies inside the shell!

  3. LeAnn
    August 13, 2013 | 1:03 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you… I needed this today in a really big way. You are such a blessing.

  4. CathyMartin
    August 13, 2013 | 7:31 pm

    WOW! Wish I practiced these things more when you were younger. Love watching you be Mommy!

  5. Elaine A.
    August 23, 2013 | 12:33 am

    I believe that if you are involoved in your child’s life and education, even if they go to school elsewhere, you ARE homeschooling to an extent. Your 7th paragraph in this post is really, truly amazing. I need to print that out.

  6. just JENNIFER
    August 23, 2013 | 6:53 pm

    This is so wonderful! Beautifully written and expressed. Thank you for a lovely read.

  7. A Morning Grouch
    August 23, 2013 | 7:35 pm

    Absolutely beautiful.