Thursday

I'm a "Homeschool" Mom

On a regular basis, I'm asked if I homeschool my children.

The answer is yes.

I've even received a Homeschool Award and been asked to speak at a Homeschool Conference.

The answer is also no.

Yes, I teach my children at home.

Yes, I send them off to be educated at school.

I'm a homeschool Mom who sends her kids to public school.

Recently, a new friend in my town (who I met thru my blog) asked me what homeschool curriculum I use. She was seriously shocked to learn that I have never traditionally homeschooled my kids.

"But on your blog, you always talk about teaching your kids and you have a parenting newsletter about teaching the Fruits of the Spirit to kids," she said.

"Yes," I answered.

I AM NOT AGAINST HOMESCHOOLING. I actually love that it's become a force in our world. It's just not for us right now. Occasionally, I feel condemned for not homeschooling my kids in the traditional sense. And sometimes, I'm around Moms who feel superior for educating their kids in public school. I think we all have to do what we are individually called to do, not making one right, the other wrong.

I like to think that my hubby and I parent our kids intentionally. We want our home to be a creative outlet for our kids to learn cool science projects. We want them to read their Bible cover-t0-cover, learn the books of the Bible, develop their own world view and relationship with Jesus.

A couple of years ago, we realized that we wanted our kids to know more than what was offered an hour a week in Sunday School and we certainly aren't going to leave evolution and sex up to the school system.

We buy a lot of books (a lot!) We try to have daily devotions. We read books at dinner and bedtime together each night. We pray with our children throughout the day (not just over meals), but on the way to school, when they are struggling, afraid or just have a need.

We tackle tough issues when they come up like my son reading his Bible and discovering Lot slept with his daughters (yuck). We tackle issues before they come up, like my nightly reading time with my oldest in the book Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman's Battle.

We challenge our kids to greatness, taking time to read a few pages a night and discuss the book Do Hard Things.

We make mistakes and try our best to learn from them.

Am I a "homeschool" Mom?

You better believe it.

How about you?

Books we are currently working our way through (Amazon links):
The Bible
Operation World Prayer Book -we pray for a country each night at dinner
Do Hard Things -we read a few pages every other night as a family
Read with Me Bible for Toddlers -we read this before bed
Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman's Battle - with my oldest daughter every other night. We love the object lessons, but it deals with very sensitive issues.
God's Little Devotional Book for Boys -my hubby reads from this book, when I read the above book with my oldest.Too Small to Ignore -waiting on it to arrive
Praise Factory-Free online Bible Curriculum-we're hoping to start this next
The Hole in Our Gospel-just finished this amazing book

What's on your list?

P.S. I didn't accept the Homeschool Award and the invitation to speak was withdrawn when they learned I send my kids to public school. But I was still honored.

*Updated to add* Please don't read between the lines here, I'm not implying that I work as hard educating my kids at home in Math and Social Studies like homeschool teachers do. (You guys rock!) I'm just encouraging ALL parents to get involved in what and how their kids learn. Parents are teachers! I wasn't trying to compare my workload or responsibility for my kid's education to that of homeschooling moms, I was sincerely comparing our hearts. We both care.



87 comments:

The Activity Mom said...

Although I'm not officially going to be considered a homeschooling mom (in a few years from now), I will be very involved in my children's education in many ways!

Either way, I agree that you can't judge either. You have to do what is right for your family at that time. Do what you can, with what you have at that time!

Great post!

~Brenda said...

I agree. Great post. The point is to be intricately involved in our kids lives. Sounds like you are doing a great job.

~Brenda

Jen@BigBinder said...

Yes yes yes!! This is totally how I roll too - I loved reading this post.

TDM Wendy said...

I totally homeschool my kindergartener too . . . when he comes home from public school. That is where God has called us to be. Not for everyone, but we are confident that public school is where God wants our family right now. We like "Tell the truth Tyler." Not a "school" book but a good book to introduce the little ones to telling the truth.

Marie said...

I will be a "homeschooler" like you in a few years. We will send our kids to school (probably Catholic for us) for 6 hours a day, and the other 18 hours a day plus weekends plus breaks they will be at home with me, learning. There is SO much more to learn than what teachers can fit into a short school day with 25 kids' needs to respond to. I used to be a middle school teacher, and even the best and most experienced teachers just do not replace involved parents. I can't wait to "teach" my kids without them thinking it's school!

Gina Conroy said...

Oh, the guilt I feel right now! ;) I used to do a lot of this when the kids were little. Then they grew older, our lives got full of 4 kids with activities, and family devotions became a battle field, and well, it just wasn't worth it in the traditional sense. So we try and catch life lessons along the way, answer questions, and deal with issues that arise. And there are plenty. Oh, and we had our kids in school, now we homeschool the two younger ones. Never is enough time in the day to do all that we want. The best I can do is ask the Lord what he wants to teach us that day. And if it's just one subject, then that's how we roll!

Prairie Rose said...

I have exactly the same plan. I'm waiting for school-age foster children and when they come, I fully intend to homeschool them -- AND send them to school.

There are lots of hours in evenings, weekends, and school holidays. Hours that could be wasted on tv and video games, or hours that could be used for true learning experiences. Science experiments. Museum visits. Reading good literature and planning trips to the sites we read about. Exploring topics of interest at the library or on the internet. Singing. Cooking. Crafts. So many great ways to keep kids learning all day long, and make sure what they learn at school isn't all they learn.

Carolynn said...

I am sorry but calling yourself a homeschooler and sending your children to public school rubs me the wrong way. I used to be a single parent and I get really annoyed when someone's husband is away on business or working overtime and they call themselves a single parent, SOOOOOO NOT THE SAME THING! I appreciate your involvement in your children's lives~That is how it should be. but if you are not doing it, please don't compare yourself to those that are.
I enjoy your blog and like your posts and you do some really fun activities.

Cathy said...

I love this post.

This is me...except I'm still learning to "teach" my kids at home.

And to answer MckMama's blogfrog question...well to PARTIALLY answer it...because there's a few other ways you inspire me too, but this is ONE of the areas you inspire me! For now, we send our kids off to public school, but I want to become more intentional about the daily extra teaching and training up our children in the ways of the Lord!

Kristen said...

HI Carolynn,
Thanks for your comment. I certainly don't mean to rub anyone the wrong way. I really think you misunderstand my post. I'm not attacking or really even comparing myself to actual homeschool moms, I'm just using the word HOME and SCHOOL as a play on words...because I teach my kids at home too.

Ashleigh (Heart and Home) said...

So admire you for this. Every parent should be *actively* teaching their children at home, no matter who gives them their academic grades.

Honestly? Coming from a homeschool graduate who is still seeking the Lord about what we'll do with our little boys, you are more involved with the heart-guiding of your precious ones than some homeschool parents I've known. The mode of schooling isn't what defines the quality of parenting.

Amanda said...

Kristen how I love your blog... I feel so out of the loop with things, because I've had to unplug a bit and unfortunately blog reading has suffered LOL... but I LOVED reading this blog.

I do not homeschool my kids. I don't know what the future holds in this area, but for now I do not homeschool my kids.

I do, however, teach my kids. I was inspired through some amazing talks from the LDS conference this last weekend about how it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children.... especially about Jesus. The talks that I read really opened up my eyes in the fact that I want to teach them so much more.

I am in the process of teaching my son heavily on baptism, why we baptize, what it's all about because he's getting baptized on 4/17 ~ the spirit that fills your home when you make sure that Jesus is in your children's lives is amazing... there's actually no words for it.

I admire you, Kristen. You have always been one of my very favorite bloggers, because you're real. And I love that.

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara said...

No worries, Kristen! I totally get what you are saying! As a Christian parenting coach this is exactly what I emphasize with the parents I work with whether they do traditional homeschool or send their kids to public school. You are right on track Biblically, girl! You are accepting the responsibility God gives us as parents!

Blessings!
Tara

Jenny said...

thanks, great post!

Amber said...

I see what you are saying. I've always said that even if I didn't homeschool my kids full time, I'd still teach them a heck of a whole lot when they weren't at public school.

I've also encouraged others who public school their children to be intimately and deeply involved in their education, in the school building and at home both. I think it's VITAL that parents everywhere take an active role. I feel like too many parents today have left everything up to public school (or private) teachers and not only is that unfair and unrealistic but it's also not stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for raising their own kids. And I'm not just talking today but even back when I was in high school. I think of how many of my friends' parents were uninvolved in their lives. Completely hands off.

And yet that is the main role and responsibility of a parent, up until the time that their kids move out and move off the parent should be training them for life and adulthood. We're all called to varying levels of involvement. Some of us choose to go all the way and school our kids at home. Others don't and that's okay. What matters most is that you're involved.

Thanks for pointing that out. And though I know that you're still going to catch a lot of flack over this post, this particular homeschool mom isn't offended. I know from what you've said here (and previous posts) that you're sincere about training your kids hearts and that's a lot of what you are talking about here. And we're on the same page when it comes to that. God bless.

Amber =)

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllisonO said...

I wanted to say something in response to Angie's comment. "There is just a difference when, as a homeschooler, you are the sole person responsible for educating your child... and getting them to opportunities for others to help them learn."
I actually think this is the entire point of the post. As an intentional parent, Kristen sees herself as the sole person responsible for her children's education, and the opportunities of learning she gets them to includes public school. I don't think she's claiming to have an equal work load to home teaching moms, just an equal responsibility.

Cheri-Beri said...

We're getting ready to finish our 9th year of homeschooling. (Stay with me on my next sentence . . . ) I find it pathetic that people think the ONLY people who intentionally parent their kids are homeschoolers. I certainly believe that if I were to send my kids to traditional school that I would be just as involved in their lives. There are PUH-LENTY of awful homeschooling parents.

I think a better way to classify yourself may be that you spiritually homeschool your kids. Which I think EVERY parent is called to.

Alea said...

I have been homeschooling since 1995. I started when my oldest began K and she is now a junior in college, my youngest is 3, so I still have many years to go! :O When someone asks my kids how long they have been homeschooled they say, "my entire life" which people always find funny. But they are alluding to the fact that I was teaching them at home before I officially became a homeschooler and I keep teaching them even after I send them off to college.

My sister sends her kids to public school, but is extremely involved both at the school and with her kids afterwards. My s-i-l sends her kids to a private school, which she started volunteering at before her kids were even in K to secure a spot for them. All of the cousins stand out amongst their peers and the difference is not where/how they are educated, but that their parents are incredibly involved in every aspect of their lives!

Good for you; keep homeschooling your kids and keep encouraging others to do the same!

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chick Hatchers said...

I sincerely hope no one bashes you or misunderstands what you are saying here. You clearly conveyed that although you rkids go to school outside of the home, their education and character buidling isn't left in the brick-and-mortar school. You take an active role in educating and loving your children. You don't leave that up to others, but take your job as mother seriously. I have a strong appreciation for that.

As a homeschooling mom, I know that my kids' education is not superior to those who aren't homeschooled. It's just different than those who aren't homeschooled. Each family needs to make a decision that is right for them. Too many leave it up to the schools to raise their kids.

I'm a little surprised the invitation to speak at a homeschool conference was withdrawn. I was just at a conference and they had vendors who tutor and stores that market to more than just homeschoolers. Not that you are a vendor, but many vendors also are speakers. I think you'd have a lot to offer the homeschool community in terms of general parenting, how to supplement curriculum with volunteer efforts and do-it-yourself crafts that serve a purpose, (not just junk crafts that isn't really art) and character building. Those things that you have to offer shouldn't be overlooked, nor should they be minimized simply because you also send your kids to school outside the home.

mychildsview.blogspot.com

Melissa Stover said...

not all parents feel the responsibility to educate their children themselves, instead they leave it entirely up to the church and the school system.

i believe god called us all to train up our children in all ways.

i don't send my kids off to traditional school, but if i did, i think i would still feel the burden of their education was on me and no one else.

i wish more parents felt this way.

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

So, it's going to look like I had probably gone on some tirade, since I deleted all of my comments. LOL (Trust me -- if you read this after the comments are gone, it really wasn't bad. It was mostly just agreeing that people need to be active in their kids lives.) But, you know, I think a thing or two I said wasn't taken in the way I intended. And, then I have just been sitting here stressing out, which is just silly. So, I need to delete them so I can quit worrying about people taking things the wrong way. I shouldn't have commented if I was only going to be 98% positive.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Love the interaction here. I taught our daughters at home. Whenever I spoke about homeschooling, I always said exactly what Kristen said, "Every parent is a homeschooling parent."

Just another thought for the mix - I did know traditional homeschooling parents who were not intentional and got so caught up in schooling, the didn't really know their kids.

I think we all want to be parents that intentionally disciple our kids. It is such a joy - regardless of where our kids attend school.

My kids are adults now - blessings on you that are still in the heat of the battle. Your hard work does pay off. I love who our daughters have turned out to be.

Jen said...

DO Hard Things is an amazing Book. I used it as a Sunday School lesson for ADULTS. It can teach everyone lessons about life.

On my reading list currently:

Crazy Love by Francis Chan
When Helping Hurts

I think what you're doing to educate your children is to be commended! Many parents don't invest in their children enough. Thank You!

The Herd said...

I home school the boys, and the girls we sent to school this year, but I have always thought that the parents that send their kids to school teach them too--they just teach them in the afternoon:)! So, maybe you don't teach the whole core at home, but you have to study, reteach, and teach some more too! I love your response!

Kathleen said...

I think definitely every parent who parents deliberately homeschools. That is what I tell actively involved parents who are nervous about pulling their kids out of traditional school to homeschool--"You've been homeschooling the bookwork every evening. Think of the hours you've already put in!" :0)

But seriously, my parents were deliberate parents whether we were in public or private or home schools growing up, and we're trying to do the same for our 4 now. I love that you, Kristen, take the responsibility for your children's education and spiritual growth. I see what you are saying, and hope it encourages other home-or-traditionally-schooling parents to take the reins rather than just check the box.

Great post.

Gina said...

Thanks for this post! It was just what I needed to read this morning.

Domestic Accident said...

I think homeschooling vs. public school is the new work vs. stay at home debate. Aren't we all concerned as mothers that we are doing the best possible job we can? It can be hard to let go that there is more than one right way to raise children.

I think you knew that we send our 3 to Catholic school because we are Catholic. Even still, I had fantasies of homeschooling because I covet those pictures of bookfilled schoolrooms in the house, and I love the idea of learning in pj's away from the social pressures.

But then my son was home with mono for a month, and I suddenly found myself yelling "Carry the one. All you need to do is just CARRY THE ONE." And then I knew homeschooling was not for us.

Hyperactive Lu said...

I agree- I don't care if you home school or not- its not the public education system or Sunday school to teach your child everything they need to know and moral/ethic behavior/etc. If we only rely on those two, what kind of parents are we? I don't care what you call it, but y'all are being parents active in your children's lives! Kudos to y'all!

melanie said...

I really appreciate this post and your perspective. We may or may not homeschool our (future) kids at any point, but I think this form of homeschooling is ESSENTIAL!

Kim - In Search of Me in Mommy said...

hum...Sounds like quite the debate. And I agree with Hyperactive Lu said...isn't this all about being a parent. Teaching your children your values is parenting. WE all choose what to teach and how to teach. And hopefully all parents teach about goodness and kindness. I applaud your passion and love that you are deliberate and purposeful about teaching your values. But I wonder...Is this really about "homeschooling" ?

Jackie said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am a "homeschooling" mom like you. My two older kids attend a relatively small public school, but when they are home we are always doing projects and other things together. I definitely don't expect the school to teach my children everything.

I used to be a public school teacher and my husband is a teacher who just got his principal's license. We know the pros and cons of public schools. However, we are making it work for our family.

Many of my online friends are homeschoolers and I appreciate all that they do. I agree with many of their reasons for homeschooling. I don't know anyone IRL who homeschools. I don't really fit in with the other public school moms. When my kids aren't in school they are with me and this is unusual.

It is hard to not really fit either classification. I appreciate you posting your thoughts on this subject. It really makes me feel like I am not the only one out there who thinks this way. I love my children so much, and the fact that they go to public school doesn't make that fact any less true.

Kimmywizzie said...

Thanks for your post Kristen. Right now, I have to send my son to public school. Not because I want to but because I have to right now. I believe in homeschooling and even though my son is in public school he is "homeschooled" when he gets home. Bible study, foreign language, keyboarding, more reading...we do supplement his education. It is a parents responsibility to educate their children however that is. I applaud homeschool moms who are able to be the sole teacher in their children's lives. As someone else also said, An involved parent is a homeschooler.

Tiffany said...

This is great! And no matter how our children are "formally educated" we should all strive to do this with our family. We do formally home school our children, but I was just talking with our lead Pastor's wife (my husband is the associate pastor) and she considers herself to be a homeschooling mom in the same way you do. Her children attend a Christian school, but she talked about the many ways that they are "schooled" at home. I thought it was so cool how she presented herself, and was excited to read that you are very much the same. Lovely post! Thanks for sharing!

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

Here's the deal from my point of view. Not all of us are gifted in teaching skills and subjects like reading, math and history. However, as parents we are ALL called to teach our children and that responsibility and authority has been given to us by Almighty God. Now, whether we choose to grant authority to another entity, be that public or private school, to partner with us to do some of that or take on the job ourselves is a choice (just like you said). But we are ALL called to "homeschool" our children in life and their education is ultimately our responsibility. I personally think that if parents would take that responsibility more seriously, our nation would not be in the down-ward spiral that it seems to be.

But see... now I've gotten up on my soapbox and it's not even 8 am. I need coffee.

Great post Kristen. Don't take any criticism over it too personally.

Donna

Julie Stiles Mills said...

Kristen,

I totally get you! We've always told our kids they have two more teachers than they think they do.

My husband and I are the teachers who recognize a "good enough" effort in our kids and call them on it. They are required to do their best. We're the teachers who actively and intentionally use our hours with them to find and help them see everyday and practical application for the things they are learning during their short time at school. They are growing up fast and we understand how little time we have to teach them these things.

We are the teachers who sit next to them at the kitchen table and ask them leading questions to guide them toward the tiny epiphanies that when put together, lead them to understand math and science at a more comprehensive level.

We are the teachers who help them, through hands on, interactive experiences, to understand the personal beauty and richness of history and art and music, adding to the introduction of information they receive in a structured, corporate environment.

We are the teachers who help them develop time management skills and a solid work ethic.

We teach them compassion and generosity through family giving of our time, talents and money.

We teach them by example and intentional discussion in which they get a full say, because a "full say" isn't something they get in a classroom full of other kids.

I totally get you. You have my support.

panykattack said...

Mark Driscoll recently brought up this topic on facebook. His stance? Make the decision EACH year for EACH child as to what would work best for their education. Every child has different ways of learning and different needs. That's what he and his family do. Some kids stay home, some go to school, sometimes they switch. Whatever the child needs at that time. No right, no wrong. Thanks for posting about this!

Celeste said...

Great post!

I was lucky enough to be able to go to Christian schools from Kindergarten thru High School... and I'm actually teaching kindergarten in a Christian school right now, so I have zero experience with public schools -- but, I think it is FABULOUS that you are supplementing your children's education with the most important 'subject': God's Word.

And, yes! You are homeschooling!! The literature curriculum that I use in my class actually has a newsletter that goes home each week and at the top it says: "You are your child's first teacher" (it is a newsletter that includes the topic/themes for the week, new sight-words the kids need to learn, etc.).

Your children are/will certainly benefit GREATLY from your teaching... there is nothing more important than for children to be taught the Word and for it to have meaning and emphasis in their home and life.

p.s. just in case you'd like to know - I use Voyages (from Concordia Publishing Hose) in my class for the Bible curriculum... CPH is a great publisher for Bible curriculums for all ages.

Also, Abeka is a great publisher that makes curriculums for all subject areas - all incorporating Christianity/Bible.

Jill said...

This post really encouraged me today. As a parent with kids in the public school system I sometimes feel like others are judging my decision; like I'm neglecting my kids. I view the public school system as a mission field. My kids go there to be salt and light. My job as their mom is to make sure they are filled with the knowledge and power of the Word and the Spirit to hold up under all the "world" they see.
You are a home school mom and so am I; we just have extra teachers on our team.

Mom said...

I get what you are saying here, but in traditional school lingo, there are four methods of schooling:

Brick and mortar buildings
Home school
Blended Schools (computer via a school teacher through the school system)
Cyber school (non-public computer school).

Again, I get what you are saying, but I also think that saying you home school when your kids go to traditional school is misleading.

That said, I send my kids to public school and am home for them after school and on all breaks, but I am not a home schooler. I think if someone told me I HAD to homeschool my children, they would lose out because I am not made and spiritually gifted as a teacher.

I am thrilled to have my kids in a school taught by loving teachers. There are some things that I just don't want to do.

Pam said...

Thank you for this! I used to homeschool in the traditional sense, and had to come to terms with the realization that we are not all called to the same forms of education when God gave me perfect peace to put my kids in public school. I admit He surprised me. I appreciate your posting on this, it is my heart too.

Mel said...

That touched my heart....with tears in my eyes I want to thank you for helping get over a feeling of terrible guilt I have carried since discovering the whole blog world....you see, I began following several home schooling mom's blogs last year....all of them are SAHMs with lots of little ones....I admire that so much. I have had medical issues and financial ones that kept me from being what I admired in those women - a SAHM and homeschooler. I felt like I let them down as a mother because I had to work.....so thank you for being who you are and feeling brave enough to share it. We do devotionals at home as well as attend a local church regularly....and now, perhaps, that will be okay with me.

I love reading your wise words and think you are a wonderful example for all women to follow, both as a mother and as a Christian.

God bless you!

Sarah@VintageChic said...

Great post! I was homeschooled but am not sure if I'm up to that challenge. I want to intentionally instill morals and values in our children along with Biblical teachings. Thanks for the great links! I'm ordering the Read With Me Bible for my son!

Skubaliscious said...

I LOVE this post! I struggle with feeling like a bad parent because I have decided to send my kids to public school (we have family that does trad. homeschooling and it's awesome, and lots of friends that do private school).

There are SO many things that I want to make sure to teach my children - but when I tried to teach them to read...well it was a disaster! They learn so well from other adults and thrive on socializing!

Thanks for all the good references and reminding us not to sit back and let the state do it all....and also reminding us that each child/family will have different educational needs/preferences :)

Maria said...

Hi! So I just want to add some of my thoughts. I'm a teacher (on leave right now with my little one). I firmly, firmly - can't express how much- believe that parents absolutely need to be involved with teaching their children.

In light of a super long comment I will point out two basic teaching ways that need to happen at home.

1. You need to extend the learning that your child is doing in school. This includes homework, practice (reading, math facts etc) and general extension of the concepts the teacher is working on. A good teacher should relay what is happening in her class to the parents. School is so demanding now that this needs to happen for a child to be successful.

2. There is a lot of learning that could take place in a classroom that is <> unfortunately, not possible. We have 25-35 (yes, its true) kids in a class, state standards, national standards, NCLB standards, standardized tests, behavior problems, ESL, SPED, and so on. I would love to teach more and worry less, but I can't. So parents can be a homeschoolers, you should. You should teach your children what is important to you. Read books that they're not reading in class. Do science experiments that they don't have the resources for. Study a country or time in history that's not in the curriculum.

Of course, this doesn't even begin to touch on morals and spiritual schooling.

To wrap up a long comment that was supposed to be short (sorry :) ), I am a public school girl to the end. I would never homeschool my children (in the traditional sense) and that's nothing against people who do.

I think you are so right in saying that learning (in any form) needs to extend beyond the traditional classroom.

Parents have a responsibility, I really hope that more own up to it.

PS. I hope my HTML tags worked, if not, sorry for the jibber-jabber :)

Chrissy said...

I still think the title "homeschool mom" should be for those who exclusively educate at home - no public or private school. I think it gives the wrong impression to say your are a homeschool mom otherwise. And I guess I'm not sure why you would say that? Especially since we know what it's supposed to mean...and now all these moms on here are thinking, "Yeah, that sounds great...I'm going to call myself that, too!" I think that's weird.

I do not and will not homeschool. I support those who do 100% and am thankful for the freedom to have that option. We have chosen the private school avenue, and we already work with our kids on reading, scripture, numbers, and other things (my oldest will be in kindergarten next fall). But I do not call myself a homeschool mom...because I'm not one.

But I still adore you, Kristen! :o)

Chrissy said...

I think "misleading" is the word I was looking for...and just noticed that another commenter said it.

Sara said...

I had grand plans of sending my son to a Montessori school. Then, we learned we were moving, so I had grand plans to homeschool. Then, I got pregnant and really sick. So, we're ending up holding him back a year, calling this year a "loss" in terms of true academics (it turns out, he and I are like oil and water when I'm trying to "teach"), but I must admit, it's been a joy to watch my children enjoy their time together this year. I trust God had a plan for us with school and despite it not making much sense to me, we'll roll with it!

I know I need to be more intentional with the spiritual side of my parenting and really appreciate not only your post, but the books you recommend. Recently, we've started reading the Bible and my kids are just gobbling it up. It's so great to see!

I highly recommend the book "Nevermind the Jones" published by Intervarsity Press. It's filled with great ideas on how to create a family culture that honors God by doing things that "fit" for your family. I can't wait until my kids get older and we can really do some of the ideas presented in the book. I also thought "The Family Compass" from Focus on the Family was interesting.

Mollie said...

amen, girl!

Redeemed1 said...

Great post. We all have to find what is right for our family, and sometimes that changes. I have homeschooled full time, I have sent my son to public school full time, and right now I homeschool him for Geometry and Spanish and then drop him off at the middle school for the rest of his classes. That's what is working best with where we are right now.

Kristen said...

such a good post!! I think it is great and I definitely agree that you are still a homeschooling mom!!

km said...

I homeschool in the traditional way. It's not at all what I would have thought we'd be doing. In fact, we live VERY close to our public school. Buying the house I though how perfect it would be to walk the kids to school. A friend linked this on FB recently... http://www.theonion.com/articles/increasing-number-of-parents-opting-to-have-childr,17159/
I'm so glad you're still teaching your kids at home...that's how it should be.

Amanda said...

I'm glad you are engaged with your children, wherever they spend their day learning. Kids learn everywhere, and if you expect that they will only learn at school, you are in for a big surprise.

Personally, I have one child going to a school and one child learning at home. Another is "too young" for school, but certainly not for learning! The choice of setting is not about me, but rather about my child (each one separately) and her style of learning, her emotional needs, and her ability to interact with others.

The more parents who understand that school does not equal learning, the better. Good job, Kristen!

Sandy a la Mode said...

great post here!! although i can't relate to any of this just yet since i don't have kids... i think it is great that you still do teach your kids lessons at home!

Melanie said...

Great post! I completely agree that we as parents must be very involved in what our children learn, whether math and science are taught at our kitchen tables or in a public classroom. After all, they are OUR children! I think it also makes them feel much more secure and loved when mom and dad care enough to lead them in the right path while they are home with us.

Great job!
Melanie

~ melscoffeebreak.blogspot.com ~

Amy Lynn said...

I agree with Chrissy above. There's no need to wrongly use the term homeschooling if you send your kids to public school. I happen to think public school is invariably better for children, anyway. If you're doing enrichment at home, that's not home schooling, it's being a good parent.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

As a homeschooling mom, my hat is off to you because I think what you do is actually much harder than what I do (it would be for me, anyway, and I know this because I couldn't even handle kindergarten)- but I respectfully would like to point out that this is not homeschooling. IT's being a parent. This is what ALL parents *ought* to be doing.

Kathryn said...

Great post! I am a homeschool mom (in the traditional way) and I wish more people got it like you do!

Every parent, no matter their schooling choice, is responsible for training up their children in the ways of the Lord.

I am not sure why moms want to tear each other apart for making different choices, but I am glad to see that there are many who love being on the same team (body of Christ!!!) and help each other out!

Thanks for the great post.

TeamOSM said...

You put into words EXACTLY what I've been trying to come up with for my Mommy Mission Statement (a la inspiredtoaction.com).

I want my son to be transformed by Christianity, rather than just conform to it!

Thank you for a wonderful post. You are awesome!

Stephanie said...

This is a great post. And the comments are so interesting. 3 of our kids are school age and attend a local public school. We take much the same approach as you have written about in this post. One thing I know for sure is that no form of education is easy and we all need the help, prayers and support of other moms as we strive to teach our children to know, love and serve the Lord. I know I do anyway. Wonderfully written post. Thank you!

Beth said...

I agree with Julie & Jill 100%.

I am not a homeschooler in the traditional sense, either. I have never felt guilty about it because my kids are fortunate enough to attend a very small public school with small classes and loving teachers who care about their students and what they are learning. Our school has tons of parents who volunteer on a regular basis, which is greatly encouraged by teachers and administration alike. We are extremely lucky to live here and to raise our kids here. They learn a good sense of right and wrong and are held accountable for their actions. The are also recognized for doing kind things for others. And to top it off, our little school has rated "Excellent with Distinction" for years.

If this weren't the case, and I felt the school was not doing well by them, I by all means would think about homeschooling. However, I don't feel like it's for our family. Honestly, I don't think I could handle it, but admire all of those that do.

We do our best to be involved in all of our kids activities and to be present in their classrooms as much as possible. When they get home from school, that's when MY homeschooling begins. That's when I help with homework and help them understand things they didn't quite "get" at school. That's when we spend time discussing our faith and try to teach them how to incorporate it into our every day lives.

It makes me crazy that people get so bent out of shape over this topic. No one can say one is better than the other...it's about what is best for YOUR family and YOUR situation. Who cares if parents that send their kids to public school still consider themselves homeschoolers? We are all homeschoolers in God's eyes. We are responsible for TEACHING our kids about life and HIS love.

Whether you homeschool in the traditional sense or send your kids to public school, do what is best for your family. Be PRESENT for them. That's what it is all about...be a homeschooler of God's love and compassion!

Melissa R said...

My family does homeschool in the traditional sense. Public school would not work for my family. There is no right or wrong path here. Every family (and sometimes every child in that family!) has different needs. I cheer for any parent who does what is best for their children.

Melissa R said...

Kristen, I just looked up that book
Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman's Battle.
And it led me to wonder why sexuality for a female is being approached as a battle. I feel sad about that. Perhaps when reading the book it's not actually a "battle" approach, maybe the publisher just thought it was a catchy title.

Kristen said...

Melissa,
I think the word "Battle" in the book I'm reading with my daughter is VERY appropriate regarding the battle for purity in our perverse world. Considering pornography is a billion dollar industry, sex trafficking is a real threat in our own county and the world, child abuse, premarital sex, abortion, are rampant...what would you call it?

Satan is waging war against the sexual purity of every young girl/woman out there. It's an excellent book and I highly recommend the whole series.

daddyontheroad said...

This.post.ROCKS!

While we are um... all day? full time? traditionally? crazy? (oops...) homeschooling (as in, I'm teaching our kiddos all subjects), your post makes the point that NEEDS to be made:

"REAL" homeschoolers are those who deliberately, conscientiously, Deuteronomy 6 teach their children Truth.

And sometimes phonics. And science too.

Everyone homeschools; whether it's homework help, life skills, or the ever precious walk with Jesus we long for our children to take.

*Thank you* for writing this! And thanks to your kiddos for being salt and light in their schools; only in Heaven will we see the power of children's faith among their friends.

Praying for you!

Sonya said...

I LOVE this! As a teacher I wish more parents would spend time "homeschooling" their kids in addition to the school day. They spend less time with us in a day, and definitely a week, than they do at home. Parents are the first teachers and should always remain a teacher even when they go to school. Thank you for listing the resources that you use!

Ashleigh said...

What a great post. I'm registering my oldest for kindergarten tomorrow, thinking to myself the teaching is up to public schools now. But that is completely wrong! I can still teach her at home. I still NEED to teach her at home. Because no school will teach my children what they truly need to know. Thank you.

Abby said...

This is awesome! I'm a home-schooled teenager and I totally get where you're coming from! I think what you do with your family is awesome! When my sisters and I were younger we would do devotionals and read books as a family in the evenings. Makes me think about those fun times!

I recently read an article on The Onion about "Parents opting to School-Home" their children. It's an interesting article to say the least.
Here's the link if anyone wants to read it :) (I can't figure out how to actually link it! Copy&paste still works =P)

http://www.theonion.com/articles/increasing-number-of-parents-opting-to-have-childr,17159/

(Slight disclaimer: I have nothing against public schooling! This article is just amusing to me)

jimandmandy said...

LOVE THIS POST, Kristen!!

My little guys are still really little, and while we are planning on going the private school route, I have never felt it was the school's responsibility to teach my kids. We will always supplement and work on stuff at home.

As a private music/piano teacher, the best students, who make the best progress are the parents who are actively involved in their kiddos lessons and practicing.

Being in touch with your kids, what they are learning and what you want them to learn is our responsibility as a parent!

So glad you posted this-it hits home in a BIG way!!

carriecaribou said...

Thank you so much for this post, and for risking the controversy that it was bound to bring up. I feel exactly as you have described, and I would recommend to you and any other of the people who resonated with this post, the book: Going Public by David and Kelli Pritchard. We know that public school is the right choice for us right now, and this book really helped to confirm and support our purpose as the parents of public school children.

No matter what the formal education choice, it is a blessing to see so many parents dedicated to the academic, spiritual, and character education of their children! The world needs more parents (like these who have commented!) who are intentional and proactive in the lives of their children!

Becky said...

Kristen, I LOVE this. Chris and I have been discussing the idea of homeschooling vs. traditional schooling. We've seen positives and negatives in both.

I LOVE your approach. I love the intentionality with which you are influencing your kids while at the same time, allowing them to learn and grow in the context of the public school setting.

I hope that we can be the active and involved parents to our little ones you describe here.

Becky

Alexia said...

I want to homeschool my boys so.bad but I know I would be doing them a disservice because I suck at certain subjects. I am teachng them to read before they go though because I just don't trust our local schools to do that.

I'll still be doing amazing stuff with them at home though. The schools can teach them some stuff, but the IMPORTANT stuff will be taught by me thankyouverymuch! :)

Lynn said...

Awesome post! It's how we school at our house too. I would never rely on the public school system or the church exclusively for my children's education. Learning doesn't stop when they get off the bus. It doesn't even take a break in the summer. It's something to be embraced for your entire life.

Michelle said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time, kind of lurking in the background I guess, first and foremost though we have never met you are truly inspirational. I am a mom to 4 young children and I do homeschool, I LOVED your post. My older daughter was in public school for 2 years before we decided to homeschool, we were so blessed to have such good teachers, we prayed daily. I agree with you 100% that some parents can get high and mighty not only about public or private education but homeschooling as well. Each of us is called to do things in the best way possible for our own families and our "job" as parents is to help raise wonderful loving human beings. Thanks for your inspirational blog.

jennibell said...

I am a public school teacher and fully believe in our public school system. i am also a Christian who does not like the direction our public schools are taking some of the curriculum. Like you, I feel there is a balance and I try to hit it. When we are out of school for a snow day or all summer long, I "homeschool", meaning I do Bible with the kids, and fill in other subjects where I feel there might be holes. We do projects and journal. I am so thankful for the teachers that educate my children on the basics, but there is so much more we can do at home to expand on that education. It is a MISTAKE to allow our public system to be our childrens only educators.

Lori said...

I just posted a similar blog post today, and I was encouraged to find great common ground between non-homeschoolers and homeschoolers alike in the comments. If you get a chance to check it out I'd love your thoughts. :)

PS - for the record, totally not offended by the the homeschool title. Even technical homeschool moms could stand to learn a lot from how you don't keep the learning confined in your home. You inspire me daily!

Sue said...

Hi Kristen – I read your post last night before I went to a Mom’s Night Out event for the homeschooler’s at my church. I happened to mention it to them, and it really sparked up a great discussion for us. (Thanks!)

In the end, we all thought that you sounded like a GREAT mom. We also thought that you missed a few other titles that you should've added to your list. How about: Professional Chef, Chauffer, Entertainment Director, Domestic Engineer, Maid, Accountant, Personal Shopper, Interior Designer or even Doctor?!? (LOL)

Keep up the good work, sista! We're all right there with ya. :)

Jennifer said...

I think you are an awesome mom and that you are doing a great job educating your children even though you send them to school.

I homeschool my four year old daughter, and you are an inspiration to me. I sometimes find myself worrying that I can't do as good of a job of parenting as you when I read some of your posts.

I just became a Christian maybe three years ago once I realized how much of a miracle my daughter is and that she couldn't have just been put here by chance. God showed Himself to me through my daughter. I worry that even though I homeschool I can't teach my children all that I want to because I am still learning a ton each day myself.

Bailey's Leaf said...

I'm not a homeschooling mom and where some folks do a fantastic job, it is not a gift that God has given to me. However, it is not to say that I don't school at home. With our kindergartner, she has homework nightly, along with 3 books to read nightly. She has sight words and a bunch of other things that come up plus speech homework. Sometimes, we spend an hour or more on homework each night. We've had a time line project to work on that is due on 4/16. Do you know how many hours we've put into it? So, while I'm not taking the credit for formerly educating my child, I will take credit for supplementing her education and helping to keep her on track with what is going on.

Jennifer said...

We homeschooled for 4 years. Now when people hear that we used to homeschool, they exclaim "oh, how did you do it, I could never do that," etc. I honestly answer that you do what you have to do at the moment, you do what is best for your child right then, and if your child needed homeschooling, then you would do it too. They usually nod and say I guess you are right. I think EACH of us is doing what is best for our children when it comes to the education issue. No need to battle about it.

chalkinscriptions said...

Amen! Everyone should be involved in their kids lives whether it be the traditional way of homeschooling or sending them to private or public school. It's a full time job anyway you think about it!

Marsha said...

I very much appreciate and share this perspective. I've often said that the opposite of "homeschooling" is not "doesn't give a darn". And the opposite of "institutional schooling" is likewise not "smothering weirdo". As with most things in life, there is a spectrum and I think we're called upon to maximize the blessings of where we find ourselves. Being able to blend the best of multiple methodologies seems much more productive to me than the alternative.

Ashley said...

We're all called to educate our children at home - the level of education is what's up for discussion and will look differently for each family. Thanks for the reminder! :)

jacqueline said...

Great post! I have often referred to myself as a home school mom who sends her children to public school. It's so nice to know there are so many intentional mothers out there in the same boat!

Loretta said...

Thank you so much for this post! I feel sometimes like I am a homeschool mom at heart and then have to justify why I send my children to public school. You have absolutely nailed what it is that I am feeling...that I want to be involved in my children's learning; I just don't do it full-time.

I'm going to let the guilt go and embrace the things that I CAN teach them!

(Oh, and laughing with the previous commenter who was getting frustrated with CARRY THE ONE!!! I had one of those moments last night searching the house for yardsticks to try to get my son to understand WHY 1 yard plus 1 yard does not equal 60 feet.)