Are you new to homeschooling and trying to figure out what a homeschool should look like? So many of us (and yes, I mean me as well) started out homeschooling by attempting to replicate public school. It’s all many of us ever knew. In the beginning, for most of us who went to a government or private school, it’s difficult to wrap our brains around the idea that homeschooling doesn’t have to mimic what we know. But I maintain that homeschool should not look like a public school at all.
Why Your Homeschool Should Not Look Like a Public School
I want to challenge you to think outside the box as you begin to homeschool. Way outside the box. Because receiving an education took place way prior to the existence of such public schools. And after homeschooling for more than 12 years, I’ve learned a lot about what homeschool should or should not look like. And while there are as many looks to a homeschool as there are homeschool families, and I would never expect yours to look just like mine, I do want to share my take on why your homeschool should not look like a public school.
It Started in the Garden of Eden
Yes, we’re going way back in history. Because when we consider it, we see that in the midst of the garden our Heavenly Father was schooling Adam and Eve. While we don’t read about Him teaching them reading, writing and arithmetic, He was schooling them. Especially upon considering the definition for schooling found in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
“SCHOOL’ING, participle present tense Instructing; teaching; reproving.
If you’ve read the historical account in Genesis, you’ll know that Adam and Eve sure did get a schooling from God: instructions, teaching, and reprimand when necessary. Therefore, technically, schooling belongs between parents and their children.
Schooling is Between Parents and the Child
As can be seen, the Bible Principle about schooling between parent and child originates from the beginning. Therefore, it really is a natural part of parenting.
And who knows the child better than the child’s own parents? As Christians, we’re Holy Spirit lead as parents. Why would we think it any different when it comes to schooling our children?
Schooling in the Great Outdoors
Not to overstate the obvious, but schooling began in the great outdoors.
With this in mind, we should be at ease with learning taking place in all sorts of outdoor locations. For example, Adam was busy naming the animals. During this time this is what we read happening: observation; categorizing because he saw they procreated kind with kind; learning and practicing dominion; how to care for his environment because he was to tend the garden; horticulture; harvesting, etc. I mean, really the list continues.
Not to mention that the Bible tells us that there’s so much to learn about God from His Creation. From the lilies of the field, to the fowl of the air, to the ants. Certainly, outdoor settings are perfect for our children to learn about all things God’s Creation, too.
In general, hours and hours of this doesn’t happen much through public schools. By necessity, many children gathered together are best herded in a confined space, not out of doors. Many public schools have even greatly reduced or eliminated the one time children did get outdoors while at school — recess.
Home is in Homeschooling
True, we don’t tend to remain within the walls of our homes for schooling all of the time. But there’s something about home that definitely is different than the cold walls of generic posters and blackboards.
At home, our family culture is reflected. From tastes in furniture, to how we decorate, to how we care for it. And the environment is comfortable. It’s lived in, by those we love.
In most cases, there are fewer distractions. If one family member needs to take on a project that may cause distraction, other rooms are available.
If it’s a good home, it’s a safe home. In this instance, there’s no worry about mental, emotional, or physical abuse taking place. Unfortunately, this is not the case in most public school environments where bullying, abuse, and general unkindness are becoming more and more the normal environment.
Home is a Part of Life
Throughout history, we learn of families being together. Frequently in history, the father is at work either on the family property or perhaps away. And we learn that many times the sons are with the fathers. And the daughters are often times alongside their mothers. Even so, we read of families working together in unity. Often times generations are all together for many hours a day, day in and day out.
It isn’t until schoolroom institutions were established that we see children segregated into same-age groups. What’s not natural is having children all in the same room, of the same age, for several hours a day, and away from family. And stuck in a building for hours on end to top it all off. It may now be accepted as the normal, but it’s not natural.
In fact, many life skills aren’t being taught to children who attend government schools. We are even seeing these being taught to the newly graduated and college age students after having left home with 12 years of public education.
Whereas at home, my son has learned how to prepare healthy meals, basic house chores, car maintenance, how to care for our property, financial literacy, etc. One day he’ll be on his own and I want him to be ready for life.
At Home, Family Values Rule
At home, family values rule because as parents we set the stage for what is acceptable. This, if not for any other reason, is why homeschooling should not look like public school.
My son knows morals because I teach them to him from God’s Word. He knows good manners because I make that a priority as well. Reasoning is something I’ve also taught him via choice curricula.
Plus, with our delight-directed approach, his interests, talents, and gifts have been nurtured, and he has been able to choose high electives that reflect his future career goals. As his parents, we’re able to tailor our kids’ education to reflect who they are. And that’s something individuals don’t get in a public school. But at home, they can.
Homeschool Should Look Like Your Homeschool
In the end, homeschool should look like your homeschool. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, we each get to form our family and our homeschool as the Lord directs, not the State. So as you begin to homeschool (or begin your new homeschool year) I challenge you to consider what your homeschool looks like. Does it look like public school or does it reflect the goals, values, and cultures of your own family?