What drives the decisions you make as you homeschool? You might be surprised to hear me say, “For most homeschoolers, their homeschooling decisions are driven by fear.”
This has been true as long as I have been involved in homeschooling and with other homeschooling families. That’s about 30 years now. Not much has changed during that time.
Thirty years ago, a woman was marketing a program to teach kids to read. It was expensive: $225.00 (and that was in 1980’s dollars). The lady had spent a lot of time and money producing a reading program complete with booklets, cards, records (eventually she changed to cassette tapes), and pictures.
She sold a lot of programs.
Why? Because the program was expensive. At the time, insecure parents reasoned that an expensive program was better than a cheap one. Still today, homeschoolers tend to buy what has the most pizazz or is the most expensive. We are insecure in our ability to know what is best for our own children so we let some publisher tell us what’s best.
May I be bold enough to say that “insecurity” is just another word for “fear”. May I also say that we need to look that fear full in the face and refuse to let it be a driver in our homeschooling.
Instead of purchasing the lady’s reading program, we found one in the library that had no pictures, no songs, no cards, no booklets. We liked it, mainly because it was a true phonics program and, besides, all the extras simply distracted our boys from reading. The price printed on the cover was $19.95. It had gone out of print so we reprinted it and it became the beginning of our family business. When we said the lady’s program was not really a true phonics program she threatened to sue us. We were not afraid because it was the truth.
While I am on the topic of reading, I will ask, “At what age should a child be reading?” The answer depends on whether or not you are following the traditional age-grade model of the public school. If your child is in preschool or 1st grade—and you are looking ahead at the material your child must master in the coming months and years—you will probably say something like, “A child should definitely be reading no later than age 6”.
What is driving this response? I say: fear. Why? Because, what if your child doesn’t learn to read until age 9 or 10, or later? Would that be a problem for you? Again, why?
Fear will take you down a narrow road you don’t want to be on and making a U-turn on that road is not easy.
Who determines what your child will be doing next school year? Who determines what curricula your child will be using next school year? Who determines what grade your child will be in next school year (and why should your child be in a grade at all?). Who determines how long your school day (or year) will last?
Are any of these decisions driven by fear? Fear of what or whom? If the driver is fear, open the door and tell it to get out of your homeschool vehicle. Then, move into the driver’s seat yourself.
We teach our children to have faith by having faith, ourselves. Faith that their Father (not Fear) will lead us to make right decisions for them.
A good place to begin is by asking yourself, “Why am I doing this [whatever this is]?” Then, don’t be afraid of the answer you receive.