Now why would I address this topic? I home-schooled for ten years and then stopped. I have one child who has never been officially home-schooled and probably won't be, unless God makes it clear that she should be.
Here's why it's on my mind. For one, I just spent a longer night than usual doing homework with Samantha, so it felt like home-schooling. Second, I took Samantha this afternoon to a rehearsal for a ballet performance she's going to do later this week for our church home-school group's end of the year show. Her teacher happens to be a teenage home-schooler and is having the class perform as her contribution to the show. Also, this morning when I volunteered at my other daughter Katrina's school, I was inspired by the lesson the librarian taught to the 5th graders, reminding me of how fun it is to teach, especially about the Lord and things we're passionate about. (She shared some stories from the Jesus Film Project.)
I still have most of my home-school materials and plan to reference them over the years as I give extra help to Samantha at home. I guess the main thing I want to convey is the conviction I've held all along, that parents are primarily responsible for their children's education, whether they do it themselves or oversee others doing it. There's a new policy at Katrina's school that I really like. They require students to bring home all their tests to get signed. In Samantha's case,instead of grades, she gets up to three stars on her work. When she only gets two stars, her work gets sent home for me to correct with her. I feel that not only are both of the schools doing a great job spiritually and academically, but they are involving the parents and value their input.
Last week, we were able to attend Katrina's science fair and see all the great projects done by the 8th graders. Tomorrow night, we have another fair at Samantha's school to see the posters they did for earth day along w/ other projects by older students. There's no way all these projects could get done w/o help from the parents, although the kids do the bulk of the work.
All this to say that even though I'm not officially home-schooling anymore, I'm still schooling. You may be wondering why I haven't mentioned anything about Bryan since he's still in school as well, and a public one at that. Well, it's true that we don't have as much involvement there; I think we would be more actively involved if other circumstances in our lives were different. But we still give him input as needed and are basically pleased with how things have worked out for him. The fortunate thing is that he makes it a priority to get spiritual input from many other sources - friends, two churches, youth group, and several Bible studies a week. He also packs up his stuff often and heads out to have his quiet time at coffee shops.
Home-schooling is wonderful and has many many advantages. I totally support anyone who continues to do it. At the same time I want to advocate that it's not the only way to effectively educate your children and teach them to follow Christ. Of course the choices we've made require additional finances, and God has made that possible for us, for which I'm thankful. Poor Samantha would be up a creek if she didn't have a classroom setting to motivate her to learn. Katrina would feel marginalized because of my own illness and having to be on call with Ethan. Not to mention that I'm a total failure when it comes to science; the experiments I had my kids do almost always flopped.