My oldest son, Daniel, and his wife Melissa had their third child yesterday! It’s a boy—our first grandson! What a miracle occurs when every child is born. And how obvious and apparent it is that this little blossom of heaven is a student from his very first breath!
“When did you start homeschooling?” seems to be a common question asked of those who do not opt to send their children away from the home daily. I have often been termpted to reply, “And when did you stop homeschooling?” Because every single child is a student of his parents. From the first day, our little ones strive to copy us. Their daily work is to learn and parents are their mentors, teachers and exemplars. God ordained it so. They try to do what we do. They learn to see life as we see it. They are our little “clones” in many ways, whether for good or for ill.
When I was a little girl, you could buy candy cigarettes. These were actually sticks of bubble gum wrapped in white paper lined up in a cigarette-looking pack. They were really a theater prop as my sister and I acted out the part of the pretty ladies we saw on television (and our own dad), as we puffed and inhaled and ashed our cigarettes and acted sophisticated. I’m glad those horrible things are off the market! We didn’t know any better, but it still makes me cringe to think of it! We were just children, just students copying what was modeled for us.
So, to the question, “When did you start homeschooling?”, I would like to reply: every mother homeschools every child! She is the teacher for her baby, her toddler, her preschooler, her child. She lovingly teaches them the essentials, such as how to dress and feed themselves, how to identify good food, how to care for their body, how to get along with others, how to avoid danger, how to worship God, and many other basic skills. This full-time education can continue until they are grown and able to act like an adult in many ways (teens), or it can be partly turned over to other teachers at age 5 if desired. And our little ones, with such a desire to please us, comply and adapt to whatever their beloved parents expect—even long hours away from the safety and love of the family circle. It’s amazing how we as adults perceive going to preschool or kindergarten as “fun”! My childhood memories don’t always support that. Nor do the tears that are frequently part of the first day of school, both for the mom and the 5-year-old.
I remember when I began homeschooling my second son. My first son—who was an excellent student at the local public school—balked!
“Why can’t I homeschool?” he pleaded.
“Would you even want to?” I asked, surprised. ” I thought you liked school!’
“That’s because there wasn’t any other choice”, he replied.
That got me thinking. Without options, children adapt.
Moms and Dads choose when to stop homeschooling, when to turn over the reigns to someone else. Let’s make sure that it is a wise and well-prayed over decision.