Want to homeschool, not sure where to start.

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MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My wife and I would like to begin home schooling our children but are not sure where to start with it. We've never homeschooled before.

I am aware of several good programs available but am still not sure where to start. Particularly in the area of legality and all that. Up till now my children have been attending state schools (under my close scrutiny) but these last 2 years have pretty much caused me to give up on the school system here.

We are not rich folks and live on my salary alone so affording private schools is a bit of a stretch, not to mention I just like the idea of teaching my children and, frankly, learning along with them as well.

Any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated.

(Were thinking of using some materials from Veritas but will probably mix and match to meet our needs if possible)
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
My wife and I would like to begin home schooling our children but are not sure where to start with it. We've never homeschooled before.

I am aware of several good programs available but am still not sure where to start. Particularly in the area of legality and all that. Up till now my children have been attending state schools (under my close scrutiny) but these last 2 years have pretty much caused me to give up on the school system here.

We are not rich folks and live on my salary alone so affording private schools is a bit of a stretch, not to mention I just like the idea of teaching my children and, frankly, learning along with them as well.

Any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated.

(Were thinking of using some materials from Veritas but will probably mix and match to meet our needs if possible)
Hi Donald -

We've been committed to the idea for a long time, and with our oldest being six now, we've just completed the first year of "real" school with her. We're ramping things up again for year #2 with her, and "real" year number 1 with our 4.5 year old in a couple of weeks.

In the long run, we'll be doing a lot of Veritas materials, but will pull from here and there where needed. Most classical curricula have very similar approaches to the elementary school years, though. One of the nice things about Veritas is they are very explicit about discussing history in a full-orbed sense - you can't excise the church and God's work in History from the study of History... or else you get a flat, lifeless study. If you'd like to talk specifics, toss me a PM.

Todd
 

jsup

Puritan Board Freshman
My parents mixed curriculum when they homeschooled me. We used Beautiful Feet for History and it was phenomenal! It had a wonderful in-depth study of History and wasn't afraid of delving into Christianity. We also used School of Tomorrow and Saxon.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Any info on the legal side? I'm not sure how to go about affiliating with a given program and how all of the "legal hoops" get jumped through. I guess I'll have to investigate the laws here in WA state regarding homeschooling and all. Anyone on the board from WA that can give some insight?
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Donald -- You've made a great decision! Not an easy one, but one that will be a blessing to you and yours.

The best place to start for legal information as well as how to get started may be the Home School Legal Defense Association.

I would also recommend checking out Christian Liberty Press.
I'd second the suggestion some have made already - get in touch with HSLDA and/or the Washington state homeschool association. I think usually (as is the case in Iowa) that membership in the state organization carries a hefty discount on membership in HSLDA. At any rate, the HSLDA has a great deal of info available on their website.

Todd
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
RE WA legalities . . . My recollection is that my mom had to fill out a form with the local school district declaring her intent to homeschool us each year. Also, you're required, starting at a certain age (8 I think?), to have some sort of professional eval of your child's progress - if you're using a correspondence school, or teacher advisory help (like Hewitt - btw, Hewitt rocks when it comes to older grades) that counts - most people do standardized testing.

Hopefully Traci will chime in - I think she's currently homeschooling (and she's also in WA).
 

bwsmith

Puritan Board Freshman
My wife and I would like to begin home schooling our children but are not sure where to start with it. We've never homeschooled before.

I am aware of several good programs available but am still not sure where to start. Particularly in the area of legality and all that. Up till now my children have been attending state schools (under my close scrutiny) but these last 2 years have pretty much caused me to give up on the school system here.

We are not rich folks and live on my salary alone so affording private schools is a bit of a stretch, not to mention I just like the idea of teaching my children and, frankly, learning along with them as well.

Any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated.

(Were thinking of using some materials from Veritas but will probably mix and match to meet our needs if possible)

Welcome to the most amazing adventure you have taken thus far! I recommend Diane Lopez’ book: Teaching Children to give you an overview of what your children need to know, and when. Very helpful!
Also, Ruth Beecheck has some helpful resources –



http://www.pds-thirdfloor.com/message33.html
 

dcomin

Psalm Singa
Dear Donald,

You will be greatly blessed. My wife and I began homeschooling 11 years ago. Our oldest will graduate next year, Lord willing. It has been the most blessed experience of our lives.

One of the most helpful things that God provided for us, early on, was a wonderful seminar by a homeschool consultant named Carol Joy Seid, who recommends education through Great Books. She said something that brought the issue into focus for us in a way that nothing else had done. Here is the quote:

"You can provide a high quality education for your child with nothing more than a Bible, a good math text, and a library card."
Too often homeschoolers feel that they must re-produce the public school classroom at their dining room tables. But here's the thing - the public school is a dismal failure! Why would we want to duplicate it?

My advice? Don't get locked into a particular curriculum. Get advice from other homeschoolers about what has worked for them and why they liked it. Take cues from your kids and their learning styles, and tailor the material to them. This is a luxury that the mass-production public schools can't afford, but it's the true beauty of home education!

And, by all means, find a good local homeschool group for support and encouragement.

God bless!
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you all for your encouragement.

I will confess, this has me (and my dear wife) scared out of our socks. But, we are convinced it's the right thing to do. I just pray that I am as mentaly, and spiritually commited to it as I think I am. I know I'm not the best dad in the world but I just want what's best for my children.
 

bwsmith

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all for your encouragement.

I will confess, this has me (and my dear wife) scared out of our socks. But, we are convinced it's the right thing to do. I just pray that I am as mentaly, and spiritually commited to it as I think I am. I know I'm not the best dad in the world but I just want what's best for my children.
You should be afraid -- be ve-r-r-r-r-y afraid. ;) But you will learn more than you ever knew could be learned . . .
 

5solasmom

Puritan Board Freshman
My advice? Don't get locked into a particular curriculum. Get advice from other homeschoolers about what has worked for them and why they liked it. Take cues from your kids and their learning styles, and tailor the material to them. This is a luxury that the mass-production public schools can't afford, but it's the true beauty of home education!
I second this.

We've been homeschooling for 4 years now and I've been very blessed to have great input from other hs veterans.

As to curriculums, there are so many great options. Several good ones have already been mentioned, but I would add that if you're on a budget, Veritas is one of the most expensive ones out there.

I'd recommend HSLDA and these books for helps with getting started:

Things We Wished We'd Known compiled by Diana Waring:
http://www.amazon.com/Things-We-Wish-Wed-Known/dp/1883002427/ref=sr_1_1/105-4830034-9563612?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184635150&sr=8-1

Help for the Harried Homeschooler by Christine Field:
http://www.amazon.com/Help-Harried-Homeschooler-Practical-Balancing/dp/0877887942/ref=cm_lmf_tit_7_rdssss0/105-4830034-9563612

For the Children's Sake by Elizabeth Schaeffer Macaulay:
http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Sake-Foundations-Education-Child-Life/dp/089107290X/ref=cm_lmf_tit_5_rdssss0/105-4830034-9563612

The How and Why of Home Schooling by Ray E. Ballmann:
http://www.amazon.com/How-Why-Home-Schooling/dp/0891078592/ref=sr_1_1/105-4830034-9563612?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184635915&sr=8-1

The Old Schoolhouse magazine is also a great resource as well:
http://www.theoldhomeschoolhouse.com/

Blessings to you! What a wonderful decision you've made! :up:
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Some Washington resources:

http://www.washhomeschool.org/whoAboutHomeschooling.html

http://www.washhomeschool.org/whoLaw.html

http://www.homestead.com/wahomeednet/files/WASHINGTON_STATE_HOMESCHOOLING_LAWS.htm

Washington Statutes on schooling:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?Cite=28A

http://www.curewashington.org/HS_GettingStarted_01.shtml

Get hooked up with locals. I know a lot of people who have done a great job homeschooling. Several families have had their children in "Running Start" which allows their older children to get community college credit while still of high school age. I know of three kids who earned Associate Degrees before they turned 18. They can start college as juniors if they want, while others are finishing high school.

Also, WA state has a lot of resources for homeschoolers. I know one school district that allows homeschoolers to be part of a high school orchestra or take part in sports. The state is surprisingly flexible, given our politics.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
:up: HSLDA don't try it without them. A lot of homeschoolers try to "free-load" off HSLDA by using the website and reading the newsletters, etc. without joining don't do it. You will get so much help from them it is so worth it to join.

:up: Join a local support group. This will get you in touch with local homeschoolers that can help with local issues. Check out this blog http://www.xanga.com/monctonareahomeschoolers . This is an example of why you should join a local group. Find your own area group and get in touch.

You and your wife should start reading about homeschooling. The list above has some great books on it. Also see if you can find "Homeschooling on a Shoestring" it has some practical advice for one income families.

My wife does a workshop on "getting started" I can send you a copy of the CD when we get them if you will PM me your mailing address. (I am not sure when, we have been waiting for the cd's for a couple of months now:banghead:)

God bless, and just do it.
 

shelly

Puritan Board Freshman
A most excellent resource is The Well Trained Mind. I pull a lot from her recommendations. I don't think Veritas is included but I like it especially for the timeline cards.

I use Saxon for math. There is also a D.I.V.E cd that teaches the lesson on the computer and then the kids go do the work. They can also rewind the teacher.

I use Veritas for Bible and History. For history we do a lot of outside reading and some cool field trips. We went to Mobile, AL for a Roman encampment in Feb of this year. We also saw the Pompei exhibit.
My children make armour and have gladiator fights. They want it to be as real as possible. Did you know the only place to get an authentic Roman helmet is from India, and it's very expensive? After much time and effort to make a "real helmet that can take a blow to the head" my 10 year old had to concede that he just couldn't have a helmet. I suspect my kids were a little rougher on the kitchen cabinets so I would take the doors off and let them have them for shields.

Anyway, I love the classical approach. It's a lot more fun and the kids learn more too. They are kicking a bit at Latin this year. It's a computer based learning that is somewhat similar to Rosetta Stone in its approach. It does have a real paper book as a reader and has tests outside the computer.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you all so much for your recommendations. We are still formulating exactly what we are going to do. Please keep us in your prayers.

Grace and Peace.
 

brymaes

Puritan Board Sophomore
"You can provide a high quality education for your child with nothing more than a Bible, a good math text, and a library card."
That's how my parents did it, and I think it was amazing.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I agree that congratulations are in order!

But...

You don't have to 'homeschool'. You can accomplish your goals by going through one of the local independant study 'charter' schools that are popping up all over the place. That way you can still control the curriculum, the instruction, the environment but with the $$$ that the state has already stolen from you! :D :worms:

Seriously...the state pays for your curriculum (even Christian curriculum if you learn how to work the system) and services such as skiing lessons, piano lessons, club soccer etc. They provide a 'teacher' that is really more of a 'facilitator' and there is no need for HSLDA because you are legal. These charter schools are becoming very popular and can be found in your area. Before you decide to 'homeschool' and pay for your own curriculum and join HSLDA, at least check out some of your local independant charter schools and try to find the most 'independant'.

BTW, we use Bob Jones University Press.
 

LauraT

Inactive User
I know that your children are young, but for the future I strongly recommend Cornerstone Curriculum for high school. I STILL remember EVERYTHING I learned from that book and attribute my love of theology, history, and politics to this curriculum. It is a bit over-the-top with tons of different resources but I learned alot. It teaches theology/philosophy, literature, art, music, government, economics, and science history and over three years gives you 18 credits. It was put together by David Quine and I still remember watching the video series of Francis Schaeffar with his white beard and all. :) I still reference back to it for help in college. Cornerstone Curriculum: World Views of the Western World


Also, I think homeschooling is a great way to go. I LOVED homeschooling and wish I could have done it all through high school. But, once we moved to FL I had to go to a Christian School (which started out fun but ended up being a waste of time). It's hard to homeschool in southwest Florida! Not many people do it!

I also think that no matter how your children are educated it totally depends on the parents and their involvement with their children's lives. I'm excited for your family!

I had to get my two cents in somewhere..... haha
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
Sorry I missed this thread Donald. I hope you are doing well with your plans. Feel free to pm me. Jessica is correct in what she said. You have until the 15th to go to your childs school district office and file an intent to homeschool.

Also Ken is right about charter schools and we have them in this state. For saving money this can be a great option. They give you money actually. You have to use it toward educating your child which can include things like swimming lessons etc. Some of them are really cool. If you want info email me and I will send you links.
 

lololong

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi,

I hope you are on your way to a wonderful school year.
I also recommend the HSLDA and getting with other homeschoolers.
I am sure there is at least a group where you live. They will give you great support and encouragement. There are also many opportunities of activities to do with the groups like field trips, field day, speech and debate...too many to do them all or to list them all.
I am the director of a homeschool co-op that meets every Monday. We are having a blast, the parents and the children. We have 100 kids for our very small town (and a waiting list bc we have max out the church facilities). It is a great opportunity to have your kids take classes with other kids. The parents teach what they are good at and what they love.
About curriculum. At first I followed A Beka because they tell you what to do (and to say) day by day. After a while, you create your own depending on your children's need.
I use A Beka for Language and science, Singapore Math, Spelling Power, and a mix of things for History and Geography. We also do typing, sewing, cooking (with menus, grocery list...). Of course we read, read read.
Homeschooling is definitely a wonderful thing.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I third (or fourth or whatever) the HSLDA idea.

We homeschool here (foreign schools running about $15 - 20,000 USD a year) and love it. We use Sonlight (literature-based) and love it. My wife is always happy to talk about it, just send me a PM. It is also cheap - and very few workbooks, so it can be used with multiple children.
 

JoeRe4mer

Puritan Board Freshman
My wife and I would like to begin home schooling our children but are not sure where to start with it. We've never homeschooled before.

I am aware of several good programs available but am still not sure where to start. Particularly in the area of legality and all that. Up till now my children have been attending state schools (under my close scrutiny) but these last 2 years have pretty much caused me to give up on the school system here.

We are not rich folks and live on my salary alone so affording private schools is a bit of a stretch, not to mention I just like the idea of teaching my children and, frankly, learning along with them as well.

Any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated.

(Were thinking of using some materials from Veritas but will probably mix and match to meet our needs if possible)
I respect your decision, however a word of warning. My wife and her brothers were home school children and although there were some benifits there are also draw backs.

1) You may need help teaching certain subject matters as the children advance. Math and Science are the most commen. Its not hard at all to find a good tutor however, some families even send their children to the local highschool for these classes.

2) Lack of socialization can and does happen sometimes. The children still need contact with peer groups to develope social skills, since they wont be going to school. Youth groups and sports leagues can help with that aspect.

3) Homeschool is a lot of hard work and MANY GOOD parents burn out after a few years. This happend to a close friend of ours but it does not mean your a bad parent if things dont work out.

4) State tests are still requierd in many cases and not passing them can create a problem.

That said may the Lord bless and keep your family. I will pray for your success.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
And here's the flip side of part of the last one:

Yes, the kids will have to take standardized tests to validate your teaching in some cases. However, the ability to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide will often give them all they need to score above the national average. Our nine year old apparently has 11th grade English skills by national standards. She loves to read, but she's no highschool material.

Socialization will happen to a church-going family anyway, especially a family where there are many kids. Church lunches, etc. work the magic of socialization as much as school does and without the drugs and underage sex.
 

lololong

Puritan Board Freshman
Some states do not require testing (like Louisiana). Our homeschool group has a testing week for the families who are interested. My family does it especially for me (the teacher). That way, I can make sure where the strengths and weaknesses are and where we need to work a little more. I am usually not surprised with the results because as I am the teacher, I know where my girls do well and where they don't. They usually test much higher that the grade they are in (My 10 yo did post hight school on 5 subjects this year, but like Kevin said, she is not HS material yet)
About socialization, if you are part of a group, you probably will encounter the opposite problem. We have so many wonderful things that we can participate in that we have to be careful not to overload ourselves in that area.
Another great thing about socialization and homeschooling is that kids learn to socialize with different age groups and not only their peers. They can have a conversation with adults, play a ball game with teenagers, or play with and watch babies.
As I know all their friends and their families, I also have a great peace of mind about who they spend time with. I second Kevin's answer about socialization.
The major problem that I see in our area is a few parents who say they homeschool, but they actually do not and the children know nothing. Homeschooling is a commitment. It takes time and efforts.

Have fun
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Not sure where we got this but it is from the Arndt family (sixteen kids). I don't agree with much of his theology, but the guy has the schooling/family bit down pat. Sorry for the length of the article, but it is from an MSWord doc on our computer):

One quiet day in September of 1985 Cathy and I (who at that time were the young parents of four energetic little boys) made a decision that would profoundly impact the future course of our entire family. On that late summer day, when we arrived at the simple decision to homeschool Paul, our oldest son, we could little have suspected that over the next 17-and-a-half years our family size would mushroom from six to 16, and that the family home school would still be humming along well into the new millennium!

The decision to fulfill our roles as the primary educators of our children came very naturally to both Cathy and me back in September of 1985, the month when Paul turned five years old. The concept of homeschooling was radically new to the general public in that era, and we knew very few other families who were engaged in teaching their kids at home. Yet, we both sensed a passion to "be there" for our kids, and to pour our hearts and minds and prayers into the task of ushering them safely from the birthing room, through toddlerhood and adolescence, and across the threshold of solid Christian adulthood.

The New Testament teaches (and our experience confirms) that those who surrender to God and receive Jesus into their hearts face three major sources of opposition -- the flesh, the world and the Enemy. From the moment that we welcomed each child into this world -- and more accurately, from the moment we knew that conception had occurred -- Cathy and I have made a practice of "claiming" each child for Jesus, asking that the Blood of His sacrifice wash over our little one, asking that the love of the Father and the presence of the Holy Spirit envelope him or her.

Yet, no parent needs to be reminded of the fact that the symptoms of original sin pop up early in a child's life, no matter how sweet, cute and precious he or she is! The words "Me, my and mine" come easily to the lips of even the most adorable two-year-old. Each human being born into the world has been given the awesome privilege of choosing for or against His God, for or against the offer of forgiveness and restoration that has been extended to men and women through Jesus.

My first incentive for becoming a homeschooling dad was simply a desire to occupy, with Cathy, the awe-inspiring role as the primary educator of my children so that I could one day stand before God and tell him: "I have labored with you, Father, with all that was within me to bring these precious children into Your arms. I have done all that I could do to protect them from all that is evil and to expose him to all that is good. I have, to the best of my ability, tried to be present to all of my children, and to take the time to know the unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies of each of them. I have tried to create, within the walls of our home, a microcosm of heaven, a place in which the presence of Your Spirit can be breathed in as naturally as air, a place in which the fruit of Your Spirit radiates amidst the troubles and pains of ordinary life. I have endeavored to familiarize them with the timeless truths of the Bible so that their young minds, while forming through their most impressionable years, might become molded around those precious, unshakeable truths that are so close to Your heart.

"Once they leave this nest, God, they will make all of their own decisions, but I can honestly say, Father, that I have run the race, fought the fight, and tried to place them at the heart of my life."

A second, more practical motive for homeschooling is the desire by Cathy and I to see the boys and Mary-Elizabeth anchored firmly in the solid basics of the "Three R's" -- reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. Public and some private education has changed dramatically since the early days of our country, when teachers in one-room schoolhouses or homes taught basic, no-nonsense skills to students that would prepare them for the journey of life.

I am an avid student of our country's history, and have pored over countless diaries, letters and writings created during the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War, and even extending to about the year 1900. A common thread in nearly all of these writings is a striking emphasis in schools, homes, churches and communities of the following themes:

- Basic, life-giving Christian and Biblical foundational truths.

- A reverence for the fact that our country was founded upon these principles.

- An emphasis on the "Three R's," especially upon the ability to read and write.

One of the main points of emphasis within our home school is phonics as a foundation for the ability of a child to read and spell. For some reason, many -- probably most -- schools teach reading by the "sight" or "memory" method, as opposed to teaching, via phonics, the basic building blocks of the English language. A phonetic approach enables children to understand the basic rules of spelling and pronunciation within our language, and teaches them to fish as opposed to merely giving them a fish, to borrow an old proverb.

There has been a steady trend within our public school system and parts of the media to shove God out of the public marketplace, in the name of upholding the principle of separation of church and state. Ironically, the founders who advocated this separation apparently did so to protect the church from the state, not to lock God in the cellar and yet somehow expect the nation to thrive and remain blessed. Many of the same founders who laid down this principle openly called upon God to bless and keep and uphold this country, despite its many failings and weaknesses.

Children (and even us older folks) find it very challenging at times to swim against the stream of peer pressure. Anyone who has attended school knows of the subculture or pecking order that tends to develop within the walls of any institution. In many cases the attraction or lure of a circle of school acquaintances outweighs the sense of commitment that a child has to his or her family. I have found that young children need to be undistracted from much of the peripheral activities of typical school life so that they might have the freedom and focus to send their roots deep into the soil of God's basic truths, growing up in an atmosphere that reflects that found in the Kingdom of God.

Onlookers may at times mistake this "safe at home" approach for a campaign of brainwashing and domination of helpless children. Yet, Christians parents are clearly called by Scripture, conscience and common sense to escort their children forward through the winding road of life, and are called to represent God to them in every facet of His being, ranging from boundless affection to firm discipline. Parents today need to be unafraid to demonstrate backbone and consistency in raising their children, and need to keep their eyes focused upon the big prize. The portrait of God that we reflect as parents may be the only example of Him that our children will ever see, and that picture must be as consistent and reliable as is possible. When children see steady love, unwavering truthfulness, gentle firmness, they learn to trust; they learn that absolute truth does exist.

This kind of "preventive medicine" goes a long way toward immunizing our precious children against the deadly forces of cynicism, confusion and skepticism that can take root in the lives of little ones (and not-so-little ones) who never see the solid, reliable nature of the Heavenly Father consistently portrayed to them.

I have so many good things to say about homeschooling that I cannot begin to place it all into words. There are endless benefits. I will try to reel off a few more of them.

- The sense of satisfaction, peace and completeness that fills parents' hearts when carrying out their duties as the main educators of their children.

- The freedom to teach each child at his or her own pace, in an unhurried way.

- The privilege of recognizing and drawing out latent skills and gifts that God has hidden deep within our children's personalities.

- The freedom for a family to set its own unique, flexible schedule. (For example, field trips or vacations can be taken during weekdays or in autumn, when crowds are lowest and prices discounted.)

- The advantage of being able to see one's child rank in the upper percentiles of nationalized equivalency testing because of the steady, concentrated devotion of his or her own, personal, on-the-premises, live-in teacher(s). (The fact that our kids have ranked in the 90's -- with one son even hitting 98 percent -- on nationalized testing percentiles has meant a great deal to Cathy and me as homeschooling parents.)

- The wonderful side benefit of enabling a child to experience life in the household during all hours of the day and all seasons of the year, not merely on weekday evenings, weekends or during the summer.

- The fantastic freedom for each child to progress calmly at his or her own unique pace in a given subject, in harmony with the natural giftings and abilities deposited within him or her by God, as opposed to being one of a large crowd of children that learns in a generic manner and moves forward as a group at the same general pace.

- The priceless privilege on the part of parents to take the concept of education beyond the old image of students sitting in rows for hours and digesting facts, replacing it with a balanced, expanded and more awesome definition -- that of parents acting as living prisms who interpret life's realities for their children.

- The joy of simply being there to witness each new breakthrough made by a child.

- The awesome opportunity to lead little ones to Jesus, and to help their minds, hearts and wills be conformed to His nature.

- The beautiful benefit of being able to see our kids for more hours per day, enabling us to "slow down" their childhoods long enough to savor each stage.

- The joy of co-laboring with a child until he or she makes a key breakthrough -- be it scholastically, athletically, spiritually or otherwise -- and the heartwarming knowledge that you were the one to assist him or her in achieving it.

- The chance to teach our kids the complete and accurate story of this great country's history, rather than a revised, politically-correct version of what our nation's earliest founders believed.

- The wonderful privilege of giving our kids a teacher-student ratio that is far more concentrated than that found in typical schools.

- The fantastic opportunity to present children with the experience of a vibrant, thriving home life, thus whetting their appetites for strong, solid Christian homes and stable marriages when they begin to build their own adult lives.

- The satisfaction of shielding our kids from the endless onslaught of twisted and cheapened sexual themes (so prevalent in our culture today) that fly in the face of God's precious institutions of Christian courtship and marriage.

- The ability to monitor a child's budding interest in the opposite sex, and to help him or her yield it to the will of God and his wise principles of abstinence until marriage, being equally yoked with a committed Christian partner in marriage and the like.

- The magnificent chance to instill a solid, clear-eyed pro-life attitude within our children, allowing them to respect all human life from womb to tomb.

- A chance to define, within the walls of our home, what is truly "cool," what is truly "fun," what is truly "life."

- A golden opportunity to help our children learn about the awesome benefits that come with a life lived in joyful Christian self-discipline, as opposed to one lived according to one's ever-changing human whims and desires.

- The exciting mission of creating an environment in which children, once they have grown into adults and left the nest, carry within their hearts for the rest of their lives the joy of salvation in Jesus and the ever-outflowing love of God.

- The staggering responsibility to be the major contributing factor in regard to a child's ultimate eternal destination.

- The solid satisfaction of knowing that the two persons who most love a child happen also to be their teachers!

As I said above, I could write on and on about the challenging, exhilarating, draining, inspiring mission of homeschooling. I have done a poor job, I am sure, in conveying all that is within my heart on this subject.

In the two years following the birth of Paul in 1980 I asked God from the bottom of my heart if he would be kind enough to allow me to earn my family's bread in a manner that would allow me to be home with them for as many hours per day as is possible. After a long period of praying and waiting, a small doorway opened -- the chance to purchase a used court reporting machine for $300 from a woman who had apparently given up the profession.

Several circumstances came together in the summer of 1982 to assure me beyond a doubt that God was leading me into this profession so that I could work in a flexible manner, leaving the house only to report depositions, but remaining at home during the rest of the week, editing the depo transcripts on a computer.

Over the next three years I would arrive home from a nine-hour workday as a production worker and truck driver at my father-in-law's tool-and-die shop and spend some of the evening hours building up my court reporting speed, while still trying to remain present to the kids. I set aside Sundays for church and family activities. (I had already worked at the shop for two years before the decision to begin educating myself as a court reporter. Prior to that I had worked as a journalist, editor and photographer at various area newspapers.)

Somehow, after three years, I was able to break into the court reporting profession, at the age of 29. Four years later, at the age of 33, I launched Arndt Reporting & Legal Video, and have now been in this profession for nearly two decades. I am a Certified Shorthand Reporter in the State of Illinois.

I am able to work on the computer during those times when the youngest kids are sleeping or napping, or when they are being well taken care of by Cathy or one of the older boys. In this way, the kids have a dad who is able to give them "face time" throughout the day. Even on days when I have a deposition to report, I am usually at home for at least half of the day. There are always exceptions, such as those intense periods of time in which I must report eight-hour depositions for a number of days in a row. But in general the profession is very family-friendly, and it was the Heavenly Father who kindly led me into it.

Because of the flexibility of the court reporting profession, I have been able to work toward the fulfillment of other callings that I have sensed coming from God, such as the nurturing of the Safe At Home Christian Fellowship (where I am pastor), the development of the website and cable TV show, along with regular workouts at the YMCA and participation in sports activities and vacations with the kids.

In addition, throughout 2002 and 2003, when we were all working together on our house construction project, I was able to put in many hundreds of hours -- at widely varying times of the day -- on such activities as swinging a hammer, grading the land with a tractor, installing electrical boxes, and the like. The flexible nature of this profession was a key ingredient in my ability to be on the work site day after day (and at times, night after night!)

Cathy and I have tried to strip our lives down to basics, so that we can do a few things well rather than a lot of things in a mediocre way. We have attempted to pour our lives into a few premium foundational priorities to which we have been called, and have been wary of allowing ourselves to become distracted from them, even by seemingly good things. God has marked out the running lanes on the track, so to speak, and we are, with His power, trying to run the race within those parameters, refusing to look left or right unless God permits us to do so.

Cathy and I have never campaigned against traditional education. There are thousands and thousands of fine, dedicated teachers out there. My own dad taught for many, many years, and was very conscientious, and was excellent at what he did. Our goal has never been to put a burden upon the shoulders of parents who do not homeschool their children. I have written this section for the simple purpose of expressing some of the reasons why we have come to this conclusion. We are convinced that God has gently, but firmly, pushed us into this direction, and thank Him for doing so.

The benefits have been overwhelmingly positive. Our kids are not shy, timid souls who have never been taught to socialize. The opposite is true; many insecure, unrooted children from broken or wounded homes have gravitated toward our kids. Cathy and I have, in a sense, become parents to hundreds of young people throughout our ministry, although they do not, of course, live beneath our roof.

God created the institution of the family for his own wonderful reasons. The invention of it is a shining example of His wisdom and goodness. Healthy families make for healthy communities and healthy nations. The old adage is true:

"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Also, for those who say that one person can't teach their five (or however many) kids, do you really want to turn them over to someone who is attempting to control (and if they manage to control, then perhaps teach) a couple/few dozen kids at once?
 

lololong

Puritan Board Freshman
About HS curriculum or subject that the parent would not feel comfortable teaching:
If there is a homeschool, co-op, it can help that way by signing your children for classes that you are not sure you can teach. Our HS group at co-op focus on the academics and on prep classes for college.
There are also numerous courses that you can get on line, or with DVD or satellites.
In Louisiana, at 16, children can do dual enrollments courses in college (9h a semester or 24h/year) after passing the ACT. We have a lot of homeschoolers that take classes at the 2 local universities or at the community college. Not only it counts for their HS credits, but for their college credit as well...in the end, they are way ahead on their piers in the public school. I have not know a homeschooler that failed those classes because they have learn to study, apply and retain from a young age.
Being with my kids all day also build the relationships that will last for life. I am investing in a wonderful future with my children.
 
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