I read several homeschool blogs and will confess that sometimes they make me feel guilty. I have a sister who homeschools her seven children while I am driving mine to school every morning at 7:45am. And I have several friends who also school their children at home, rather than sending them to a private or public school.
What’s a mom like me supposed to do who loves the classroom, yet we have decided it would be best to send our children to our church school?
When I was only five years old, I’m pretty sure I nearly drove my mother crazy with my pleas to enter kindergarten. Finally, she let me visit one day and that day is still implanted in my memory.
Something happened that day.
The love of school, learning, and eventually – teaching, was forever embedded in my heart.
I taught for one year before we got married and that year, too, is one I will never forget. I learned more from my fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders than they learned from their nineteen-year-old teacher!
Had we not had the choice of our own private, Christian church school, we would definitely homeschool. But as it is, our church has a wonderful school of close to 75 students with the principal (and high school teacher) being one of our ministers.
Our children love going to school! I know it would break their hearts to take them out of school. We believe they are receiving an excellent education while learning to deal with positive and negative peer pressure in a controlled environment. There have been multiple opportunities for us to teach them how to do right when others are doing wrong. Not saying they always obey, but it’s valuable lessons learned.
You could view the private school classroom as a mini-world. It gives them the chance to sprout their wings, deal with peer pressure, and learn to make hard decisions before hitting the “real world”. This is probably why some homeschool communities have their own days they get together to do essentially the same thing for their children.
So what’s a mom like me to do when I’d rather be following my children to school than staying home doing the laundry?
For me, here is what has worked:
- Be involved. As a former teacher, I cannot express to you parents how important this is. I firmly believe that the more involved a parent is in their child’s education, the more successful the child will be.
- Help your child with their homework, especially areas they struggle in. If your child needs extra work to comprehend their subject, let their teacher know you are willing to help them in it. Problem areas need to be dealt with as they happen, not after they fail the course. That is why it’s important to keep tabs on how they’re doing on a daily basis. For us, we’ve found prevention is worth a pound of cure! I had one child who claimed they’d studied for the quiz, only to fail it two times before I realized I needed to help this child with the studying. It worked! The quiz was finally passed, the book finished, and the final test was passed as well. I just wish I’d caught on before the first attempt at the quiz.
- Support your child’s teacher. If this means bringing them a cup of coffee at break or offering to answer questions during study time, your child’s teacher will greatly appreciate it. It also helps to have an open relationship with the teacher so they will tell us when and where there are problem areas in our child.
- Offer to teach a class or volunteer for field trips. We have people who do great with being there for special classes. With little ones still at home, sometimes it’s hard to find a way to help. So find your own way. For me, I’ve had the opportunity to be a substitute teacher for Junior High. I don’t think our Junior High teacher realizes how much this fills a little void in my heart. If I could be anywhere besides my own sweet home, it would be in the classroom.
- Watch your child at recess to see how they are doing socially. This is something I like to do whenever I’m at school a little early or whether I’m there for a sewing, etc. I want to know that my child is kind to other children and respectful to their teacher. By covertly watching on the sidelines while they play at recess, I can pick up where they need improvement in.
- Do what you can to insure the success of your school. If your school does not succeed, and your teacher does not succeed, then your child will not be successful either. Ask the school board, principal or teachers about what you do to help your little school be successful. They will love you for it! And your child may thank you for it one day, too. This is one I can do better in – glad God gives us room to grow.
Even though I may not be directly responsible for my child’s education, I decided to get at least my nose and a few fingers into it! I want my children to know I care about what they are learning and how well they learn it.
So if you’re like me and feel a slight sense of loss when you drop the kids off at school, remember there are ways you can still feel fulfilled and needed. Your child will always need you – no matter where they are or what age they find themselves.