Episode 52

January 23, 2024


Should Christians Homeschool? With Stephanie Cunningham

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
Should Christians Homeschool? With Stephanie Cunningham
The Concerning Him Podcast
Should Christians Homeschool? With Stephanie Cunningham

Jan 23 2024 | 00:49:03


Show Notes

Is homeschooling the right option for your children? Many Christians are struggling to discern the best education choice for their children. This episode is the first of a 3 part series focused on schooling options for Christians. In this episode, Stephanie Cunningham joins the podcast to discuss homeschooling as a good choice for Christian parents.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Should you homeschool your kids? Right now, there are a lot of christian parents asking this important question. There seems to be a growing concern about the effect that public school is having on christian youth. But is homeschooling the right option, or should your kids go to public school? What about private christian schooling? This is the concerning him podcast, and today's episode is the first in a threepart series about christian schooling. On today's episode, we have on Stephanie Cunningham to discuss the benefit of Christians homeschooling their children. In the next two episodes, we will have on two different guests to discuss both public schooling for Christians and private christian schooling for Christians. My goal is to provide you with three separate resources that will help guide you into making this difficult decision. I'm not pretending to have all of the answers. There's a ton of different factors, and I think each decision will vary between each individual family, but I do think it's a decision that's worth thinking through. We won't come to a definitive conclusion on christian schooling, but I do pray that these three episodes are able to help guide you in your decision making process. After this episode, keep an eye out for the next two. All three episodes will be released in three consecutive weeks, and if you listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, I'd love it if you gave us a rating or review. And if you watch us on YouTube, if you like the video or subscribe, that would really mean a lot. As always, the concerning hymn podcast is. [00:01:25] Speaker B: Brought to you by Emmaus Bible College. [00:01:26] Speaker A: For more information about Emmaus, please visit emmaus.edu. [00:01:30] Speaker B: If you'd like to listen to other. [00:01:31] Speaker A: Podcast episodes like this one, or if you'd like to read biblically centered articles, or if you'd like to listen to trustworthy biblical sermon men's, please visit concerning. [00:01:51] Speaker B: Welcome, Stephanie. [00:01:53] Speaker C: Thanks for having me. [00:01:55] Speaker B: Excited to have you. I was just joking with you before we started recording that. Well, you are Chad Cunningham's wife. Chad is my boss. He's the vp of vice president of advancement here at Emmaus. Yeah. And he has not yet been on the podcast. But now you have been on the podcast, which is great. I'm excited to have you on. I'm excited for this conversation today about homeschooling. I was actually talking to Chad just a short time ago, saying, I really want to have this conversation. I want somebody who's opinionated about homeschooling. You got to have Stephanie on. She's right. I'm excited. I'm excited for this. Excited but welcome to the concerning him podcast. I'm happy to have you on, and I just want to start today by letting our listeners get to know who you are. Who is Stephanie Cunningham? So I'd love for you to just spend a couple of minutes telling us about yourself. [00:02:49] Speaker C: Okay. So, yeah, I am married to Chad. We have four kids together, all the way from college down to junior high right now, age range. And so, in addition to homeschooling, I also do retirement planning here in Dubuque, and I am also part time college and career advisor at Tri State Christian School. So my background have worked in financial aid and some different financial areas. And that's one of the ways that I love to help working with other homeschoolers in the whole moving into college process. [00:03:37] Speaker B: Very nice. It's interesting because you are somebody who has done quite a bit of homeschooling and very strongly opinionated about homeschooling, yet you're working at Tri State Christian school. Yes. Which is pretty cool. But you're helping and advising students with college decisions. Is that correct? Okay, and what does that look like? [00:04:00] Speaker C: So, basically, my role there is to make sure that students are making progress towards their graduation requirements and then also helping them with the college admissions process, financial aid process, thinking about what comes next if I don't go to college, all of those kinds of things. [00:04:19] Speaker B: Okay, so what year did you start homeschooling? [00:04:23] Speaker C: So we started, I believe it was 2000. Let's see, probably about 2006, 2007. Probably around 2007. Bran was about five years old, our oldest. We started off with preschool and just mostly playing at home. I mean, really, that's what it is at that age. Moved shortly after that and put her in public school for kindergarten. And that was a rough year for us. It was an all day kindergarten, and she did not do well being away from home all day long. It really wore her out. And so coming home, she didn't want to be around anyone except for baby sister. And baby sister was like, I don't know who you are. I don't want to be around you. And it really broke my heart. And she didn't get to see Chad very much either, because of his work schedule, and her school schedule did not coordinate well, and she was used to spending a lot of time with him. And so over the summer, we saw how our family was coming back together with everyone being at home and being able to spend time together. The two girls became best of friends over the summer, and I knew I cannot take that away from them. They've got to be able to spend that time together. And so as Chad and I talked and we prayed and decided, I think we need to keep her home this next year and figure out how this homeschooling thing works. [00:06:15] Speaker B: Was it something that you'd already been considering before her first year in kindergarten? [00:06:20] Speaker C: When we moved, we had kind of thought about, do we keep doing the home school thing? And we had talked with people in the new area that we moved to and had heard good things about the public school. And so we thought, okay, we'll give that a try. And just realized really quickly that that was not the best option for us. [00:06:41] Speaker B: So I'm doing this kind of three part series, and I'm sure you could probably break it down into more than just three different options, but kind of three general options for christians today, which is having your kids go to public school, having to go to a private christian school. I suppose we could do private schooling in general, but really private christian school or homeschooling. And I feel like there's a lot of people out there, like, I have a two year old. I've got a lot of friends with kids close to my age who are in this process of what do I do with my kids? What's the best thing to do in the context of our current culture and all of these things. But with all that being said, I'd love to just hear, what did you feel like was the benefit of having, or why did you. Maybe I'll restart. Would you make that decision again? Would you choose again going back to homeschool your kids? [00:07:36] Speaker C: Sure. Absolutely. So when we first started thinking through it, we were looking at the issues we'd had with the public school. We were looking at what do we want for our children? What do we want for their education? What do we feel is important? And to us, it was. God has given us this responsibility as parents to educate our children, to train them up, to make sure that they know the things that they need to know, that they become the people that they're supposed to be. And so as we thought through that, we said, what is going to be the best way that we can make that happen? And like I said, we tried the public school thing that was not getting us to the goal that we had, and so started thinking, okay, how do we do this? The place where we live did not have a private school option. We had already done the homeschooling thing. We said, yes, that's the direction we need to go, because we, as parents, need to take that responsibility on ourselves that God has given us to educate them. And so we did spend a lot of time thinking through that. What does that look like logistically? What is that like emotionally? How are our families going to respond? Thankfully, we had some friends that were homeschooling, and I was able to sit down with them, talk through what are some of those issues that are involved? What does this look like every day on a daily basis? Those kinds of things. They were able to encourage us, help us, offered us some free curriculum to use that first year, which was really helpful in kind of getting started, figuring things out like that. And they'd given us some really good advice about, you need to spend time praying about it and determine up front what is your purpose, what is your goal? And so as we thought through that, talked through that, prayed about it, where we came down was, and this is what we've chosen sort of as the motto for our school is Luke 252. And it says, and Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. And that's what we want for our kids. We want them to grow intellectually. We want them to grow physically. We want them to be making healthy choices, learning how to do that, and we want them to be able to have good relationships with the people around them and to build that relationship with God. [00:10:23] Speaker B: You said you still have one in junior high. [00:10:25] Speaker A: Correct. [00:10:27] Speaker B: When you look at the state of education today and you're thinking about young parents making these types of decisions, what would you advise as the benefits to choosing homeschooling today? [00:10:41] Speaker C: Sure. I think one of the biggest things is being able to tailor that education to your child. So we've been able to take advantage of a lot of different opportunities that we would not have been able to do were they in school all day long. And so that means, for example, for our son, will, he was able to do a variety of different kinds of classes. Like, he was able to do music production, he was able to do film production, which is part of what allowed him to be able to set up for what we're doing right now, because he learned how to set up the lights, how to set up the audio, how to set up the cameras, all of those kinds of things that would not have been possible if he was in another type of school setting. You can adjust. So, for example, we did put our kids into a private school for one year during that year. So our youngest was in 6th grade. During that year, we started learning that she had some learning challenges, most likely dyslexia, that had not become apparent while we were homeschooling. Why was that not a problem while we were homeschooling? Because we were able to self accommodate. She was able to self accommodate to do the things that she needed to be able to figure out how to get the work done, whereas in a classroom setting, that is much more difficult for her to adjust and do the things that she needs to do to get the learning accomplished. And so it's being able to find those ways that your children learn the best and to be able to provide that to them, which is different than in a classroom setting where obviously the teachers are doing the best that they can. But when you have a room full of 2030 kids, you can't do it the best way for everybody all the time. And so at home, we can pick and choose. We can say, okay, this child does better by reading and answering questions. This child does better by watching a video. This child does better by talking through things, whatever those things are. You can adjust and make it work for your family and for each child. [00:13:05] Speaker B: What are your thoughts? So was it a concern of yours about social interactions? And I guess I mean this in two different ways. I'm thinking about it both in a positive and a negative way. Sure. If you're thinking about kids going, maybe we'll specifically talk about public schooling. There's the negative aspect of the social interactions. If you have a christian child who the parent wants to be in control of when they are exposed or experience certain things or understand sinful things in the world and being in control of that in a certain way. So there's that kind of negative side of kids being in a public school and the social interaction. But then you could talk about the positive side. At least when I was growing up and I was public schooled, most of the homeschoolers I knew we would call them socially awkward. Right. That's the kind of the classic, oh, don't homeschool your kids. They're going to be socially awkward. They won't be able to interview for a job. Well. They won't be able to have an adult conversation. Well, they're not going to understand what people are talking about. They'll be weird. Right. And I know I'm getting hyperbolic there, but you've certainly heard these things. I've heard these things. So I think about the social side of it. How did you balance that? Because I'm sure that choosing to homeschool or recognizing as a benefit of homeschooling was not having the negative social interaction. And I'd love for you to talk about that for a little bit, but then the balance of, okay, but then there's this positive side of interacting with other people and not just your parents and your siblings and learning how to interact with other people. So I'd love to hear you talk about all of that. [00:14:55] Speaker C: Sure. It is nice to be able to have a little bit more control over, yes. What they're exposed to on a daily basis and being able to address some of those issues that they might be exposed to in a positive way. So being able to come up against those issues that are coming up in our culture and saying, here's some things that you're going to start hearing about. Let's talk about those. Let's look at what the Bible says about those. And so being able to not avoid them entirely, but address them at an appropriate time in their development when they're mature enough to talk about those issues and to do it in a healthy and a biblical way. Yes. We have all, I think, encountered those weird homeschoolers, for sure. When I was growing up, I had some friends who were the weird homeschoolers. I saw one in my college where I just went, oh, don't want to go there. But here's the thing. There are socially awkward people in public school. There are socially awkward people in private school, there are socially awkward homeschoolers. And I think the reality of that is it comes more from their own personality and from what's going on at home much more than it does the school situation. And so I don't think that homeschooling in particular is what actually causes that. It may make it a little more amplified in cases where there are people who were going to be socially awkward anyways. But I don't think that's what actually causes it. We have found that there are lots of opportunities for our kids to be interacting with other people. They're involved at church, they're involved at youth group. They have been, over the years involved in all kinds of different activities, both home school activities and other community activities. So they've been involved in gymnastics, dance class, sports, choirs, musical theater, drama. Lots of different opportunities for those homeschoolers who choose to look for them and involve their children in those types of things. [00:17:29] Speaker B: And you feel like having your students do those types of activities can help with the learned experience, social interaction without necessarily saying, we're shipping you off for 7 hours a day to the school and not having you be at home instead. [00:17:45] Speaker C: Yeah, right. And also what we found is that because our kids are not only interacting with just their own peer group, just their own age group or especially one specific grade. They're able to interact in a healthy way with a variety of different ages. So they can interact with kids that are younger than them, with kids that are older than them. They're very comfortable interacting with other adults, and we often receive compliments on that of, oh, wow, your kids can hold a conversation because we're spending time with a lot of different people of different ages. We're going out into the community and doing things with a variety of different people in the community. And so they learn how to have those basic conversations, and they're able to do that, I think, at an even younger age because they're not stuck in a room full of just their peers all the time. [00:18:49] Speaker B: What about friends, though? I mean, I know most people would say, a lot of people would say, oh, I met my best friend. We were in third grade together, and we spent every day together or whatever. And is that hard to say? Maybe you won't have friends at your exact age going through your same life experience or how, in general, did your kids make friends? Was that something you sought to encourage or it just was able to happen naturally? [00:19:15] Speaker C: It's different for each child, for each different age. We have some kids that it's easier for them to make friends. They're more comfortable with that process, some that it is definitely more difficult. We have found, especially in the younger ages, it's easier at church, where they're finding those kinds of people. And then it is important for us to make sure that they're getting additional opportunities outside of just maybe that Sunday school or that youth group time to have interactions with them where they're maybe having a play date or they're doing some type of activity together. It has been challenging for us because we have moved a lot to where they've kind of had to. I think some of them adapted better to, okay, I need to just really jump in and make this happen. And I think some of them, it was more, well, we're probably not going to be here very long, so I'm not even going to try. And so there's those different kinds of issues that you have to deal with as you go through that process. But we have always tried to make sure that there were lots of places where they could meet people, whether that was the different activities, the music, the sports, home school co ops, which we've also participated in. And sometimes you find it can be easier to connect with other homeschoolers. And sometimes that's even more awkward, depending on the family and those kinds of things. But it's been interesting. Sometimes the school setting is not the best place to find friends either, and sometimes it's a great place to connect and make friends. And we've had all those different experiences with them. [00:21:18] Speaker B: You mentioned co ops. I'd love to hear you talk some about did you, as a parent, as a mother, feel qualified or prepared to be the primary educator of your children? And then what was kind of the role of co ops within that? And at what age did you start to use co ops, and were they more helpful or less helpful? [00:21:42] Speaker C: Sure. So that was one of the scariest things, I think, when we decided we are going to do this thing to say, oh, now I am responsible, and if this doesn't go well, it is all on me. There is nobody else that I get to blame when they don't learn the things they're supposed to learn or they turn out not the way I hoped. And so that was really scary. I think that if you are able to be a parent, you are able to homeschool your kids pretty much. There are definitely challenges involved with that. And there are some things that are certainly easier to do at home, and there are certainly some things that are easier to do with a group of other people, whether it's other parents, other students. And so initially, we were involved with a small co op in the town that we were in, lots of other kids our kids age, and it was kind of a mix of different options that we had. So we had a PE class, which was great. So they were able to learn different kinds of sports and fun things that obviously better to be done in a group. We were able to do some classes where different moms would take on a different subject. And that way, if there was something maybe you weren't as comfortable with teaching, then you could say, okay, here's a mom that really is passionate about that subject. I'm going to let her take care of that. And then there were things that I was able to teach that maybe they weren't as comfortable. So we did that for a while. We also had, as a part of that initial one, a Lego club, which was awesome. The kids would, they'd have a theme every, I think it was every month. They would bring something that they made at home with their own legos, and then they would have kind of a show and tell time. So they learned how to get up in front of someone and present something and those kinds of skills, which was really great. Then they would have different types of cooperative building projects where they would have to work together to make the tallest tower or the longest bridge or something like that, where they were working together. So lots of different opportunities like that. As the kids get older, you start looking for some of those areas, especially that you don't feel as comfortable when you're getting into higher level math, when you're getting into higher level science and doing labs and things like that, that can be a little more scary to do at home if it's not something you're comfortable with. Grading. Writing was one of the worst things for me. I was a professional writer for a while, so it's not that I don't know how to write, but to grade my own children's work was very hard. I could help them edit, I could mark up. Here's things to improve. But to have to actually put a letter grade at the top of the page was terrifying. And so we did use co ops for some of those kinds of things in those upper grades and also for some of those electives that are easier to do in a group. Our oldest took a ballroom dancing class, which was really fun. And then they were involved in a variety of different musical type things where they were able to be a part of those things that you just need other people for. [00:25:22] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:25:25] Speaker C: That'S kind of been our experience with co ops. Every co op is different, and so some of them turn out better than others. A lot of them require different amounts of involvement from the parents. And so you have to kind of find those ones that work with your situation and those kinds of things, but they can be very useful. [00:25:53] Speaker B: I saw a stat sometime recently, and I can't remember the exact stat, but it was something like in the last decade, the amount of christians homeschooling has, like, more than tripled. I think it's been a huge increase in people choosing to homeschool. I think a huge part of it has been not so much the social interactions at school. That's a concern. And you think about drug usage and alcohol consumption and those types of things, but the concerns there have mostly stayed steady for the last few decades. But what the real issue has been is what's being taught in the classroom. So you mentioned earlier a benefit of homeschooling, being able to tailor your child's education to them because you're not trying to teach 30 kids at once. But I'd love for you to talk about being in control of your child's education and what they're learning and how much that is that of a concern of what's going on to you what's going on in the public school, and then are there issues with legally homeschooling with the state and what you have to be teaching? And I'd love for you to talk about all that. That would be great. [00:27:07] Speaker C: Sure. Yeah. There's definitely a concern with what is being taught in the classrooms. And we see that from individual teachers choosing to present their own views, as well as even going all the way up to the administration and the school boards making choices about what they intend to teach in the classroom. And it is really scary to know that that is what is a lot of these things that are being taught in the classroom that we would not agree with. [00:27:45] Speaker B: Probably the biggest concern today, right. Would be the gender issue. That's probably most people. [00:27:50] Speaker C: Absolutely the gender issues. And what's scary is not just what they're teaching, but also the fact that the schools are, in some cases, choosing to hide from the parents what is going on with their own child. And when we look at God has given us the responsibility for these children, and we can't be letting go of that responsibility and allowing someone else to take that and to choose what they want to happen with that child. And so that's where it's just so important to us to say, no, we are not allowing that to happen. We are going to choose to teach the things that we believe are true. And one of the great things about homeschooling, too, is I think some people think we only teach just what we want them to know. No, we teach them how to learn, how to research, how to reason and look at all those things and then make wise choices for themselves about what they're going to believe and how they're going to choose to act on that. And I think that's one of those benefits, is we can say, yes, here's what we believe. Here's what other people believe. Let's understand how other people are looking at things so that we can deal with that in a healthy way. [00:29:29] Speaker B: I think one of the things that you said that's really important is that God has given the parent the responsibility to train up their child, which we understand. Scripture is very true. That is not necessarily the consensus opinion in America today. I mean, there are a lot of people saying the parents do not have the right to be in control of what the education that their child receives. Instead, it should be the state or the state appointed teachers or whoever it is right, who is in control of the education the child receives. And we would recognize that there's a certain extent of being grateful. Maybe you would disagree, but I would at least be grateful for the state making sure that children are indeed educated. To a certain extent, that is thankful for that, but ultimately recognizing it's God who has given parents the responsibility to raise up their children and not necessarily handing that over to the government. Because as we can see right now, the agendas that are being pushed, especially when you think about hiding that from children, is terrifying. So thank you. I think that's what a lot of people I think are struggling with right now in thinking through do I want to send, if I've got a five year old, am I going to put them into a kindergarten classroom where might be the nicest kindergarten teacher in the world? But the second I leave, are they reading books about, you can choose your gender or whatever it is that they're talking through and trying to, from the second my kid is five, teach them about these things to start to normalize them so that when they get older, that's just what they've always known. That's just what they've always thought. And that is scary for people like me. I have a two year old and I'm thinking through this and scary for other parents that I'm talking to that are thinking, is that what we want our children? But then should I home school? Do I want my kids to be weird? I want them to be able to play sports and to do band and all of these things that we think about that I've thought about. Will my son or daughter struggle to do a job interview if they're homeschooled? Because it'll be weird. So thank you for addressing all of things. That's really good. You have also had kids transition from homeschooling to college. And I would love because the transition from a general public high school to college is a pretty normal transition where it kind of feels like the natural next progression with how classes work and homework works and your relationship with your professors. What was that transition like for going from home school to a college setting? [00:32:19] Speaker C: Yeah. So transitioning, I think both from junior high into high school level and then high school into college is a big concern for a lot of home school families. We tend to in our home school move into more, a little bit different, some different methods, different ways of doing things in high school to begin to prepare for what college will be like. And so elementary through junior high, we don't do a lot of grading in our home school. Okay, grading. We basically grade spelling and math and everything else is more of conversations and those kinds of things. When we get into high school, then we start doing a little bit more of the testing and the grading and more maybe formal feedback as far as those kinds of things go so that they understand, here's what it's going to be like when you get into a classroom type setting. And so maybe having a more formal testing type situation where, yes, you have to sit here, you have to answer the questions, you have to do everything in the right formatting. So we do move into learning those different types of skills that are going to be a benefit in college. What we found, at least with our oldest, was she went away to college and actually came back and said, thank you for preparing me so well because she was able to. And I don't know that it was so much those things that we've just been talking about, but it was thank you for helping me learn how to be independent, how to manage my own schedule, how to plan for when I have things coming due, how to think critically about what I'm learning and how to process that and how to communicate about that and those kinds of things. And so we find oftentimes homeschoolers are actually better prepared to move into college than a lot of their peers are, who haven't had that opportunity to really do some of those basic things that are needed to succeed in college. [00:34:49] Speaker B: I was having a conversation, I don't know, a little less than a year ago with one of our professors. I'll keep him unnamed, but he was telling me that he said within a couple of weeks, you can tell in his classroom, he can tell who the homeschoolers are without having any conversations with them because, he said, they tend to be pretty good at working independently and figuring things out and scheduling things. He said they tend to not turn in late work as much. They tend to not be overwhelmed by their schedule, which I thought was fascinating because I would think, oh, man, you're spending most of your time at home. Your time is in your own control. So if you want to spend all day to do something, you can, as opposed to being used to the rigidity of a typical public high school that would seem to transition more, he said, it's just the opposite, that you kind of learn a lot of these really bad habits, go into a generic public high school, as opposed to learning how to be an independent kind of self starter student. As a homeschooler, I thought that was fascinating. It's interesting to hear that you feel like it's been a similar, and I. [00:36:00] Speaker C: Think a lot of it is because of the flexibility you have to sort of learn to manage some of those things on your own. And for our oldest, for example, she kind of put herself on more of a college type schedule in high school. I allow my kids to sort of choose, do you want to do a little bit of every subject every day, or do you want to spend more time focusing on one or two subjects and do a week or a half a week's worth in a whole day to crank some of that out? And so she chose, she preferred to do one or two subjects a day, and so she would do, like, a whole week's worth of studying on one subject, and then she'd be done with that for the week, and she'd move on to the next one and then spend the next day focusing just on that. And so in a lot of ways, that's kind of similar to a college schedule where you're not having class every day, you're focusing on maybe two or three classes a day and getting that done and then moving on to the other things. And so I think for her, that was a good transition. I have other kids who prefer to do just a little bit of everything every day, so it'll be interesting to see as they transition into college. How's that going to translate. [00:37:18] Speaker B: In this conversation? For me? I've mostly been comparing homeschooling to public schooling. I'd love to hear, and you mentioned it some before, but just maybe your preference for homeschooling over sending your kids to a private christian school, which you guys did for a year. And I know one of the things you've talked about has been just the ability to tailor the education towards your children. Is that kind of the main primary benefit in your mind, homeschooling versus public christian schooling? [00:37:49] Speaker C: Sure. So when we first started homeschooling, we kind of said, this is kind of an experiment. We know this is what we're supposed to do right now. We're going to take it a year at a time. Each year. We'll kind of reevaluate. Look at are we still achieving the purposes? Is this still the best way to do that? And initially it was really interesting because I found, as we were going through the years, January, February, I was already planning for next year. There was no, let's reconsider and think about this. This is what we're doing. And then there came a point where all of a sudden, I wasn't excited about planning and I wasn't looking for that next curriculum and thinking about what do we want to do? And so then we had to take a step back and say, okay, what needs to happen now? How do we continue to achieve our purpose in educating our children if maybe this isn't the way that we're going to do it? And so we did spend that one year where we put the three that were still in school into private christian school. It was great for one of them. It was okay for the other two. And so then we had to say, okay, now what does this look like? And I think that's one of the important things that as we look at this, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing kind of a thing. And so what we've found for us right now, we do some things at home. We do some things through some online classes. We do some things through the local private school. And that for us right now is the best balance for our younger kids. We do have one that is full time at the private school. He will graduate through the private school. And it's evaluating for each, not just the family as a whole, but for each individual child what is going to be the best way to accomplish those goals that we have for them as our children. [00:40:05] Speaker B: It kind of makes sense to me, and maybe it seems like what you end up doing is kind of starting with the default of homeschooling in a way, and then as they're growing and becoming more unique as they get older. Okay, what's the best situation for you? What's the best way to tailor this to help you in the best way possible? So I appreciate that. That makes a lot of sense. If there's people that are listening or watching who are interested in homeschooling, what would be your advice? How to get started? [00:40:37] Speaker C: How should they be thinking through? The first thing that I would say is what was told to us initially is you need to really think through, pray through, what is your purpose? What is your goal? Because the days will get hard. There are some days when you just think, why did I think I could do this? And that's when you have to have that to go back to of what is our purpose? Why did we choose to do this? So you remind yourself of that. So that's kind of the starting place. You spend time praying through that. Is this the right option for our family? And then what are our goals? If this is what we choose to do? I think it is important for both parents to be on board. And depending on the age of the child, sometimes you really need to get buy in from the children because it can be a whole lot harder if they're not excited about it. Now, sometimes, obviously, as parents, sometimes we just have to make those hard decisions and say, this is what we're doing. But it's always better if you can get them on board. And I know when we chose to bring our children, the two younger ones, back from the private school, I actually had them fill out kind of a questionnaire and we asked them a lot of questions and it had to do a lot with our purpose and asking them, how do you feel like the private school was meeting these needs? How do you feel like homeschooling meets those needs? What is going to best do that for you in this coming year? And so we asked them a lot of those questions. We had one that knew she was coming home. There was no question. We had one that when we suggested, do you think maybe it's better for you to come back home now? She was like, what? No. Why would I want to do that? But as she worked through thinking through those questions, realized, oh, yes, I think it is better for me to come back home. And so it's good to have their input and their feelings about those things so that you can work with that because otherwise you just end up really butting heads. And that's not fun for anybody. Once you've made that decision, you've said, yes, this is what we're going to do. First thing, you need to study your state homeschool laws. Find out what is required legally to be able to do that in the right way. In order to find that out, I recommend checking with HSLDA, which is homeschool legal defense association or your state or local homeschool associations. They're going to help you figure out how does it work in your state and so that you can make sure that you're following the rules, don't end up getting yourself in trouble. Then after that, that's when it gets fun. That's when you're looking at, who are my children? How are they going to learn best? And then you start looking for what are the resources that are available to me to make that possible in our home? And so sometimes that's doing a lot of research to figure out what curriculum do I want to use. Sometimes that's looking at what other resources are available in your area, whether it's co ops or online classes, different activities that they can be involved in so that they have that time to interact socially with other kids, finding all those things. And then you just jump in and start trying it and you see what happens and sometimes you get it right and it's great. And sometimes it's horrible, and you go, wow, that was a waste. And I think for me, one of the hardest things was to, because especially when we first started homeschooling, money was tight. And so when you research and you figured, yes, I think this is what we want to use, and you spend the money on it, and then you realize a week or a month or two in, this is horrible, this does not work for us, and then you have to let go of that or you stick with it and everybody's miserable. And so it was hard for me to let go of some of those things when I should have. Sometimes we hung on a little too long and tried to force it to work, and it didn't always. So it takes some flexibility, it takes some willingness to just try stuff and see what works and see what doesn't work. If you're pulling kids out of a public or even private school situation, there's something called deschooling. And it's basically the process of relearning how to learn. [00:45:42] Speaker B: Okay? [00:45:43] Speaker C: Because we have been trained to learn in a certain way. In a classroom setting, everybody kind of learns and knows the rules and how that works. And at home, it might look like that. There are people who do school at home, where you sit in a desk, you have your books, you have a certain amount of time that you spend on each thing. And that works for some families, but for most homeschoolers, that's not the ideal situation. And so you have to kind of let go of that mentality and figure out what does it look like for us now doing this different kind of learning. So basically, the process of deschooling is figuring out we can learn without doing school. And so it's usually a period of time where you're figuring out, I can go to museums and learn, I can watch documentaries and learn, I can read a book by myself and learn things. I can go outside and explore and learn that way. There's a lot of different ways that we can learn. And so it's choosing that. And so then that is sort of a transition period into, okay, now, what is homeschooling going to look like for our family? And sometimes that takes some time. It's recommended that you do. Oh, I'm going to get this wrong. I believe it's a month of deschooling for every year of school that the child has been in. And so that can take some, that may be wrong, but it does take some time. And it's not just for the children. It's also for the parents to kind of let go of some of that this is what school looks like idea so that you can find what does it look like in your family? [00:47:47] Speaker B: That's really helpful. I've not heard of deschooling, and I have to say if I were to home school, I think I would need that personally because I'm sure I have certain expectations for what school should look like. [00:47:59] Speaker C: Sure. [00:47:59] Speaker B: Yeah. And my wife was home schooled. I'm already imagining that that might cause some issues between us. That sounds very good. Well, this has been a great conversation. Thank you very much. Again, this is a tough decision for a lot of parents, and there's more and more people thinking about it. A lot of people used to just default to public school, and there's more and more christians saying, is that really what I should be doing? So thank you for this. Really helpful, and maybe we'll have you back on again in the future. That would be great. [00:48:32] Speaker C: Sure, I'd love to do it. [00:48:34] Speaker B: Thank you, Stephanie. [00:48:35] Speaker C: Thank you. [00:48:40] Speaker B: Thank you for listening to concerning him on Emmaus podcast. Ministries like concerning him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit Emmaus.edu partner.

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