My Educational Journey – Part 1: Home Education

Kathleen asked:

What was your educational path like? Did you homeschool, attend college or Bible school, do distance study programs? The reason I ask is that I am seeking God’s path for my own life. I am currently one year “out” of high school…I want to be a SAHM, and they [my family] say, “Well, what if you never get married?” (Of course, that is possible, but not God’s usual design…) There are many things to consider and pray about (like moving out, going to college/Bible college, and vocational training), so I’d love to hear how and what God led you to do and why.

My story…

I was taught at home throughout the entirety of my school years, which was a huge blessing! The joys of being with family, studying those things which greatly interested me (delight-directed study, it is called), inspired a love for learning. Home schooling provided our family with extra freedom to get up and go do different things, whether it be field trips or just taking a day off. I had opportunities to participate in teaching my younger siblings, which strengthened my knowledge more than any of my individual book learning, and helped cultivate my teaching gifts. Being together constantly as a family, I believe was very effective for building strong family bonds and relationships, in addition to allowing my parents to really direct and oversee what we would study and keep it all God-centered. Their primary goal was to not focus so much on the academics side, but on character building, teaching the Word, and living it out together.

One disadvantage I found was the lack of actual grading of our school work, which provides accountability (although this is not a problem of every home school family). With several younger siblings, it was difficult for my parents to keep us all accountable or to keep track of grading and transcript info, so I had to do a lot of this on my own. High school especially was pretty much managed by myself. I took a few outside classes or video courses on more advanced topics, which I found to be beneficial.

On the other hand, my husband, Aaron, was home schooled through eighth grade before attending a local high school to complete his education. He greatly enjoyed the opportunity to study computers, participate in the jazz band and choir. Studying computers at high school led him down this path as a career. Looking back though, he said he would have rather taken those classes independently and studied the rest at home and been more effective for him.

I strongly believe that with whatever option a parent choses in education, the most important thing is that we be inspiring a love for the Lord in our children! We are working together for the gospel to bear fruit in our children’s lives! We are to love one another and seek to glorify Him in raising our children. Character building and forming a biblical worldview is primary! I think it is important for home educators to be on their guard against any feelings of superiority towards those who choose other options. We are all pursuing the same goal of choosing the best option for our families. Let’s put on love and dwell together in unity!

Please consider reading this post and watching a short video by Joshua Harris with this challenge.

More to come…discussing college and the like…

3 Responses to My Educational Journey – Part 1: Home Education

  1. Kathleen June 19, 2008 at 9:13 am #

    Andrea, can I ask what program you did?

    • Andrea June 19, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

      While we did not fully adhere to any particular program (Mom did that in the early years of schooling us, and we all burnt out some), we did use ABeka resources for history, science, and English and Saxon Math. After those burn out years, my parents backed off and let us learn by living without much formal instruction until we were in our early teens. We enrolled in art and music classes, choirs and bands, science events, and scouts. I read constantly and my mother was taxed with putting good reading material in my hands faster than I could consume it! We traveled cross-country and lived near Washington DC, Williamsburg, Virginia, and in Germany before finally driving to and settling in Alaska (my dad was in the military). We enjoyed each local resource (Smithsonian, National Parks, etc.) and tried to absorb it all. We worked with my dad as he built our log house. I learned so much while I “helped” my mother prepare for the birth of our little brother.

      When I was 15, I began taking courses at a local college where most of my classmates were people in their 40s going back to school to earn a degree. I took just one class, then two, then more as I did well in them. When I graduated from high school, I had graduated from college a week earlier with an associates degree. What I loved most about home schooling was the freedom to learn any way that worked best for me. I realized that I was no smarter than anyone else, I just had the freedom to explore my world instead of being inside the box of public education.

      Having loved my education, I hope I have the guts to be as hands off as my parents were. I have a much different personality than they do (I am very organized and plan oriented). I hope to read more about a classical education as I think that program gives kids lots of freedoms in learning in their younger years as I was. Maybe a structured un-structure will work well for me as a mom! I also love the Sonlight curriculum if I am blessed with an avid reader for a child.

      Whew! Probably more than you wanted for an answer. I hope that it is a positive an encouraging answer for any homeschool mom to read.

  2. Andrea May 9, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    When I finished home schooling though high school, I chose to go to a mission program that was designed to train me in Bible for one year then send me to a mission field with an established missionary for two years. This was the best decision of my life (besides marrying my sweet husband several years later). The experience of serving God actively on the mission field while my interests were undivided (as Paul pointed out), changed my view of service and ministry forever. That my husband (who I had known from before entering the program) also went through the program, strengthens our marriage every day. He is my “teammate” on our “mission” through life. My time in Moscow, Russia changed my view of the world. Working in a foreign church helped me clear through the clutter of Biblical teaching and American tradition. Learning a foreign language taught me humility. Living far away from my family taught me a deeper dependence on God. Working with teammates who had been paired with me sometiems felt like working through relationships in an arranged marriage! I did end up graduating from college with a Russian degree and an emphasis in linguistics in English, but college was nothing compared to actively living and serving the Lord.

    I advise young people to find their strength (or a strength that they want to develop) and then go use it in the Lord’s work. Go become a helper for a home schooling family on a ranch in Wyoming (like my friend did). Go apprentice yourself to a midwife. Go teach English in a high school in China. There will never be a time like now for living your life for the Lord. As a bonus, other young people *ahem* -men- of value will also be pursuing active service or will be highly attracted to someone who is. College is seriously over rated (especially for young Christian women, in my opinion). It’s a valuable pursuit for many people who have a goal or purpose (to become a certified teacher, nurse, etc.), but for many (including me, probably) it is a waste of valuable time and money.