THE CHRONICLES OF HOMESCHOOLING

In 7 years, I’ve experienced a lot of good and bad things in homeschooling. Yet, I can call my life exciting and full of adventures. Not a day passed without learning. My mom always philosophically says that homeschooling is a lifestyle. It is our daily way of living, not just some form of education. However, I can confirm that our homeschooling is not perfect. There were arguments and fights that threaten to end our homeschooling. There were moments where we wanted to give up and stop. But despite that, we survived. In fact we had 7 years of fun homeschooling, filled with reading, chickens, plants, wanderings, field trips, and a lot of discovery, curiosity, imagination, and playing. So it’s no wonder why I am enjoying it.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

1. Faith. I’m learning new things everyday. But nothing will be as significant as the things I’ve learned from God:
  • Close relationship with God – “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15
  • Put God first – “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
  • Trust His Word – “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4
  • Be firm in faith – “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
  • Don’t conform to the ways of the world – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
  • Work for God – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” Colossians 3:23-24
2. Character.  Here are some of them:
  • Obedience is conceivably my most learned lesson of all. It just keeps repeating. It’s because obedience is very important in homeschooling.  Trust me, I had excruciatingly learned all throughout my 7 years. Imagine 7 YEARS of turmoil and hardship. (cough! cough! Hey! I’m just exaggerating! 🙂 )
  • Self control is an important value. It’s important enough that Paul mentioned it in the Fruits of the Spirit. It means that you do the right thing over your impulse. It’s controlling yourself to do the right thing; not what is fun. Mom taught me to think before I act. Because every decision I make will affect my future; whether it be bad or good. It’s just like the saying “look before you leap”. It’s to prevent doing or saying things you will later regret. The same thing with tactfulness. “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.. Think before you speak, because the tongue “pierces like a sword” . You might not know that what you said can hurt others. But if you have good intention, you need to speak the truth in love.  I’m learning to control myself in difficult circumstances, and think critically before making decisions.
  • Patience – The ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. There has been many instances in homeschooling where I needed patience. A LOT of patience. Especially with my brother. When he’s taking my stuff, running around and punching me in the stomach and controlling him without raising my voice. Man! That is hard.
  • Humility – It is the opposite of pride. It’s the thinking that your are not superior to anyone else. “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” That the talents I have are not mine but are gifts given by God. Every praise I receive should be directed to Him. And every time I use my gifts, it should be done to glorify Him.
  • Responsibility – Every decision I make, has a relative consequence. If I choose to procrastinate in doing my activities, I will be responsible for whatever the consequences it will bring. Detainment, extra activities, less free time, or even a spank (no more spanking since my tween years). Homeschooling taught me about being responsible for my actions.
  • Independence – In homeschooling, since I have a little brother, I need to stop relying on my mom and be independent. I should do things on my own without anyone telling me what to do.
  • Confidence and Courage – My mom usually points out of my being silent. Even if I see other’s are doing wrong I don’t bother to tell them the truth. I am being too tactful. I don’t have the courage to say other people’s mistake feeling that I might offend them. Still, I’m a work in progress in this area.
  • Respect – I understood that I should treat others with respect, especially women. Even though they are created after men, it doesn’t mean that they should be looked down upon. Women bore the next generation. It’s enough reason, for them to get respected.
  • Honesty & Integrity are the best policy. My mom used to say “Hurt me with the truth, but don’t comfort me with your lies.” It’s true. Telling the truth should always be the choice no matter how painful it is. I also realize to do what is right even when no one’s looking. It’s called integrity.

3. Life skills are skills you need to survive. It includes  household chores like mopping, washing the dishes, cooking food and others. Some are a bit more complicated like chicken raising or planting.  Without it, I wouldn’t thrive outside alone when the right time comes for me to fly and widen my horizon.  I’m blessed because my Mom is equipping and preparing me how to take care of my self, cook my own food, commute, do household chores, set my goals, manage my time and money properly.

4. Stay curious! To keep wondering and asking why, what, and how. It taught me to have the hunger for knowledge (though not too much, too much is bad). I also discovered that imagination is the root of discovery. Think about it. Without imagination, how can they make up theories, test it, and make an actual discovery? How can they think of possibilities and have critical thinking without imagination? Like Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”. Even a genius like him knew it!
5. Hygiene. Yes, you read it right!  It’s practical. But people are unaware that many people have poor hygiene.  Good hygiene is a practice to maintain good health. It is often said that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. And it is true. “Do you not know that your bodies are temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” (1 Corinthians 6:19). It simply means that this body, is not ours. It is but a possession of God, and we must take good care of it. Hygiene also reflects our personality.  (Insert: When the right time comes, (with a good hygiene) when God sends the one for you, you’ll gain “pogi points”, meaning gaining high score to win the girl you love. 🙂 ) And I always remind myself that I am representing Christ with my body.
I advise newly homeschooled kids to pay considerable attention to the lessons mentioned above. They can hopefully improve your homeschooling.

STRUGGLES

As I told you, no homeschooling is perfect. Students, as well as teachers, will, at some point struggle. I, on my experience, struggled greatly.

  1. Disobedience – My number one struggle in my homeschooling life is disobedience. I had trouble with obeying right away. I usually delayed when somebody tells me to do something. My parents always need to remind me many times before I obey them. I got into all sorts of trouble because of it. My grades went low and I lost my privileges.
  2. Procrastination – Another major struggle is my tendency to procrastinate. I tend to delay, or put off doing something, mostly activities. Because of this, I mainly spend the rest of my days and days off doing left over activities. Most of the time I spend fantasizing of things I will do instead of doing them. “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” Proverbs 12:11
  3. Pride – I have trouble with having a teachable heart. It is hard for me to accept that I am wrong and that I need help. As said in the Bible, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
  4. Distraction/Temptation – I am the kind of person that looses his focus easily. I get distracted when the T.V. is on, or when my cousins come in for a chat. I get tempted to take long frequent breaks and search unrelated things despite having a lot of activities. This prolongs my activity time and lessen my free time.
  5. Irresponsibility – Irresponsibility is the lack of a sense of responsibility. I often forget, more like avoid, my duties and responsibilities. This results in detainment or more work.

WHAT HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS (I THINK) SHOULD KNOW

These tips are based on my observations on what Mom does in our own homeschooling. It is not guaranteed that it will work for all homeschooling household (except, in my opinion for the first tip); due to the differences and that every homeschool is unique.
  • First of all, you better put God in the center. We pray before we start and end homeschooling with prayer. We left no conversation without discussing God in it. By doing this, our homeschooling definitely succeeded, no matter how hard it is. (“Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-8)
  • Don’t let the curriculum restrict your child’s freedom to learn. My mom lets me explore, around and enjoy my freedom. If I want to learn about chickens, black holes, or intelligence agencies, my Mom lets me research about it. The more related to the lesson the better.
  • Practice obedience with your kids. Obedience is the foundation of homeschooling. Without obedience Mom will have a hard time teaching me and my brother. So Mom practices it by training us to follow right away.
  • Exercise openness with your kids. I should be honest with Mom about my feelings or opinions about things. In this way I will not get used to keeping secrets. My parents made a tradition of taking turns to express our feelings during our devotions or family discussions. So I get used to telling them what and how I feel about a certain thing.
  • Expand. My mom encouraged me to learn more. To discover more things. To expand my curiosity. To not stick to what I know, but to have the thirst for knowledge (not too much). And to use my imagination.
  • Lessen with the gadgets. We are only allowed to use the gadget when we are outside the home (doing some errand or waiting for the doctor) with time limit and not all games are allowed (Minecraft & for doodling only). But when at home, the I-pad and computer are used for homeschooling (like research) purposes only.
  • Discipline them. No matter how I abhor it, discipline is needed. It keeps me away from danger. Because sometimes, the shepherd needs to impair his sheep to keep them from wandering far from his protection. As the Bible says: “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24.
  • Teach your kid(s) independence. Mom gave me chores around the house so that when I leave home, I can survive. I won’t be dependent on her thus, do the things I can do on my own. She taught me to wash the dishes, mop the floor, prepare my things or do simple and practical things.
  • Know your son’s/daughter’s learning style.  It made Mom’s job a lot easier. Because when she came to know my learning style it maximized my learning. My mom made me take down notes, copy work, notebooking and the likes because she knew that I’m a visual learner.

 CONCLUSION

My homeschooling days are approaching nearer to the end. College is just 6 years ahead (more or less). It’s like a dark cloud looming up ahead. It’s inevitable.
There will always come a time in everybody’s life where they would leave the comfort of their home to wrestle with the outside world. And some day I would make a home of my own.
Presently my tentative plans are laid out for deeper details. Besides, my life is all dependent to what God wants. If he wants me to be an astrophysicist, so be it. If he wants me to be a neuroscientist, so be it. As of now I want to be a forensic scientist and maybe apply to be an intelligence agent later in my career; eventually I will retire and spend the rest of my life as a Christian apologist and a traveler. If He wills it. The bottom line is that whatever I choose in life, I’m sure God is with me.
There will come a time when a person needs to choose between following God’s Word or his instinct. At that instance, his life will greatly depend on his decision.
Whether he lives or dies.” -Yuan-
ways
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