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    Benefits of Home Education {I}

    November 24, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    File this post away under “disclaimer.” I have wanted to do a series like this for some time. When we first decided to home educate, I had no idea that it would give us a rich family life. However, I am often hesitant to say as much because…I don’t think that the benefits of home education should be used as reasons or arguments for home education.

    Allow me to explain.

    If I decide to home educate because someone told me that a benefit was that their children seemed to catch fewer colds, then I’d be pretty tempted to quit the first time we spent all winter with the sniffles. And if I decide to home educate because someone told me that a benefit was that their children seemed to have strong sibling relationships, then I’d be pretty tempted to quit the first time I spent a week breaking up sibling squabbles every ten minutes. And if I decide to home educate because someone told me it was fun, then I’d be pretty tempted to quit when it got hard and I felt like escaping.

    See what I mean?

    There are benefits, yes. Real, tangible benefits. But benefits are almost completely subjective. I might find something fun or exciting that someone else doesn’t. I might find something hard that someone else finds easy.

    Because of this, home education needs to flow from conviction. That conviction is best found in Paul’s use of the Greek word paideia in Ephesians 6:4.

    Now, to be fair, I think the full sense of the word paideia can include delegation–the hiring of tutors, and Christian schools as well. For our family, home education is not only the most direct route to fulfilling God’s commands, it is also pretty much the only route available to us. We cannot afford Christian schools or tutors, and I will not get a job to pay for one because I have many young children who are not school age and who should not be abandoned in order to provide an education for the older children.

    Sometimes God makes His will obvious by eliminating all but one way to fulfill it. Limited means can offer direction in its own way, and this is not a bad thing.

    Ahem.

    So as I was saying, please take this series for what it is: benefits I have observed in my own home, or in the homes of beloved friends who have chosen this same path. It is Thanksgiving soon, and I am thankful for this journey. Waxing nostalgic with pen and ink keyboard and coffee is my own way of celebrating.

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    6 Comments

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts December 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Amen, Rachel. 🙂

  • Reply Rachel R. December 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I know, this is a way-old post.

    But I see this distinction a lot in things that come up on the news. I don’t have to worry about my children being trapped at school by crazy people who brought in guns and started shooting up the place. Or being assaulted in the bathroom. Or whatever. But none of those things are why we homeschool – they just happen to be really great side benefits!

  • Reply Ellen November 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Yes, conviction. Exactly. I have a burning conviction that this is the best way of life and learning for my children. It’s not because, as I’ve been told, “You must have a lot more patience than I do!” Nope. I don’t, but I pray that the patience will follow the conviction. =)

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts November 24, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Willa,

    So true! I have noticed that when the home becomes dominated by a what-we-avoid list instead of a what-we-pursue list, the family tends to be governed by a spirit of fear. When the family is driven by fear, they cannot be driven by love.

    I would really like to see the paid advocates out there pushing a love-inspired pursuit of good things. And I think some of them are, but too many of them are still tallying up test scores and/or talking about the sheltering you mentioned.

  • Reply Willa November 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Yes, I think that sometimes the earlier homeschooling advocates got mixed up on the distinction between primary and secondary causes. So they would say “homeschool so your children will turn out well away from all the corrupting influences” and then people would feel betrayed when sin still cropped up even in the most closed-system homeschool.

    It’s not that homeschoolers don’t benefit from some shelter from corrupting influences — but that when it’s the REASON, it risks being a distortion.

  • Reply Mystie November 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    That is a great distinction, Brandy, between a benefit and a reason!

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