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I trust that by now you are feeling a bit more comfortable with the choice you made to educate your children at home. Freedom, you will remember, is having choice and control. The choice has been made, so now we need to focus on obtaining and keeping control over your home education so you can taste the freedom of unschooling.
Unschooling is best described as not doing what school does and/or doing what school fails to do. This is not to be confused with un-parenting or being undisciplined, un-structured, un-focussed or with being unreasonable. Rather, it is simply a matter of establishing your authority regarding the education of your children. And, as previously mentioned, it is not a step but rather a process that takes time.
Once comfortable with being in control of all things educational, most parents will be on a sort of “learning cruise control” until the children reach puberty, when things really begin to change.
Before we address this issue, let’s look at some basic facts.
God’s creation is complete. Your child is complete. S/he does not need fixing or repairing, nor does s/he require remediation for things God chose to leave out. Your job is to develop the things God has already put in place, without disregarding, as schools do, the special gifts and talents hidden in each child.
From the Christian perspective, your job is to write the truth on the walls of your children’s hearts, while they are children, using the indelible ink of love so they will see the truth in plain sight when becoming adults. You may wish to read Proverbs 22:6 to see what I mean.
Schools miss the importance of puberty, often seeing it as simply an increase in hormones. The truth is it is a transition to adulthood. I believe it takes several years because that is how long it takes for parents to get the message that their little girl or little boy has become a young woman or man. However, do keep in mind that this is a transition and that “parenting” does not end as much as it diminishes; and as parenting diminishes, mentoring and friendship should increase.
Once a child reaches puberty, s/he needs to take more responsibility in determining what his/her educational program will be, under the watchful eye of the parents. Many kids squeak about going back to school at this time, but you need to be firm in your resolve not to send them back to the place you sprung them from in the first place, where regression is often the result.
Please understand that it is not necessary to obtain credits and a high school diploma or transcript to be successful in life. The reason most students want to go to high school has only to do with socializing. Say no to school, but find good, healthy alternatives for them outside of the toxic school environment.
As far preparing for the post-secondary level of skills attainment, most children who have been home educated from the beginning are well past school graduation criteria by the time they get their driver’s license at age sixteen. In fact, we jokingly call the driver’s license the home education diploma.
I described the education of children as parents writing the truth on the hearts of their children. Once these children reach puberty, the job description changes to that of introducing something bigger than the individual. Lead your children to God and let Him lead them in their lives. Your children’s future is no longer your business, but your children’s and God’s. Relax.
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