Committed: Is Public School an Option?
July 11, 2018
Hey Mama,

As another school year approaches, the old deceiver likes to whisper in your ear, “Give up. You can't do this. Just send them to public school.” You look at the piles of dishes, piles of laundry, and wonder, would it be easier?

We've all thought it, Mama. But—stand fast. Stand firm. You've got this, and God's got you. His hand is on your head and your homeschool. Need a reminder why you're keeping them home? Read these articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine :




And remember, Mama. . .

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .” -Ephesians 6:11-12

This goes for our homeschools, too. The enemy does not want you keeping your kids home where they belong, where they can learn in freedom, not banned from praying aloud with other students. Where they can learn true, honest, real history as it happened, not revised history the public schools sometimes dole out. Where they can learn the Constitution and what it means rather than almost zero hours of constitutional studies in some schools. Where they are free to read the Bible and apply it.

You have been given a gift. Homeschooling is a gift to you from the Lord. It may not be allowed forever. Take this opportunity you have, and use it to its fullest while you still can.

-gena
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Just last night we were speaking with a mom at a conference who was considering leaving her son in public school next year. She was concerned she wasn’t ready to homeschool and wondered if she’d be able to do it with the trials going on in their lives. She thought maybe the public school would be better for him.

We just had to say—no. We’ve homeschooled for over two decades and have faced all kinds of trials from stage IV cancer to bedrest pregnancies, from an infant in the PICU to job loss. In the midst of the trials, we’ll be honest, homeschooling often took a back seat. It was hard to get the work done in hospital waiting rooms. It’s hard to concentrate on school when you’re stressed and worried. Even now, we struggle sometimes to get school done in the van, where we spend much of every year as we travel speaking. We worried, too, sometimes, if our children were getting what they needed. Here’s what we’ve learned, though, as we’ve walked these trials out as a homeschool family:

God’s curriculum for our children is sometimes different from our own . We’ve realized that when we’re worried about finishing the book, that God may be more concerned about our children learning compassion, self-sacrifice, taking care of your family, and giving to others. When we look back on it, those times that our schooling wasn’t great because of a crisis we were going through were the times that our children developed strong characters, the times that they learned the life lessons they are now using as adults.

When your kids leave home, what will matter most to you is relationship: their relationship with God and their relationship with you. It takes time and investment to build a relationship. If you gave up homeschooling to put your children in school, how much time with them would you be giving up? Just the time they would be in school, not counting travel time, is at least 1,200 hours! And not just any hours, but the best hours of the day. Over the course of their schooling, that’s over 15,000 hours of relationship-building time you have to give up to put them in school. That’s far too costly for us.

Academic success depends on the love of learning. Someone who has the basic tools of learning, reading, and arithmetic, and loves to learn can teach themselves almost anything. This is something you can give your kids that schools seldom do—a desire to learn more about the world. In fact, sometimes that desire increases when we focus less on completing worksheets and more on understanding the world around us. Like the time one of ours correctly answered an extremely difficult question in an academic competition. We asked him how he knew the answer, “Remember last week when you told me to stop reading my book and get back to school? Well, that book was set on that very plain they asked me about!” Ha!

Is public school an option for us? No, it’s not. We’re homeschooling to have the time to disciple our children and build relationships with them. That alone would be enough for us to keep them home. We’ve seen, though, our adult kids be very successful at college thanks to their love of learning and the education they got at home, sometimes despite us!
If you’re considering putting your children in school because of some crisis in your life, please head over and download our workshop “Homeschooling in Hard Times.” It’s free, and we think it will encourage you!

Your friends,
Hal & Melanie
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Kerry Tittle
There are many of us who still have the historical remembrance of the days when the community would hire a school master and teach wholesome education by the wood burning stove. But gone are the days of the one-room schoolhouse. Reality is we have a government-controlled school system with agendas committed to teaching the “isms” as the way of life to our children.

But what do we do when life challenges us? How do we stay committed?

I always cringe at this topic because it's such a mixed bag of circumstances for each family—so I will just share my struggle with this. . . .

In April 2014, I lost my husband and two daughters in an F4 tornado. Throughout the summer, I never even gave a thought to schooling. But when the fall came around, I had to make a decision. I had lost twenty years of homeschool curriculum and had five traumatized children. Even the other two adult children were too devastated to help me. I couldn’t put them in school away from their mother after losing so much, yet their mom could barely function. It was a mess.

Even in the midst of shock, I knew I had a deep-held conviction to Deuteronomy 11:19.

And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

I decided that God understood my weakness, and I moved forward anyway. I bought curricula and we started. It was pathetic at best. I had to make special schedules around storms and anniversaries. In a short article, I can’t share all the ways we had to be creative with our schooling, but it wasn’t as traditional as it used to be.

How are we today? Some days we take strides, some days we take baby steps, and some days we just stand. (My daughter just laughed and said I forgot the part about the times we fall flat on our faces and turn to chocolate!) But as I look back over the last four years, I can see God’s fingerprints of grace in each step attempted. He never left us. Even in the weakest attempts of homeschooling, He was there. My children have learned so much about Him and the world around us that could never be found in a schoolbook.

Saying all that to say, if you are struggling with your resolve to stay committed. It’s ok—we have all been there. He only requires you to take the next step and trust Him. He doesn’t want you to school in your strength but His.

As I said, everyone’s circumstance is different. There may be times you may have to look for outside help. In that case, it's about our resolve to stay committed to His plan for us—but, thankfully, homeschoolers have many options apart from public school education.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of  Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.
I’m jealous of you. I never thought that I would long for the mangled emotional moments of deciding whether or not I should homeschool, but I do. Every year for the last twenty-two years, the internal fight would begin in spring and last until the first day of homeschooling. Should I homeschool this year or put the kiddos back in public school? I didn’t engage in the fight this year. I’m no longer a homeschool mom; my struggle is over. This past June, I graduated my last child. Now, I’m simply an outrageous homeschool fan. Strangely, I miss getting in the ol’ homeschool boxing ring to throw some jabs at educational ideologies that mess with our family’s goals. The fight always strengthened my resolve to homeschool in fall. Each year my time in the ring shortened.
 
Round one usually started when I saw a school bus. The struggle quickly ensued. My thoughts would drift to the smell of new crayons and chalk in a freshly scrubbed public school classroom. The first day of school was always exciting. There were other beautiful memories, too, assemblies, school plays, recess, athletics, and dances. How can I deny my children such things? Then I remembered the long list of painful memories of name calling, being ridiculed by teachers, long hours of sitting and daydreaming, not understanding the material, and no time to ask questions. I realized that all my wonderful memories of the public school involved extracurricular activities or projects that I did at home. My diorama of an Iroquois Village was amazing! So was my Shoe-Fly Pie. However, at my school desk, I remember little. In our homeschool, there’s ample time to ask questions, engage in meaningful projects and get together with other homeschool families to create fantastic events. I have tons of photos to prove it.
 
Results of round one: Homeschooling takes the lead.
 
Round two would begin when I would see my public school friends sporting their kid’s academic achievements on Facebook. Academic Self-Doubt would give a shrilly war-cry followed by an uppercut, “Who do you think you are? You are not a trained educator. You will ruin your child for life.” I will admit, in the first few years of homeschooling, I took some serious punches from Academic Self-Doubt right to the kisser. However, each year, I watched my children master their academics instead of skimming through their studies like a skipped rock on a pond. They also grew in long forgotten life skills like cooking, managing finances, and engaging in projects around the house or community. We spent many afternoons talking about current events and applying what we learned in God’s Word as well as in history. I realized a piece of paper with a gold stamp is not equal to wisdom. Wisdom is gained by taking the text and applying it to real-life situations. Homeschooling provided a place for my children to grow in wisdom.
 
Results of round two: Homeschooling for the win!
 
The last bell would signal round three. One last jab to my heart: public schools have so much to offer. Then the news or a public school teacher would tell me how “bad” public schools are. I often thought, “Wow, public schools could use a better marketing team for themselves.” At this moment, I would deliver one last blow.
 
The last counterpunch should have been my first: my husband and I didn’t originally choose to homeschool because of fear. We decided to homeschool because of God’s calling. Period. We felt compelled to teach our children what God’s Word has to say about every situation in life and about every subject in school. We were not under any delusions that homeschooling was the cure-all for all character defects or that perfect children are fashioned by an educational method. But we knew homeschooling would provide our family with discipleship time that the public school simply could not deliver. The final bell signaled the end of the match.
 
Results of round three: Our family would begin homeschooling in the fall.
 
The fight made me stronger. The fight strengthened my resolve. The fight sharpened my vision for the coming school year. And that’s why I envy you. The fight is an opportunity to grow. Be fearless, Mama. Pray with your boxing gloves donned. Punch Fear right in the face. Fight the good fight. Your family is depending on you.

You can find  Beth Mora  jogging while  singing off-key  near her home in Washington. She is the creator and teacher-on-camera for  Here to Help Learning’s h omeschool writing program for grades 1-6. She is a welcomed  speaker  at homeschool conferences and women’s events. She loves blogging at  Home to Homeand  Peak Performance, HTHL’s  blogs for moms and homeschool businesses. Every week, she serves up HTHL's  Writing Tip of the Week  for those who are serious about teaching their kiddos how to write. Everything she does, whether laughable or heart gripping, is done to honor One, without apology. God’s grace is the salve that has healed her own life, and God’s grace is what she offers liberally to others.
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Contest Corner  
For the month of July

There are a lot of history lovers in our house, and while most of the books are great for the older crew, the younger crew still wants to be involved in a good book. Solomon Schmidt did just this when he wrote the U.S. History Bites collection that so far includes U.S. History Bites and U.S. Presidential History Bites . My eight-year-old fell in love instantly, and so did Dad!

We had the chance to look at both books for this review. The author, Solomon Schmidt is a kid, yes, a kid! He wrote these books for kids using words that kids can understand, yet still adding in all the facts that need to be included when it comes to learning about our history and our presidents. This made it easy for the kids to read and understand!

U.S. History Bites covers thirty topics from American History. These start with Christopher Columbus and Exploration and end with The New Millennium, covering everything in-between like The American Revolution, The Trail of Tears, both World Wars and even The Cuban Missile Crisis and Watergate! All the main topics of American History that every American needs to know about!

Each topic is only about two pages in length, so short and sweet, yet informative. Following the pages of information, you will find Review Bites. This section includes the vocabulary from the section, a fun fact and some simple review questions. These questions are easy to answer, and the answers are listed at the bottom of the page. This was the time when I would quiz my son on what he read, and having him able to answer these questions made both of us happy.

The U.S. Presidential History Bites is the same setup as the original U.S. History Bites . This one book has all the presidents from Washington to Trump listed in it! This was a surprise to me, but one I loved to see! The difference with this one is that I noticed four pages instead of two, full of reading and facts. We also had some good pictures to go with each president.

Each one of the presidents was followed with the same vocabulary, fun fact, and review questions. These were once again easy to answer and yet full of information. I knew that my son had learned something when he was able to answer the questions without hesitation. (. . .)

I am so glad that we found books that appeal to the kids and that deal with history in this way. I am impatiently waiting for Solomon to write more books! If he does, I want to add them all to our shelf and into the hands of my kids! These books need to be on the shelves of every American that has kids in the house. Every kid should have access to these books, and the information they give to us!


YOU can WIN both books for your homeschool!

TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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