Guest Post: The Home Schooling Route Part 3 of 5
By Kathy Jensen
One’s mental picture of a homeschooling mother often evokes an image of a denim jumper wearing, makeup-less woman with a long braid down her back who is scared to death of the world around her and desperately tries to sequester her children from the evils of this life. That was not me. We were not running from society. Our decision to homeschool our children came slowly.
We were living in Chicago when our eldest daughter reached her 5th birthday, forcing us to make a choice. I first heard of the homeschooling idea from fellow parents at our church on the North side. Since the Chicago Public School system was such a mess, the trend among these churchgoers was to teach their kids at home through the 2nd grade. Being the type of mom that really loved having my kids around and also loved teaching, I reasoned…”I’d better be able to teach the subject matters to early elementary aged children.” Then I discovered that there were many types of curricula available and there was even a massive homeschooling convention each Spring. I jumped in headfirst, thinking I’d follow my friends’ lead and homeschool through 2nd grade. However, by the 2nd grade, we’d discovered that our eldest was special needs. Two tutors (who by day were public school teachers) strongly advised me to keep her at home. Twenty years later, we finished up the senior year of our 4th child…homeschooling almost all the way. No one was more surprised by that than me! Basically, each year we would step back, analyze things, and decide if we wanted to continue. Our children were definitely a part of this decision making process. We never ruled out public or private school, we just saw that what we were doing was working.
Homeschooling is a challenge though. I was painfully aware that my children’s education was completely in my hands. It was up to me to select the curricula (that is a huge feat), to make sure all their assignments were done, that each year they were up to grade level. and that accurate academic records were kept. We were blessed to find a co-op that offered classes, sports, and socialization as they reached junior and senior high. We also made it a goal to get our kids out in life through Scouts, youth groups, etc. and to have friendships with kids who attended both public and private schools. As we completed their education, we were exceedingly pleased to find that the self-motivated study habits of homeschoolers were extremely attractive to colleges.
When they graduated and went off to college, I had a very satisfied sense that (while certainly not done perfectly) I’d poured myself into each or our children. This resulted in close bonds with each of them that thus far have continued into adulthood. Home school is “a” way to educate children, not “the” way. I believe that whichever mode of education a family chooses, the parents need to be involved whole-heartedly. That’s the key to success!
Kathy has been involved in Children’s Ministries for over 35 years. She says, “It is my heart’s passion to convey the love of God and the riches of His Word to children!” Kathy is a mother of 4 grown children, one of whom has special needs. She is happy to share her life with her husband Randy of 29 years (and counting!)