Home Education. Is It For Me?
Taking the first step into home educating your children can be very intimidating. No doubt, you will want to do as much research as you can before you take that step. There are many fine articles in the "Resources" section of this website that will help you to make an intelligent decision. One that we know will also be very beneficial is "FAQs about Home Education". That article and the one you are reading now will give you the basics of what you need to know first.
Your first question will probably be something like, "Is homeschooling for me?" The exercise below will help you determine if home education is for you and, if so, help you create a vision for your homeschool adventure.
Answer the following questions on paper.
Discuss your individual answers as a couple.
Read through MÂCHÉ's responses.
We suggest both you and your spouse complete a self evaluation separately and then discuss your answers together.
Questions to Consider in your self evaluation
Why are you considering home education for your children?
MÂCHÉ's Response: Your reasons for considering home education can be numerous:
- You may have friends who home educate and you like what you see, both in the educational training of their children and in the character of their children.
- You may not like the curriculum trends in public/private education and you would like to choose the curriculum for your children.
- You may want to impact your children with a strong biblical worldview, which cannot be achieved through public/private schools.
Although home education can be seen merely as an alternative when a child is having difficulties in a public or private school setting, this alone should not be the basis of your reasoning. Our experience indicates that successful home educators must possess a fervent desire to teach their children themselves.
We encourage you to spend time in prayer as you weigh your reasons for home educating. Discuss them together with your spouse. Observe other home educating families and, if you feel comfortable, ask to meet with them and find out how they made the decision to home educate. Remember that God commands us to be responsible for our children (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).
How would you define home education?
MÂCHÉ's Response: In recent years some have begun to question just exactly what homeschooling is. The following description is the result of thoughtful discussion by the MÂCHÉ Board of Directors with input from other experienced home educators. We believe the description to be representative of effective, quality home education.
"MÂCHÉ believes the traditional family is the foundation of society and that parents have the God-given responsibility to determine the proper education for their children. Home education takes place when children are primarily taught and evaluated under the authority of their own parents in their own home. We believe that parents, not government, should determine the curriculum and standards for their own children. MÂCHÉ believes that home education fulfills its highest calling when parents educate their own children according to Christ-centered, biblical principles."
Homeschooling your children is not something to be taken lightly. It requires dedication and sacrifice. It is an adventure-filled journey—sometimes more difficult than you could imagine—yet at other times the most rewarding of choices you could ever make. You and your spouse are the teacher, principal, counselor and curriculum advisor. Your family will spend much more time together than is typical in today’s American culture. Therefore, spending some time thinking and discussing your views on homeschooling with your spouse will make it easier for you to "fit" homeschooling to your family and its lifestyle. It will determine your choices in curriculum and activities that your children take part in, who will teach them, and who is ultimately in authority of their education.
Have you considered and are you willing to make the changes home education will bring to your family?
MÂCHÉ's Response: Home education will have a positive impact on your home life (whether you are starting from the very beginning of your child’s school years or you are taking a child out of public/private school) if you do some preparation beforehand. We are not saying it will be easy! There will be adjustments in your family’s routine, and these adjustments can be challenging at times. Parents beginning to homeschool right at the start may find the transition easier than those families who have to adjust from the routines of public/private school to home education.
Be prepared to spend the majority of your day with your children—this will require you and your spouse to be spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally ready. Everyone is in the trenches on the bad days and everyone rejoices on the good days—together! You will teach your children yourself, using curriculum of your choice.
As you consider the effect home education will have on your family, we encourage you to also consider the value of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
What do you know about the history of home education in Minnesota?
MÂCHÉ's Response: Understanding the history of the homeschool movement in Minnesota will help you develop your definition of home education and your personal understanding of why you are considering home education. It is our hope you will catch a vision for homeschooling your own children, and also be encouraged to continue the work of carefully guarding the freedom to homeschool.
During the 1980s and 1990s, parents who homeschooled their children were challenged by the public school districts, social workers and neighbors. They were charged with truancy and threatened with prosecution for child neglect, merely because they were doing what they thought God called them to do. Some families had to hide inside their homes with drapes fully drawn to elude the attention of curious neighbors and intrusive social workers.
The right of Minnesota parents to homeschool their children has been guaranteed by law since 1987. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. Some public school districts take an adversarial role toward home educators. Other districts offer services to home educators that may draw them back into the governmental system, providing more state 'per pupil' dollars for the local district budget. Each year, legislation is closely monitored to safeguard against legislation by elected officials who are very interested in imposing burdensome regulations upon home educators that could effectively reduce or eliminate the home education freedoms that parents have worked so hard to secure.
The freedoms that we now enjoy will only remain intact if we who are involved in the movement do our part to keep them that way through praying for our leaders, keeping abreast of issues on the home education front, and making calls to legislators if necessary. If parents begin without this knowledge, they risk making serious mistakes with the public school district or the state government that will not only make their schooling more cumbersome, but could actually set legal precedent and reduce the current freedoms of Minnesota home educators.