But then I have a picture in my mind of my precious boys snuggled up with me on the couch as I’m reading Johnny Tremain to them. The snow is piling up outside the window as a fire crackles in the fireplace. The American Revolution is jumping off the pages and coming to life for them as Johnny helps Paul Revere warn that the British are coming! We have already read a couple chapters from the Bible that day, a chapter from a missionary biography, and have worked on memorizing Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If.” Later in the afternoon the boys are scheduled to do some independent reading, work on a science lab (growing radishes), and complete their math lessons. But for now, they beg me to keep reading Johnny Tremain — and because we are homeschoolers, we have the freedom to keep reading all afternoon if we want to. And we do, because I want to know what happens to Johnny and Paul Revere.
Those are the days that define homeschooling for our family. The warm, cozy days with learning and nurturing and imparting of wisdom with dogs at our feet and dinner in the crockpot. Those days far outnumbered the stressful, unproductive days. On balance, our entire family — parents included — received a fine educated and we didn’t mess it up.
My husband and I, like most homeschooling parents, started out unsure of ourselves and wondering if we were capable and qualified to take on the awesome responsibility of educating our children. We made it through kindergarten and then first grade, and eventually realized that this wasn’t rocket science — not until at least high school, anyway. Homeschoolers are not some exceptional breed of humans who were born with extra measures of patience, discipline, or intelligence. We prayed a lot, learned along with our children, made mistakes, made corrections, and carried on.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful, rewarding experience for a family and, I believe, the best educational choice for many — if not most — families. Parents, who love and understand their children better than anyone else in the world, are well-qualified to educate their children at home and should seriously consider taking on the challenge.