Homeschooling ABC’s: G, H, and I

Decorative super caps letters G, H, I

Hello dear reader!  I know you’ve been waiting breathlessly for this installment of my Homeschooling ABC’s series.  Well, you have, right?  Anyway, here they are: G, H, and I…

G is for Gratitude: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thanked God for the gift of homeschooling.  The joy of having my children home with me all these years, joining them in the discovery of everything from addition to algebra, phonics lessons to Dickens, and the founding of major empires to the founding of our own nation, has made my life fuller than I can describe.

When I say that I am grateful for the “gift” of homeschooling, I don’t discount the reality that homeschooling for 22+ years has meant a determined commitment on my part.  But I do recognize that there are areas of the world, including so-called democratic nations, where homeschooling is still illegal.  I am thankful that is not the case here in the U.S., though it is not without vigilance that our right to homeschool is maintained.  There are those who would not only love to make homeschooling illegal, but would also be delighted to see homeschooling parents thrown in jail.  If you don’t believe me, check out the comments on my New York Times Op-Ed titled, “The Home-School Advantage.”

Sadly, the right to homeschool is not protected everywhere and, in fact, it might surprise you the nations that are persecuting homeschoolers.  I can name Sweden and Germany just off the top of my head.  In fact, the German government is so opposed to homeschooling that many homeschooling families have chosen to flee the country rather than to give up their right to homeschool their children.  One notable case is that of the Romeike family.  The Romeikes fled to the U.S. and were granted asylum in January of 2010.  In an act that is, in my opinion, nothing short of despicable, the Obama administration has been trying to have their grant of asylum overturned, so they can deport the Romeikes back to Germany, where they will no doubt continue to face persecution simply because they believe it is their duty and right to homeschool their children according to their religious beliefs.

I’m appalled, but not surprised, at the utter hypocrisy of Barak Obama and his administration, which has granted over 800,000 illegal immigrants de facto amnesty, while choosing to persecute this one family.  As Mike Farris, who is defending the Romeikes in federal court, has pointed out, based on the Obama administration’s declared policy, what might he have done in regards to the Pilgrims, who also fled Europe to escape religious persecution?

This case illustrates the need for homeschoolers in the U.S. to remain vigilant in protecting their rights.  I also believe we should fight for the rights of homeschoolers world-wide.  While we enjoy the wonder of homeschooling, let us not forget those who are still being persecuted.

H is for History: Of all the subjects I’ve taught my children over the years, history has certainly been one of my favorites.  I’ve always loved the study of history, but as a homeschooler I quickly found the traditional textbook method to be dry and disjointed.  I was very excited then when I was introduced to Greenleaf Press.  Greenleaf Press teaches history in chronological order utilizing “The Famous Men” series that had previously gone out of print.  Greenleaf Press brought these books back for a new generation and added their own guides to help parents get even more out of these resources.

Twenty years ago my children and I began our historical journey with the “Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Egypt.”  We progressed through Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and the Reformation.

My youngest child is 8 years younger than his nearest sibling, so he had not gone through the Greenleaf program with his sister and brothers.  Last year (he was in fourth grade then) I started the Greenleaf program with him…right back in Ancient Egypt!  This year and next we will be studying Ancient Greece and we’ll continue over the next few years until we’ve covered all of the Greenleaf Press guides.  I have to say, I continue to learn as I teach and explore these civilizations and time periods with my children.   One of the perks of homeschooling!

I is for Intuition: I think we can all (or at least most of us will) agree that women are hard-wired with a certain intuition, and this is amplified when it comes to being a mom.

This intuition is actually a really good thing…if we use it!  But homeschooling moms are notorious for looking at what other homeschoolers are doing and feeling like they are somehow failing.  I wrote about this phenomenon in my post “What’s Your Teaching Style? (And Why It Matters).”  In that post, I pointed out that, far too often, we compare our homeschooling weaknesses with others’ homeschooling strengths.

I realize that, like anything else, the more we homeschool the more confident we will be in our abilities and accomplishments.  But meanwhile, please trust your intuition.  You know your children best.  You know when things are flowing with your homeschooling, and when they’re not.  And when they’re not, remember that there are about a jillion options out there in terms of homeschooling curriculum including everything from textbooks to web courses.  So trust your gut, keep on looking until you find what works, and then stick with it.  And quit comparing yourself with that homeschooling mom that seems to “have it all together.”  I guarantee you that she is dealing with her own challenges and “homeschooling angst.”  Instead of comparing, encourage yourself and other homeschooling moms.  We are doing amazing things!

So what do you think of my G, H, and I?  I’d love to hear your opinions, suggestions or…encouragement in the comments!