A Tribute to Homeschool Fathers

Father’s Day is a special occasion for honoring fathers. All fathers are worthy of respect and appreciation for the things they do for their family, but I wanted to narrow my focus to the homeschool father. Homeschooling isn’t a popular choice to make or an easy road to navigate, and although it’s a blessing, it can put additional strain on a marriage. The role of homeschool father presents some unique challenges and responsibilities. I’d like to list some of them, as well as pass on a little advice from veteran homeschool fathers to those who are just beginning the journey. It takes a special man to be a homeschool father.

With permission, I’ve quoted some men who were influential in our household.  Also, I asked some veteran fathers for their input and it’s given anonymously.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission if you use one to make a purchase. It doesn’t affect the price you pay. 

Spiritual Head

The most important role within a Christian family is that of the spiritual head of the household. In this capacity, the father concerns himself with his family members’ relationship with God, and models in human form the Heavenly Father who can’t be seen. In order to do this he must have a good connection with God and an unwavering commitment to his wife and children.

About this responsibility, Christopher Klicka wrote,

“I could simply delegate all the tasks of training my children to my wife. Some homeschool fathers do. But such an arrangement is a recipe for failure. We fathers need to be seriously committed and involved in our homeschooling to truly fulfill our responsibility before God, adequately demonstrate love to our children, and unconditionally love our wife.

In Ephesians 6:4, God makes it clear. “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The command is to us fathers – not to mothers. The responsibility is on us “to bring them up.” This requires action on our part. We can delegate the authority to train and bring up our children to someone else but never the responsibility.

One day when we stand before God, we fathers will have to answer for how our children were trained. Homeschooling happens to be the best way to fulfill this responsibility and the commands that God has given us. But we must realize that homeschooling is not the end in itself – it is a means to the end. The end we are aiming for is that our children will be “arrows” carrying God’s truth to this world and one day living with us in heaven.” (“Top Ten Tips for Homeschool Dads,” Christopher Klicka, originally published in Practical Homeschooling #48, July/Aug 2002, ©Home Life Inc., all rights reserved by Home Life Inc., used by permission)

Dr. James Dobson wrote this hard-hitting fact:

“A Child identifies his parents with God in the early days, whether the adults want the role or not. Specifically, most children see God the way they perceive their earthly fathers.” (Dr. James Dobson, The New Strong-Willed Child, p. 66, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1978, used by permission)

Devoted Husband

The foundation of the family (and homeschool) is the marriage, so nurturing that relationship is very important. The way the father treats his wife affects the way the children see their mother, which in turn, affects the success of the homeschool. About this role, J. Michael Smith of HSLDA said,

“The role of a homeschool dad should be the best husband to his wife, and father to his children as he can be. That will go farther than anything he can do to help his wife in homeschooling. Make the marriage a priority and love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. That’s the goal. Part of loving a homeschool wife is helping and homeschooling by at least being the Principal of the whole school.”

Dr. James Dobson emphasized the importance of how Dad treats Mom, and how it influences the way the children see her:

“The best public-relations agent for Mom—is Dad. Fathers can wield tremendous influence over what children think of their mothers, or of women in general…

In a world that often discounts the contribution of women, especially homemakers, it’s up to us as husbands to say in a dozen ways, ‘Your mother is a wonderful woman! She works hard and she deserves tremendous credit for what she gives to us all. As far as I’m concerned, she’s number one!’

Kids will quickly recognize the respect shown by a father and reflect it in their attitudes and behavior. It is a public-relations assignment that only they can perform.”  (“Dads–Kids Will Treat Mom Based On Your Actions,” Dr. James Dobson, originally published in The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide, used by permission.)

Protector

In my post, “Homeschooling as a Ministry,” I wrote about the need for a homeschool mom to protect her time and energy. When it’s known that she’s a stay-at-home mother, she may be asked to help with other projects and ministries. It can be really hard to say “no,” especially for people-pleasers. The homeschool father can help his wife determine which, if any, of them she should commit to, and be willing to be the bad guy when she must refrain. One father said, “My wife has permission to blame me when needing to decline uncomfortable requests and invitations. ‘My husband won’t allow that.’ This answer removes the need to justify, explain, or give reasons for the decision. Further discussion can simply be referred to me. Even most persistent folks who will badger my wife won’t usually badger me, and I don’t often give more than a ‘because I said so’ to pushy people.”

At times, it may be necessary to protect your family from well-meaning family, friends and neighbors. They may ask questions about the homeschool, they may make a report to the authorities, they may even threaten to fight for custody of the children. As the head of the family, the homeschool father needs to set firm boundaries for the protection of his family. He should be the one to determine what information he wants to give to those parties.

I regret to say it, but time and time again, in Facebook groups, I read posts about in-laws making inquiries and negative comments to the homeschool mother. Especially in these cases, the homeschool father should tell his parents to direct their concerns to him. When the children’s mother is left to handle it, it puts her in the awkward position of potentially offending her in-laws and causing problems in her marriage. If the husband sets that boundary then he will protect the relationship with his wife. It can be hard to set boundaries for one’s parents, but Ephesians 5:31 says, ““For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” For the protection of the marriage, a boundary should be set.

Supporter

Unfortunately, not all homeschooling parents have good support systems. When there are naysayers it can add yet more stress. Even if you’re part of homeschool support groups, there can still be times of feeling alone. It’s hard to be counter-culture and it can really be draining. The homeschooling father can be strong when mom can’t. Lending a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on will go a long way in helping to recharge her batteries.

In addition to emotional support, Dad provides shelter, transportation, and resources for the homeschool. It would be hard to do without those things.

Principal

The role of Principal may include working with mom to set goals and choose curriculum. He may also help with the teaching. But discipline is the biggest responsibility because if mom doesn’t have respect and obedience from her students, she is not going to be able to teach. She’ll get burned out and want to quit.

In my early homeschooling years I read something that stuck with me. I don’t remember where I read it, or I would give them credit, but in talking about the father, he said that the father should support the mother (in disciplining) in such a way, that when the kids look at their mother, they see the shadow of their father behind her. I loved that illustration, and have never forgotten it.

When our son entered the teens, I started to have a hard time teaching him. We spent a lot of time arguing, and now I couldn’t even tell you what about. My husband was self-employed so he was home a lot, but his office was in our storm shelter/basement. One day my son and I started arguing and my husband could hear us down in the basement. All of a sudden, my husband appeared and took over handling the problem. I was always so grateful to know that I had his support and that if I had problems with the kids that he would step in and take over. Without that help, I wouldn’t have been able to finish homeschooling.

I realize that not all families have that luxury. Some fathers work or travel a lot, and can’t always be there. In those situations, he’ll need to come up with a plan for when he is home. It’s up to each couple to determine how they will discipline their children, but the buck needs to stop with Dad. Whatever consequences are set out, the children need to know without a doubt, that they will be followed through on. For Christian parenting advice, my favorite source is Dr. James Dobson.

Our Homeschool

We homeschooled for fourteen years, so I asked my husband, Scott, for his perspective. He said, “I saw my role mainly as support and encouragement, and occasionally as the Principal. I facilitated homeschooling by providing the home and resources. I didn’t feel like I needed to be involved in planning because I felt that you were doing a good job, that the kids were ahead of the curve. I acted as an encourager by helping you to look at the big picture when you got discouraged. The verse, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” kept coming to my mind as the core reason of why we homeschooled. I wasn’t worried about whether they went to college – I felt that if they were grounded spiritually that it would all be okay. Conversely, if they had a stellar secular education but were ungrounded spiritually, what value would that be?

Scott and I did a lot of talking and praying together over the years to chart the course for our homeschool. Keeping our focus on God provided the direction. Knowing how Scott felt about things helped me to make the day-to-day decisions.  God, through Scott, provided everything I needed to educate our kids. Both of them graduated from our homeschool, and now, together, we watch our kids enter adulthood and thank God for giving them to us, and for the blessing of homeschooling.

Advice From Veteran Homeschool Fathers

I asked a few veteran homeschool fathers, including my husband, what advice they would give to men who are new in that role.

One father who responded had the roles reversed in his family in that both he and his wife worked outside the home, but since his job offered more flexibility, he took on the responsibility of homeschooling their daughter. He said, “BE INVOLVED. I can’t stress this enough. My wife regrets not being more involved, because she sees how much homeschooling affected my daughter’s relationship with me. She sees that we have a deeper relationship because I spent most of the time homeschooling her. My wife says that if she could go back and do it over again, she would find ways to be a part of the day-to-day homeschooling.”

A Homeschool Principal of 25 years advises, “Pray, take an active interest in your children’s education, join a home school support group, respect your wife and her efforts, and make sure the children do, too.”

My husband, Scott, says, “Be a strong encourager. Don’t let all the weight be on your wife’s shoulders. Cherish the freedom and embrace it, rather than the workload. People don’t understand the freedom of homeschooling. There is work, but also great freedom. God gave your children to you, not to the city, state, or federal government.”

Thank You!

As you can see, a lot of responsibility has been put on the shoulders of homeschool fathers, and they are so important! To homeschool fathers everywhere, happy Father’s Day and thank you for everything you do!

Helpful Links

Homeschooling as a Ministry

Homeschool Heroes ~ An Interview with J. Michael Smith of HSLDA

Top Ten Tips for Homeschool Dads by Christopher Klicka

Spiritual Leadership in the Home by Dr. James Dobson

“9 Easy Steps to Homeschooling” – My ebook that helps you get started homeschooling without the stress. See link in sidebar.

A Tribute to Homeschool Fathers

Wings

If you follow my Facebook page, then you may have seen some photos and videos of a broody hen named Stella. We’ve raised chickens off and on for ten years now, and we’ve had many hens go broody, but they would start setting on a clutch of eggs only to abandon it halfway through. When hens get broody, they stop laying eggs, so in the interest of production that instinct has been bred out of them for the most part. Stella is the first to hatch out and care for a small brood of chicks, so it’s the first time I’ve had the treat of watching a mama hen’s instincts at work. So far she’s doing a great job and her chicks are doing very well. We’re still keeping them separated from the rest of the flock for the protection of the youngsters, so periodically I check on them and provide for their needs. I love watching the little chicks zip in and out from under mama, and listening to her reassuring clucks. It has caused me to contemplate the concept of “wings.”

Picture I took when I first discovered the newly hatched chicks.
For Sheltering
Newly hatched chicks are extremely susceptible to cold. A broody hen is very warm underneath, between 105 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit, so newly hatched chicks find the warmth they need beneath her wings. Were it to rain before their feathers had grown in, they would also be kept dry.
A chick peeks out from beneath Stella’s wing.

When I first discovered that some chicks had hatched, I went into the coop to check for any that might have fallen out of the raised nest box. Sure enough, I found a little white chick laying on the floor. I picked it up and it was cold and lifeless, yet I felt its heart beating. I held it in one of my hands while I went to get supplies for the new family. By the time I got back, it was starting to revive a little. After my husband helped me prepare a place and move them, I put the weak little chick up under its mother. When I returned a little later to check on them, it had revived and was getting around as well as the others.

Video of Stella and chicks

For Protecting
As soon as a hen gets broody, she becomes very defensive. When you get near her, she’ll fluff her feathers and growl. If you reach for her eggs, she’ll peck at you. That behavior continues once her chicks are hatched. Here is a video clip of that behavior:

Our hen, Stella, seemed to soften a little bit at that point, but she was still very protective of her chicks. If they had ventured away from her, she brought them back with a certain call, and they’d scurry back underneath her wings.

Stella keeping a watchful eye on me.
Our Heavenly Father

Many times in scripture, wings are used to describe God’s loving care of His people:

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7 New International Version)

“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psalm 57:1)

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4)

How reassuring it is to know that He watches over us and invites us to take shelter beneath His wings. Watching Stella with her babies has given me new appreciation for that analogy.

Motherhood
The term “wings” reminds me of myself, too, and my role as a mother. Even before my children were conceived, I was praying and preparing for them. As soon as they entered the world, my instincts kicked in. I remember well how protective I felt, and if I could have had a police escort, or perhaps an armored vehicle, when taking our babies home for the first time, I would have. When I took them out in public, I worried that someone might try to kidnap them, so I kept them very close, and if I had to look away from them, I kept a hand on them. That may sound paranoid, but we lived in a huge metropolitan area at the time. My children were (and still are) my treasures. Even now, with them full-grown, I always feel ready to protect them. I have to restrain myself sometimes and let them handle things theirselves, but inside, I still feel like Stella in these pictures. You can see that she’s watching me carefully.

Wings

For Flying
Our children are in the “fledgling” stage now. They’re trying their own wings and even as they fly further and further from the nest, they are always welcome back.

One spring, years ago, I heard a ruckus out front so I went to investigate. At the edge of our yard, by the woods, there were some Blue Jays in the trees. I’m at a loss at how to describe their calls, but they’re very loud and boisterous, much like an alarm. On the lawn I discovered a young Jay sitting in the grass, and the closer I got to it, the more frantic and loud the parents became. It was a fledgling that had tried its wings and had landed in the grass. From their perches, it’s parents were watching over it and encouraging it to try again. They were prepared to defend it from a cat, or me, if necessary.

That memory, which had been stored in the back of my mind, came to the forefront these recent years as first our son, and then our daughter, started trying their wings. My husband and I watch over them and encourage them from a distance. Sometimes their landings are rough and they get discouraged, so we try to boost their spirits and give them the courage to try again. With each attempt their wings become a little stronger. I’m still waiting to see where they will eventually carry them, and hope that it’s not too far away.

Wings
Mama Phoebe

Even as I write this, the front door is open, and from my chair where I’m writing I can see the bird feeders. I’m watching hummingbirds, blue jays, cardinals and others, flying to and fro. We have a large flood light mounted to the peak of our roof, and a mama Phoebe built a nest up there and is raising some chicks. When I’m in the front yard I can hear them up there clamoring for food, and I see mama flying to and from the nest, doing her best to fill those hungry mouths.

Empty Nests

Spring is when birds build their nests, raise their chicks and teach them how to fly. It’s also the season of graduations and marriages – young adults take wing and their parents join the ranks of empty nesters.

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Build a Strong Foundation at the HEAV Homeschool Convention

No matter what stage of homeschooling you’re in, from just beginning your feasibility study, to graduating your student, the Home Educators Association of Virginia’s Homeschool Convention is one you won’t want to miss. There are many compelling reasons to attend a homeschool convention, especially one as comprehensive as HEAV’s. There’s even a giveaway for a free Family Registration to the 2017 HEAV Homeschool Convention! Scroll down to the end to enter.

Strong Foundation

HEAV’s 2017 theme is “Building a Strong Foundation,” and there’s no better place to begin your homeschooling journey, or do some shoring up.

Research

If you are in the beginning stage of learning about homeschooling, a convention is a great place to gain experience through full immersion. Through observation, you can see for yourself that homeschooling families are all unique, but not “weird” as you’ve been led to believe. You’ll see socialization in action, and how homeschooling affects family ties.

While watching the graduation ceremony, you’ll see that homeschooling through high school is possible, and share in the joy with proud parents.

By attending workshops you can begin to learn about different homeschooling approaches and student learning styles. Your eyes will be opened to the freedom and blessings that await those who choose this lifestyle.

HEAV offers three “Homeschool Success” workshops on Thursday, June 8th, that are free and open to the public.

Homeschool Success workshop. Photo courtesy of HEAV
Get started

Once you’ve made the decision to start homeschooling, the next question is “How?” The HEAV convention will have over 350 vendors with everything homeschooling. You’ll be able to look at the products and ask questions of the vendors, many of them homeschooling parents themselves. You’ll also have the opportunity to compare your favorite curriculums in person. You can see the whole list of vendors here.

Tip: With so many products to consider, you might find it helpful to do a little research on them ahead of time and note the ones you want to make a point to see.

Save Money

You can actually save money by attending homeschool conventions. When buying curriculum in person you’ll save money on shipping, and vendors often offer discounts at conventions.

HEAV also has a used curriculum sale where you can buy books and materials, as well as sell the things you no longer need.

Build a Strong Foundation
Used Curriculum Fair, Photo courtesy of HEAV

One lucky winner will save even more money by receiving a free Family Registration. Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Connect

Support is extremely important for homeschooling families and conventions are a great place to make these connections.

Photo courtesy of HEAV

Join Home Educators Association of Virginia  – HEAV is a non-profit organization for the state of Virginia. You can read about all the great services they provide by visiting their “About” page.

Home School Legal Defense Association – HSLDA is a national organization that provides many services to homeschooling families. Their members can rest assured that if they have a problem with child protective services, the local school board, or government, that they can call HSLDA for advice or legal assistance. They also serve as watchdogs, scrutinizing proposed legislation for any threats to homeschooling freedom. Consider joining HSLDA not only for the protection of your family, but also for others who may need their services and for the future of homeschooling.

Encouragement

By attending workshops you can build your confidence in teaching your children. This year’s workshops span all subjects, as well as specialized areas such as special needs, adoption, and learning disabilities. One homeschool mom said that she “didn’t feel so alone and intimidated,” because of attending a convention.

J. Michael Smith, HSLDA
J. Michael Smith, photo courtesy of HSLDA

J. Michael Smith, of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), is one of this year’s keynote speakers. I recently had the opportunity to interview him and you can read what he had to say in “Homeschool Heroes.” Click here for the list of speakers and their workshops.

Tip: Plan ahead and make note of the sessions that you don’t want to miss.

The convention also offers a Leaders’ Luncheon and a Single Parents’ Luncheon. These events require pre-registration, so follow their links to learn more.

Leaders’ Luncheon, photo courtesy of HEAV
Fun for the whole family

I’ve never seen so many activities offered. Even if the convention required traveling it would make a fun trip for the whole family, not to mention that it’s in a historic area. Here are some of the special events, but be sure to visit their website because there are more than I can list!

Photography Team, photo courtesy of HEAV

Activities for children and teens such as art, photography, chess, a math tournament, a music competition, a dissection lab, and more.

Graduation Ceremony, Photo courtesy of HEAV

Graduation ceremony

A College and Career Fair – follow this link to see all of the colleges, tech schools, military branches, and companies that will attend.

There’s even something for pastors.

Registration

Admission is priced by the family. Pay one low price for a Family Registration, and your spouse and dependent children attend FREE!

There are opportunities for free admission for qualifying families and grandparents. To see if you qualify for free admission or to apply for a scholarship, click here.

Accommodations

All the information you need to make hotel reservations and find your way there, can be found on the convention website. There’s even a shuttle service. They’ve thought of everything!

Prepare

9 Easy Steps to HomeschoolingHomeschool conventions can be overwhelming, especially one as large as HEAV’s. If you’re new to homeschooling, I’ve written an ebook called “9 Easy Steps to Homeschooling,” that takes you through some exercises that are beneficial in the beginning. It may be helpful to work through before attending the convention.

Pack

There are many good reasons to attend a homeschool convention and with HEAV’s being the second-largest in the nation, it’s even more worthwhile. It’s important for your homeschool to have a strong foundation and you can build it by choosing great curriculum, strengthening your confidence, and connecting with other homeschoolers – all at the HEAV Homeschool Convention! If you’re ready to make your arrangements, please visit HEAV’s registration page.

Giveaway

Enter here for a chance to win a Family Registration to the HEAV Homeschool Convention, valued at $79. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.

 

Build a Strong Foundation
Helpful Links

HEAV Homeschool Convention

HSLDA

Homeschool Heroes ~ An Interview with J. Michael Smith of HSLDA

Visit Richmond, Virginia

HEAV Convention


Homeschool Heroes ~ An Interview with J. Michael Smith of HSLDA

I’m partnered with Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) to help promote their June, 2017, homeschool convention. Therefore, I had the honor of interviewing one of this year’s keynote speakers, J. Michael Smith of Home School Legal Defense Association. He, along with his friend, Michael Farris, founded HSLDA in 1983, when, as an attorney and homeschooling father, he felt called to assist prosecuted families. For over thirty years, they have defended homeschoolers and have helped pave the way for the movement to flourish.

J. Michael Smith, HSLDA
J. Michael Smith, photo courtesy of HSLDA
Benefits of Homeschooling

J. Michael Smith believes that conventions such as HEAV’s are beneficial for homeschooling parents because they get to see others’ successes, as well as others’ struggles – they can see that they’re not alone. He encourages parents by talking about three major benefits of homeschooling:

  1. Socialization – “Who you spend time with is how you’re formed. Public schools are doomed to failure because of who is attending and the lack of parents doing their job. If we are conscientious [in homeschooling], their experience will be so much better. Schools are scary.”
  2. Academic – A school teacher with twenty students cannot give the individualized attention that a homeschool parent can. Mr. Smith described a recent case in Missouri where a struggling elementary student’s mother spoke with school officials, asking for some individualized attention for her son. When they said they couldn’t provide that, the mother withdrew her son to homeschool him. The school district then took her to court and HSLDA defended her. Mr. Smith added that in Europe, 60-70% of public school graduates live with their parents because they aren’t able to leave home and function on their own. He sees America following that trend.
  3. Spiritual – Mr. Smith described one situation where homeschooling saved a young man’s life. In one of his early cases, before homeschooling was as well-known, a young man had attempted suicide because of things that had been going on at school. His parents began homeschooling him and that young man went on to become a missionary. “It’s a blessing how we save heartbreak,” said Mr. Smith.
“America’s Greatest Heroes”

At a recent convention, Mr. Smith asked the attending homeschool mothers why more Christian mothers don’t homeschool, what reason they gave. The overwhelming response was, “Because they can’t.” Mr. Smith attributes that response to either a lack of faith or an excuse, adding that it’s sad that only 3 1/2% of Christian children are homeschooled. He continued, “Homeschooling adds a lot of pressure, and 100% is on mom’s shoulders. That’s why I truly believe that homeschool moms are America’s greatest heroes.”

He encourages prospective homeschool parents to “Get into the fray and take it one day at a time.” “Whatever you do, don’t quit at the lowest level,” he cautioned, explaining that his office gets a lot of calls from parents who had put their kids in public school after hitting a low point and regretted it.

Alleviating Pressure

I asked Mr. Smith if he had practical suggestions for relieving the pressure on the homeschooling family, especially mom. This is the advice that he had to offer:

  • Dad must play a major role. He needs to give mom time alone, time with dad without the kids, and time with a support group. He needs to help shoulder the responsibility.
  • Dad should have the primary responsibility for disciplining the children. They should know that the highest crime is disrespect of their mother, what the consequences are, and that punishment will be applied.
  • Ideally, the father should help with homeschooling in some way.
  • Dad should be responsible for the spiritual growth of the family. At the same time, mom needs time to develop her own relationship with Jesus, and her husband should facilitate that.
  • Dad should be a good husband and provide a good marriage.
  • Parents should pray together daily.
We the People

Mr. Smith quoted the Declaration of Independence, saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Then he explained, “Our liberties come from God and that is recognized in our country’s documents. In a ‘civil law’ country, they come from government and have to be written down, but in America, if we aren’t specifically prohibited from something, then we have freedom. That brings the responsibility to protect those freedoms. We, the people, are the government. We lose freedom when we don’t act.” Mr. Smith believes that it’s our obligation to defend those rights through political processes. “Liberty is the foundation of what makes our government different. It also applies to the homeschool movement. God holds us responsible to protect our liberties. The government will always encroach.” He specified two ways of satisfying our civic homeschool duty.

  1. Join a support group.
  2. Join HSLDA – Think of future generations. Not only does HSLDA provide protection for your family, but it protects the freedom to homeschool for generations to come.
Hazards

I asked Mr. Smith what current issues should be of most concern to homeschooling parents. He pointed out two hazards for homeschooling:

Apathy – Mr. Smith started homeschooling at a time when the stakes were much higher. He said he probably wouldn’t have started if he had known what it would be like, that there were parents who faced fines and jail time. “Homeschooling parents today have no clue what it took to attain current homeschooling freedoms,” he said.

Dependence on Government – He warned of the so-called “ESA” movement (Education Savings Account), vouchers, etc. I asked him about tax credits and he said that he was okay with them because they enable homeschoolers to keep their own money. In contrast, ESA and vouchers use taxpayers’ money. He quoted the adage, “The person who pays the piper gets to name the tune,” in cautioning giving government that foothold. We aren’t ever safe because the legislature changes every two years. As an example, he referenced Nevada where the legislature had been a Republican majority, but it just switched and a Democrat introduced a law to lower compulsory school attendance from age seven to five. That would mean that homeschoolers would also be required by law to start earlier.

Advancements

Mr. Smith and I talked about advancements he’s seen for homeschooling. He noted these encouraging developments:

  • Diplomas are getting more credibility. For example, in the past the military would put a homeschool graduate in “Tier 2” which was the equivalent of a GED or a dropout, and meant that they didn’t get benefits or education. That has now changed and homeschool diplomas are treated equally.
  • Disability and veterans benefits – Children of deceased or disabled fathers receive benefits until they leave school. Homeschooled children were being denied benefits because their homeschool was not recognized as accredited. This, too, has been rectified.
  • Colleges are more readily accepting homeschool graduates.
  • Some states are rolling back some requirements. In North Dakota, for example, homeschoolers can now opt out of standardized tests.
Recent Victory

I asked Mr. Smith if he would share one of HSLDA’s recent victories. He told me about a case in California where a homeschooling mother’s children had been removed because authorities believed that one of the children, a diabetic, was in danger. Even after a doctor examined the child and wrote that he was fine, the state still refused to release the children to their mother. HSLDA represented the mother and won the case. “The state had to pay a substantial reward to the mother,” Mr. Smith said, emphasizing the word, “substantial.”

Dealing with Child Protective Services must be among homeschooling families’ greatest fears. It’s reassuring to know that HSLDA is always ready to aid its members.

New Administration

At the close of our interview, I asked Mr. Smith how he felt about the new administration. He noted that President Carter established the Department of Education and that test scores had gone down steadily ever since. “We will always have government interference, but we’re better off being regulated at the local level.” He likes the trend of taking education away from federal government and thinks that is what President Trump and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, are trying to do.

Homeschool Heroes

I don’t know if I would have had the courage to homeschool if I hadn’t known that HSLDA “had my back.” Although I never needed them, I knew what to do if there was a knock on the door, and that they were only a phone call away. Being called to homeschool one’s children can be a frightening proposition. I’m grateful that along with calling parents to homeschool, God also called dedicated men and women to defend us. I thank J. Michael Smith for letting me interview him, and also for answering God’s call to defend families like mine. They are our homeschool heroes.

You can see J. Michael Smith in person at the HEAV Homeschool Convention, June 8-10, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, please visit HEAV’s website: http://heav.org/convention/

I will be having a giveaway for a family registration to the 2017 HEAV convention, the second-largest in the nation, valued at $79. Please subscribe to be notified of the giveaway.

This post has been shared in some of my favorite blog hops.

Related Reading

Build a Strong Foundation at the HEAV Homeschool Convention

Helpful Links

HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)

HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia)

HEAV Convention

Homeschool Heroes

The “S” Word ~ What about Socialization?

What about socialization?

I, too, asked that question while investigating homeschooling. Reading what homeschool veterans had to say about it really helped me to see socialization from a different viewpoint. I’ve helped many people get started in homeschooling and I can tell you that almost every one of them has asked me that question.

Just so that we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a formal definition:

Socialization: : the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status

“Socialization.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.

Early Observations

At the first homeschool park day that I attended, I watched intently while the children played. There were a range of ages from about four, to a big-boned thirteen-year-old boy. The kids started choosing teams to play “Red Rover” and in my mind I revisited my school days when that was one of the games I dreaded most of all. The kids would form two teams and line up opposite each other holding hands. Then they would chant, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send _____ over, ” inserting the name of one of the kids from the other team. Then that child would run as fast as he or she could and attempt to break the clasped hands of the team on the other side. I was very small and scrawny at that age so it was common that they chose one of my “links” to break through. Remembering that, I grimaced, wondering how a range of ages and sizes could play that game together. I was so surprised by what I saw! The team with the thirteen-year-old boy called one of the small children from the other team. That small child ran as hard as he could towards the clasped hands of the big boy and a kid next to him, and the big boy let him break through. Then he scooped him up and playfully swung him up in the air. All the kids laughed and joined back up to continue their game. I continued to watch as the kids cooperated, and compensated for the differences in age so that everyone had fun. That was one of my first impressions of homeschooling, and it was a big one!

I witnessed other interactions, such as big kids pushing smaller kids on swings, or helping them climb ladders. Once, when a little one tripped and began crying, two older girls rushed over to help her up and brush her off.

During my first visit to a homeschool convention, I attended a workshop. The small room quickly filled with families, including their children. They were going to record the guest speakers so that they could sell CDs. I wondered how, with so many children in the room, they could make a recording without too much noise. Again, I was amazed at how quiet the room remained. Parents had brought books or quiet activities and the kids either sat quietly beside their parent, or in the aisle nearby. Once when a baby started to cry, the father immediately got up and left the room to take care of it. That was another example of homeschooled socialization.

Homeschool Culture

Before I started homeschooling, I had the “kids will be kids” mentality. I didn’t know that it was possible to train children to sit quietly and have good manners. Again and again I witnessed such situations.  After awhile I began to be able to detect homeschooled children by the way they conducted themselves, and the way the family interacted. There really is a difference in the culture of homeschooled children, and it’s a good one!

A Good Kind of “Weird”

On one occasion, while grocery shopping with my kids, I asked my 8-year-old son to get something for me. He walked over to some older ladies and said, “Excuse me, ma’am. Would you hand me some butter?” Both of the women turned and looked at me with one of those looks we homeschoolers become accustomed to. They had odd expressions, like they had seen a ghost, or an alien. Then one of them exclaimed, “He’s so polite!”

Not too long ago I had to take my teen daughter to the doctor. While checking out, the office staff started asking me questions about her. Then they commented that they would have guessed that she was older because she looked them in the eye, had self-confidence, and spoke maturely. There was just something about her.

Research

In his report, Research Facts on Homeschoolers, Dr. Brian Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute, has published the following findings related to socialization1

  • The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.
  • Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.

The research based on adults who were home educated is growing; thus far it indicates that they:

  • participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population,
  • vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population.
Sticks and Stones

We’ve all heard the taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” and we all know that it isn’t true. The ugly things that were said to me as a child are still alive and well in the back of my mind. Even as an adult that knows better, they still affect my self-esteem. I wanted to limit those ugly voices in my children’s heads as much as possible. I’m not going to assert that ugliness never occurs within homeschool circles, but it pales in comparison to what kids experience in schools. My experience was, that any time we gathered with other homeschoolers, most, if not all, of the other kids were accompanied by at least one parent. In the event that ugliness erupted, it immediately became a teaching opportunity for the whole group.

The Socialization Myth

If you’re reading this, chances are that you are in the research stage of homeschooling, or perhaps a new homeschooler with young children. The socialization myth is just another one of our enemy’s lies to discourage you from homeschooling. He’d love to help you socialize your children. It’s up to us to consider what we want for our kids, and then make decisions accordingly.

Although it’s tempting to laugh when asked the socialization question, we need to realize that the asker has been misled by the enemy just as we once were. Maybe that will help us to patiently give an explanation and point out the misconceptions behind it. Socialization occurs from any type of interaction, whether it’s between family members or strangers in public. Kids are socialized when visiting with grandparents, running errands, or participating in sports and clubs. The truth is that you’d have to try pretty hard to prevent your kids from being socialized.

Related Reading

Homeschool Graduates in College ~ From the Professors’ Perspective

The Miracle of Homeschooling

There’s often a push for legislation that would require homeschooling parents to be certified teachers. I think the assumptions behind it are that only certified teachers are capable of teaching children, and that a student’s learning ability is limited by what the teacher knows. I want to share through personal examples, scripture, and research, why they aren’t true, and why I’ve begun to think of it as “the miracle of homeschooling.”

Personal Experience

We started homeschooling when our son was beginning second grade and continued all the way through to his high school graduation. My son, now 22 and a business owner, knows a lot of things that I don’t know. I’m using him as an example because our daughter’s skills are more in line with mine and so they don’t illustrate this point as well. However, my son’s are very different. Homeschooling allowed him the time to pursue his own interests, and he taught his self many things. As I wrote in “Homeschooling and Entrepreneurship,” early on he demonstrated an aptitude for electronics and technology. Here are some examples of things he learned without any help from me:

  • When he was about ten, Hayden showed me a robot he had built and told me about gear ratios. He learned that, programming, and many other things by playing with Lego Robotics.
  • He was about eleven when he started taking computers apart. By the time he was in his early teens, he had a definite opinion about which brand was superior. He also advised me which brand of batteries to buy, and why.
  • The Miracle of HomeschoolingWhen we moved into our current home, Hayden was about thirteen. I remember him examining one of the light switches and exclaiming, “Oh, cool! A mercury switch!” I had never heard of that, so I asked him what he’d said. He proceeded to demonstrate and explain the mercury switch. I still don’t know how he knew about that.
  • When Hayden was seventeen a neighbor was selling some antique motorcycles that didn’t run. My husband bought them thinking that he would decorate our family restaurant with them. Hayden begged for one of them. We really didn’t want him riding motorcycles, but since it didn’t run, my husband let him have one. To our amazement (and dismay), Hayden used the internet to find out how to totally rebuild that motorcycle. He got it running and was riding it.

I can assure you that he didn’t learn any of that from me! The reason I’ve shared these examples is to demonstrate that our children’s learning is not dependent on, or limited by, us.

Scripture

The following passages are among the ones that offered me the most reassurance in homeschooling. When I found myself worrying about not doing a good enough job, or was tempted to compare my kids to others. I hope you’ll see them in a new way, too.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV)

That verse was one of our homeschool mottos. Notice that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” We started each school day with Bible study. It was the foundation of our school because without the fear of the Lord, we couldn’t have the beginning of knowledge.The Miracle of Homeschooling

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)

God has a plan for each of our children’s lives and He knows best how to prepare them.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The following passages are evidence of God giving knowledge. Insert your child’s name and imagine what special skills and knowledge God might bestow on him/her:

“Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.” (Exodus 28:3)

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.’” (Exodus 31:1-6)

“He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers–all of them skilled workers and designers.” (Exodus 35:35)

When you feel inadequate as a teacher, read this one:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Research

Dr. Brian Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute, has done extensive research on homeschooled students. I have always found his results fascinating and encouraging. I’d like to reference two points from his report, Research Facts on Homeschooling, which are directly relevant:

  • Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
  • Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
    (Ray, Brian D., Dr. “National Home Education Research Institute.” Research Facts on Homeschooling | Research. N.p., 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.)

Isn’t that amazing?! Parents who didn’t attend college have homeschooled their children just as successfully as those who did! Furthermore, being a certified teacher doesn’t make a discernible difference.

You’re Not Alone

Scripture tells us that God equips those He calls, so I believe that by being equipped as parents we are also equipped to “train up” our children. If God has called you to homeschool, He has already equipped you to carry out that task. All you need to do is to be willing to let Him work through you. It’s scary to take on all the responsibility for your children’s education, but I hope that you feel reassured that you are equipped to handle it and that you aren’t alone. That’s the miracle of homeschooling!The Miracle of Homeschooling

Related Reading

Homeschooling and Entrepreneurship

The Birth of Curren Christian Academy

Research Facts on Homeschooling,” by Dr. Brian Ray

This post has been shared on some of my Favorite Blog Hops.

Homeschool Graduates in College ~ From the Professors’ Perspective

In my pursuit to encourage homeschooling parents, I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of how homeschool graduates perform in college as experienced by the professors. I made an appeal to professors through Facebook posts, and with the responses that I received I’m going to give you some insight into what they’ve seen in homeschooled college students.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use one of my links to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but helps to support my blog.

This is not meant to be scientific, in that I didn’t poll hundreds of professors. I was looking more for personal experience, and an idea of their overall attitude towards homeschoolers. In fact, I received only seven responses. I could have pursued more, but I felt like this was a good sampling, and that by being a small number I could present their answers in their entirety. They are employed by both public and private institutions and teach a variety of subjects. I know one of them personally, but he didn’t teach either of my children. For scientific research on homeschoolers, I’ll refer you to Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI, the National Home Education Research Institute, who has done extensive polling, and compiling of that information. His reports, especially “Strengths of Their Own,” were very encouraging to me when I was raising our children – they gave me a vision, and courage that helped me face the mountainous task of homeschooling through high school.

Most of the professors preferred to remain anonymous, so I will honor that. However, one respondent specifically asked me to share his identity. When I publicly asked for college professors who might be willing to answer a short survey, someone suggested that I contact Dr. Jay Wile. In case you aren’t familiar with him, he writes science textbooks especially for homeschoolers, published by Apologia and Berean Builders. I consider Dr. Wile to be somewhat of a celebrity, so I have to admit that I was amused by that suggestion when I first read it, but then I thought, “Why not?” Not only did he agree to answer my questions, his response was the first one I got back. I was so excited, that I told my daughter about it. I asked her if she remembered using his textbooks for science and she replied, “Yep! Especially animal science, that’s what started my love for science.” Dr. Wile suggested that I add that he “experienced homeschooled students at two different universities: a secular one and a Christian one. In both cases, they were (on average) my best students.” If you would like to learn more about Dr. Wile, you can visit his website at www.drwile.com.

I’m grateful to all of the professors who took time to respond, especially since I hit them up right during finals. They all gave such great responses that I’m going to relay them verbatim. This really is everything that they said – I didn’t leave anything out.

The survey

My survey consisted of four simple questions:

1) What are homeschooled college students’ strengths in college classes?

2) What are homeschooled college students’ weaknesses in college classes?

3) What suggestions would you give homeschooling parents who want to prepare their students for the demands of college classes?

4) Is there any other information that you would like to offer?

I’m going to restate each of these questions as a sub-heading and then follow them with the professors’ responses. Dr. Wile’s will appear at the end of each section.

What are homeschooled students’ strengths in college classes?

“Most are respectful of me as the instructor and of what I am trying to teach them. Most see the value in what I have to share with them rather than seeing my classes as something they “have to” take.”

“I teach English, and I have noticed most of the homeschool students I have had are better prepared for writing assignments than the typical public schooled student is. This is obviously related to the curriculum used at home, but I think most were still exposed to grammar and mechanics in their middle school years when most public schools don’t emphasize this as much in middle school.”

“Generally speaking it’s been my experience that homeschoolers take the assignments seriously and are willing to actually work on them, and to persist working on them until they’re finished. They are also not afraid to ask for help when it’s needed and/or to work with peers and/or adults. They are also much more respectful.”

“Although home schooled students’ abilities are varied, my impression is that homeschooled students generally have good reading skills, can think critically, solve problems, and have independent ideas. They seem to be good at project based learning as well. In general, their effort and work ethic is better than average. They seem eager to learn. I have had a 16-year-old homeschooler that never had any science class before in my plant biology class (for biology majors) that was by far the best student in the class.”

“Homeschooled students have several strengths. Academically, they are more prepared for college studies. They have better English skills than government educated students, in terms of both spelling and grammar skills. They communicate better both written and orally. They are also better prepared mathematically. There seems to be a big difference between homeschooled and government educated students in both attitude and perspective. Homeschooled students are less likely to expect things to be given to them for little effort. They also tend to be more respectful, mature, and open-minded.”

“In my experience, homeschooled students are hard-working, polite, engaged students. They are not afraid to ask questions and engage with the instructor.”

“They usually can read the text and gather information from it.”

Dr. Wile: “They are the most serious about class. They always attend, ask questions, and respond when asked questions. Outside of class, they learn better on their own. When I ask questions that are covered in the reading but not in class, they are the ones most likely to answer the question correctly.”

What are Homeschooled Students’ Weaknesses in College?

“I wouldn’t necessarily call this a weakness, but some are so used to quick grading and feedback from parents that they forget that it takes time for instructors to get work graded. (This is also an issue with public schooled students, too, but homeschool students seem to expect essays back the same week they are turned in.) Sometimes the lack of immediate feedback can become a de-motivator.”

“Sort of a funny issue – but I get several homeschool students who forget to put their names on their work. They just forget that this is something I need from them.”

“Yes, I have had the awkward student who hasn’t been socialized much, but this is the rarity. Most are some of my best communicators because they were exposed to adults through volunteering, traveling, projects, 4H, Scouts, church, etc. Those who are reserved typically come around soon enough and find their niche.”

“Some of them (surprisingly to me, a homeschool mom myself who’s learning what she needs to be sure to incorporate in her own “academy”) don’t seem to have much experience taking notes in a class setting where the instructor just keeps moving along. At least one of them didn’t even realize he should copy down the examples we worked in our college algebra math class.”

“It is hard for me to identify weaknesses, especially when I compare homeschooled students to government school peers. Academically, they always do well in my courses in comparison to government school students.”

“In my experience, a great deal of homeschooled students do not know how to properly research, using electronic databases. This means they depend mostly on the internet for research, which is not where real research can be found. This also means they do not know how to properly format a bibliography in MLA or APA style. In fact, those terms are foreign to them.”

“I didn’t really see many weaknesses that differed from other students. Perhaps they were not as used to exams.”

Dr. Wile: “A perfection syndrome. Homeschool graduates are less likely to understand that there is an appropriate trade-off between efficiency and 100% accuracy. They tend to work on assignments too long in order to make them perfect.”

What Suggestions Would You Give Homeschooling Parents Who Want to Prepare Their Student for the Demands of College Classes?

“If their child is already working independently most of the time, their son or daughter is on the right track. If not, try to help the student to be as independent as possible. Let the student follow a schedule and only intervene for help. Put off grading for awhile to see how motivated the student can be without immediate gratification of feedback.”

“Do they know how to study and manage their time? Most students (both homeschool and public school) struggle here. Many students do not learn how to study for a test or know how to juggle “fun” with the time required to get homework assignments finished. Again, I see this more with public school students because they are given multiple choice tests and they often don’t do much homework. However, some homeschool students are not expecting the load they are given in college and expect it to be not much different than what they are used to doing at home. Again, this depends on the student and the curriculum used at home.”

“Read, read, read, read…encourage lots of reading. College success comes from lots of reading and independent studying.”

“Help them learn to manage their time well. In our Tuesday-Thursday math class, waiting all the way through the weekend until Monday night to start the homework discussed during Thursday’s class is too long. Waiting until the one-month mark to start studying for a unit test it too late. Math (and foreign language and music and sports, to make an abbreviated list) is better learned and longer retained when it is practiced every day. Every day. Daily. Even if/when they don’t like it. It will be incredibly, exponentially more difficult if they don’t. Schedule a time to do at least a little bit of it, new stuff, old stuff, something, every day.”

“Prepare them to strictly follow schedules, manage their time for study, and get them up to speed on academic literacy. Make sure they have their student take advantage of all of the orientation sessions, especially those designed just for homeschoolers.”

“Obviously, make sure they are academically prepared for the demands of college study. I think it is also imperative students be prepared spiritually for what they will experience. They will be exposed to atheistic/humanistic worldviews and all kinds of evils on a college campus. Parents need to make sure their child has a sound Biblical worldview that will enable them to stand strong in the faith. Students must know truth from a Biblical perspective.”

“Homeschooled students must know how to use electronic databases, have regular access to them, learn how to properly document their research, and utilize critical thinking skills in assessing whether research is credible/quality or not.”

“Work on math, writing, and reading comprehension skills.”

Dr. Wile: “Give them rigorous courses, and do not fill their days with homeschool co-ops and online classes. The strength of homeschool graduates is their ability to learn without a teacher. They can have some classroom experience, but most of their learning should be done on their own, especially in high school.”

Is there any other information that you would like to offer?

“I have been so impressed by my homeschool students that I pulled my son from public school. He started in 7th grade and is now in 8th. We have joined a once-a-week group, but we mainly did this to offer him additional socialization. Most of my homeschool students are in similar groups that we have in the area.”

“My homeschool students are some of my “favorite” students. I hate to put it that way, but they are well-mannered, respectful, almost always have their work done, are attentive and ready for class, and typically have a good work ethic. I find them to be ready to learn in a way that I don’t see with public school students. I don’t know if this is because they are excited to be in the college classroom, or if it is something else. In fact, I had a student this semester tell me she enjoyed my writing class and that she liked being in a classroom. She was nervous about it, but it turned out to be fun to hear so many points of view on various topics.”

“Another thing I think worth mentioning is that I also like it when students who are homeschooled let others in the class know. I don’t share this information with the other students, so sometimes they go through a class without anyone knowing. However, I like it when the students say something about being homeschooled. This often becomes a teaching moment for the other students who have preconceived stereotypes about homeschooling. I enjoy seeing their attitudes and ideas shift to see homeschooling in a new, different way.”

“I have always said, even as a young, public high school teacher, before I had my now-teenage kids, that “those homeschool students make the best students.”

“Most of the time, we don’t know which students are homeschooled or not. It only comes up if the student volunteers the information. It will sometimes come up in an introduction session at the beginning of class, but not always. Therefore, my observations are only about the students that I know were homeschooled.”

“I encourage homeschooled students to connect with others who are like-minded in the faith when they arrive at college. These like-minded others may be students, but may also be university faculty and staff. If a student will get connected to like-minded others, this will serve as a source of support for them.”

“I have taught at the college level for over 20 years, and I can honestly say that homeschool students are now much more prepared for college than ever before. I really enjoy having them in my classroom.”

“I could also see the importance of working on note-taking skills. Be able to write down the important discussion points from a lecture.”

Dr. Wile: “I started working with homeschoolers specifically because my very best students at the university level were homeschool graduates. That’s still the case today. Generally speaking, I can tell if a student is a homeschool graduate by the middle of the semester, because he or she is serious about class, interactive in class, and does very well, especially on those things not explicitly covered in class.  I wish I could fill my classes with homeschool graduates.”

On a More Personal Note

The professors’ comments reminded me of some of my own children’s experiences. Here are a few that I can share:

In one of our daughter’s first college classes, the teacher was addressing the students and said, “someone in our class has already taken the next test, even though we haven’t covered the material yet.” And then, looking at my daughter, she asked, “Was it you?” After Margaret sheepishly nodded her head, the teacher continued with, “Well, you did pretty well, so I guess that’s okay.”

When our son took an English Composition class, the professor asked if he could keep one of his essays to share with future classes.

Both of these examples are from when they were taking dual-enrollment classes at a community college to finish their high school requirements.

Encouraged?

When I was a new Homeschool Mom reading about homeschool graduates, I was amazed at the unique paths that they took, and the things they accomplished. Their stories encouraged me and that was what I wanted to do for you. I hope that by reading what these professors had to say about their experiences with homeschoolers that you hold your head a little higher and feel confident that homeschooling really works!

For more encouragement, I invite you to join Happy at Homeschooling group on Facebook.

Post Script – Dr. Wile wrote about this post on his own blog! College Professors’ Impressions of Homeschool Graduates

You may also like Homeschooling as a Ministry.

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