If your grandchildren are being homeschooled, you may have concerns. Especially, if you haven’t had any experience with homeschooling and the only information you have is from the widely-spread myths.
As a retired homeschool mom, I’ve remained connected with homeschooling families, and started blogging, partly, to encourage them. I’ve written a lot of posts for them, but this time I want to address your concerns.
First of all, I want to tell you that homeschooling really works. As long as parents are diligent in teaching their children, they will be fine. Dr. Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), has done a lot of research on homeschool students, and they excel in every area. The amount of education or money their parents have makes hardly any difference. Take some time to visit his site and read the results. It can’t help but give you a whole new outlook on homeschooling!
I’d also like to direct you to a post I wrote after surveying some college professors about their experience with homeschool graduates. I think that what they have to say will show you that homeschoolers are able to get into college and are doing very well. In fact, an increasing number of institutions are actively recruiting homeschoolers.
What About Socialization?
One of the most common misconceptions about homeschooling is that of socialization. Dr. Ray’s research, as mentioned above, includes relevant statistics on this topic. Homeschoolers socialize within their family, at church, during extra-curricular activities and social events, and even while running errands. They’re actually better socialized than children who go to either public or private schools. Socialization is not a problem among homeschoolers. Read ‘The “S” Word ~ What About Socialization?‘
Public schools aren’t what they used to be. To get an idea of the problems they’re experiencing, you can visit this Facebook page, The Real Truth About Public Schools.
Honoring the Family Unit
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31, New International Version“
Scripture tells us that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. In fact it appears four different times, in Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7, and Ephesians 5:31.
When our children get married, our relationship with them changes. The husband becomes the head of his household, and he and his wife make the decisions for their children.
“But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” – 1 Corinthians 11:3
Marriage is hard under the best circumstances. Grandparents can help strengthen the family by being supportive in many different ways. A strong and stable family is important for children, and part of God’s design.
How You Can Help
If you want to be involved, there are things you can do to help with their education.
- Pray. First and foremost, pray for your children. Ask God to give them wisdom and guidance as they “train up” your grandchildren. Ask for wisdom and guidance for yourself as you try to support them in a way that is God-honoring and strengthening to their family.
- Tutor. If you live nearby, maybe you could offer to teach a subject, or substitute teach on occasion. If you live far away, you might still be able to help by phone or FaceTime.
- Read to them. Children get so much out of listening to good books. It helps to build their vocabulary, comprehension, and listening skills while at the same time strengthening your bond.
- Share your passions. Do you have a hobby you can share such as gardening, sewing, mechanics, or woodworking? Share it with your grandchildren. They’ll learn a lot through it and you’ll make great memories together.
- Take grandchildren on educational field trips such as zoos and museums.
- Pass on stories about your ancestry. It’s your grandchildren’s history, too, and knowing it will give them more interest in, and an increased ability to understand, the bigger picture. For some great suggestions on how to do this, visit “Why You Should Teach Your Kids About Their Family History” by Old Age is Not for Sissies.
- Every generation lives in a substantially different environment than the one before it. Our world changes at a fast rate and your children are trying to navigate their role as parents and make the best decisions they can for their children. Just as one example, your grandchildren may never know what it’s like to live without a smart phone, while you may remember party lines, one phone stuck on the wall, or no phone at all. It’s understandable, and maybe expected, for grandparents to spoil their grandkids a little, but try to respect the parents’ boundaries and way of doing things.
- Resist the temptation to compare your grandkids to what others are doing. Children are all unique. They learn at different paces, have different strengths and weaknesses, and have different interests. For an interesting perspective on this, read about The Animal School. Also, because homeschooling is one-on-one and tailored to the child’s needs, it’s much more efficient than public school and doesn’t take as much time. Homeschooling is flexible and offers the freedom to work around other family needs. Don’t be alarmed if your grandkids don’t have the same hours as their public-schooled counterparts.
- Resist the temptation to put your grandchildren on the spot by quizzing. You’ll get a feel for how they’re doing through interacting with them. Homeschooling is about more than just teaching reading and math, it’s about cultivating character, teaching manners, and passing on religious beliefs.
- Attend a homeschool convention or enable your children (the parents) to go. Some conventions even offer a special class for grandparents. By going you’ll learn a lot more about homeschooling, and by being around other families you’ll be reassured about socialization. One such convention is the Teach Them Diligently convention. They offer a “family registration” which includes grandparents. You can find others by checking HSLDA’s events calendar, and you can also check with your state’s support group.
- Contribute financially: The cost of homeschooling varies depending on choices made by the parents, but there are many expenses such as curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Homeschool parents pay taxes that support the public schools, and then have to pay all of their own homeschool expenses, too. Maybe you could offer to pay for some part, or even contribute to a savings account to be used towards college or trade school.
- Babysit and give your children time to nurture their marriage, the foundation of your grandchildren’s family. While you’re babysitting, you can spend quality time, doing some of the suggestions above.
When There’s a Problem
Homeschooling in itself doesn’t foster abuse or neglect. Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI has research which addresses this specifically.
Although rare, there can occasionally be a problem. For information about what constitutes abuse and neglect, and what to do if you suspect it’s taking place, please visit Home School Legal Defense Association’s article, “Addressing Child Abuse.”
Encouraging New Parents
If you’re already a supporter of homeschooling and want to encourage your children to consider it, many of the posts I’ve written cover different aspects of the homeschooling lifestyle and contain links to related research and articles. You can access them by choosing the Homeschooling category on my blog. I’ve also written an ebook, 9 Easy Steps to Homeschooling, which guides parents step-by-step to get started. I even have a Facebook group where they can connect with other homeschooling parents.
You’re a Treasure
I hope that I’ve succeeded in reassuring you about homeschooling. There are many ways you can be involved in your grandchildren’s bright futures. Loving grandparents are a blessing to children, helping to ensure a high level of self-worth, which in turn contributes to success and happiness.
Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Conventions
National Home Education Research Institute
Home School Legal Defense Association
Homeschool Heroes ~ An Interview with J. Michael Smith of HSLDA
The “S” Word ~ What About Socialization?
A Tribute to Homeschool Fathers
All beautifully said, Michelle, as usual. As a life-long homeschool mom of 4 daughters I am now so very blessed to see my oldest two thriving in “the real world” and watching my younger two excel in dual credits (they will both have an Associates Degree when they graduate high school) as well as life. I truly long for the day I can encourage them as homeschool moms in ways my own mom wasn’t able to do, since it was such a foreign concept to her and she worried so much about if her granddaughters were thriving academically or not. Oh how I wish she was still alive to see her granddaughter graduate this May with Deans List honors with a prestigious Mechanical Engineering degree. Thanks for this great post, Michelle!
And thank you for your encouraging comments, Michelle! It sounds like your daughters are doing great, and I know you miss your parents.
I have also wonder about the socialisation. Good point