* Gives quality time to train and influence their children in the areas parents think are important.
* Each child receives individual attention and their unique individual needs get met.
* Parents can control destructive influences such as false teachings, negative peer pressure and unsafe environments.
* Children gain respect for their parents as teachers.
* The family experiences unity and closeness.
* Children develop confidence and independent thinking away from the peer pressure to conform.
* Flexible scheduling can accommodate parentsí work and vacation times and allow time for many activities.
When our first child was born, Jim was in the food service industry. As many food service workers know, the work schedules usually do not conform with typical family/school schedules. Jimís schedule was a 12 noon to 3 a.m. shift, and of course, that included weekends. His days off would be during the slower part of the week, which was usually Monday and Tuesday.
In looking towards the future, we realized that once our daughter attended school, their schedules would certainly conflict. We thought about the concept of home school, but that was years away, so it remained only a thought.
Quickly the year past, and we sent her off to kindergarten. I was a teacherís helper as I felt I needed to be part of Alexisí learning and not just look at school work at the end of the day.
When she began first grade. we had a son that was about 1 month old and we were working in a childrenís home that took care of problem children. Alexis would cry each school day not wanting to leave her new brother and us at home all day, desiring to be part of the family with us.
The children she rode the bus and attended school with were the Ďproblem childrení we were taking care of and we soon found that those children vented their anger with us at Alexis during the bus ride and during the school day. We realized that this was not good.
Our days off were Tuesday through Thursday, so we could not get away as a family and it seemed that as soon as Alexis got home, did homework, ate, got ready for the next day, it was time to go to bed. We were missing out on her being a larger part of our family and she was missing out on being a part of the family, as well.
We looked to God and felt convicted that He did not give us this child to send off for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to situations that we could not have better control over. We went to the principal who was very helpful in getting us started with home schooling, as we werenít sure if it was even legal.
Alexis is now in the eighth grade--soon to be in high school--which will be another learning experience as we plan to continue schooling her until graduation. Jimmy is in the second grade and Rebekah will be starting kindergarten next year. We have learned a lot about ourselves, Godís work, our children, teaching, organizational skills, and ministry through educating our children at home.
Although it is not always easy, in fact it is usually not easy, it has been worth the entire investment of time, money, and prayer. We can see not only short term benefits, but with Alexis now going into high school, we can also see the long term benefits coming through.
One major benefit we have always taken advantage of is scheduling. We take family vacations when Jimís schedule allows. If we want to take vacation in January and do school in the summer, it works out for us. Jimís days off are during the week so we can take family outings then and not worry about school--we do it on the weekends. The flexibility allows us to be a family, building family bonds that I think are and will continue to be evident in the years to come.
We feel that with our childrenís foundation built on Jesus, biblically-based, solid curriculum, the wisdom of God and the respect and love for each other (that we try to train them with in being with each other throughout most of the day), that God will honor this and glorify Himself as they are growing in their younger years, and more so as they grow into their adult years with good marriages and family values, with self-discipline in their personal and working lives, living moral, godly lives and keeping their priorities in proper perspective, beginning with God first. For this we can only pray knowing that we have done what we feel God would have us do in "training up a child in the way he should go".
We pray that in whatever choice you make in training your child (the gift that God has entrusted you with) that you can stand confident in saying that "Yes, this is what is best for my child. This is what God would have us do at this time." And also to be able to stand with confidence (and not with regret) in the future and say "Yes, we did our part-- all we could do with the best of our time and ability--and trained our child in the way that we thought was most pleasing to God."