THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO HOMESCHOOL
ALL YOU NEED TO HOMESCHOOL IS LOVE
By David Tan
[I shall be sharing a series of posts on essentials for homeschool. Here’s the first.]
WHEN WE FIRST BEGAN HOMESCHOOLING our two boys, many parents asked my wife Sook Ching if there were requirements to teaching their own children at home. Did they need certain qualifications? Did they need a college degree to teach or have some teaching experience to begin with? What if a parent was not a good student herself back when she was younger? Is it alright to homeschool despite objections from a spouse (usually the children’s Dad)? Is there a special course to prepare parents to educate their own children at home? Wouldn’t a mother feel bored and trapped at home 24/7 if she homeschooled?
There are any number of concerns, most of which are commonly raised by all level-headed parents – usually the Mom (because she knows she’s going to be the main tutor and facilitator!). I think it’s fine to be asking these questions. I know the feeling: how exciting to break out of the school ‘prison’ paradigm; yet how frightening the thought that my kid’s future is in my hand. What if I threw in the towel midstream when the going got rough?
I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t think there are neat textbook answers for every situation anyway. We are different after all. Nevertheless, I believe the one thing that is essential for every parent is love for their children.
A couple of parents have shared that they “can’t stand children” but they are exploring homeschool anyway as an option to the present education system. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but the truth is, you can’t teach your children if you don’t love them enough to bear with them! Not the kind of love that comes out in treacly sweet endearments every now and then, or spoils them rotten with an abundance of things. The love that I am referring to is the sort that is as deep and as it is wide.
Love is acknowledging a child’s worth and potential. It is believing in them and appreciating their aspirations as well as their fears. Loving a child is embracing her for who she is – including her foibles, weaknesses, and limitations. The loving parent is there to pick a child up when she falls and quick to celebrate when she does well. It is giving them the necessary space to grow as they are nurtured to become the person God intends them to be.
In the course of your homeschooling journey, there will be bumps in the road (I’ve not met a homeschooling family that has it easy!) Sometimes you will feel like tearing your hair out as a hundred voices echo, “I told you so, homeschool is not for you.” Oh, the joys of DIY education! Hopefully those moments will be few and far in between.
But you don’t give in or give up in despair precisely because you love your children – in the same way that spouses don’t give up on their relationship. We homeschooled because we believed there was more to life than what the establishment was trying to sell us; we were convinced there was a better way to raise a family and give our boys an education. More importantly, we educated our children ourselves because we loved them enough to spare them the effects of what we thought was a broken education system. You could say love overcame fear. So we kept at it through good and hard times, because we knew nothing good ever came easy.
You’ll agree with me that love is what makes any enterprise worthwhile. Now that we have come to the close of our own homeschooling journey, I believe love is also the one thing that makes homeschooling possible.
Have a great year!
David & Sook Ching educated their 2 sons all the way at home until they were both 18 years old. Their oldest Ethan recently graduated summa cum laude with degrees in Political Science and English from Hardin Simmons University, Texas. Elliot their second son completed his foundation year in Mass Communications in KDU and is selecting a major (other than mass comm) when he goes back to Australia later this year.