How Do You Spell Homeschool?

1 Jul 2004

There are many ideas about what constitutes homeschooling, how it should be done, and what kind of commitment it takes. Some families feel led to home educate, while others feel called. Some families determine that homeschool for them must be K-12. Still others want to teach only through middle school, allowing high school to be a separate experience.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word homeschool? Family preferences definitely influence our response to that question. Whether we spell home school as two words or one—the new way according to Webster’s—our goals and vision for our children are determined by our vision of homeschooling. So, how do you spell homeschool? Here are some thoughts to consider.



Do you count it an honor to teach your child or children—to have primary responsibility for their education? Being aware of the privilege and blessing of this task, even through tough times, helps us to see God’s hand in all we attempt to do. That He would give us the opportunity to educate His children is indeed an honor. I do not take it lightly.

Or would you say ‘H’ stands for hard? We all have those “I just can’t do it” days. The key to successfully surviving lies in maintaining our focus and honoring our commitment to teach our children.



Is obedience evident in your home, children to parents, and parents to the Lord and His Word? Without biblically defined obedience, there can truly be little or no true obedience. A home, and more so, a homeschool, full of disobedient children equals a quick and easy formula for disaster. Children who won’t obey won’t learn.

For some, ‘O’ may mean obstacle. Is your day full of seemingly insurmountable problems and interruptions, such as ringing telephones, drop-by friends or stacks of papers? We must learn to distinguish between circumstances, concerns and company that create obstacles and situations that provide us with a much needed break from our daily routine.



It’s my goal to start and end each school day as a motivated teacher! There have been days when this goal was not realized. My children don’t always inspire me to teach, and I’m sure I don’t always inspire them to learn. I’ve learned that my desire to run the opposite way from my approaching students is a clear indication of my dwindling motivation. It is also an indication that I’m veering too far into my plans and farther away from His. When I prayerfully seek and then follow His plan I stay refreshed and renewed. New motivation automatically spills over to my lesson plans and teaching, and makes it easier to pass on that same motivation to my children.

Could the ‘M’ here mean mundane? Perhaps your school area could use a facelift. Take time to evaluate each aspect of your homeschool. Looking at the same environment day after day becomes humdrum after 180 days. Before the new school year begins, reorganize your classroom, change or put up posters, put fresh flowers in your children’s work area, or do something that creates new interest.



What about the quality of education your child is receiving? I like to remind myself that I must be careful to note what is being learned, how learning is taking place, or if any learning is taking place at all. At day’s end, can I identify progress that has resulted from the time my children and I spent together in class?

Is your ‘E’ for extracurricular? Does time away from home appeal to you more than time at home? Do too many outside activities take precedence over your day? Extracurricular activities help to round out our children’s education. Often, outside activities appeal greatly to both teacher and student. But remember to have a “healthy” school we must balance our “appetite” for outside activities with our homeschool obligations.



Our students come first. They offer us some of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding days we will ever have. Whatever the ultimate goal for our homeschool is, our students will reap the benefits, and whether or not theirs is a dream to continue the tradition with their own families is often influenced by what we model as we teach and train.

I occasionally encounter a mom who’s had a very difficult year who would substitute the word sorry for student. Perhaps you’re frustrated by numerous failures or the fact that your student didn’t soar academically. I believe the only reason homeschool success stories outweigh stories of homeschool failure is that many of us who experience failure continue working in those areas until we produce success. Regret about decisions we have made can be resolved one of two ways: correct the decision, if possible, or make a conscious effort to make the most of our mistake. Then, stick with it until things get better. They surely will.



Keep your classes imaginative and your ideas fresh and resourceful! The Lord has gifted each of us uniquely and abundantly to accomplish great things within our homes. Homeschooling allows our innate creativeness to take off as we plan for our school year.

Whatever happens, don’t let your ‘C’ stand for critical. We all expect projects to be done correctly, papers to be neatly written and assignments turned in on time. However, we all know that doesn’t always happen. Make your expectations known to your child and encourage him or her to meet them. Unless you discern a deliberately slothful spirit, you may need to praise less than perfect work in order not to be overly critical.



It is not possible to homeschool your children day after day unless your heart is in it. It is hard to think objectively when we see frustration in the eyes of a child who can’t seem to grasp a concept, or who is struggling through the same books that another sibling “breezed through” a few years earlier.

Our hearts are entangled in homeschooling, not by default but divine order. Our children realize how deeply we love them and love to teach them—not when we give them a litany of our sacrifices but when they see how much of ourselves and our hearts we are willing to commit to them.



Encourage your children to be open with you. As children grow older they should be encouraged, even charged, with the responsibility (through prayer) of helping to select their curriculum and academic courses. Knowing how our children feel about a certain curriculum, learning tool or class schedule will save us time and wasted effort, plus avoid hours, days and weeks of frustration. Frustration is often borne out of the student’s lack of freedom to express his or her ideas and thoughts regarding decisions that directly affect them.

Let’s hope your ‘O’ will never be defined as obstinate. Putting off or forgetting chores, occasionally forgetting or neglecting assignments, and carelessness when the occasion calls for responsibility are pretty normal behavior for most children, and especially teens. However, selfish demands for privileges, independence or rights, willfully neglecting to give honor to parents, and refusing submission to parental authority requires immediate parental attention. These are the makings of a rough storm headed towards your homeschool. Halt class for the day, or the week, if necessary. Deal with the character issues and obstinate spirit, then continue on prayerfully.



Your homeschool should be full of wonderful opportunities for education, experience and exposure for your child. The beauty of homeschooling is the myriad of possibilities to enhance our students’ learning.

Keep your child’s learning at his own pace, not your neighbor’s kid’s pace or the children of that most outstanding member of your support group, lest this ‘O’ for you become overwhelming! Trying to keep up with the astonishing learning abilities of others is not the point of home education.



Having our children near us throughout the day is such a privilege. Take time to listen to your children with your ears and your heart. Listening to them is one of the most important gifts we can give to them. This ‘L’ could also stand for lessons, however, homeschool should always be defined as more than lessons. Learning is important, but worksheets, assignments and schoolwork are not all there is to school. Field trips, play time, music, read-aloud time, special projects and family time together should be interspersed throughout your homeschool days.

There is another ‘L’ word that defines our homeschool; it is love. Without love, our home and school, indeed, will become as empty and hollow as “a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.” (I Corinthians 13:1)

So tell me, how do you spell ‘H-O-M-E-S-C-H-O-O-L’?


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