I Was a Homeschool Dropout

I thought teaching my kids at home was the best thing for our family. But God had another lesson plan.

It was a typical homeschooling day. My 8-year-old, Jason, walked into the living room and saw me reading the morning paper.

He scowled. "What are we going to do today? Nothing, as usual?"

The accusation stung. "We do lots of things!" I insisted.

"Not every day!" he fired back.

My son was right. Although I had good intentions, my teaching was inconsistent at best. How did it get like this? I wondered.

From the time they were babies I knew I wanted to teach Amanda and Jason at home. Kids taught at home reportedly did better academically, outpacing other students on standardized tests. They also showed better self-esteem because they were less peer-oriented than kids in school. Best of all, homeschooling meant my husband and I could transmit our values to them without competition from New Age philosophies or humanistic views. How could I not do something that promised so much?

I began researching methods, and heeding the best advice I could find. I developed a customized approach that practically guaranteed success. We didn't do "school" every day, so I had time to run errands, do housework, or visit friends—no burnout for me! We joined a support group and enjoyed field trips and classes with other families—we'd never feel isolated. I based our curriculum on my children's strengths and interests—they'd love learning.

Sure enough, things went well at first. I loved teaching Amanda and Jason to read, and they were eager learners. I was sure we would turn out the kind of children any parent would want: smart, confident, and self-motivated.

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