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How then shall we educate?

"How then shall we educate?" Continued...

Issue: "The Purge," Sept. 12, 2009

When asked homeschoolers' least favorite question-What about socialization?-the whole family laughed. They say that with choir, orchestra, church, science co-op, part-time jobs, and swim club, socialization for these five girls is definitely not an issue. Homeschool highlights include reading aloud on snowy afternoons, the opportunity to focus on their music, free evenings without homework, and sisters being best friends. Their advice to parents is to relax about academics, listen to the counsel of others, focus on the basics, make sure the teaching parent is happy with homeschooling, and enjoy the journey rather than obsessing about finding the perfect curriculum.

• Another homeschooling mom, Beverly Alexander, gave her reasons for choosing what some frown at: "We wanted control over the kind of doctrine our children were taught, what they learned, and who they associated with. That sounds bad, doesn't it?" She laughed when she said that, and said the basis of the decision was, "No one loves our children like we do. We'll do whatever it takes to help them."

For the Alexanders this meant specialized training to help the boys with dysgraphia, the learning disability that makes it very hard for some students to express their thoughts in writing. The family as a family volunteers for organizations like Voice of the Martyrs and participates in activities such as robotics: "Homeschooling has given our family a closeness we wouldn't have if our kids were gone all day." Pre-reading the books her teens were reading, offering enough opportunity for discussion, and record-keeping became extremely challenging in high school, however, and Alexander admits not enjoying those years as much: She says she survived them through "caffeine and chocolate."

All of the families WORLD spoke to suggested that when it comes to schooling, one size does not fit all: As Stan Shelden put it, "Whatever you choose, be radically engaged with your child."

Amy Henry
Amy Henry

Amy is a married mother of six and a WORLD correspondent from Kansas. Follow her other "scribbles" at Whole Mama or by reading her book Story Mama: What Children's Stories Teach Us About Life, Love and Mothering. Follow Amy on Twitter @wholemama.

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