Going back to the item I skipped in the “Greatest Mistakes Homeschool Moms Make” list…
11. They have an unnecessary fear of authorities. Prov. 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”… If you do what’s right in God’s eyes, He will protect you. Listen to what the Spirit is telling you. If the Lord is telling you to spend more time in ministry and less time on diagramming sentences, or spend more time on electronics and less time memorizing dates in World History, do it. Don’t try to do everything in the curriculum according to the teacher’s manual. Scope and sequences vary from school to school, year to year, and book to book. No one can learn everything there is to know. Curriculum publishers and “professional” educators make decisions on what topics a child “needs” to learn and when, based on their standards and philosophies. Your child, however, may need to learn something else or on a different time schedule. As you go through your school year, before you assign seatwork or introduce a new topic, ask yourself: (1) Is this going to help this particular child do what God has called him to do? (2) Is this the time to introduce this (readiness)? If you answer yes to these two questions, then teach the topic and/or have them do the seatwork. If you answer no, then don’t!
When we decided to go back to the Philippines in the fall of 2009, I didn’t realize that we were entering our 8th year of homeschooling officially that same year. So on our second year back, it hit me hard that my oldest child was entering high school. I had to come to terms with whether I was prepared to do this. My daughter confirmed that she wanted to homeschool through high school even after considering some conventional schools nearby. She felt this route would give her more opportunities to learn in areas she would not be given the chance to explore in a conventional school. And so, with my husband’s support and help in some subjects in that first high school year, we began a new phase in our homeschooling journey.
Looking back now, I realize what a brave decision that was to make then. First, it was our goal for the children to eventually attend university back in Canada, and therefore we had to ensure our high school program would meet application requirements when the time came. Also, at that time in the Philippines, we were not only homeschooling with North American high school credits in mind but we were doing it independently from a local umbrella precisely since we had a different objective. We were basically on our own. It was likewise a challenge to obtain the resources we needed to implement the program of studies we have designed.
At that point, the Lord had already led us towards an inclination to classical education and my two oldest daughters, who were a year apart in age, were eager to go on learning this way. I believe the Lord was allowing them an education that would truly challenge them in a way that brought out the best in them. So, I diligently went about procuring books even if it meant ordering them from abroad each year. I researched online classes for subjects that I could not teach (French, Latin, advanced English/Composition) and my daughters excitedly went about their studies even if they had to stay up late for these classes that were being taught live in a different time zone. It was also part of our program of studies that my daughters sit some SAT and AP exams in the Philippines where this was not widely available.
Homeschooling classically didn’t just mean studying Latin and Greek literature, it meant that we also studied our worldview systematically and developed a critical mind, able to defend the truths we held.
On my oldest daughter’s last year of high school (and her younger sister’s 11th grade year), we found ourselves back in Canada. Since it was too late for her to try to work towards a high school diploma locally, we had to continue with our homeschooling with the least accountability to the ministry of education. We just had to keep at what we had started and pray the Lord would open the doors for her to a university.
Despite not officially graduating high school in British Columbia, my daughter found herself accepted into the University of Victoria (UVic) faculty of Computer Engineering with a small scholarship, the University of British Columbia (UBC) faculty of arts and McGill University faculty of science. She is currently attending McGill U, taking 16 credits, and is doing relatively well in her studies. She tells me repeatedly how homeschooling classically has truly prepared her for the rigors of university and I see how homeschooling, in general, has helped her face the world with the biblical worldview our schooling has also provided her.
I recall when I wrote our very first educational assistant in Calgary, Alberta for advice about homeschooling through high school while we were in the Philippines. After giving me some practical advice, she closed with,
Winnie, I hope this is helpful. One more bit of advice – don’t make a decision out of fear. Families who choose a traditional high school program out of fear often regret it. Our God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. May God make His will abundantly clear to you.
While my oldest is breathing in all that university life offers her now, second daughter is currently applying to universities for next fall. It has been hard work for the latter to complete the high school credits necessary to graduate in BC but I believe that the route we have decided to take earlier has prepared her to take on this challenge.
Before I know it, I will have the next two children in high school as well. My experience from the last two has taught me that the Lord will, indeed, make it clear how He wants us to go about doing this. And at this point, it seems to me that that way might be a totally different path than my older ones took, my children being different from each other and our situation so much changed from what it was. In the same way, I have a second grader who is taking his time developing in his reading and spelling skills at the moment (and whom I suspect may be exhibiting symptoms of dyslexia) but I am trusting that the Lord knows my children best. He has His plans for them and I am here to just be a steward of these precious gifts and an instrument to help lead them to Him and His design for each of them. Reminding myself this gives me the courage to carry on, indeed, to stand by the type of homeschooling we have been led to do rather than be sidetracked by what we might be required to do.