How do home educated children learn to adjust to the "real world"?
The "real world" is the world which God created. It is a world in which Jesus Christ beckons each of us into a relationship with Him. It is a world in which the values and teachings of the Bible have merit. This is the world children should adjust to.
How often do you have to raise your hand and ask for a hall pass to go to the bathroom? Do you change desks upon the ring of a bell every hour? Are all of your co-workers your age? Are you all promoted together at the end of every year?
Placing our children in a government institution five days out of every week does not prepare them for life in the real world. Home schooling is education in the real world.
Will my child's social skills develop in a homeschool setting?
Every child needs to develop skills for interacting with others of different ages and backgrounds. These skills include respect, patience, forgiveness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, self-control and concern for others. These are the same regardless of where children are educated. These skills, and other mature behaviors, are best learned from mature people who demonstrate them consistently. Children interacting with their age-peers for long periods usually learn bullying and name-calling, popularity contests, or they are on the receiving end of such juvenile behavior.
Recent studies have shown home educated children to be just as socially adept as children from public schools. However, there was a noticeable difference. Home educated children had significantly fewer behavioral problems.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of home education is that children are free to think independently. When children are age-segregated with 25 other children for seven hours per day, five days per week, peer pressure becomes one of the most powerful influences they face. They are often afraid to do or say anything that may cause them to be ridiculed. Home education gives children the opportunity to develop the courage to make decisions based upon what is right rather than based upon the opinion of the group.
Often those who ask about socialization are really asking if home schooled children have any friends or ever get out of the house. Yes, they do. A study published in 1997 by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) of over 5,400 home schooled students found that on average, these students participate in 5.2 activities outside the home per week, with 98% involved in two activities or more. Activities range from 4-H, scouts, dance class to sports, field trips and volunteer work. In these and other activities the children make friends with people of various ages and backgrounds. Often a home school student's very best friends are his family members.
Will I be able to teach without certification?
A number of studies have tried unsuccessfully to find a relationship between teacher certification and student performance. The factor that has most consistently predicted the performance of student achievement has been parental involvement. The greater the parental involvement in a child's education, the greater the child's academic performance will be.
You are the expert on your child. You have taught your child old how to talk, tie his shoes, apologize, eat with knife and fork, say please and thank you, count, forgive, empty the dishwasher and pray, so why stop there? There is a world of resources available to help you teach almost anything. There are so many great resources available, including many excellent Christian-specific resources, that the hardest part may be in choosing which ones to buy!
"By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place." Proverbs 3:19
Can I expect the academic performance of my child to be comparable to the public school system?
It will be better. Home educated children consistently out score their public school counterparts in standardized tests of academic achievement. There is a faction in the home school movement which does not believe in pushing children academically in the early years. In these cases, the children will trail public school children until they are 10 or 11, after which they will accelerate and surpass them in academic performance.
How can I stand to be with my kids all day?
"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Psalm 127:3-5
Are children a nuisance, each one another barrier to your freedom? Or are children a blessing from God? The truth is that children are a blessing from God. This is true not because of your feelings, as feelings are notoriously fickle. Children are a blessing because the One Who created you and them said so.
Home education begins with order and discipline in the home. If your children do not respect or obey you, you need to focus on obedience and character training first. Then proceed to more academic subjects. But even with order in the home, some days are just plain difficult. However, consider the alternative: a godless, humanistic education; the worldly things your children would learn from other children; and the cruelty (name-calling, bullying, etc.) your children would likely experience when away from your family for seven hours of the day. That will remind you that you're doing the right thing. Then take a deep breath, ask for the Lord's help (again!) and continue doing what He's called you to do.
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
On a practical note:
Begin your day with the Lord. If Jesus is your Lord, then He should be first in everything you do. Thank him for the various blessings He's given you--by name. Is your family healthy? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food for today? Ask for wisdom to manage your time well. Pray for each of your children regarding the difficulties each is having. Praise the Lord for this day He's given you to serve Him. It's amazing how much better the day seems to proceed when we begin with even just 15 minutes of communion with the Lord.
A couple of home schooling friends to talk with can help you through the difficult times. A support group is a great place to find those friends.
A scheduled weekly time for you to get out of the house alone can work wonders. Simply going to the library to read is a wonderful and inexpensive way to lower cumulative stress. Or, take a brisk walk along a country road or in a city park.
Remember to prioritize maintenance of your marriage relationship. During regularly scheduled special times with your spouse, do not talk about the children. Focus instead on other interests.
Keep talking to the Lord. Whether you thank Him sweetly for those blessings running around your feet, or you tell Him that you feel your quiver is too full. It's extremely important to keep those lines of communication open. He never promised that child-rearing would be easy, but He did promise that He would never leave nor forsake you and that His grace would be sufficient for you.
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5).
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (I Corinthians 12:9).