Pioneer Files: Notes from a Homeschooling Veteran

Early homeschool advocates Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore once noted that homeschooling is not for the fainthearted. That, my friend, was an understatement.

It is a demanding job that will test a parent’s strength and patience to the very limits. Probably beyond. Any commitment runs on determination and not on feelings. Most married couples lose that initial first electrical attraction as their love moves to a more mature stage. Many times in marriage a couple has to work hard to keep their relationship vital and alive. That same hard work is needed in developing our relationships with our children and in training them for godliness.

Particularly if a child is older and been in a different schooling atmosphere, a parent may have to deal with some serious attitude problems. It will likely also bring to the surface any relationship issues that already exist in the family. An honest parent will admit so some disturbing attitudes of his/her own to battle. Many days, especially at first, a parent may spend most of the time each day working through personality conflicts. This is exactly what we should be doing. Forget the math quiz. In it’s proper role, rote learning is important, but secondary, to character-building.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.

-Proverbs 1:7a

A man who lives without honor will not gain by education. If we have to spend a whole morning working through a bout of sibling rivalry or teaching our children that they can’t manipulate us, the time is well-spent.

It will help if the child learns from the start that the parent won’t allow study time to become a power struggle. The grown-up should be the grown-up in the room. Exert gentle but firm authority. The child has to learn to complete a task, even a distasteful one. This is the only way he will develop respect for others and the patience that the real world is going to demand. We should just make sure that the task isn’t so far beyond his abilities to the point that he becomes frustrated.

If he is still very young and unable to concentrate long enough to complete the work given him, he may not be ready for the intensity of study that the parent is attempting. At this point, a wise parent will back away from pushing him and resort to more informal activities. With practice, it isn’t hard to tell the difference between a child who is a complainer and one who is truly frustrated.

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, caregiver, and veteran homeschooler. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son's fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others. Her third book, Arrow: the History and People of an Idaho Community, Volume One, presents the history of the community of Arrow, Idaho.

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