1.Church history can be a fun way of making a boring history lesson relevant to our church lives.
We can learn about things we see every week in church. It’s good to know where the sacraments of marriage and the Lord’s supper originated. We learn why we have only two sacraments instead of seven. Because we see these sacraments performed so often, knowing their history gives us a deeper and richer understanding of why we do things. This knowledge should only serve to further strengthen our faith.
We discover how we fit into history and into God’s plan. We discover why we do things, and why we don’t do other things. Through church history, we learn why it is we have fought tooth and nail for some things, but have let liberty rule other areas in church life.
2.Church history draws a direct connection between the work of Jesus and the trajectory of history.
In church history, we learn the actions of Jesus has had effects that have continued throughout history. We see how Christianity has grown from a religion of a few obscure people in the first century to the biggest religion on the earth, estimated to include 30% of the world’s population.
3. Knowing church history leads to a better understanding of theology.For example, knowing the five points of Calvinism was originally a rebuttal to the Arminians five articles of belief is useful knowledge because where we stand on these theologies deeply affect our view of God. Knowing Martin Luther’s magnum opus, Bondage of the Will, was a rebuttal to the common heresy of the day, free will (propounded at the time by Desiderius Erasmus) is useful as it, profoundly affects our belief in God’s omnipotence and willingness to ‘interfere’ in our lives.
4. Knowing church history shows us why protestants are protestants and Catholics are Catholics.Why aren’t all Christians just one big happy family? Whether you wish for unity with Catholics or not, church history shows why Christians have so many denominations, starting with the big split with the Catholic church in the 1500s. Church history also shows us how the Anabaptists formed, and when (and why) Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses popped up. Church history reveals the gross corruption of the popes and their persecution of pious Christians who wanted to read the Bible for themselves.
5. Church history isn’t boring.It’s filled with adventure, the likes of Robinson Crueso. There are plenty of fun, weird and wonderful facts about prominent characters in the church. For example:
6.Studying saints’ biographies is fascinating!
This cloud of witnesses should spur us on to live for Christ. Every time I sing Amazing Grace, I think of John Newton’s life. Although he had a hard life, Newton experienced grace repeatedly in his life. So many times, he should have been killed, but for God’s grace. Looking at Adoniram Judson’s life of great faith also makes me reflect on my own life and ask what am I giving up for the sake of the gospel.
7.In today’s age of skepticism, church history is a great tool for teaching our children faith isn’t something that’s just been dropped on us in the last few years.
This has the effect of anchoring kids in truth. Knowing Christianity has its roots in the beginning of creation gives children a stronger faith.
While there's plenty of stuff written on homeschooling, I've really loved these three websites in particular.
1. The Old Schoolhouse has been a favorite of mine as it talks about homeschooling issues in light of Christianity. TOS has a blog called 'Homeschooling with Heart' where Mums can find great information on homeschooling. The reason I especially like the blog is because it has information that can encourage a stressed homeschooling mother. You can also grab yourself a free copy of the magazine online. A couple of articles recently airing on the blog were:Generations with Vision is a great website, but I'm an especially big fan because of its radio program which airs almost everyday. The program is American and deals with stacks of American issues, but it also looks at Christian homeschooling A LOT. Kevin Swanson, the radio program host, is a homeschooling father of five, and has a lot to say about how schools negatively impact children in today's society. Definitely worth a listen!
3. While it may not look like the most attractive website, I like The National Home Education Research Institute as it provides me with up-to-date information about homeschooling statistics. I like to know what works for homeschoolers and what doesn't. I like to know statistics so I can encourage mothers that their children will not be a failure if they homeschool. This website, more than any other, gives parents the confidence that homeschooling is a solid educational choice for their children. It gives them the confidence to know their children will be given as many, if not more, advantages homeschooling as they would have received if they were in school.
"But, how do you learn how to talk to people when you're homeschooled?"
Homeschooling is a great way to learn all the things you might in school, but it is so often seen as a strange way to learn and 'get socialised'. The following video, written by homeschoolers themselves, is a hilarious look at all the different stereotypes people give to homeschoolers.
The video was so popular, the makers decided to follow it up with a second video...
Hopefully you enjoyed these videos. For a look at what homeschooling is really like, head over to this page where you can find some video testimonies from people who were homeschooled themselves!
Four years ago, I sat talking with a friend who was considering the choice between homeschooling and school. My friend was a Christian who had married a Christian homeschooler. In her estimation, her husband was unusually quiet. This, she attributed to homeschooling in part.
Homeschooling, for me, was a great educational choice. My parents had homeschooled me on the assumption that I would grow up to be a base earner as my education would not be good because (they assumed), schools had the best education. But, for my parents, godliness was more important and they could see we were being led astray by our (Christian!) school’s bad influences (mainly by peers). My parents decided to homeschool me and my two brothers.
My brothers and I, far from turning into check-out chicks and ditch-diggers, went on to study Architecture, Law and Medicine. Our social life was also a success with people regularly commenting on how ‘normal’ we were for homeschoolers. Most importantly, my brothers and I are all walking with Christ strongly. While this can only be attributed to the grace of God, I believe God uses our godly choices to carry out his purposes. In our case, He used homeschooling to grow our godly relationship with Him as our parents put in plenty of effort with our Christian education.
Dad and Mum were also content with their decision to homeschool; Mum regularly expressed her relief at how easy homeschooling was compared to school, “I just give them the books and they do the work – so easy!” No rush to get up in the morning and no need to fight the afternoon traffic coming home.
I wanted my friend who was considering homeschooling to know all these things. So I put them down in a document. This document, over four years, has grown and grown and has become a book on Christian homeschooling. I spent 4 years trying to write a book that would encourage friends like mine to homeschool.
You may ask what happened to my friend? Well, after having four children, she has decided to homeschool. I am so thankful she has taken this pathway and pray her efforts will be rewarded.
3 More Reasons Homeschooling Will Help You in Medical School
SEE PART 1: WHY HOMESCHOOLING IS GREAT PREPARATION FOR MEDICAL SCHOOL
What are some great ways you can prepare for medical school? Surprisingly enough, you may find homeschooling is a great way to prepare for medical school. Indeed, it seems many homeschoolers study medicine after homeschooling. Medicine is a tough and often draining career, but there’s many ways you can prepare for your future vocation. Thankfully for homeschoolers, many of the preparation techniques taught in medical schools align with techniques taught in many home schools. In this article, we will be looking at three more reasons homeschooling can help you get into and continue studying medicine.
1. Portfolio opportunities abound in homeschools as homeschoolers have so much spare time. This is useful as many medical schools want applicants with a degree of experience.
Medical schools such as the University of Wollongong (and to some extent Notre Dame University Medical School) require students to obtain a stellar portfolio showing their participation and experience in:
Homeschooling lets students have time to complete these portfolio requirements. Many homeschoolers don’t need to even try to complete these portfolio items as many find they’ve completed it through their upbringing in the homeschool environment anyway. This was certainly the case in my life. I found many of the requirements listed on the portfolio found completion years earlier in my life as a result of my homeschooling activities.
2. Homeschooling teaches students how to interact with and respect people of different ages. This is especially the case for elderly people which is fantastic as the majority of one’s patients will be elderly.
Respecting and understanding elderly patients are great traits for doctor to have. Not only is a good bedside manner essential for patients to relax in, but a relaxed patient means doctors get a better medical history and therefore can diagnose their patients with more accuracy.
Homeschoolers are renowned for their ability to interact with people of all ages well. Because homeschoolers are not only schooled in how to interact with peers their own age, they become equally adept at talking to people of all ages. This is often evidenced when homeschoolers prefer attending a movie with their parents.
School students do not always learn how to do this to the same extent. Many would not want to be seen at a movie with their parents – often for fear of what their peers might say. In this way, homeschooling can be an advantage if you want to be adept at interacting with people of all ages – especially the elderly.
3. Get a head start on your medical education by starting early. You can fast-track your tertiary education by studying relevant subjects at home or by starting a pre-med or medical school degree earlier because you finished your high school units earlier than normal.
The Harding family got most of their homeschooled children into college (tertiary education) before they were age 13. One of the Harding children went to medical school, while another studied architecture. This is a common story among homeschoolers in Australia and beyond. My younger brother skipped his HSC years and studied units which were directly transferable to his degree in Law which he studied the year after. I also started studying my nursing earlier than anyone in my class because I finished my HSC units faster through OTEN (TAFE in NSW in 2005).
In my book, Why on Earth Homeschool: The Case for Australian Christian Homeschooling, I interviewed several homeschoolers who fast-tracked their secondary education and entered university at a much younger age than school students. Usually, this fast-tracking is 1-3 years earlier than what is experienced in school (compared to students sit the HSC during their Year 11-12 years).
Furthermore, some school students are so burned out at the end of their Year 12 studies, many of them choose to take a year off to recover. Some find the HSC scarring, as the tests are incredibly rigorous (even though they are not always indicative of what a student is capable of as students are often not doing things that interest them that much).
Homeschooling is a fantastic way to prepare for medical school. It instils a love of learning in its pupils and aligns closely with the teaching theories preferred by many medical schools. If you choose homeschooling, you won’t be disappointed with its educational outcomes!
READ Part 1: Why Homeschooling is Great Preparation for Medical School
Author: Rebbecca Devitt studied a year of Medical School in Wollongong University’s School of Medicine. Rebbecca also homeschooled in a Christian family for all but the first three years of her primary and secondary education. The above observations are her experience of Medical School after homeschooling. READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
3 Reasons Homeschooling Will Help You in Medical School
What’s the best way to prepare for medical school? Surprisingly enough, you might discover homeschooling is one of the best ways to prepare for your future career in medicine. Indeed, it seems many homeschoolers pick medicine for their career. Medicine is a difficult and tiring career, but there’s many ways you can prepare for your future calling - and many of these preparation techniques align with techniques taught in the homeschooling environment.
1. Many medical schools operate in a teach yourself fashion. This is very similar to how many homeschools operate.
The University of Wollongong and Notre Dame University are two examples of medical schools that operate by teaching their students according to Case Based Learning (CBL). This teaching is done by exposing medical students to real or fictitious patients with symptoms of an unknown disease or condition. Students must then spend the next week(s) trying to figure out what the condition or disease is that best fits the symptoms with the help of their lecturer or tutor.
In the homeschooling environment, homeschoolers are often presented with a problem, object or situation they wish to know more about. Parents and children collaborate as to how to best tackle the unknown question and come together to discuss answers when children are young. As children mature, parents tend to collaborate with their children less. This collaboration is often replaced with collaboration with tutors that parents hire or collaboration with university tutors if children attend university more quickly than normal (which is common).
Medical students typically do around 25 hours face-to-face with their lecturers and tutors, and another 20-30 hours in self-directed learning. Homeschoolers also do a proportion of study in face-to-face learning, and (often) more learning on their own. Homeschooling is a great education that leads into interest-based-learning for future medical students.
2. Homeschooling encourages kids to follow learning paths that interest them. Following interesting learning paths (as opposed to boring paths) engenders a love of ongoing learning. This love of learning is something medical schools and young doctors need as medicine is a career where you commit to learning for life.
Homeschooling encourages interest-based-learning where students choose a subject which interests them and then study that subject thoroughly. Often the subject studied is something they’ve found interesting through the course of their everyday life at home with their parents.
For example, if a homeschooler attends a town fair and sees the fire fighters doing a demonstration, students (after showing interest in the demonstration) might be assigned work on what constitutes a fire and its combustable elements. They might also study a little chemistry as a part of this assignment. This gives more meaning to why they are studying chemistry, as students can see how to apply this knowledge.
In medical school, students are presented with a disease or problem. Having been trained how to research during their homeschooling years, homeschoolers can easily think sideways and come up with a solution to the problem in front of them.
3. Homeschooling is self-paced so students can learn to operate quickly and learn in a way that suits them more.
A common reason parents homeschool is to fast-track their children’s education. Education can be accelerated for students who like to learn at a quicker pace than that offered by the school teacher. Instead of students waiting for their classmates, learning can be augmented by avoiding monotonous filler work designed by teachers to keep faster students occupied while slower students catch up. This precious time is better spent by the majority of students in class if they were to work in a self-paced style. Homeschooling provides the ability to spend more time on work students find more difficult, and less time on work they find easier. This maximizes the amount students can learn, and therefore causes less frustration at the end of the day for children and parents.
In short, homeschooling is a great way to prepare for medical school. It engenders a love of learning in its pupils and aligns closely with the teaching theory favoured by many medical schools. If you choose homeschooling as an education, you won’t be disappointed with its educational outcomes!
CONTINUE READING ‘Part 2: Why Homeschooling is Great Preparation for Medical School’
Author: Rebbecca Devitt studied a year of Medical School in Wollongong University’s School of Medicine. Rebbecca also homeschooled in a Christian family for all but the first three years of her primary and secondary education. The above observations are her experience of Medical School after homeschooling. READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Women, Self-fulfillment and Roles
The homeschooling mother-of-five who prepares home-cooked meals for her family is often seen as a slave to patriarchal society by feminist today. The feminist career woman, with children in daycare (or a husband who stays home with the children) is often seen as the woman who has it all.
Perhaps this is the great lie. Western society says women can be great mothers and great career women. However, what society ends up with is plenty of half-baked mothers and half-baked career women. Feminism teaches women that they can 'juggle it all and have it all' because they are strong and independent. They say motherhood is important, but 'self-fulfillment' is more important.
In my experience, the women chasing 'self-fulfillment' are the least self-fulfilled women I know. Those who chase the fulfillment of others are, in contrast, the most fulfilled women I know. The latter group are often mothers, who put their children first and are content with this role. I believe motherhood is one of a woman's most important roles. If a woman were to accept this role she would not have to run around stressed to the max, trying to prove she can have the best of both worlds (career and family). I don’t mean to say mothers have no importance besides being a caregiver, but if a woman is a mother, motherhood is pretty much her primary role.
The Gospel, Motherhood and Submission
Christian women should embrace motherhood. Like Jesus, we will give up our own desires to fulfill the desires of those around us. Jesus did not see equality with the Father as something to be grasped but made Himself a little lower than the angels.
Unlike Jesus, women today often try to wrest power from their husband’s, by acting like them in many ways. They see equality as something to be grasped. Moreover, feminism pits women against men. It likes to imply that men regard women as less worthy and forces them into the position of the enemy. Helen Reddy’s song, ‘I am Woman’ suggests as much in verse two:
You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul
Women should not have to fight men for equality. Instead, they should realise they are made differently to males and are equal to them. They should also seek to make themselves their husband’s helpers. Women should enjoy being women. If embraced, ‘womanism’ is an excellent and fulfilling role.
So, in short, I don't believe the feminist career woman has it all. From what I've seen, there is more to be said for the stay-at-home mother who works at home quietly, with little glory from her fellow women. This life is an exciting and self-fulfilling role.
How I Realised Career Isn't Everything
‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.’ This has been the blessed story of my life. Ever since I was a teenager, God has used pain to reign in my pride.' (Psalm 119:71)
This has been the blessed story of my life. Ever since I was a teenager, God has used pain to reign in my pride.
I always knew I wanted to be a Christian stay-at-home mother because I loved my homeschooling education. But, career beckoned and I listened to its call for some time before I woke up to myself. When I was 17, God afflicted me with a thorn in my side. I injured myself while doing my hospital nursing traineeship. I took a month off for two bulging disks. My doctor told me it would get better in three weeks. At the time, I was drugged up with painkillers. Nine years later, I’m still on them.
However, the pain did not keep me from my ambition. I was going to conquer the world. After I had finished my nurse training, I went to study a Bachelor of Medical Science. I was a keen student and got good marks. At first I wanted to study physiotherapy or pharmacy. I never dreamed of medicine. That was for smart people. But, as my degree progressed, people began to talk more about postgraduate options. Medicine was the option with the most money and prestige. People who got the marks went on to do medicine. Medicine was a challenge – and I was ambitious.
Throughout this time, I was unsociable. I was a veritable hermit at times. I enjoyed being alone and found other people, especially strangers, irritating. I didn’t feel like spending time getting to know others. After all, I’d grown up in a wonderful Christian family and felt I was equipped far more than the average Christian at University.
However, at the end of my degree – while waiting to find out if I’d succeeded in my bid to enter medicine – I went through an explosive growth in my Christianity. After reading Confessions by Saint Augustine, for the first time in my life, I was convicted of my sin. I remember telling my father how guilty I felt. I figured God should not save me. I was too sinful. My Dad said to me, “You know Beccy, God took our guilt on the cross too, so you shouldn’t feel guilty.”
I began reading my ESV Study Bible like a drug. It was like a drug because I spent every spare moment praying, reading the Bible and listening to sermons. I could talk about nothing else. I began to question my life. Was I living the way God wanted me to live? I read the gospels. I found Jesus socialised extensively. He was rarely alone – except when he was praying. I realised being by myself all the time was not glorifying God. Proverbs 18:1 says ‘Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.’ That was me. I decided I would seek out other people.
Soon I heard back from Wollongong Medical School. After a nerve-racking four-month wait, I learned that I’d been accepted! I was overjoyed and rang my parents, my hands shaking, to tell them the news.
The preparation to move to Wollongong began. After settling into a Christian home with three other girls, my intense study began. During our first lesson, the teacher looked at us and said, “Well done! You are the cream of the crop! Out of 2,000 applicants, only 87 succeeded in getting in. And that’s you.” If the students in that room were not full of pride before the lecture, they were after it. I found most of my colleague’s nice people – but many of them were arrogant and I felt they wouldn’t care much for their patients. However, I couldn’t say I wasn’t one of them. Indeed, I got a tremendous boost from just telling people I was studying medicine.
We usually studied for 70 hour weeks. Every few weeks I would have a day off. Most other days I would start my day with a Pilates session by the beach at 6 am. At 7, I would be showered, dressed and at Uni. I usually studied until 11 pm and then went home. Often I would come home to rest my back for half an hour at lunch time. Medical school was tough going…and competitive! Everyone compared scores like we were in kindergarten again. We soon knew who the smart ones were. I was an average student.
Two months into the course, I began attending my housemates Bible study in an old weatherboard house in East Wollongong. When I walked into the living room for our first study, I noticed a surfie boy. He wore dorky skater shoes and sat on a stool with terrible posture! I was fascinated by him immediately because he was gorgeous! He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed surfie boy. Soon we began to bond over the Bible at Bible Study. Then we started bonding through godly conversations outside Bible study…
But, my plan for life didn’t include a boyfriend because boyfriends, as thoroughly exciting as they were, didn’t help me get where I was going. Or so I foolishly thought. For four months, I deliberated about whether I wanted a boyfriend. I came treacherously close to throwing away one of the biggest blessing God had given me, for my career. I knew boyfriends meant commitment and commitment meant marriage and marriage meant children. But I couldn’t do the nine remaining years of study I’d signed on to do with a husband!
Time was an issue. During the day, I had limited time. I thought I only had enough time to read my Bible quickly and utter a 2-minute prayer (besides the times I was begging God to pass me in a practical). My course demanded so much from me so that I had little time to invest in others around me. This included Tristan and this included God. I put myself before both, because ‘I had to.’
Eventually though, I decided to make a commitment to my boyfriend and at this point that I began loving him. He had always loved me and decided on our first date he wanted to marry me. And he kept praying for it.
As my commitment to Tristan and a future family became stronger, my commitment to my course became weaker. I soon went from a 70-hours week to a 60-hour week. Rather than spending my weekends trawling through textbooks, I started spending more hours with Tristan. After good advice from my parents, I decided Tristan should be first in my life and my studies would just have to be second. But how could I fit everything in? What if I had a family…where were they going to fit into my plan?
About 9 months into the course, my back became almost unbearably sore. My whole frame began hurting. Although I’d always had a backache sitting in chairs, the stress of doing so continually made the pain even worse. I started taking more painkillers. Soon I was unable to sit in a chair for more than five minutes.
This was a problem, because, although I could skip lectures and listen to the audio at home, we had to sit in practicals and tutorials. Soon I had to stand up in everything. My final tutorial was the last straw. After spending a week in tears because of the pain and worry, I remember looking at the board as my peers scribbled something about how the renal system interacted with the endocrine system. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m so behind…and I’m not going to catch up.”
I’d had enough, so I spoke to the people in charge and they were incredibly sympathetic. They said to take a few months off and find out what was wrong. After that, I could come back and repeat the year. At the time, this sounded good. Tristan was incredibly understanding and helped me with perspective around everything.
During this time, I spoke with my auntie and mother, who were both homeschool mothers. I knew I couldn’t have everything. I couldn’t be a full-time stay-at-home Mum and still be a doctor. So I asked my Mum, saying, “Did you like being a stay-at-home Mum?” My mother (who wanted me to continue my Medical degree at the time), said with a sigh, “I didn’t want to tell you this, but I think you’ll have far more fun being a stay-at-home Mum.” That was it. I was going to quit.
But it was easier said than done. After years of idolising the life of a career woman, I had to let go of the respect and admiration I was receiving. Now I had to live the life of a ‘dropout’ and a ‘failure’ – at least that’s how I saw it.
Even so, my health didn’t recover and my pain increased. Soon I was experiencing 8 out of 10 pain every day. The one saving grace was Tristan. Through the ups and downs, Tristan was there. I felt God had placed him in my life to be the help I desperately needed – though I didn’t always appreciate or realise it. I was an independent woman after all.
Soon, I was largely drugged out on painkillers again and had to live life day-by-day. I could do very little and had to have others constantly help me. Night times were stressful, as I often lay awake with the pain. Daytimes were spent in bed, as chairs were still unbearably painful to sit in for more than a few minutes. Walking was incredibly stressful and the muscles in my legs began to weaken dramatically. My ambition had been reduced from a doctor-to-be full of hubris to a failed and humbled woman with disabilities. ‘Success’ looked far away.
But, God was changing me. He began changing my ideas about what success looked like. Success was a good relationship with God and my family. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matt 16:26)
Thereafter, I began to re-evaluate my life. I started realising I was chasing the wrong thing. The pull of the world had been stronger than the pull of God’s Word.
Soon, Tristan and I married. We had a lovely ceremony, which my mother and mother-in-law mostly organised (I was too sick to care much). God and Tristan have been my constant help these last few years and I’ve had the opportunity to think about what success looks like. The struggle for recognition has been hard to overcome. The world says success is fame and fortune. God says it’s a meek spirit. These are opposites. For a woman, I’m convinced there is no higher honour than that of being a mother.
As for me, I’ve now almost fully recovered. It’s been five years since the pain began (then diagnosed as Fibromyalgia then Central Sensitisation). But I’m happier than I’ve ever been. God has given me contentment, despite my pain. He has given me an excellent relationship with my husband. My relationship with God is also going along in leaps and bounds, as God speaks – nay, shouts to me through my pain. Pain has been a gift. I can honestly say, ‘It’s good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.’ (Psalm 119:71
Today I visited the Illawarra homeschoolers in a local park in Corrimal after I was invited to the gathering by one of the ladies running the Illawarra homeschoolers Facebook page.
I walked into the gate and scanned the area. Soon I saw about five or six ladies, mostly in their late twenties and early thirties, gathered around a table with lots of junk food everyone shared with the group. This food was periodically being eaten by their offspring who ran up to the table between bouts of climbed through the brightly coloured train and other play equipment.
The ladies were thoroughly welcoming and lovely - especially as this was a group I'd never attendedf. I asked them all why they chose to homeschool. They said their reasons included the following:
- I got bullied at school myself
- I wasn't ready for him to go to school
- homeschooling reflects real life more closely
- I don't think school should start as early as it does...and I'm a teacher!
- you can work towards your future more effectively and start a career or tertiary education sooner as a homeschooler.
In addition, they said:
- I know what school is like because I'm a teacher
- I was confident to homeschool because I have relatives who homeschooled
The topic of socialisation came up (as it frequently does!). Parents seemed frustrated that homeschoolers were often labelled as socially awkward, yet the same label was not routinely applied to an awkward public school child. Many of these parents insisted this was grossly unfair.
After I revealed that I, myself, was homeschooled, the mothers said the proof was in the pudding because I was homeschooled, yet I had introduced myself and was socialising with them! They also said it was nice to meet a graduate homeschooler as many didn't know any adult homeschoolers.
Although we were interrupted frequently (especially by a cute five-year-old who thought I owned the chocolate), we all managed to have an informative and interesting conversion. I am very keen to go back and get to know these lovely women better.
If you're thinking about coming to these meetings, all I can say is I thoroughly recommend them. Come and meet the lovely homeschooling families of the Illawarrra!
What We Do When There is a Lack of Government Support and Guidance for Homeschooling Parents
Sometimes it might be easy to think homeschooling will be too difficult without the help of the government or a large organized institution. After all, don’t most children need a teacher, coach, principal, secretary and government to organise bureaucracy, as well as a school psychologist, nurse, gardener, maintenance man and so on?
Not necessarily. Many homeschooling parents fulfill these roles themselves. But, if education is so easy that just one parent can do it, why haven’t more people cottoned on? In reality, homeschooling is this easy. It’s just that most people propagate the false view that these trained educators (most of whom have 3-year degrees) are indispensable. Indeed, when everyone is telling you that you’ll fail, homeschooling well seems so much more difficult as parents must swim against the current telling them they can't do it. It certainly does take a brave parent to defy the majority (including the government itself at times) and forego government support.
Even though the government is not outwardly antagonistic to homeschoolers, they often over-regulate, and deny some concessions to homeschool families (only now is the NSW government giving homeschoolers travel concession cards).
For governments, the cost of homeschooling is quite small, as the parents invest so much time and money in their children, the government needs to pay very little. Indeed, to send one’s child to public school costs the government far more! Consequently, many homeschooling parents feel the government should support homeschooling financially. However, where there is government funding, there is almost always government regulation.
In America, homeschooling a special needs child is subsidized by some states - although, in this situation, government control is not immediately apparent, as soon as parents disagree with a ‘recommendation’, government’s will suggest a different ‘education approach’.
Did you ever feel there was a problem as you lacked homeschooling resources which most schools have?
Finding resources WITHOUT government support
With the internet’s rise, the wealth of educational resources available is mind boggling. No longer is finding homeschool material a problem. Rather, choosing between the stacks of resources poses the bigger challenge. If one book doesn’t work, another will do the trick. Australia offers the Home Education Association Magazine which will answer many questions parents have regarding homeschooling in Australia.
Many Australian organisations run conferences where whole homeschool families can attend and take part at relatively low prices. Many of these events (called inclusive events) mix Christian and secular homeschoolers. They offer great opportunities for parents to find answers to questions such as, “How do I teach mathematics” or “How do I start thinking about getting my child into university or TAFE.”
Parents can have their questions answered in a personal environment which considers personal circumstances without government input. This can be the upside of not having the support of big bureaucracy.