Turning Hearts: What Home Schooling Means to Me!

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Why did we choose to home school our children?

Over the years, as I have been asked this question, I’ve usually spouted off reasons such as: “We want the freedom to select teaching materials that reinforce our religious beliefs and moral standards. We want to provide the academic superiority of a one-on-one teaching situation. We want the ability to monitor our children’s socialization experiences. We want to tailor the course of study to the individual. We want the flexibility to create more family time.”

These are the reasons I clung to as I tried to convince our family, friends and even curious strangers that we were not really crazy for keeping our children out of that traditional and highly revered American institution—the public school.

I, oh so seriously, would list these reasons and add a few statistics and stories about the success of home schooling so that my decision sounded very rational and well-informed.

But, when I’m perfectly honest with myself, those are just secondary reasons why I chose to teach our children at home. The real reasons are matters of the heart.

Home schooling was and still is attractive to me in part because of the images it evokes: children snuggling on the couch as I teach them to read; little boys’ faces alight with excitement as they assemble model rockets; my son absorbed in a book while lying on the back of his pony; cross-country trips in the station wagon learning about the Oregon Trail; acting out the battle of Yorktown with boys who have muskets slung over their shoulders; twilight adventures collecting lightning bugs; the pride in a child’s voice as he says, “Look how well I wrote these letters!”

To me, home schooling speaks of close family relationships, highly valued home and family life; happy children who love learning; meaningful traditions; simplicity; nurturing, mentoring relationships; restoration of excellence; freedom to pursue individual interests; entrepreneurship; recapturing meaning and purpose to life; and discovering one’s destiny.

After over twenty years, our home schooling journey is completed, because our youngest child is now 20 years old. During the past twenty or so years we have seen a profound shift in home schooling as well as in our culture at large.

We grew up in an era when there were very few latch-key kids, where neighborhoods were fairly safe because you knew all your neighbors and they shared many of your same values, and where families were far less stressed and far more stable. In other words, we grew up in homes where there were parents present most of the time we were home.

But we are seeing a whole new generation of parents embarking on the home schooling adventure who don’t come from that base of home and family.

Many of you come from homes that were filled with tension or with various forms of dysfunction. Your image of a father may be a busy, negative, pressuring, authority figure, and your image of a mother may be a distant, distracted, but somewhat nurturing career woman. Or perhaps you don’t have any strong images of a particular parental role because you come from a broken home.

The other difference between your upbringing and ours is that your lives were lived primarily in a series of institutions: daycare, school, after-school care, church, recreation centers. As a result, you may be not only disconnected from a sense of real family, but are also disconnected from a sense of meaning and purpose in this life.

A large reason home schooling is so attractive to your generation is that it carries with it the promise of providing the family-oriented feelings, experiences, and identity shaping you missed as children.

But what we all have in common is the desire to make right some wrong in the upbringing of children—not just for ourselves, but so that our children can have the type of home life we believe is possible, but may never have experienced.

We all long to restore something that has been lost. In this case what has been lost is the heart of the parents for their children and the heart of the children for their parents. We home school because we want to reconnect to multigenerational values, to relationships, and to a sense of destiny.

So, in the end, no matter what the generation, teaching our children at home has little to do with academics or with shielding them from secular influences. It has a great deal to do with our desire to turn both our own hearts and theirs. And we turn hearts not by the pushing, demanding, shaming, or competition of an institutional setting, but through the drawing out of true identity in an intimate, open, trusting, emotionally safe, relational environment that we try to create in our own homes.

ELLYN DAVIS is a mother of four and has been homeschooling for over 20 years. She is the author of the modern classics, Going Home to School and I Saw the Angel in the Marble.

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II home schooled my three boys for their whole schooling experience, so I know what home schooling means to me.

But I wasn't sure what home schooling means to all the other parents who are educating their children at home.

Then I remembered a great book I read recently called, The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki.

He makes a strong case that when you ask a crowd of people to answer a specific question... the answer they come up with is often better than what even the smartest person in the group could come up with on their own. Call it the collective wisdom of people.

And that's when I got a crazy idea. What if I surveyed as many home schoolers as I could to find out what home schooling means to them?

I'd really like you to be a part of this survey, so please go RIGHT NOW and tell me what home schooling means to you!


Home Schooling Resources

I Saw the Angel in the Marble
.This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Find our more about it HERE>>

Turning Hearts: The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis. This set of 8 CDs contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

Angel in the Marble/ Turning Hearts Set.
Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Turning Hearts CDs HERE>>

If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time. People who attended told us that it changed their lives--not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income. This set is huge (14 CDs) and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business. Find out more about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Building the Business of Your Dreams (8 CD set). Here is just the business portion of the From Home School to Home Business Seminar. Find out about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

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