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The Home School Life

By Andrea G. Schwartz
November 19, 2006

Much has been written about the spiritual and academic benefits of homeschooling. However, one of the most significant assets of a homeschooling situation is the benefit to family life. Children often find that their best friends end up being brothers or sisters, and there is much less of a peer-group emphasis, as children of differing ages make friends with each other readily. Moreover, family outings and vacations can take place according to the family's schedule, rather than only certain periods of time during a 10-month school year.

Awhile back, I wrote a parody of the song from the musical Annie. Instead of "It's the Hard Knock Life," I changed the words to "It's the Home School Life." Here is my humble rendition:

It's the home school life for us!
It's the home school life for us!
In the kitchen we learn math
While the baby gets a bath.
It's the home school life.

Siblings we always see;
They are classmates perpetually.
Who knows what grade we're in?
We're always with the next of kin.
It's the home school life.

Our moms are more than just our teachers;
They pile us into vans and SUVs.
In between the grammar, math and science,
They take us to all activities

No one cares that you finished all your school work;
There is always more for you to do.
No relief from a parent-teacher conference,
Because the people who show up are you know who!

Oh, socialized we may not be.
Socialized -- what's that, MTV?
Dad and Mom, it's thanks to you;
We appreciate all you do.


It's the home school life (Yes it is)
It's the home school life (Yes it is)
It's the home school life!

All humor aside, there is an additional benefit to the homeschool life apart from academic and social aspects, and it becomes evident when there is prolonged sickness or medical emergency in the family. For in these times of stress and struggle, the family functions more as God intended; rather than fragmented and going their separate ways, families are readily available to support and bolster each other.

I know of numerous homeschooling families in my geographical area alone that have had to face such medical situations. In one case, the mother of the family, after weeks of thinking she was experiencing asthma, heard the diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma. The family of six children, the youngest 18 months old at the time, was able to come together and act as a unit as the chemotherapy and radiation became a part of their lives for the 10 week period of treatment. Did all academic subjects get covered everyday? Of course not. But, now, six years later, the mom (and cancer survivor) calls the entire episode one of the great blessings in her family's life. Her children's relationship with each other and their responsibility level in the home increased greatly, as they all relied on the Lord's provision together. Academic work that was missed was made up, and if someone didn't point out this part of their history to you, you would think them an average, everyday family.

Another family is currently dealing with a father who is rapidly deteriorating from ALS -- Lou Gerhig's Disease. With the help of their church and greater homeschool community, the family has been graced to continue homeschooling, thereby giving the daughters greater time with their dad to encourage him and to be around to help their mom. But, you may ask, aren't their academics suffering? I submit that what they are learning in a "real life" setting about illness, medical care, compassion, and God's provision, along with the studies that they are able to keep up with, will serve them profitably in the days and years ahead. They are definitely not missing out, when you consider that their appreciation for even the small blessings in life are marks of their greater maturity. Plus, they are seeing first hand the committed bond of love between their parents --even in the face of such a brutal disease.

Yes, the home school life is a working model of the biblical family. It allows families to live, learn, and work together in a full-orbed, non-compartmentalized existence. Isn't it just like our God to reward biblical responsibility in such a beautiful way!


Topics: Education, Family & Marriage

Andrea G. Schwartz

Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven FamilyThe Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your HouseholdEmpowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom ServiceWoman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected]

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