Monday, January 4, 2016

Some Is Better Than None

Ahh...a new year is beginning! Maybe you haven’t written your New Year’s Resolutions down, but there are probably a few goals swirling around in your mind. 

This year you’re going to exercise five times a week and lose 20 pounds. 
This year your family is going to eat much healthier. 
This year you’re going to keep your house much cleaner. 
This year you’re going to be a lot more organized. 
This year you’re really going to get a handle on the kids’ schoolwork and not get behind on any of it. 

If you’re like rest of us, this will all work beautifully through mid-January, at which point you will systematically begin falling off the wagon. However, when that happens the key is to remember this principle: Some is better than none. 

Let’s go over that again, shall we? Some is better than none

So you only managed to exercise once during a week. Some is better than none
So the only thing you got around to organizing by mid-April is your sock drawer. Some is better than none
So the kids’ schoolroom only gets tidied sporadically instead of daily, like you’d prefer. Some is better than none.

Keeping this concept in mind does several things. First, it lowers your stress and guilt level. If you’re like me, you continually fall short of your to-do list. If you’re like me, that stresses you and you feel guilty for every misspent moment of the day. I sat down with a cup of tea and chatted idly with a friend on Facebook for ten minutes—shame on me! I should have been organizing that stack of stuff on my desk! However, remembering that some is better than none lessens the pressure. The list might not get all done but we are not total failures if a couple of items are left over. We don’t have to run around in a guilt-laden panic all the time. Reality is reality and we seldom measure up to our own goals. Guess what? That’s life. So remember, some is better than none.

Second, acting on the idea that some is better than none actually enhances motivation instead of dampening it. Have you ever fallen short of your goal and become so discouraged that you didn’t even bother trying anymore? You couldn’t keep up that exercise routine so you stopped altogether. You didn’t have time for all the home-cooked nutritious meals you planned, so you went right back to the old habit of using pre-packaged foods from the freezer. You didn’t stay on top of the Bible memorization routine you were trying to do with your children, so you stopped altogether. I, at least, have been there and done that. We become discouraged because we set the standard to be “Absolute Perfection” and therefore even the smallest failure is a complete one.

However, if you believe that some is better than none, you keep trying. Sure, you’re not living up to the standard you’d prefer, but you don’t let that stop you. You know that even what you consider to be mediocre efforts bring benefits. One healthy meal a day is still healthier than a meal of junk food. Reading just one chapter a week with your kids from that biography you wanted to read together is still more informative and challenging than not doing it at all. Cleaning the school area every three weeks instead of daily still keeps the room cleaner more often than not doing it at all. It’s encouraging! Even if you’re not making the level of progress you want, you are still making progress! Looking at matters this way keeps you focused on the positive good you are doing, not on what you’re not getting done.

Of course, one might argue that the philosophy of some being better than none leads to all sorts of compromise. It could, if misapplied. There are some areas where anything short of excellence is sin. We wouldn’t want to say that some is better than none if we were discussing character issues like honesty or purity. For instance, Jesus never told us that hey, some truthfulness is better than none, or that some marital fidelity is better than none. There is a non-negotiable standard of excellence for certain things and to fall short is to break God’s law. However, if we step out of the realm of morality and into the world of sock drawers, exercise regimens, or math assignments, the standards are more flexible. Your inheritance in heaven is thankfully not determined by the state of your sock drawer. It’s okay to relax.

So as the new year begins, just smile and do whatever you can. It may not be all you would like to do, but it is accomplishing more and bringing more benefit than doing nothing. Aim high, but accept the fact that some days you’ll hit low. So be it. Even a low hit is better than no hit. Smile and try again tomorrow.

Written by Raquelle Sheen 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

None of Their Business

With the advent of social media, we are all encouraged to share every moment of our lives online with our friends. What we’re doing, what we’re feeling, what we’re eating, where we are, who we’re with, what we think about certain issues - this is the standard content of posts on social media. Sometimes, however, in the enjoyment of communicating our daily lives, we forget that occasionally people we don’t know very well are reading what we post. Depending on where we post (say, in a homeschool Facebook group), we may even be sharing with strangers.

As a friendly reminder, it is unsafe to assume that distant acquaintances and strangers online are automatically friendly to our ideas and lifestyle. For the safety of your children, it is important to remember that matters pertaining to your child’s health, lifestyle and upbringing should be generally kept private online. There are many well-meaning people who will not hesitate to meddle and cause trouble for you if they believe you are making the wrong decision in one of these areas.

Following are some specific areas to be cautious about sharing with people we don’t know very well online.

Medical Opinions

There is a divide right now between people who favor traditional medicine and those who prefer a more natural approach. For example, vaccinations are currently a heated topic. Some people consider vaccinating to be extremely unsafe; others consider not vaccinating to be extremely unsafe. While it’s fine for you to express your opinion online, it is not the business of friends, acquaintances, or strangers on social media what you personally have chosen to do with your own children. Your child’s medical history should be private. If you really want to weigh in on the conversation, link to articles and sources that prove your point, instead of announcing which vaccines your child has or has not received. The same holds true when discussing other controversial medical topics.

Medical Problems
Along these lines, your child’s medical problems and course of treatment are also not matters for public discussion. Can you post a photo of your son or daughter with their ankle in a cast after a painful collision on the soccer field? Sure. But the details of the treatment and healing process are not the concern of others. Additionally, be careful of posting a photo of your child’s medical condition (a burn, an infection, etc.) and asking for medical advice from people online. If you fail to follow someone’s advice (however erroneous) and they believe you are not taking the problem seriously enough, they may consider reporting you to authorities. Ask questions privately of trusted friends instead of posting photos publicly for everyone to see.

Lifestyle Choices
One woman I know of likes to post a photo nearly every day of her little children eating lunch. She details the menu, which is inevitably unhealthy and unbalanced, and shares the photo and the meal description in a Facebook group that has over 10,000 members. While everyone likes to share their occasional “Pinterest Success” meal photos on Facebook, your child’s day-to-day menu is simply not the business of strangers online. If a disgruntled group member became offended with this woman and decided to make trouble, they could spread nasty rumors that she is a bad parent who feeds her children poorly and possibly even turn her in to social services. Your lifestyle is your own business. Your housekeeping practices, daily schedule, daily menu, and other areas pertaining to everyday living are not the concern of the public, so don’t share them online.

Parenting Practices
In an effort to offer advice, parents will sometimes post about how they handle their child’s shortcomings. This is not necessarily bad, but keep the details vague. Your child does not need to have all of his deficiencies aired publicly and permanently to the online world. Nor do you need to announce the details of your parenting practices to a critical public. What goes on in your house is between you and your family only. It is one thing to say that when your child was routinely procrastinating on his chores, you curtailed some privileges. It is another to recount the situation in explicit detail and open you or your child up to criticism from people who are not involved in the situation. If you really think the person you’re advising would benefit from hearing more detail, send them a private message instead of posting publicly.

On the flip side, if you are the person asking for advice, ask judiciously. If you need to ask how others dealt with the habit of procrastination in their kids, that’s fine. But you don’t need to give several paragraphs of examples of your own child’s bad behavior. Among other things, keep in mind the possibility that your children may see these posts someday and fiercely resent you airing their personal delinquencies to the public.

Sharing our lives online is fun, but it is important to be cautious when it concerns your children. When in doubt, don’t post it. Your family’s business is your family’s business, not the business of friends, acquaintances or random strangers online!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

You Give Them Something

“Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’” (Matthew 14:16)

“Jim is so talented in music, we just had to send him to school to let him get professional teachers and orchestra experience.”

“Ann needs more help in chemistry and physics than we can give her. So she’s finishing high school in the public school.”

“Linda really needs a better social experience – she’s an only child, you know. So we’re sending her to a good Christian school this year.”

“We can’t afford to homeschool any more – we both have to work.”

Perhaps you have heard, or made, these remarks. In a time when homeschooling is legal and easy to do (unlike a couple decades ago), many homeschoolers consider it merely one option among several. And if there seems to be a limit to what parents can do in their homeschool, they immediately look for another option.

But if we Christians really believe that God has told us to teach our children day in and day out (Deuteronomy 6), then we can believe that God will make us able to do so.

I was recently reading the passage in Scripture where Jesus fed the five thousand men and their families. I noticed an interesting fact. Jesus told the disciples to feed the people. He knew that they couldn’t – not with what they had. But he told them to anyway.

The disciples immediately brought up their obvious inadequacy to do so. “‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered.” (Matthew 14:17) Whereupon Jesus performed the miracle of dividing the loaves and fishes, then gave them to the disciples to feed to the people.

Don’t we often act like the disciples? In homeschooling and in other tasks God has given us to do, we receive the Lord’s commands and then immediately point out why we are unable to obey them. Seriously?!  We are serving a God Who thinks nothing of dividing five loaves of bread and two fish to feed thousands of people! God divided the Red Sea so His people could cross. God made the earth stand still while His people defeated the enemy. Why do we doubt that He can and will help us obey His commands about raising our children?

Sometimes the obstacles God gives us are simply there to test our faith. As soon as we begin to pray and trust God to help us, He removes the obstacles or helps us find a way around them.

Sometimes the “obstacles” are really of our own making. Who said children need “socialization” with other children in order to be well-adjusted people? That’s not in the Bible, nor does everyday experience support that idea. Who said an institution is the only place to get a professional tutor? There are many people available who will tutor your child in almost any subject imaginable in your own home, and the internet is loaded with helpful free videos. Why do you need two incomes? Perhaps there are a lot of non-essential items that can be cut from the budget – or perhaps Dad can take a second job on the side instead of putting Mom to work. Often the solution to our “obstacles” is to simply evaluate whether they are really obstacles or only our own paradigms of reality.

We serve a mighty God who controls the winds and waves, not to mention homeschools. God in His wisdom has chosen to use us to implement His plans. Often He does not take the loaves and fishes and say, “Let me take care of this.” Instead, He says, “You give them something to eat.” And then He multiplies them for us!

Written by Heather Sheen

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Help Flooded Homeschoolers in South Carolina – Here’s How

We are all aware of the devastation caused by the recent flooding in South Carolina.  Homes and communities throughout the state were damaged, in particular those in the midlands and low country.  Many homes were destroyed and even lives lost during the recent events.  Many prayers are being lifted on behalf of all of the families affected.

Homeschooling families who have been displaced by the flooding face an added challenge.  In addition to their homes, their educational teaching materials like books, computers, and educational toys are damaged or destroyed. The school year is definitely disrupted.

Several organizations are stepping forward to help homeschoolers in South Carolina.  The South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) and the Home School Foundation (HSF) have set up funds and collection points for materials to help South Carolina homeschoolers.

SCAIHS, founded in 1990, is the oldest and one of the largest home school organization in South Carolina.  Based in the Columbia area, it serves members throughout the state.  SCAIHS provides curriculum and education counselling along with providing the accountability record keeping that is mandated by the state.  SCAIHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

HSF is the charitable arm of the Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA), which is a national organization providing legal assistance, pro-homeschool lobbying, and homeschooling services to homeschoolers throughout the country.  The HSF is also a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Although the flood relief program is being administered by SCAIHS, a homeschool family does not need to be a SCAIHS member to receive help.  This flood relief program is to help all homeschoolers throughout the state of South Carolina.  If you know of any homeschoolers who have been impacted by the flooding, please have them contact SCAIHS via email or phone.

SCAIHS office phone number is 803-454-0427.  The office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:30 to 5:00.  If calling after hours, just leave a message and contact information.

Donations can be sent to SCAIHS or HSF.  Cash donations can be made at the website of either organization. 

If donating on the SCAIHS page, select the box saying you would like to designate a donation and then select SC Homeschool Flood Relief Fund.

If donating to HSF, select the “Donate” button and then select the “Compassion/Emergency Response Fund.”

If you would like to donate materials for homeschoolers who have affected by the flooding, there is one collection location in the upstate.  The First Baptist Church in Taylors, 200 W Main St, Taylors, SC, will serve as a collection point on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 to 3:00 when the Upstate Homeschool Co-op is meeting there.

Donations can also be sent to the SCAIHS office:
930 Knox Abbott Drive
Cayce, SC  29033
As more information becomes available on the flood relief effort, it will be posted on the SCAIHS Facebook page.

Please pray for everyone affected by the flooding.  And if you are able, please help assist the homeschoolers in South Carolina whose home education has been disrupted.

Who Do They Hang Out With?

“Bad company corrupts good character.” (I Corinthians 15:33)

“I don’t want to clean my room! Get out and leave me alone!” The bratty 12-year-old girl slams the door of her room after yelling this remark to her mother.

“Give me a kiss, darling,” the woman whispers. “Your wife isn’t here and she’ll never know.”

“Fine,” hollers a frustrated father to his wife before stomping out of the room. “Do whatever you want. They’re your kids!”

Do these examples sound like the kind of people you want your children to hang out with? The kind you want your children to emulate? To admire? Of course not! But wait a minute, you might say. You don’t think we let our children go around with people like that?

Well, my friends, let me ask the forty dollar question: Do they watch movies?

The three examples listed above are regular fair in movies - even "family friendly" ones. Our family has only ever watched “good, clean” movies. But I can still say that I have never, ever seen a movie that didn’t have at least one, if not several objectionable characters in it. “Objectionable” means someone who habitually disobeys the Bible’s instruction. There were always at least one or two people that were rude or immoral or disrespectful or unkind or …. You fill in the blank. These characters’ actions were not portrayed graphically or overtly, but it was still clear that they were ungodly.

Okay, someone will admit, that’s true. But that’s real life. As long as the movie portrays those people as bad, what’s the harm of my child watching it? After all, we do want to teach our children about good and evil.

Children Aren't Equipped to Discern
Teaching your kids that evil people exist is a good thing. After all, if people were not basically ungodly, there would have been no need to for Christ to die on the cross for us.

However, the harm comes from the fact that, as the Bible says in James, children think like children. They do not have good judgment. When you are reading or telling a story, you can make it clear verbally that the “bad guy (or gal)” is bad. But in a movie, the viewer is usually expected to make that judgment call himself. And children, even teens, are not fully equipped to discern ungodliness, especially if it is subtle. In fact, kids often end up admiring a bad guy because he is good looking, dashing, courageous or cool.

Children have a fleshly nature just like adults and therefore they tend to gravitate toward the ungodly – just like adults do. I remember a friend being chagrined when her darling little 5-year-old ignored all the good songs in Veggie Tales and instead started singing in the grocery store the “Bunny Song” which states things like, “I don’t love my mommy, I don’t love my daddy, I just want a plate and a fork and a bunny…!” (Veggie Tales has since revised the song.)

Even if your kiddos have the discipline to resist emulating an ungodly movie character, they are still filling their minds with the rude remarks, bad language, or mocking gestures of the actors. These behaviors are often then exhibited when the child becomes angry or otherwise lets down his guard. At the least, they can disturb his thoughts and color his attitudes.

Our family can almost always tell the difference between kids who watch movies and kids who don’t. The kids who watch tend to have a sassy, smart-aleck attitude toward adults and expect to be entertained all the time rather than use their own creativity to entertain themselves. The children who don’t watch movies instead exhibit more of the behavior their parents require – politeness, good attitudes, and creativity. Perhaps you have seen the same contrast yourself.

No More Bad Company
So what is the answer? Can a family really completely avoid movies in today’s culture? How can you keep the kids quiet? Why should they miss out on a fun experience that everyone else in America gets to enjoy?

The answer to the first question is, yes. You can completely avoid movies. Our family never watched movies until Raquelle and I were in our mid-late teens. Even now we only watch movies 3-4 times a year. (Yes, I said 3 or 4, not 34!) Simply unplug your TV and DVD player, put them away in a back closet or the basement and don’t get them out.

Your family may go through symptoms of “withdrawal,” but here’s an important thing I’ve learned from my mom: If you take something bad away, replace it with something good. Get your children good books. Get them toys and games that force them to use their own creativity – Legos, dolls, sewing materials, building blocks, Fischer Technik, Lincoln Logs, Scrabble, Pictionary, etc. And give the kids household chores that help them realize they are a working part of the family, not simply a prince or princess on a visit to be entertained!

As for the third question, why should your kids miss a fun experience, let’s remember our priorities. Obeying the Bible’s instructions to avoid ungodly companions (on the screen or in person) is more important than “fun.” In fact, the Bible never, ever mentions fun as an objective. When we obey God’s commands with a good attitude, He gives us joy and peace. And sometimes we have fun doing so. But “fun” is not an entitlement for a Christian or anyone else.

So maybe it’s time for a quick check on your family. Who are your kids hanging out with? Godly companions at home, at church and in good books, or worldly companions on the screen?

Written by Heather Sheen

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Breeding the Entitlement Mentality at Home?

A common complaint that conservatives have about my generation and younger is that we have the "Entitlement Mentality." We vote for candidates who promise us “free” stuff (funded by the taxpayers, of course).  We get angry if a boss criticizes us (or even fires us!) for sloppy work. We appear to feel that society owes us whatever we want. 

The parents of this "entitlement" generation are blinking in astonishment. After all, we "entitled" 20- and 30-somethings were raised by parents who still had a sense of personal responsibility. Our parents worked for their living, saved money, and went without if they couldn’t afford something. They didn’t dream of demanding that the government fund the solutions to their problems. So what went wrong? Somewhere between my parents’ generation and my generation, there was a disconnect.

The Disconnect
Unfortunately, I see that disconnect continuing to happening not only in secular culture but also in conservative Christian families. We say that God requires personal responsibility for our actions, but we teach our kids a very different story. In a multitude of daily decisions, we too are raising our kids with the Entitlement Mentality. I see four areas in particular where this Entitlement Mentality is being inculcated.

You deserve to have fun – There's no problem with parents wanting their kids’ childhood to be pleasant. Kids have a large capacity for fun and enjoyment that will naturally diminish as they grow up and face the trials of adult life. But many parents seem to believe that their children deserve to have fun all the time. I see many foolish decisions made by moms and dads because they don’t want to curtail Johnny or Susie’s fun.

Chores, disappointments, working for what you want – these are all things that children will face in adulthood. Therefore they need training early in life to help teach perseverance and responsibility. None of that is much fun. But one way to avoid breeding the Entitlement Mentality is to teach your children that life is not merely about having fun. It’s not even about “following your dreams” (where is that in the Bible?).  It’s about joyfully working for God’s glory on the mundane tasks He gives you each day.

If we don’t teach this, it’s easy for those fun-expecting children to grow up into adults who see nothing wrong with wasting their lives in idleness, blowing their money unwisely, engaging in sexual promiscuity, or worse things, in the name of “fun.”

You deserve to have everything paid for – I am often amazed at the expensive and unnecessary items that parents will buy for their children – even older children. Yes, it is a parent’s delight and privilege to buy wonderful gifts as well as daily necessities for his child. But when it comes to also funding your child’s car, college education, trip overseas, high-tech phone, expensive gaming system, and a closet-full of name-brand clothing, I can’t help thinking how much more they would appreciate those things if they were required to work for them themselves. 

You may point out that the cost of these items – especially vehicles and college education – is prohibitively expensive these days. To which I would point out that nowhere are we entitled to a top-of-the-line car or a name-brand education. There are creative ways to take care of big-ticket items in your life without paying top dollar and expecting Mom and Dad to fund most (or all) of it.

If kids are not taught to contribute to their own needs, it is too easy to grow up into adults with the Entitlement Mentality who expect society to pick up the tab for their own fiscal irresponsibility – just like their parents did when they were children.

You deserve to have your parents pick up the pieces – It is often frustrating to watch a young person take on a project and, instead of having the chance to learn from their own mistakes, his parents jump in and smooth over all the difficulties on his behalf. Your child decides to raise money for a cause, but you wind up doing most of the grunt work in collecting donations. Your child decides to start a small business, but you are the one who constantly nags him about deadlines and fulfilling orders. Your child is assigned a project by you, a tutor, or a boss, and you are the one who sits up late the night before getting it done. 

All of us need a helping hand occasionally, but a parent who never gives his child a chance to fail is breeding the Entitlement Mentality. These children grow up into adults with an Entitlement Mentality who think that government bailouts and subsidies are the norm, and free healthcare, unemployment compensation or job creation is simply owed them by society.

You deserve to be forgiven – No matter how stupid, obnoxious, or downright sinful a person is these days, the cultural mantra is “tolerance.” The Christian version of “tolerance” is “forgiveness.” We tell kids to just “come as you are,” that we won’t be “judgmental,” that we just want to “love on them.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with these ideas as long as they are balanced with the biblical idea of consequences for wrongdoing. The story of the Gospel starts with judgment before it ends with grace.

God has said some things are objectively wrong, and that He will bring judgment on those things in the form of negative consequences. When a child is instead taught that Mom and Dad will let him get away with everything and just “forgive” no matter what, he forms the Entitlement Mentality towards sin: God (and everybody else) owes me love and forgiveness. This is a form of the Entitlement Mentality that can have awful eternal consequences, not to mention negative consequences in this life.

Though Christians are certainly required to forgive those who wrong us, society as a whole is never required by God to ignore sin in the name of being “non-judgmental.” We do our children a grave disservice if we teach them that their sins and mistakes will simply be overlooked in the name of love. True love helps a sinner repent from his sin and learn to live righteously.

If you are upset at the Entitlement Mentality we see around us, you're not alone. But we need to be careful not to have a shallow perspective of the problem. It’s too easy to simply say that if “those people” would just pull their pants up and get a job, we could go back to a godly society.

The root problem is deeper than that. It’s in how we raise our own children to be citizens of both an earthly and a heavenly society. None of us are born with entitlements to have everything fun, free, and forgiven. We are all sinners who are debtors to God’s grace. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The REAL Cost of Schooling

I often hear anti-homeschoolers trot out their favorite reasons for why they think homeschooling is bad. Unfortunately for them, most of them have been very publicly debunked by multiple studies - and the obvious results. 

Socialization? Homeschoolers are better adjusted that government schoolers. 
Academics? Homeschoolers out-perform government schoolers. 
Extra-curricular activities? Homeschoolers have just as many or more than government schoolers. 
College? Universities actively recruit homeschoolers because they are good students.

So what’s left? Well today I’m going to debunk the last, tired old argument against homeschooling: 
It costs too much.

“I wish we could afford to homeschool, but we really need both our incomes,” a dad sighs.

“I want my child to have the best educational experience possible, so I have to work to afford it,” a mother insists.

“You can’t tell families to homeschool in this economy – moms have to work just to make ends meet,” a friend lectures.

And I say… Facts are better than arguments. Let’s look at the numbers.

I did some extensive googling on the cost of institutional schooling. The numbers were very interesting. 

The Cost of Government Schooling
“Free” government school costs can include lunches, school supplies, tests, field trips, and school clothes (gym clothes, uniforms, etc.).  An average family can spend $500-$1500 a year on “free” government schooling necessities.

But we all know there are extras. Before and after school care, sports, tutoring, music lessons, it all adds up. Now we are looking at another $5000-$1500 per year.

On top of that, when both parents are working, the average family ends up eating out a lot more. Mom just doesn’t have time to cook every night. A typical family can spend $200-$500 a week on restaurant food alone. Restaurants are expensive - many studies have shown that home-cooked meals average one-half or even one-third of the price of restaurant meals.

There are other costs to consider too. When mom works every day along with dad, the gas costs go up. Not only does mom have to go to and from work, she and dad now have trips to pick up children from school, lessons, or daycare. Average gas costs for a family every year can be upwards of $2000-$3000.

Mom also needs more expensive clothes when she works. She may even need to buy a whole new wardrobe routinely. This can start around $1000 a year and go up to $3000-$4000 or more.

If mom is working full time, she probably doesn’t have time to deep clean the house. So now we can add in the costs of hiring a cleaning lady. This can be an additional $200-$300 per month, adding up to $2500-$3500 a year.

Then there are the things that are harder to add up. When there is no “general manager” at home every day, waste happens easily. Someone forgets to stock up on milk and bread, so dad grabs some at the convenience store on the way home – for a 30% higher price. With mom and dad too tired to supervise playtime, expensive toys get left outside in the weather or are neglected and broken.  It’s too much trouble to refill things like soap dispensers so new ones are bought every time. Clothes aren’t laundered or mended properly and must be thrown out due to stains or holes.

And finally, there’s the health costs associated with a family that is running all the time, stressed, eating poorly, and has improperly supervised children. A quick overview of this subject shows that when children grow up in a clean, peaceful, healthy home environment instead of being herded in a high-stress environment with a crowd of other germy children, they wind up much healthier and have less accidents. Medical costs for the average institutional schooled family can be $3000-$10,000 per year.

The lowest estimate of all these costs I came up with was about $10,000-$12,000 per year. That’s the bare-bones lowest, not the average. Average costs of a normal family can be $20,000-$30,000 a year or more. 

All so that mom can work and let the kids have “free” government schooling...or so the family can "afford" private schooling. 

DOES IT PAY? Let’s see…

Moms Making Big Bucks?
Let’s set all those costs against what mom will make in her job. An average woman in the U.S. has a salary of about $35,000 per year. Subtract out all taxes and social security and she’s left with around $25,000 per year to spend.

Did you notice those numbers? Average family costs for “free” government schooling while mom works are $20,000-$30,000. Average salaries for working moms are $25,000 after taxes. It’s entirely possible that a family using the “free” government schools could wind up losing money every year on the transaction.

And it's possible that a mom who is working so the family can "afford" private school will wind up losing money on the transaction.

Not just possible, but highly probable.

The Cost of Homeschooling
But wait,” you say. “Homeschooling costs a lot too – the government schools at least provide some things for ‘free.’ Homeschoolers have to pay for everything themselves, plus the taxes that support the local schools.”

Let’s take a look at that claim. To begin with, curriculum for homeschooling can be completely free. Yes, I said free – without quotation marks. There are free books, free downloads, free printables, free ideas, and of course, free books at the public library. Used curriculum abounds and you can often borrow or buy second-hand for just a few dollars. And these free curricula can work well - studies for years have shown that there is no correlation at all between how much is spent on curriculum and how well the student succeeds. What studies do show is that a loving, one-on-one tutorship situation always out-performs every other teaching scenario.

But that’s just the curriculum. Field trips can also be free or very low cost. Many parks and museums offer special passes or deals at certain times of the year.

Even lessons or special tutoring can be more cost-effective through homeschooling. Homeschooling parents tend to be much more engaged with their children in helping them regularly practice and fully benefit from the lessons. A homeschooled child can make as much progress in a year as an institutionally-schooled child might make in two or three years.

A homeschooled child can be a healthier child since mom is around to prepare healthy meals three times a day. Mom also has time and energy to disinfect bathrooms, do laundry regularly, make sure the children brush their teeth, take their vitamins and go to bed on time. And a peaceful, low-stress, and bully-free environment helps a child’s health and development, not to mention his or her safety.

Every study ever done comparing government schooling to homeschooling has shown that homeschoolers out-perform public schoolers. The only excuse anti-homeschoolers have left is that it’s too expensive for mom to stay home from work. And I just kaboshed that. Yay me!

And yay you if you choose to tap into the academic, social, health – and financial – benefits of staying home to teach your children!

Written by Heather Sheen