What is your Homeschooling "Why"?

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One of the most important aspects of homeschooling is knowing your WHY!

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The Five W's of Michigan Homeschooling
1. WHO can homeschool in Michigan? Any parent willing to “own” their child’s education and provide what our state law requires: an “organized educational program” in these areas: language arts (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, & literature), in math, science, history, and civics… Follow the legal requirement in Michigan. No requirement for teacher certification No minimum requirement for parents’ educational level (In fact research shows there is absolutely NO correlation between student success and the parents’ level of education. The ONLY correlation is this: Student success levels go up based on the level of parental involvement… and how can parents be more involved than by actually taking on the task of home educating and becoming the ones ultimately responsible for their child’s education?!?) No registration, reporting, or mandatory testing in Michigan, either! So who can homeschool? YOU can! As the parent, there is NO ONE who knows your child better or who cares more than YOU do!   2. WHAT does homeschooling look like? It’s different in every household, but will have these things in common: Parent-directed – That means parents are deciding what’s being taught- and how and when and by whom… not necessarily that the parent is doing all the instruction themselves… simply that they are orchestrating the plan and making sure all the bases are getting covered. There are so many amazing resources available in the homeschool community and on the internet! There are homeschool co-ops, tutoring services, online classes, etc.  Parents simply come up with the organized educational program and decide what curriculum will be used…   Home-based – This just means that a large percentage of the learning is probably taking place within the home. But that certainly doesn’t mean ALL the learning happens there, by any means! The home is just the base of operations… All of life becomes a learning opportunity and MUCH learning takes place outdoors, on field trips, at co-operatives, classes, and other learning activities and events outside the home. Home-based education means having the freedom to go outside the home to actually see and do and experience things first hand.   Privately-funded – Yep! That means the individual family is going to foot the bill for this instead of the government. But homeschooling certainly doesn’t need to cost a lot! There is a plethora of free and inexpensive resources readily available! This is what allows your individual family the freedom to choose the materials YOU want to use to teach your children, rather than having to teach politically-correct, state-mandated material which aligns to the “Common Core” or to certain standardized tests. And we at MICHN, the Michigan CHRISTIAN Homeschool Network, would also encourage you to make your homeschool Christ-centered and Biblically-based … Because education is about a lot more than just academics, we actually prefer to call it home discipleship- training children from a Christian worldview, modeling for them the way they should go- how to know, serve, obey, and follow Jesus. It’s primarily about learning how to love God and to love others. It’s about teaching them, as it tells us in Deuteronomy, “when they wake up, when they lay down, and when we walk along the way,” all throughout our days… 24/7/365.   3. WHEN should you consider homeschooling? NOW! Today… at whatever age your children are … As much of the country is currently talking about when they’ll be able to send kids ‘back to school’ – we’ve got to ask ourselves: WHY do that?!?   When kids are little- toddlers, preschoolers & Kindergartners – You taught them to walk, talk, eat with a spoon, their alphabet, and colors, etc. You’ve been homeschooling since the day they were born. Why is there suddenly some magical age when you are no longer qualified?  Just keep doing what you’ve always done. They are sponges and will soak it all in!   When kids are in their impressionable elementary years – Huge time of learning how to read, to add and multiply, all about the world around them! Don’t you want to be able to witness when those light bulbs suddenly turn on and things begin to ‘click’ and they finally ‘get it’?   When kids are entering tween years/ middle school – When suddenly they can become so peer-dependent and so worried about what everyone else thinks. Wouldn’t you rather they cared more what YOU think than what their friends or the culture thinks?   When they are teens and in high school – This can truly be the BEST time, as they are discovering who they are and what they want to do with their lives… You can begin to have deep, meaningful conversations about what really matters and you can learn TOGETHER! Honestly for our family, the teen years have been the MOST enjoyable, as we’ve gotten to really know these people that have been living in our house for over a decade… and we’ve been able to discover that they’re truly amazing humans—and we really do LIKE them!  So that’s WHEN – from birth through high school graduation, would be our recommendation! Every day, all day! But you can’t let the immensity of that scare you—just one day at a time. One year at a time.  Don’t feel like you have to sign your life away. Just jump in and give it a try, whatever age your kids might be. Learn together, as God leads you to do what is best for your family and your individual children.   4. WHERE should you homeschool in Michigan? In community – NOT alone! Find a local community of other homeschoolers near you. You can’t do it all by yourself! MICHN has a listing of support groups throughout the state on our website… we want to help you get connected to a group of like-minded homeschoolers in your area, who can offer you encouragement, resources, opportunities, and support.   Plug in statewide – You need to know what’s going on in regards to homeschool legislation and threats to our homeschool freedoms here in Michigan… so we encourage you to join MICHN, get on our email list, follow us on social media, and come to our annual ‘Day Under the Dome’ and INCH Conference… usually the 3rd week of May in Lansing. Supporting and connecting to our statewide organization helps to protect our homeschool freedom!   Also plug in nationally – HSLDA, the Home School Legal Defense Association, fights for our homeschool freedoms on a national level (and even internationally), and we highly recommend that you also become a member of their organization, and be protected and informed about the bigger picture of what’s happening in homeschooling. So WHERE? Locally, statewide, and nationally… that’s where you need to connect.  Now the last of our 5 W’s… and the biggie: WHY?  You’ve got to ‘know your why!’   5. WHY homeschool in Michigan?  First of all, because Michigan is a GREAT place to homeschool! We have wonderful homeschooling freedom here currently—but we must remain ever vigilant to keep it that way.  There are SOOO many great reasons to homeschool, though!! We would argue that it’s the best and most natural way for children to learn… The way God intended when he created families, and the way children have been educated throughout most of history: parents teaching and training their children. Let’s quickly boil it down to five key reasons; Five “whys” of homeschooling… or Five key ingredients which you might say make up the “Secret Sauce” of Homeschooling: DISCIPLESHIP – To pass on your faith, morals, and beliefs Parents passing on their own faith, beliefs, and morals as opposed to society’s or the ‘cultural norms’ or the ‘common core;’ Teaching character development, critical thinking skills, love of God, others, and learning – these are the greatest privileges and priorities of homeschooling! Discipleship= training followers who will embrace, apply, and spread the teachings of another RELATIONSHIP – To strengthen family bonds and teach true ‘socialization’ instead of age segregation Building strong family bonds between parents and siblings, and with people of ALL ages; Relationships, influence, and trust are all built over time- and homeschooling allows you to spend both quantity and quality time together! Relationship = the way in which two or more people are connected, regard one another, and behave toward each other SCHOLARSHIP – To provide an excellent, individualized education We’re not talking about getting money for college (though that could easily be the result!) We’re talking about excellent academics. Students, or scholars, who learn at their own pace, being taught one-on-one, according to their own unique strengths, abilities, interests, and learning styles, moving at their own speed in each subject area- whether gifted, average, or with special needs. Scholarship = excellence in academic study or achievement; learning of a high level GUARDIANSHIP – To protect your children Protecting your kids is a giant consideration in today’s world. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there, and as parents, it’s our primary responsibility to guard and protect these children that have been entrusted to our care! Guardianship = the position of safeguarding or defending something of value APPRENTICESHIP – To teach and model practical life skills through hands-on learning Training kids in real life skills through hands-on learning and daily living, catering to their individual interests, gifts, and talents. This includes all those ‘soft skills’ that matter most in life- like work ethic, teamwork, communication, leadership, problem solving, etc. Homeschooling allows us to pass on to our children all these skills they need to succeed in life, to walk with them as they pursue their dreams and discover their passions and the purpose for which they were created Apprenticeship  = an arrangement by which someone learns an art, trade, or skill under the training of one more experienced and knowledgeable   So that’s the 5 W’s of Homeschooling, specifically in Michigan… The Who, What, When, Where, and Why? Hopefully we’ve encouraged and inspired you at least a little bit—to seriously consider homeschooling if you’re just looking into the idea. Or to “keep on keeping on,” if you’re already homeschooling! And we pray that we’ve also given you some clear answers and practical information about homeschooling, especially if you live in the mitten state.