Finishing What We Started
- Friday, May 11, 2007
Ever heard any of "those" remarks? Our family certainly has over the years. However, none of those comments matter when you know you are doing the right thing, and you truly believe you are following God’s plan for your family. The conviction to homeschool should be just that: a conviction. Convictions do not collapse under the weight of criticism, ridicule, harassment, or even doubt. They may waver momentarily due to our human natures, but if they have a firm foundation, convictions hold strong.
Hi! My name is Kim Lundberg. My husband and I have nine children, and we have been homeschooling for sixteen years now. We love our big brood, and we love homeschooling! We are an eclectic, book-obsessed, history-loving family, and one of our favorite things to do is to manage--by means of a miracle perhaps (and advanced skills in geometry and physics certainly never hurt!)--to find room somehow for just one more bookcase in the house!
Years ago, when my husband and I were missionaries in China, we made the choice to homeschool our children. We knew it was what God wanted us to do, so when our oldest child was four years old, we got started. I must admit that, being the kind of person I am, I was ready to commit for the long haul from the very start. Kindergarten through high school, all the way--that was me! I had read several books on the subject and prayed about it, and it seemed very clear to me that homeschooling through high school was the very best thing for our family.
My husband, on the other hand, wanted to sit back and watch how things progressed during the early years. As time passed, he realized that homeschooling was a wonderful success academically, and he also saw that nothing could beat homeschooling for building strong family relationships. Yet he was still concerned that if we kept homeschooling for too long, the kids might not feel comfortable making friends in the real world, or they might not be able to relate well to other authority figures.
Fast forward several years. We had resettled in the States for health reasons. My husband began teaching Bible classes part-time at a Christian high school, while also working full-time at our local hospital in the ITS department. After just a few weeks, he decided that traditional, institutional high school, whether Christian or public, was definitely not where he wanted our children to spend those crucial teenage years.
He saw that peer-dependency and an immature romance mentality were dominant factors even at the Christian high school. He noticed that there seemed to be little time for delving deeply into important topics, and he wondered how the teens coped with all the homework they were assigned on top of all their extracurricular activities. How could there possibly be any time left for being with family or being with God?
In addition, my husband saw that most of the teens in the school seemed to have no goals or purpose in life. Sure, there were a few exceptional kids that stood out from the crowd, but was that environment really the best place for them? We couldn’t judge for others, but we knew that our children would grow stronger in every way if we continued homeschooling.
It was then that homeschooling became our conviction as well as our choice. It was then that we decided to homeschool all the way through high school. It was then, as my husband likes to say, that the great adventure truly began!
That was ten years ago. Ten years on top of the first six years, and all of those days and weeks put together have given us fantastic memories we would not trade for anything. People ask how we can homeschool all these kids, and we answer, How could we not?! People ask us why we homeschool through high school, and we answer, Why would we not?! Really, we cannot imagine life lived any other way.
So far, we have graduated two of our nine children. The next two in line are currently in our hshs (that stands for homeschool high school). We also have five younger children, and we enjoy a very relaxed way of learning that has proven to work quite effectively over the years. Not to mention the fun! My kids love to learn new things. They are fascinated with many topics, and it is so satisfying to watch as they dig to find more information on the issues that intrigue them and then eagerly share what they learn with others.
People are always asking if we realize that we will be doing this for a very long time to come. They seem to think that I, especially, suffer from some rare type of disease! After all, why do I want to spend so much time with my kids? Don’t they drive me crazy?
Well, sure, sometimes. However, usually I am too busy being amused, entertained, and thrilled as I watch them grow through their various stages. Learning to walk, learning to read, learning to multiply, learning to play music, learning to analyze literature, learning to drive, learning to defend their beliefs. I never feel as if I am doing homeschooling with my kids. It is simply who we ARE.
Our oldest child is actually graduating from college this year, hard as that is to believe, with Honors degrees in History and Music (and a minor in Russian). She is currently exploring her options and is praying for the Lord’s direction on where to go from here.
Our next high school graduate is taking a gap year at the moment, spending time writing a book, leading his Civil Air Patrol squadron, advising and teaching Bible studies on our local college campus, and working to save money. He will head to college himself in the fall to major in Physics and International Relations, and he also plans to be involved with the AFROTC.
As I mentioned, two of our teens are in the midst of hshs at this time. The older one is the creative type--she enjoys music, writing, and art. Other than a few outside classes to help her develop her talents in these areas, she spends all her time learning at home. This daughter is a big help with the drama classes I teach to local homeschoolers. She is a great backstage manager, and she has written some wonderful scripts for our groups to perform--one set in the Civil War, and the most recent one focusing on the Holocaust.
My younger high school daughter is an avid baker and crafter; she enjoys cake decorating, painting, needlework, and ballet. She loves to read, especially books that explain and bring to life different periods in world history, and she recently played Anne Frank in our Holocaust production. This daughter is also the organized one in our big family--which has been both a challenge for her and a blessing for me!
Isn’t it amazing how God has created each of our young people so differently?!
Homeschooling through high school has given my teens freedom--the freedom to choose what subjects they will study; the freedom to determine what specific curriculum they will use; the freedom to decide what goals they will pursue. My kids have followed their individual interests to study things as varied as advanced calculus to calligraphy to atomic theory to poetry to diatonic harmony to Churchill to the terrible ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Burma/Myanmar area.
However, as hshs students, my older children have had another important advantage: the wonderful gift of time. Time to think and pray, time to sleep and dream big, time to study their passions and explore new ideas, time to play with their baby sister, time to teach their little brother to fence, time to paint, time to practice instruments, time to read, time to write, time to learn how to run a house, time to change diapers. Our teens have had time to take part in Bible study groups, time to do long-term volunteer work at a local nursing home, and time to teach music, art, and science to young homeschool kids in the area. They have had time to work, time to play, time to talk, time to love, time to grow in maturity and wisdom with God and man.
Last week, an 18-year-old boy in our community died unexpectedly. Ryan was a former drama student of mine. He was a smart, talented kid many might have said belonged in a real school, but instead he graduated from homeschool recently and was taking classes at our local college. Ryan was a Christian, so his family has a peace and hope that nonbelievers can never know. Still, the pain of his loss is great. Yet, as homeschoolers, his parents and his older brother can look back and remember so very much. Ryan did not spend his high school years riding the school bus, leaving early in the morning and arriving home late in the afternoon. Instead, he spent his last years on earth with his family--sharing adventures with them, learning life lessons, and enjoying their unconditional love and support.
I know Ryan’s parents are glad they made the choice to home school through high school. His sudden death made me realize more clearly that I should treasure every single moment I have with my teens. We only have our kids with us for such a short time. Then, one way or another, they are gone. So let us make a real commitment to do our best for our children. Homeschooling through high school is not only possible--it is wonderful.
For remember: whatever God calls us to do, he surely equips us to finish. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
Kim Lundberg is the busy mom of 9 great kids. She and her family have been homeschooling for 16 years, and they make their home in beautiful northern California. Kim enjoys teaching drama, writing, and world history classes, as well as reading mysteries, baking goodies, camping, and listening to her kids talk, sing, and make music.
This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr ‘07 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com
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