An “Introduction to Homeschooling” virtual workshop was conducted by Cassie Beardsley and Debby Kurti via Zoom with twenty-seven in attendance.
Cassie Beardsley was a “settler” – those who homeschooled their children after our “pioneer” homeschool parents started the path; “settlers” basically paved the road for us (thank you!) – homeschool mother of three. She was also a public school math teacher. She graduated their three lovely daughters, who then went on to college, and now they have lives of their own serving Christ. Debby Kurti is the co-founder of Innovation Academy. She was a college professor for 24 years, and homeschooling mom of eight (only 1 teenager left!). There were four goals for the workshop: 1) Introduction 2) Legalities 3) Vision and 4) Reasons.
Intro to Homeschooling
Cassie used this time to discuss common concerns or fears a parent may have about taking the step into homeschooling: not good at it, socialization, and consistency. Both Cassie and Debby said these are the same fears they hear from most parents. Cassie summarized that all of our fears, when it comes to our children, are just common fears of a mom’s heart because our job is to nurture and to nurture well. When we come upon a challenge or a seemingly foreign world it is natural to have fears take over. Cassie reminded us that “God is going to help you every step of the way”.
“The privilege of getting to homeschool my kids is like no other that I’ve ever had and I am so thankful for it.”
To even have the option to homeschool our children is a privilege. In the United States, homeschool was not allowed in every state until 1993! To homeschool means that you are seeking something better for your children. It means you do not get to miss a moment of learning. Many of us may be running from something, whether it’s from unhealthy schools (spiritually and/or physically), poor education, new mandates that may or may not come into play, and we would be called “refugees”. We are running away from something and hoping that homeschool will provide the sanctuary we’re seeking. Through Cassie’s workshop(s) she is hoping the information will stop us from running away and cause us to run towards something.
Legalities of California
In California, “each child must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws starting with the school year in which he or she turns six-years-old by September 1 and ending on the child’s eighteenth birthday” (HSLDA.org). The state is allowed to change this at any time; currently, kindergarten is not required. There are four legal coverings for you and your children:
- Home-based private school – filing an annual private school affidavit (filed with the California Superintendent of Public Instruction between October 1 and October 15 of each school year)
- This gives you full autonomy
- Cassie highly recommended that if you file your own affidavit that you also become a member with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). This gives you an attorney to protect you for any homeschool issue. They are also just a great resource.
- Private school satellite program (PSP) – also called an “umbrella school”
- Low/medium involvement in your schooling
- Your family would be under the private school’s legal covering. The school will require certain documents, records, record-keeping. The requirements will vary from school to school. It will vary in cost and in the classes/activities offered.
- Instruction by a private tutor
- Strict requirements in order to meet this legal covering.
- This one isn’t practical for most families due to the cost and requirements.
- Public charter school
- Medium/high involvement in your schooling
- This option is a good resource when you are just starting out in the homeschool world and want that day-to-day guidance.
Remember – you are not stuck once you pick a legal covering. It may fit now with your family, but may not later. You can change as needed. That’s the beauty of homeschool!
“As your children learn every subject, the character and person of God is revealed. The real purpose for education is to know God and to glorify Him. The best education is that which integrates the heart, soul, mind, and strength of your child.”
There are three biblical responsibilities for every Christian parent:
- Teach your children to love God (Deut. 6:1-9).
- Teach your children to be disciple-makers (Matt. 28:18-20).
- Teach them in truth (2 Cor. 4:1-2,3; John 1:3-4).
After studying the responsibilities, sit down with your husband or, if single, with someone like-minded, and develop a purpose statement for your family. Cassie suggests envisioning who you want your children to be as adults ready to leave the home, at age 30, 40, and on. She reminded us to keep in mind that God is using us and our children to save a lost world.
There are so many reasons to homeschool! Here is just a quick list that was offered at the workshop:
- It’s the education of your choosing for your children
- Learning becomes a lifestyle
- Education becomes a relationship not an imparting of facts
- Discipline and needs can be met
- Greater flexibility
- Time is not wasted
- Greater opportunities for serving
- Regulate technology (your values, your rules)
- Practically? It actually saves the state and you money!
Cassie ended with us – YOU. You, us, we, me—you, wondering how you’re going to social distance a child and whether or not this ugly virus is going to run its rampage again. You are why you should homeschool. You can learn as much if not more than your kids. You will be stretched and challenged. It will make you cry (trust me, I’ve been there!), but you will be so blessed throughout the process. Each tear will be worth it. You will learn to depend on God more fully than ever before.
“God will equip you and help you to do what He has called you to do.”
God has called us to fully parent our children. To protect them. To guide them. To teach them His ways “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (NIV, Deut. 6.1-9). What better way to do this than within your own home and you as their primary voice?
Jennifer Jahn is a pastor’s wife and homeschool mom. She loves to have one-on-one conversations, chai lattes, and enjoys sharing all things homeschool. Every day, Jennifer gives her day to Jesus and asks to find meaning in the mundane. Jesus is in the dishes, laundry, and her children whether they get through a math lesson or not.