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All interviews are presented to stimulate thought and assist Christian families in homeschooling their children. Interviews may or may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the management of

Home and Heart Schooling

By Lisa C.

Greetings from Iowa. We are the Cunninghams. Mary asked for stories about our homeschooling experience for folks that might happen upon the site and are "not quite sure" about homeschooling. It was the BEST choice for our family. I will give you just a short summary of our homeschool life. The name of our school is Crooked Creek. We were told it is a good idea to have a name for your school.

In the years 1994-1995 our oldest was in first grade. Now other than a couple part time jobs that I had when she was a baby I have been home with her. So I was able to go in and help in her K and 1st grade classes. She went to the same school I grew up in and I loved my elementary grade school, so I thought she would be "fine." Boy do things change!!! That same school I loved dearly as a child is now on one of the "not so great" school lists.

I saw it all! (Now remember this is on a K and 1st grade level.) I won't even get into what the older kids were doing! I saw the disrespect for the teachers, parents who were helping, other staff, principle (remember when it was a scary thing to be told you were going to the Principle's office?) Ha! Not anymore. It is a joke. He can't do anything to you anyhow. I saw the "status symbols" ...which if you aren't are nothing but trash. Even the teachers treated the "rich kids" different from the other kids. They "arrested" (yes you read it right) a 1st grader for assault with a razor blade. I don't even feel schools are safe for kids anymore.

I also watched the teaching methods and started thinking ...."I bet I can do this!" I didn't see that much teaching going on during the day. What I saw was a very frustrated person, with too many kids in a room, having to deal with situations that should have called for a discipline action but because it isn't allowed the other kids spent time coloring while she "talked" to whoever was causing the trouble. Ummm my kids can color at home just as easily. If you were to actually keep track of how much time your child's teacher spends with YOUR child I bet it would be less than 15 minutes out of the 6 or so hours they are in school. I CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! Even on the days we hardly do anything...we are still doing more than what is worthwhile doing in a public school.

We went through the questioning of whether we were "smart" enough to teach our kids. My husband and I both graduated from high school, and I took a couple of college classes. So neither of us hold any degrees! I still feel we are competent on the raising and teaching of our children. They may not grow up to be rocket scientists but they will grow up to Love the Lord. They will also grow up to respect others. They will grow up and know that it doesn't matter if you wear "THE" shoes or jeans....God loves them for who they are! Our daughter wants to be a wife and mother! Our son wants to be a Pastor. Both fine careers.

In our church there are several homeschooling families so I started asking them questions. In fact I bet they all dreaded seeing me coming at them. :) We were invited to a potluck and informational meeting. That night on the way home we were convicted that this was what we needed to do. It is now 1999 and we have a son now too. We are teaching an 11-year-old girl and a 7- year-old boy.

I guess there might be "money issues" to deal with. We have given up some of the material things for the sake of our children. We live in a 14 x 80 mobile home. We shared one car up until this past winter when the Lord provided us with a used van. We have several families in our church who "swap" clothes. We have a clothes chain that clothing just works its way down the line to whoever needs it. I can make $65 a week last us in groceries. Yes that is a family of 4 can eat on $65 a week. If you have those generic's a hint. The first week buy name brand the containers and then from then on buy generic and just dump it in the other containers and quickly throw away the evidence :) We have gotten used to living on a "one check" income so it's not a problem for us.

As far as money to buy materials to teach with. A library card is free!!!! And the fact that you found THIS Web site means you have access to some wonderful resources...some of which are ( a homeschooling moms favorite word) FREE!!!!!. The only thing I purchased this year was a math workbook for our 11 year old. The rest of the materials I will print from this website. Books we read I will borrow from our church library or our public library. If you do the is almost "cheaper" to keep them home.

We start school at 9 a.m. and are usually done by noon. I have a "to do" list for each child. I don't care what subject they start with as long as they get them all done. I don't sit right over the top of them. They are independent learners. I am here if they need me. When it is time to do history and geography then I sit down with them and read to them. I work with them on Bible issues too. When we are learning new concepts in math, I help them get started and then they are on their own.

My husband is the science director. He is into insects, trees, plants and all that good stuff. We take hikes all the time once the weather warms up and we are going to be starting to keep nature journals. The other areas of science we throw in where we can.

My daughter already knew how to read when we pulled her out. I am having to work with phonics and the 7 year old. He isn't picking it up as fast as she did....but the boy can do math on a 2nd grade level already. I am sure the reading will come.

Guess that leads into our choice of "keeping track." We chose not to have our kids tested. Our daughter is like me. She may know the material so she can rattle it off...but stick a test in front of her and she will choke. We have a supervising teacher who also goes to our church. We meet with her 2 times every couple of months to have her check on our progress. She keeps notes on where the kids are and what they need to work on.

As far as legal questions. There are links on this site for those. We live in Iowa which so far is very easy on homeschoolers. In the 4 years we have been doing this I have never been approached or questioned by anyone. In fact we have a homeschool helper at the school board. Now we don't personally use her...but she has gone to bat for homeschoolers here in town in the past. Next year we might sign up with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) just because the kids are getting older and we want to cover all the bases.

Another question....socialization.....PHOOEY!!! I am sorry but I don't consider that to be a reason to keep kids in school. Do you know who they are socializing with? We go to a Praise and Worship service on Saturday. We go to Sunday School and Church on Sunday. We have Awanas on Wednesday. We are in a homeschool 4H group. My kids favorite person is an 80 year old lady who lives a couple houses down from us. She just loves the kids. They go down there and she tells them tales about her days. She READS all the time so they discuss books. She told me the other day the only 2 things keeping her from moving into an "old folks" home is our 2 kids. Homeschooled kids learn to relate to people of ALL ages and ALL races.

Oh, I could go on and on. If you are sincerely convicted in your heart that you should homeschool...taking that first step will be the hardest. Now I am not saying that every day is smooth sailing....just read some of the posts. But, are the days of public school smooth sailing? NOT!

Our family verse is: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the WAY he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. We set them on the right path. God walks down it with them.

Lisa and her husband David live in Iowa, where they homeschool their two children. Lisa says she's a domestic engineer/teacher, which she much prefers over her previous variety of jobs, including being a cook, housekeeper, Tupperware representative, and forklift driver! She also designs the Web pages for her church. David works in a PVC manufacturing plant. He works swing shift so he is always around sometime during the day for our homeschooling adventures. He helps out in particular with science.

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