Investing In Education

by Karmel Larson

Five years ago when Ben was three, I saw a collection of abridged classics at Deseret Book.  They were on sale for $2.99 each and I told Brigham, “We have to buy the entire set!!!!”.  I had this vision of our kids sitting quietly on the couch reading the classics.  He thought this purchase was maybe a little premature, but supported my intense desire nonetheless and we went home with two huge boxes of books for our three year old and infant Abby.  I’ve been buying books ever since and our kids are soaking in the print rich environment.

I recently saw a youtube video made my some home educated teens that was a comedy about “You know you are home schooled if…”.  One of them was, “if your mom spends more money on books that she does on your clothes”.  I had to laugh!

So I captured this video the other day as I saw my two older kids during our silent reading time, reading those very classics I’d purchased 5 years ago.  This was my little day vision being lived out.

So now on to the real purpose for this post…

Over the past 5 years, I have transitioned from thinking home school was a form of child abuse to embracing it so fully that it is one of my greatest joys.  I have been fortunate to have great mentors come into my life who have led me to heightened understanding, abundant resources and meaningful wisdom as to how to balance the demands of adding such a heavy mantle as that of “teacher” to my many roles as a woman.

Recently, I have received many inquiries via e-mail and Facebook regarding the what, when, why and how of a home centered education.  I have several friends who have removed their kids from public school and are moving ahead 100% with home education.  Many others have sent e-mails with questions as they “consider” the possibility of such an education and family life.  (Home school is much more than an educational option, it is a complete transformation of family life, world view and also academics of course!)

Most of these e-mail and Facebook inquiries get a quick response from me because I don’t have time to type up long answers to each person (though I want to because these are all dear friends whom I admire and have great respect for).  So I’ve been thinking lately, that I should spend more time in responding to these sincere questions.  I remember not too long ago, having the same questions and seeking out my answers in various places.

Below is a list of questions that I’ve been asked over the past few months.  I’ll attempt to answer a few each week in as much detail as I can in hopes that I can pass along what I have learned from great women, home educators and mentors who have graced my life over the past few years.

  • Your kids seem normal, but don’t you worry that they will be known as the “home school kids” and get a bad rap for it?
  • How do you do it?
  • What made you decided to do it?
  • Be honest is it so hard?
  • I know you put your kids back into public school not that long ago and pulled them out. Why?
  • I think it would be fun but I don’t know if it’s too much to be a mom to the other kids as well as a good wife. Please help. I’m just in awe with all that you do. How do you have time for it all?
  • I’m afraid what people are going to say. Isn’t that funny that I’m a mother of six and I’m afraid what people are going to say. Did you ever feel that way?
  • What do you tell people when they ask you why you home school your kids?
  • Can you write me your schedule when you have time?
  • Are you doing the Utah public/home school (K12)?
  • I’m reading Thomas Jefferson Education… do you follow that model?
  • I thought of you and your kids while my kids are memorizing “The Living Christ”. Did it take forever?  My kids love it so far. I knew you wrote an article on it a while back. Do you still have it? I would love to read it and get pointers. There is power in memorizing.
  • Any tips?
  • Are you going to home school through Jr. High and High School?
  • How often do you do field trips?
  • Where have you gone?
  • Is service a regular part of your school time?
  • How do you do scripture study for home school?
  • Do you do any summer school?
  • Can I come and watch you for a day?
  • How do you home school with a baby?
  • What resources do you recommend?
  • Will you direct me to your favorite educational websites?
  • Does your school have a name and mission statement?
  • How do you teach your kids how to read?
  • Does your husband help with home school?
  • Where do you fit music practice in?
  • Do you practice with each child?
  • Is your house always a mess?
  • Do you make your kids do a lot of chores or want them to focus on studying?

So for those of you who have been inquiring… you might want to use the subscribe by e-mail in the top right corner and the answers will come slow and steady to your e-mail inbox (probably intermingled with family happenings).  You can always unsubscribe once I’m done sharing tips on this topic.

If you have more questions… send me an e-mail (or post a comment) and I’ll add them to the list and do my best to respond in a timely fashion!  I look forward to your comments and hope that you’ll share your ideas as well!