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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Our Homeschooling Journey: Taking Classes Outside the Home

During our homeschooling years since the children were very young, choosing curriculum for their courses has taken place nearly every year at our home.  Ideas have come from conversations with other homeschooling families, visiting homeschool book fairs and scanning through homeschool curriculum catalogues. Through this process, let me not forget to mention, we’ve spent time in prayer asking for wisdom and discernment as to what curriculum would best align with our family’s faith convictions while also choosing curriculum which would best suit our children’s learning styles.

Zachary and Leah working through a science experiment--a few years ago.
One of the advantages of homeschooling our children is having the choice to share certain issues or topics with them when we feel it is appropriate. We also have choices what books we would like them to read and which ones we want to avoid. It has been a huge blessing to be able to make these decisions in our children’s lives. Yes we are guilty of sheltering our children throughout the years on issues we felt were of importance. Some parents may believe sheltering children may be hindering them. “Don’t let anyone tell you ‘shelter’ is a bad word” says Scott Wightman, author of College without A Compromise”.  I do agree with Mr. Wightman's words.  We have been able to take advantage of many situations and grown stronger in character and faith because of it.

With ten years of homeschooling experience, I have to say that our choices have gotten easier since we now know what works for us and what doesn’t. At least we think we know. These past few years as Zachary and Leah have grown into young adults, we have opted to have them study with classes outside our home for various reasons. They have taken classes not only with local homeschool coops but they have also taken classes with an online homeschool.We have used Red Wagon Tutorials for science learning and we’ve also used The Potters School for English and other classes. TPS first started offering classes for missionary families living overseas when it opened its doors years ago. The process of choosing curriculum for higher grades is just as important as when the children were younger and is definitely not taken lightly.Their high school four year plan can be seen at Homeschooling thru Highschool. 

Although we have had overall a good experience with the online homeschool, we have learned that different world views are among even the more conservative Christian homeschool classes.With the scope and sequence available, we still need to take it one step further and contact the teacher to ask for more detail as to content, literature titles, etc shared in the class.  Nothing can be taken for granted and assumed without more examination.  Worldviews may differ from one teacher to another as well.  As much as the schools or curriculum feel they share pertinent information, there may be some information not shared which would make all the difference for the parents trying to educate themselves.  With all that said, we can only do our part in choosing what is best for our children and then take each situation as it arises and bring it to our Creator during the school year.  We have gone through many books, some we have had to put down without finishing and others we have come across topics we didn’t agree and have turned them into great life learning discussions.  We as parents are not perfect and continue to rely on knowledge, understanding and wisdom and faith that God/Yahweh will lead us through all situations and that good will come of it.  This is just part of maturing even as adults.

Here is some advice I’d like to share that has helped our family when choosing a curriculum especially as children become young adults.

Know Your Convictions but Be Flexible
This sounds like an oxymoran but in reality from year to year it does help to be flexible knowing you may have to change curriculum if your foundation on biblical truths change.  What you decide to use one year may change the following year as your family matures and/or changes spiritually.

Don’t Feel the Need to Change
If you are using something that is already working, you may want to stick with it.  As homeschooling families, we sometimes get bored with curriculum and feel we need a change, but that may not always be the right way to go.  So make sure you evaluate why you feel the need to change curriculum.

Go the Extra Mile
Ask as many questions as you can in order to get a better overview of possible curriculum, whether it’s directly with the curriculum company, the teacher or gathering information on out-of-the-home classes. 
There may be reviews out there, you may hear positive comments from other homeschoolers but take that extra step and do your homework to find out more on the curriculum and also about the teachers you are entrusting teaching your children.   The positive note about at home online classes is that we can sit in on the class if we choose to.  As parents we continue to stay involved in all classes.  

Listen to Your Teens
Allow your teens to share their thoughts when researching.  Although you and your spouse will make the final decision, your children could provide you invaluable advice.  I am grateful that both Zachary and Leah will come to us to point out worldviews that differ from ours. Hearing what they have to say, may help us with decisions for next year's choices. 

Even after making final decisions with your curriculum choices, take it one step at a time.  During the school year, different issues may come up.  Pray for discernment as they arise, because they will.   Curriculum are not perfect.  God/YHWH promises He will give us wisdom if we ask Him. 

We love our Creator and for all the wisdom He has given us throughout the years.  We couldn't have homeschooled our children without His leading.  We continue to lean on Him as we prepare our children to be His servants in righteousness.

To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 
To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; 
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, 
and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: 
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.   Proverbs 1:2-7

May you be blessed.
The Brunos


  1. Wonderful advice! We are using some homeschool online courses for dual credit high school and college through Liberty University. My 15 year old loves the classes, is getting dual credit, and the university has an excellent reputation. The course cost is the same as per course for Potters School.
    Blessings in Yeshua HaMashiach,

  2. Carmen,
    I really liked this post, and I totally understand about sticking with something that is working. I have made that mistake before ...but Yah is good to work it out. :0)

  3. Love this post in so manyways!!

  4. Ahhh, I love the quote “Don’t let anyone tell you ‘shelter’ is a bad word” by Scott Wightman. I think this is so often misunderstood. Thanks for posting this!

  5. Shalom Carmen,
    I home-schooled my oldest son, who will be 25 in May, through high school. I was blessed to be able to do so, and to have a charter school available to us in order to take some of his electives(Guitar, Karate, Computer lab). He went to classes for half the day, 2 days a week. There is so much more available now, and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. I am glad to hear you are finding things to help your children succeed~ Thanks for sharing your great advice and wisdom, I still have two more to go!!!
    I pray you are all well!


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