For anyone who knows me, you know I HATE math. I barely passed it in high school, as well as in college. I am just not geared for it. I thrived when it was made practical and integrated into my ag. classes in high school, making feed rations and calculating weights and body mass and how much meat we would get dressed and undressed. That I could handle but aside from all that, I really struggle. There are times I call my husband at work to help me double or triple a recipe. I really am that bad.
With all that said I got to thinking about my children and school and life in general the other day. Really I think about these things often being a stay at home and homeschool mom, but these thoughts went somewhere they don’t usually. I sat down with my husband and we crunched some numbers, and I was left mind-blown after the conversation. It still sits in the back of my mind the greatness and sadness behind this.
Let me share with you my thoughts and feel free to correct my math or my conclusions, but this is what has been on my heart and my mind and I want to share it.
We send our children to school for 5, 6 hour days. That is 30 hours in a week. In PA they are required to have 180 days in, so 180 days times 30 hours, is 5400 hours in a year spent at school. Children spend 12 years in school so 5400 hours times 12 years equals 64,800 hours a child spends in school. That’s a whole lot of hours, so lets break down some more. 64,800 hours divided by 24 hours (in a day), is 2700 days. Then take the 2700 days and divide that by 365 days (in a year), and you have 7.397 years of a child’s life spent outside of home in the school system.
Almost 7 and a half years away from our influence. If our children are only in our homes until they are eighteen that means almost half of their time in our homes under our guidance and supervision is spent being influenced by the outside world. Their world view and social ideas are being shaped by others than us, their parents.
These numbers are a reflection of the bare necessities of schooling. No extra curricular activities, no programs, just to school and back again.
With being on the doorstep of starting a new school year. Most of our friends kids have already started, we plan to start Monday, Philly schools start the 9th of September. My world seems to have taken on a new perspective. We were recently asked why we decided to homeschool, as part of joining a homeschool group to provide broader opportunities for our children to thrive and learn. I have to admit that our answer was shallow and weak but it was the truth. We wanted our children to have a Christian education but private school is super expensive and public school was not an option, so for financial reasons we decided to try homeschooling. The other half of our answer was a reference a friend of ours shared…they told us, “they couldn’t imagine knowing their kids any less.” That was a powerful statement. And has really helped us make certain decisions regarding our homeschooling efforts.
*side note* I am not bashing anyone who chooses to send their children to public or private school. I know homeschooling is not for everyone, I went to public school, hubby to went to Christian school, so there is no judging or condemning. 🙂
When we got home from that meeting I felt a might bit discouraged, wondering if we made the wrong choice, are we homeschooling for all the wrong reasons? Then I stumbled across this illustration on Pinterest.
This chart is what got me thinking about how much time we invest into our children’s lives. With my oldest getting ready to turn seven I find myself blown away by the idea that our impact on his life is almost half gone. It is my prayer that the time we have with him is used to the best of our abilities. Guided by our knowledge of the bible and rooted in God’s truth.
So did we start homeschooling for the right reasons, probably not, but rest assured our desire is to raise well educated, well rounded, God-fearing, free thinking, inquisitive, intelligent, loving, caring, (and much more) children. And thus we feel we are starting this school year out with the right motives and ambitions.
When I crunched those numbers I was almost made numb by the sadness of what some parents and children are missing out on because of schooling. Some countries it is illegal to homeschool, in some places it’s not an option. Again it doesn’t matter what you choose for your children, the point I want to drive home is how is that time spent? What we do with the other half of those 18 years we have with the children is very important. Are we teaching them God’s word when they are home? Are we sharing our spiritual growth with them? Are we praying together? Are we interested in what interests them? Are we singing the same songs? Are we working side by side on projects and housework? Are we loving, correcting, training, rebuking, crying, and exploring together? As cliché as it is, we only have these children in our lives for a short period of time, and that time flies by.
Seven and a half years isn’t that long at all, yet it is a big chunk of time. Remember I said we will soon have a seven year old. Has it really been that long? But we have been through a lot in those seven years. May God guide all of us as we struggle, grow, learn and walk through these years of schooling with our children.