Should We Homeschool?

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Homeschooling is not for everyone. I was homeschooled from the fourth grade all the way through high school. I had been falling behind both academically and socially. Public school was failing me by passing me on from one teacher to the next. I had trouble with reading, math, etc. My parents realized what was going on and brought me home. I’m thankful.

Tabitha and I have always said that our children would attend public school. As long as the teachers and the overall district were willing to work with us, we’d stick with it. Our children would be good examples for others to follow. Salt and light.

Enter our son:

  • Helped teach his fellow students in kindergarten
  • Excelled through first grade
  • Has continued in second grade to consistently earn high grades
  • Reads on a middle school grade level

(I can brag as a dad, right?)

The boy wants to be pushed. He wants to learn multiplication and how to write in cursive. Our fear is that his enthusiasm for learning is going to be snuffed out unless he is challenged. We realize that public school can only do so much for him. A teacher has to teach so that all students are on the same middle ground. That means that the higher students in the class are often ignored. Not the teacher’s fault at all. Teaching is hard.

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So how do you make the decision to homeschool?

Throw some dice?

Spin a bottle?

What?

I know the challenges that are involved with it. I have seen them firsthand. I know the impact it has on a family and on a marriage.

Social outlets are essential. Support in the form of a homeschool group help a bunch. The kids never leave the house… ever. Mental fortitude is a requirement.

But how does one pull the trigger?

Trying to figure that out.

Let us share your joy

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I am not exactly sure how to write this. But I’m living at that point where friends and family don’t want to tell my wife and I that they are pregnant. Somehow afraid that our feelings will be hurt after years of dealing with infertility.

More than any birth announcement, I am hurt more by silence. Robbed of that shared joy that comes from living in community with others.

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I want to encourage those around my family to share their news. Allow us to come alongside them. Please don’t be silent. Let us share in your excitement.

When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other. – Ecclesiastes 7:14a (NIV)

Get Up And Play With Your Kids

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The Gospel Coalition’s Trevin Wax wrote “4 Principles for Parenting in a World of Video Games“. His article contained some practical advice but featured a tone laced in fear. Zachery Oliver, over at Theology Gaming, wrote a rebuttal titled “Kids and Video Games“. My wife, Tabitha Hall, wrote the following as a response to both articles:

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Model good media behavior in front of your kids.

If you restrict your child’s screen time, then make sure you model that while they are up. Meaning, don’t sit on your recliner and watch sports or play a video game by yourself all day. Turn off the TV. Get up and play with them.

If the rule at your house is no phones at the table, turn your phone on silent and put it away. Want your kids to love to read? Then let them see you reading a book and discuss the book with them. Pick a book to read aloud together with your kids.

Something I believe both Mr. Wax and Mr. Oliver have to remember is that every family’s technology engagement will look different, and no one needs to be judged on their own personal plan. Rather, as I believe Mr. Wax was trying to point out, there needs to be a plan for technology in the home. Not a rigid plan with no flexibility for the child, but a fluid plan that can change with the ebb and flow of the family.

Our family decided to keep technology out of the bedroom. We have a limit on how much screen time our son can consume at one sitting. Twenty minutes is our norm before we encourage that he do something else. Technology is not going to go away, it will just get more influential as time progresses on.

As a parent, you help your child solve a problem by brainstorming solutions. You help them practice their catching, bike riding, or even their shoe-tying skills. In the same way, my husband and I are trying to model good technology behaviors to our son.

Quality Time With Wyatt

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There is nothing that makes my son Wyatt happier than pancakes for breakfast. Saturday, I did an odd thing. I sent my wife off to get ready for the day. Grabbed a skillet, stirred up some pancake batter, and flipped some hotcakes.

As we ate, I pulled out Wyatt’s Bible he got for Christmas. The only present that earned both Tabitha and I a big hug. We read from the Book of Romans.

8 But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us. (ERV)

We talked about how we don’t have to be perfect all the time. How God showed his love for us even when he knew all that bad things that we’d do. God doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up. Some of us, at the table, needed to hear that truth.

Tabitha finished getting ready and went to the grocery store. I had to finish putting up backer board as part of our shower renovation. Wyatt played in his room and then would come out and talk to me for a bit. Always nice to have an extra pair of little hands to help out.

Later on in the afternoon, Wyatt and I had a chance to sit down and play Kingdom Rush. For those of you living under the rock I’ve been living under, Kingdom Rush is an iOS tower defense game. Monsters scurry down predetermined paths, you place different types of towers to destroy them. Perfect game for father and son bonding.

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Wyatt snuggled up next to me, iPad propped up on my lap, we worked our way through the main campaign. Battling the hoards. Doing the good. Enjoying our gaming and quality time together. Might have to do it again.

My friend Josh hosts a weekly gathering at his house called GameCell. GameCell is an ongoing Biblical discussion founded on building relationships while embracing video games. It is a neat concept that I’ve wanted to test drive but haven’t found my tribe to do so with.

Turns out I was looking outside my home. Forgetting that in this season of life, my son follows in my footsteps. Can a GameCell group consist of just a family? I think so. Our time of:

  • Reading and discussing one Bible verse
  • Quality time
  • Game time
  • Closeness

All was intentional. I think we just had our first GameCell.

A Parents Perspective On VR: Being Present

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When I’m playing a game, I zone pretty hard into it so that I’m not seeing the room around me anyway. But I also like the option to turn my head and look at other things — for instance, my family if they’re around. I do NOT want my kids to grow up seeing their dad play games with a mask on, shutting them out. If I do play games while they’re awake, it’s nice to have them hop on my lap, take over jumping duties for my character (hop hop hop), and talk with me about the various sights we’re passing. Being able to look at each other and communicate is key to not shutting ourselves in a game. (And wearing headphones is bad enough, sometimes). – Bio Break, “Virtual reality? Thanks, but no thanks.”