Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Homeschooling & Extracurricular Activities

About five years ago, I was asked a question about homeschooling and extracurricular activities. Here is the young mother's question, along with my reply.

"One concern of mine is that my children will not get the benefit of the
sports and music programs that I loved so much going to public school.
Music was my life the entire time I was in school. How do you get your
children involved in these things? My oldest will start either public or
hs in September for kindergarten. But I worry about future years. We can
not afford to give them private lessons. And even if we could that
doesn't allow them the competition of being in band or choir or school
team sports. So much is learned I believe by team activities. I myself,
did not play sports, but I learned a lot about working together and much
more from band/choir.

So, what do you do about that for those of you with children old enough
to play sports and band/choir?


Dear Jane,

I want to tell you about my family’s experience. I am Kathy, mother of seven wonderful children ages 3 - 17. We have always homeschooled, but I taught public school music before I had my first baby.

I also loved music in school - was in band and choir and all the school musicals. But because of my belief in Jesus, no way was I going to turn my children over to the state to raise. So I began organizing little programs for homeschoolers at Christmas time. Some years I directed a choir, other years I just had families or individuals sign up to perform. My children have always sung in our church’s children’s choirs. My oldest began to sing in the adult choir when his voice changed in 9th grade.

We also thought that we could not afford private music lessons for our seven children. I had taught some piano before children, so over the years I have tried to teach my children piano, but I was never consistent. Two years ago we decided we really wanted to give our oldest an opportunity to play an instrument. He choose violin. I felt so bad for him as a 15 year old to have to start with baby songs when some of his friends were playing in a local youth symphony.

Well!!! God has really blessed us! Our son worked really hard at his violin and this year after only 2 years of lessons (which this year he is paying for himself) he not only auditioned for the local Youth Symphony and is 4th chair 2nd violin, but he was accepted as a student of the Concert Master of a nearby Symphony Orchestra. This teacher is absolutely wonderful and is giving free Master Classes every month for his students. It has been a fabulous opportunity and one I never would have dreamed of for my son - but God did!

This same son also takes voice lessons and has won first place awards in National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competitions. I am not trying to brag, just to show you that homeschoolers have wonderful opportunities.

What I value far more than my son’s musical successes (and I am VERY proud of him!) is his godly character. He is a very nice young man who obeys and honors his parents. There is just something special about David and I think at least part of that is due to homeschooling him. His homeschooled friends are just as special.

In our area there is a homeschool orchestra that my son was part of last year. It has been in existence for abut 7 or 8 years, I think. I have heard of homeschool choirs and there was a homeschool group in in a nearby county that did The Sound of Music one year not long ago.

Back to my family. Since I have a large family and they all sing well, we have a ministry to nursing homes and senior citizen groups. We do a program every month or so. My children play piano (I am teaching them again on a more consistent basis), 2 play violin, one plays trumpet (God has provided the means for this - pray!!! Don’t limit what God can do!), and they sing solos and we sing in harmony together.

To me, this is so much better than what I did as a music teacher in the government school. We can sing about Jesus and share our faith. You can’t do that in school.

I guess the sum of what I am trying to say is that what God will provide for your child through homeschooling will far outweigh what they would have missed in the government school. Read ~Homeschooling, The Right Choice~ by Christopher Klicka. Pray and seek the Lord’s face on this issue.

Homeschooling has been such a blessing to our family in so many ways. I can’t imagine not having done this (or continuing - I still have many years to teach!)

Hope this helps!


1 comment:

Carmon Friedrich said...

Hi, Kathy!

Our dear friend Amber, whom we've known since she was 12, 15 years ago, is our children's piano teacher. She is in a local symphony, as well, playing the viola, and her twin sisters play flute and violin, magnificently performing on those instruments. Their family hosts a music night at their country property every month in the summer and early fall, and different young people have a chance to perform at their outdoor "amphitheater." I am not musical at all, but my girls are quite proficient at singing and piano, and it's such a blessing to have these opportunities. There are all sorts of ways to creatively be creative when you homeschool :-).