by Hal and Melanie Young
When we were newlyweds, we didn’t have much money. The first few years, we learned how to do a lot–home repair, car repair, cooking and baking from scratch, making our own fun–all sorts of things!
But as time went on and we had more income, and more children to love, we realized that sometimes “do-it-yourself” wasn’t saving as much as we thought.
I paid someone to change the oil in my van today. I’ve done it lots, and so have my teen-aged sons. Today, though, I had some critical business to take care of, my only available son was taking the SAT, and I realized that it made more sense to pay a few extra dollars and buy back the time and trouble it would have taken for me to do it.
I finally learned that even if I know how to do something, it may not be the right thing for me to do.
Dear homeschooling mom … can you teach everything? Well, of course, not everything known in the universe, but everything you’d like to happen in your homeschool?
Maybe you can! I’ve met some incredibly smart and talented homeschool moms–most of them are, I think. But is do-it-yourself pride guiding the best use of your time and effort? Maybe not.
Here’s an example. I bet you can work every single problem in your kid’s algebra book. Why should you spend the money to buy the problem manual the publisher offers? You can just figure out the answers yourself to check your child’s homework, and it’s like money in the bank!
But if you do that, and you invest an extra 15 minutes a day in order to capture that savings, by the end of the book you’ve spent over thirty hours re-inventing the answer key … all to save $30.
Would you take a job to work for $1 an hour? No, of course not. But if someone said, “I’ll come work for you for $1 an hour”–and it was all above board–would you consider hiring them?
How many days would you cheerfully give a dollar to someone so you could spend an extra hour nursing your baby, reading to your toddler, praying with your teenager? Would you give a dollar for a nap, some days? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you decide to spend a little bit more and get the teacher’s aids–problem manuals, essay prompts, and study guides which are available for most curriculum. Could you re-invent the wheel? Of course. But do you really want to?
I’m not suggesting you hire out your child’s education. The relationship you build as parent to child and teacher to student is precious, and it’s a rewarding thing when you do it at home, in your family. But some of the drudgery and repetitive stuff can be very easily done at a reasonable cost.
So can you teach everything? Maybe so. Probably so! But some parts of it, maybe you shouldn’t. Your special gifts, your unique relationship with your children, your Mom-ness, are worth infinitely more than a dollar an hour. It’s not a question of your ability to do it, but the advisability of you doing it yourself. Save your time for the important stuff!
Fresh from a state tax audit to prove that yes, they’re all ours, Hal and Melanie Young, authors of the Christian Small Publishers Association 2011 Book of the Year, Raising Real Men, are parents of six real boys and two real girls. They have homeschooled through eight high-risk pregnancies, three re-locations, two decades, and 181 degrees of longitude. Hal and Melanie have served on the Board of Directors of North Carolinians for Home Education for over 14 years, including three terms as President for Hal. They have published articles with The Foundation for Economic Education, Homeschooling Today, the John Locke Foundation, Homeschool Digest, TEACH Magazine, Homeschool Enrichment, the N.C. Family Policy Council, the Heartland Institute and more. Hal and Melanie have made more than 50 media appearances in venues as wide ranging as The Jesse Lee Peterson Show and the Bob Dutko Show to Mancow’s Morning Madhouse and CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. They are sought after conference speakers who routinely draw standing room only crowds with their mix of uniquely entertaining cross-banter and practical, powerful Scriptural principles. Their dramatized audiobooks, such as Hero Tales from American History by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, are gaining a following across the country, as well. Hal & Melanie have glorified the Lord through some extreme challenges recently, though, with Hal successfully fighting stage IV cancer and their youngest dealing with a life-threatening heart condition. Despite it all, the Youngs live in noisy familial bliss in North Carolina.
Copyright, 2015. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared October 14, 2015, in The Homeschool Minute™, an E-Newsletter published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Read this family education magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices. For free homeschool information visitConsideringHomeschooling.info.