Although I would love to take credit for coming up with the word, homeshuling, I cannot. I borrowed it from a Jewish mother's parenting blog, which you can find at http://www.homeshuling.wordpress.com/. In the event that you have no idea what the word shul means, it is another word for synagogue. I think that her use of the word homeshuling rather than homeschooling is brilliant!
As my daughter matures further and further beyond the one year mark, it becomes more of a reality to me how important it is to be her first and probably most influential teacher. As her mother and primary caretaker, it is my responsibility to redeem the hours that I spend with her on a daily basis. For the most part, it will be me who teaches her the alphabet, shapes, colors, numbers, and how to read and write, etc. And because she is with me most often, it will also be me who shapes and builds the foundation of her faith in G-d, Yeshua the Messiah, and her love and obedience to Torah. This is a daunting task indeed, but one which I can honestly say that I am very excited about.
It has always been my dream and desire to homeschool my children, and if the L-rd makes that possible for me to do, it will be great. However, even if they do attend school outside the home, my responsibility as their first teacher still remains the same. As soon as Elisheva can hold a crayon to color, I will be "playing school" with her because learning should be fun and engaging. When I was much younger, I had an opportunity to "play school" and teach a 3-year old girl, and she loved it! She thrived on the structure and the activities. I taught her colors, shapes, how to write her name... we sang songs, did crafts, and colored for hours. This love for teaching young children also led me to become a substitute preschool teacher, probably the most fun and fulfilling (and exhausting) job I have ever had! Now, with a child of my own, the excitement level is even higher, but the stakes are also higher. The other children I have taught (hopefully) went home to learn from their parents as well. Elisheva will already be home. Still, I await with great anticipation the discovery of all that she will learn from her father and I. I'm also confident that it will be enjoyable for all of us, as she seems to have a natural curiosity to know everything and a love for books already. I just pray that my husband and I will continue to take this great responsibility seriously and not for granted.
The Torah commands us to teach the instructions of G-d diligently to our children (Deuteronomy 6:7). Yes, we are required to teach them so many other things as well, even if they have other teachers outside the home, but we cannot neglect to teach them, at every opportunity, the word of G-d and how to apply it to their lives. And to teach it, we must live it in our own lives because children, like most people of all ages, believe what they see, not what we tell them to be true. Unfortunately, the phrase "do as I say, not as I do" has no place in Biblical parenting, although we've probably all heard it (or said it) once or twice in our lives. All teachers may not be parents, but all parents are teachers. As the rabbinical saying goes, "He who knows alef and bet is required to teach he who knows only alef."
With every passing day, I see my daughter learning more and more. With every passing day, I teach my daughter more and more. Her "homeshuling" has already begun, and I pray that my husband and I will able to teach her all that she needs to succeed and grow in this world, and all that she will need to know G-d, please Him, and inherit blessings in the world to come.