My story of how I began homeschooling isn't like any of my friend's stories. I wasn't even thinking about school for my kids when I began feeling the call to homeschool. My son was not 1 yet, and our plan was that when our kids started school, I would go back to work. It would probably be a job at their school subbing or something along that line so that I would be off when they were. My husband mentioned homeschooling a couple of times, but I quickly shut the idea down. He had been listening to a radio show with Dr. Dobson and was really seeing how homeschooling...especially a little boy...could be beneficial. To say that I was adamantly opposed to homeschooling, would be an understatement. He didn't push me and at that time said, "Okay, well if they go to school, they are going to a private school."
Move forward to the time that my son was probably around 10 months old. Out of nowhere I began to be bombarded with homeschooling. I wasn't praying about school, yet school was suddenly all I could think about...not just school, but homeschooling to be specific. I questioned myself, and I questioned God because surely I wasn't hearing right. How could I be thinking of homeshcooling? I didn't think people should homeschool, and I actually had not been very nice to some people in our previous church who had homeschooled. (I have since called and apologized to them and asked forgiveness) Not only was I thinking about it all of the time, I would get in the car and something would be on the radio about it...or I would go to the store and run into someone from church that homeschooled and we would have a conversation about school. I mentioned to Chris, my husband, that I was considering the homeschool option, and he was ecstatic.
One day I called by best friend and shared with her what I was experiencing and she began to laugh! That really got me. I thought to myself...is it that funny? Does she think I can't do this? But, the reason that she was laughing was because she knew that she was going to homeschool her children and had been trying to figure out how to tell me. She had been doing her research and was armed with answers for every question or criticism that I could possibly throw her way.
I had almost convinced myself that I had heard wrong, and that the kids would go to school, and I would be a very involved room mother, when out of nowhere another couple from our church started hosting a parenting class in their home for parents with young children. By this time, Grant was 1.5 and Merideth was a newborn. I told my best friend that I would go, but I was still very unsure of the whole thing. I mean how do you tell your parents and friends that you are not going to send your kids to school?
After only a couple of classes in this family's home, all of my misconceptions and preconceived notions about homeschooling began to melt away. Their children were so delightful to be around. Their teenage daughters had a look of innocence about them, and their sons were very respectful and well mannered. But, best of all, when I talked to them, they talked back and actually acted like they cared about whatever you were talking to them about. By the end of this class Grant was closer to turning 2, and I finally quit running from God. I knew what I had to do, and I knew if I did anything differently, then I would be disobeying God. When I think about how much God loves me and all of the details that He worked out during this time, it just makes me smile.
At this time in my life I was a big people-pleaser. I wanted to make everyone happy, and revealing this decision to others would definitely not go over well with some. How like God to give me a best friend to walk that road with me? In the beginning, our parents all reacted differently. One grandparent offered to pay for private school, one asked if it was legal and one asked how we would get their high school diplomas. When I look at those reactions now, they make me laugh! By the time we actually started homeschooling 3 years later, we felt supported by all of our parents, even if they didn't fully understand or agree with what we were doing.
I started attending a local homeschool conference with my friend every summer from the time that Grant was 2 until he started kindergarten. I knew what curriculum I would use and was so excited to start. The curriculum has changed a little bit each year, and each year I've grown more comfortable in my own skin about what to do specifically for my own kids. Each family is different, and each child is different. Your homeschool will not look like anyone else's homeschool, nor should you try to repeat what someone else is doing. I think it is fine to get suggestions and maybe even start with what a friend is doing, but in doing so, realizing that at some point there will be things that you do differently.
I don't think that homeschooling is for everyone. I do know that it is for my family. I do think that there are a lot of families that dismiss the idea without considering it as a very good option for their children. I have a peace that we are doing what we've been called to do. That peace is what helped me through one school year a couple of years ago when there were days that I wanted to quit. I knew quitting wasn't as option, so I kept trusting God to get us through and He did.
This year began my 5th year of homeschooling...not counting...not counting pre-school...and this has been our best year ever! I am thankful to God for allowing me to be with my kids each and every day, and I get to see that light bulb go on when they have learned something new.
If you are someone that is thinking about homeschooling, or if you just have questions about how things work...I would love to talk to you. Another great resource is a blog where I do a weekly wrap-up. There are anywhere from 50-80 moms a week that link up together, and you can see what other moms are doing.
I am a homeschooling, stay at home mom to two wonderful kids. I have been married to my high-school sweetheart for 12 years. I love homeschooling and never would have imagined the joy that would come from seeing my kids learn together, or from being the one to help them through both the easy and challenging aspects of school on a daily basis. I have wonderful support from my husband and from our families. I want everything that I do to glorify God and love serving him most of all….
Andrea's blog address is www.whateverphilippians48.wordpress.com
The blog that she links up with is www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com