First, I want to applaud all the homeschooling mom’s who answer the call…who step-up to the challenge… who take on the daunting task of educating their children.
Secondly, I want to commend all the wonderful….brilliant….creative….unit-study creating…classical-educating moms…..the blog world is full of such talented moms who bring so much love of learning and creative juices to their educating……you are great! And to be honest….I spent a lot of my homeschooling years longing to be more like you…. but by the grace of God… I have come to peace with who I am as a homeschooling mom. So my story…. my journey is maybe for the less than talented….not so academic smart…failed unit-study-building kind of homeschool mom.
Let me start out by saying….I am not the homeschooling mom who can give great ideas…model great teaching units….I am a homeschooling mom who struggled greatly in school. P.E. and lunch were my favorite subjects…..My schooling was before there was much understanding about learning disabilities….better known now as learning styles. So I just thought I was dumb and gave up somewhere along the way.
So for me to even think about taking on the task of homeschooling was a huge step of faith. When I started out….I thought I would only school my kids until middle school because I figured I could only handle the academics up until that level. The second leap of faith….I was entering into unexplored territories of homeschooling…..my oldest is getting ready to turn 30. Essentially, homeschooling was considered very weird….we stayed inside until regular school let out so we would not rouse suspicion and have the truant officer called on us. There was little outside help…. I did not know anyone who homeschooled all the way until high school let alone college…these were very uncharted waters.
Sometimes I long for those waters ….homeschooling has changed so much over the years….much for the good….but I also see much for the detriment….because of the ease….sometimes the conviction does not have to be as strong.
For me…if it wasn’t for the conviction…I maybe would have not stayed the course. People are uncomfortable when I say this next statement….”I believe my children have suffered academically by being home with me”….now I just mean academics…because homeschooling is so so much more than academic pursuits. I cried many a night saying that I could not do this….I did not have the academic knowledge….but God in His kindness gave me a very supportive husband…. one who has known me since we were 14…we went to school together…but we did not share many classes….two totally different academic tracks. He knew my gaps… but he always encouraged me…He who would remind me why we were doing this thing called home schooling….how we wanted our children to be rooted and grounded in who they were in Christ….so when they did venture out into the world...their roots would hold them in the storms of life.
So year after year I pressed on….cried….prayed….and God ALWAYS came and gave me the help I needed. By the grace of God….I have graduated my first 4. I share where they are in life….not to lift me up….but to encourage other homeschooling mom’s like me….just the average struggling mom….My daughter went from my kitchen table to nursing school at age 17….my second son just passed his boards to be a Physical Therapist and my third son is getting his MBA (he is a basketball assistant coach first…seeker of higher education second) and number 4 just graduated from High School enter college in the Fall….but most importantly….they each have their own growing, maturing relationship with the Lord….and isn’t that what we really want most of all for our children? I must stay the course….finish strong…..I still have a one I need to finish the race well with.
People ask this dinosaur of homeschooling how I did it?….did I instill a love for learning?….sad to say maybe not….but what I did instill is a good work ethic…I asked them for an honest days work..to do all as unto the Lord. We got up….they had to do what was expected and I needed to be engaged in that process with them. But most importantly, I knew my first job was to pass on my faith… to share in a real and living way….my love for Jesus…and I see homeschooling as one of the many “schools” of God. He wants to meet us right where we are….in the middle of a math lesson….a child being stubborn….when we are being very impatient….right there we have a choice…make this a true teachable moment….to see the most important lesson…. a lesson of the heart….these will last long past the academic achievements.
I thank the Lord for the privilege to homeschool….for the stretching and challenging it provided for me and my children. Without the daily clashing and grinding over the many years….I believe, especially with my first born daughter (poor first-borns ...most of all daughters…I am convinced there is a special spot in Heaven for them)….we could not have forged the depth of love and friendship we have today. Homeschooling provides the foundry where “iron sharpens iron”…..I like the King James Version for this one…”Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Over the years, we have whittled and shined each other.