If you’ve ever thought about homeschooling, chances are you think about it a lot during the Spring. There’s something about Spring that initiates growth, new beginnings; fresh starts. Maybe it’s the newly blossoming trees, budding shrubs, or the yellow powdery dust that will soon cover and smother everything in sight. Maybe it’s the start of analyzing the past few months of your child’s current school. For any reason, this is usually the time of year when I hear moms talk about homeschooling their children for the first time.
If you’re suddenly feeling the need to homeschool, and you have no desire to, but something inside of you wishes you didn’t feel that way, you’re not alone. Before I’d ever become pregnant with my first son, I had friends who were moms in the homeschooling community. Although I loved my friends in all their brilliance, I had not given much thought to homeschooling. In all actuality, I had not given ANY thought to homeschooling. The fact that my friends were homeschooling their children was great for them, but it just wasn’t for me. At the time, teaching just wasn’t my calling. In fact, I hated teaching, so homeschooling, for us, was probably the farthest thing from my radar. Little did I know that God had other plans. I can just hear Him giggling now.
When I first found out that I was pregnant and began to share the great news, I found myself answering the “are you gonna homeschool” question before you could even tell that I was pregnant. My obvious answer was no! (Actually, there may, or may not, have been a harsher word placed before that no.) I was NOT going to homeschool! Never! Ever! Ever! In fact, at the time when I was 8 months pregnant, my husband and I purchased our very first home (This awesome, God-story will be shared in an upcoming article). Just across the street from our subdivision, the ground was breaking for a brand new elementary school. This school was just perfectly placed in our area, and the timing was fabulous. By the time my son was ready for school, this one would be nicely established. We could walk to and from it on pretty days, and all the kids in our subdivision would know each other because they would all go to school together. It was just perfect!
After five years of anticipation, it came…the time to sign up my first son for school. This was obviously no big deal, and I was kinda excited about it. (Except, it was a big deal, and I was not excited about it.) I never even saw it coming. I suddenly felt something that I had not anticipated. I. Just. Couldn’t…
I fought the feeling with all my might until I just couldn’t fight it anymore. I knew God was calling me to homeschool, but I just couldn’t fathom it actually happening for real. (Did I mention that I hated to teach?) I found myself having one-sided conversations with God about how much I did not want to do this. The thing is, He already knew, but my wants and desires of what was comfortable for me and expected of me at that time was not his concern. His concern (and love) went WAY further than I could ever comprehend.
So, I woman’d up and did what I thought was right. I told my husband and decided to let him be the final decision-maker. I thought, for sure, that he would not be on board with homeschooling, especially so late in the year and without all the facts and research. To my own surprise, he was totally and completely on board. Apparently, God knew my motives and went ahead of me, preparing my husband’s heart before I could even get to him.
Against my own will and desire, I listened to God’s prompting. I agreed to give it one year – just one year before enrolling my son in school. I figured that God would see that this wasn’t gonna work out, and He’d change His mind for the years to come. Besides, it’s Kindergarten. I figured there wasn’t much I could screw up in Kindergarten, and Kindergarten isn’t even required in our state anyway. So, I was in the clear.
After deciding to homeschool through Kindergarten, I immediately began to gather all the materials that I needed. I actually got in to this a bit. It became really fun gathering material, buying supplies, and setting up our homeschooling area, and after a couple of preparation months, the time had finally arrived. Our very first homeschooling day.
I would love to say that our very first day was relaxed, but it was everything but relaxed. I woke up bright and early; woke up my son bright and early; which, in turn, woke up my younger son (who was 1 at the time) bright and early. We all had breakfast together (just like if he was going to brick and mortar school); we gathered together to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (just like if he was going to brick and mortar school); we read the Bible (not really like if he was going to brick and mortar school, but this was a way we could make it different). Then we started with a very structured style of learning (just like if he was going to brick and mortar school). We broke for lunch (at a designated time). We broke for P.E. (at a designated time). I think you get the picture here. By the end of the week, we were absolutely exhausted. I quickly realized (and by talking to my homeschooling mentors) that our homeschool was not to look the same as a day at a typical brick and mortar school, so I decided to change it up…A lot!
In the weeks to come, our homeschooling day became much more relaxed and laid back. We were sleeping a little later and learning to play a little harder, but after a while, we got the hang of it, and guess what! It was fabulous! I (we) loved it! I noticed that I was gaining a love of teaching that I had never had before. I was loving the flexibility and family time that we had accumulated, and it was just plain awesome!
We are now (as of this posting) in our 10th year of homeschooling, and it just gets better and better with each passing year. I cannot believe we’ve made it this far and long in our journey, and it feels amazing! I cannot imagine doing anything different with my children, and I thank God each passing day that we GET to do this; that this is our life together. Homeschooling has benefited our family tremendously, and I would go back and change a thing!