This year marks the seventh year that our family is home schooling. Many of you out there who just read that sentence have just decided that I am possibly crazy. Did I mention that I have five children? That just confirmed your suspicion, right?
Let me start by listing some reasons that are not why we home school. (These seem to be the answers to a lot of the questions that I get asked.)
– We are not against public school or are scared of what it would do to our children.
– We do not intend to shelter our children from everything in the outside world.
– Our children are not required to wear jumpers and suspenders. (I just had to add that one for fun!)
So, how did we decide to follow this journey called home schooling? Ten years ago, my first child was born. When she arrived, I left my job of teaching junior high social studies, a job that I absolutely loved. I loved the school, the students, and the experience of daily sharing new information with my class. I remember saying to another teacher at my school, “In a few years, we’ll be back. Olivia will be a preschooler, and I will be a room mom! I can’t wait!”
Fast forward a few years. Two more of our five children had been born. My husband and I had started talking about enrolling my daughter in preschool.
And then it happened. Over the course of the next year, home schooling suddenly seemed to be everywhere. I heard about it on tv and read about it on the internet. At church, one family shared that they planned to home school. And then another, and another. “Good for them,” I thought, “but it’s not for us.”
Then one day on the radio, I heard a neighborhood church was offering an informational evening called, “Are you thinking about home schooling?” “Well, no I’m not!” I told myself.
The next day, I heard the commercial again. And then again the next day. I wasn’t even in the car that much, yet I kept hearing that commercial! What was happening! I felt like the idea of home schooling was chasing me down. Looking back, I realize the Lord was trying to get my attention.
With much nervousness, I said to my husband, “So, I keep hearing this commercial on the radio about home schooling.” After explaining the situation to him, I said, “Do you think we should go?” I was shocked when he said, “Sure!”
We went that night. I remember not wanting to tell the babysitter where we were going in case she thought we were weird. We arrived and there were perfectly normal looking people there! Shocking! One by one, very typical parents stood up and shared about their daily schedules, curricula, and the blessings they had experienced through home schooling. Then they fielded questions from the audience.
That night my husband and I talked for a very long time. What if we really did this crazy thing? What if our family and friends thought we were weird? What is we ruined our kids?
But then we also discussed these ideas: What if our kids got to spend more time with my husband who works unconventional hours? What if they grew closer to their siblings? What if they got to learn according to their own learning styles and developmental stages? What if this was what the Lord had for our family?
And you guessed it, a few months later, after a lot more prayer and discussion, we decided to try it for one semester. Ha! We reasoned that we couldn’t mess up a four year too badly in one semester! Well, that one semester went so well that I decided to finish out that preschool year. Next, we decided to try out kindergarten, and first grade and now this year we have a 5th grader, a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, a kindergartner, and preschooler. I know for certain that this IS what the Lord wanted for our family during these past seven years. And trust me, no one is more surprised than me how much our family loves home schooling.
p.s. Stay tuned. Some day soon I’ll write in more detail just what we love about this thing called home schooling.