I have been asked, “What was the deciding factor to get you to homeschool your kids? How did you come to the decision to take your child’s education and happiness into your own hands?” Before I answer, please meet my homeschool family!
Why Would I homeschool?
I have often been asked why I homeschool. I mean, why would I ever put myself through the stress of teaching the most amazing gift (my daughter) I have ever been given about the world around her? Why would I put myself through the long hours and the sleepless nights of wondering if I was doing the right thing? Why would I spend all day with my daughter for the rest of her life while at home, I mean, don’t I want alone time and time to do other things, like get a job outside of home (as if homeschool mom’s and dad’s are not working)? Why consider doing something that most people think is crazy and a total waste of time? Why stunt my daughter socially by making her stay home with me and suffer a life without classrooms, bullies, school lunches, intimidating bus rides, daily cesspools of germs and words and conversations that do nothing more than cause her to hate who she is? Why have her learn about things I don’t believe she is mentally ready for, like sex education in the lower elementary years? Why would I try to teach my daughter about things like WWII or math or grammar when a person who was trained to do it can? Why stuff her in a class with one teacher and 30 other kids where she will receive very little one on one help because she is quiet and not a trouble maker? Why? I will tell you why, because God commanded it and my daughter’s heart cried out for me to save her. The real question was, was I willing to have courage and to rise to the challenge?
A Look Into Our Homeschool Lives
Let me give you a look into our homeschool lives and hopefully all your questions will be answered. It may even encourage you that you are doing the right thing or make you think about what you are doing and give you courage to go against the grain.
Life sure brings us to strange places, places we would never have expected to be. Some are good and some… not so much. We have a beautiful eleven year old daughter and if you would have asked me 11 years ago if I would ever consider homeschooling the answer would have certainly been a resounding NO! Be careful, because those things you say no to could end up being maybes, then they might just turn into a great big old yes!
Like I said above, I have often been asked why we chose to homeschool and when they find out, I get this sideways look as if I am one of the strangest creatures on earth. What is going through their head??? Do they think I am crazy for homeschooling or are they fascinated and just too afraid to ask? I will never know and just smile and move on. Then there are those who find out we homeschool and immediately think it is their duty to start testing my daughter to find out what she has been learning and if she is keeping up with her peers. I asked one lady (the checker at a grocery store) if she interrogates all kids coming through her line or just homeschool kids? I got an irritated “humph,” and she quickly started doing her job again. Don’t interrogate my daughter, I assure you she is ahead of kids her age in school, even if she isn’t doing the same subjects. Yep, mom bristles are showing! lol
My Heart Broke Sending Her To School
Anyway! Some things did happen to urge me and my husband to consider doing something different with our daughter. But let’s start at the beginning. First, it was incredibly painful for me to leave my daughter all day long at school with someone else. I love my daughter, surely I was meant to have more time with her at home than just 5 short years! Right??? I remember crying daily after I dropped her off wondering if I would be able to handle her being gone all day every single day. It took years to get pregnant, and I felt as if I was already being forced to give her to someone else. It was painful, and just like most parents, I love my daughter deeply. It didn’t seem right. I remember feeling as if I was asking this precious little girl that barely weighed 30lbs to go to an all day job. How could that possibly be right. But I sucked it up and did it, against all my mom’s intuition.
The Nightmare Begins
She loved school to begin with and had no problems for the first couple of months. Then it started, she went through a lot of teasing for being small, she was tiniest by far. As a parent, I of course could help her work through this just like I had to even though it is painful to see her tears. I remember what those tears felt like because they still held a place of pain in my own life.
Then came the bullying. Two boys got physically abusive with her. One was a minor situation compared to the other (he punched her) and it was handled and taken care of immediately never to happen again. But the other boy caused much more trouble than the first and before long he was choking her on a regular basis. He would choke her so hard she felt as if in her own words, “my eyes feel like they are gonna pop out.” Then in the end he ended up picking her up throwing her down on the ground on her head which resulted in a neck injury! It was a horrible time.
The School’s Empty Reassurance
Now through all this we were “working” with the school to get the situation resolved and were assured more than once that it was being handled. The boy was being watched and wasn’t going to be allowed anywhere near her without supervision. But clearly that was not happening. By the third semester when I would pick my daughter up from school she would get migraines and as we would drive our 30 minute drive home (we live in the country) she would scream, cry and hold her head between her tiny hands because it would hurt so much.
The joy of going to school and learning was gone and it had become a nightmare. What do you do when the school isn’t doing what they said they would do? She didn’t love learning anymore, or being at school. My baby was miserable all day, everyday… except on the weekends when she would let her guard down and feel free. Before my daughter started kindergarten she could read and do simple math. Now, she was completely shut down and no longer read or did math.
One day my husband picked her up from school. He had been in favor of letting her work things out. He asked her how her day was and she said excitedly, “It was a great day daddy! No body hurt me today!” It broke my husbands heart that the thing that was used to decide if she had a good day or not was whether or not she would be hurt by someone. It was heartbreaking.
And before you ask, yes we did take her to the doctor and his diagnosis was stress related migraines. Remove the stress, they will leave. How do you remove a stress when you are not there to make sure it doesn’t happen? It was all I could do to take her to school and drop her off and often I sat in the parking lot waiting and praying for her until the day was over. Many prayers went to heaven over this situation! I volunteered as often as I could, and when I did it was clear to see that with so many kids there was no way they could keep the hands of some from hurting others.
I Felt Trapped!
Like many other parents though, I felt I had no other choice. Children HAVE to go to school. It is the law. More tears flowed and that is when my search began… what was I going to do to protect my child and get her to love learning again? What was I allowed to do???
During this time of wondering how I could possibly help my daughter I was pouring my heart out to someone and they mentioned homeschooling. I must admit when I first heard her speak of homeschooling fear overcame me. “I am not qualified to teach my daughter… I was only an average student with difficulties in some areas… I don’t even know how to start… My daughter would drive me crazy or I would drive her crazy… What in the world will happen to my daughter if I choose to do it?.. Won’t my daughter be scarred for life?..” I Went on and on with the fear-filled questions. And I must also admit that those questions still come from time to time.
The Homeschool Research Began
But as my homeschool research began, I literally spent hundreds of hours going to dozens of blogs, dozens of websites that were for and against homeschooling, dozens of curriculum websites, not to mention speaking to people in person. I have found that everyone who makes this decision goes through the same kind of stress and worries when trying to come up with the right decision for their child and family. That was a comfort.
What Do The Statistics Show?
What has been even more comfort are the homeschool statistics I have found while doing my research.
If you look at the education aspect alone, homeschoolers test much higher on average than traditional school kids. They transition into the non-school world much better and high ranked colleges are now recruiting homeschoolers because they work better on their own, have more original ideas and are more self-motivated. They know how to learn and love it. That was enough to get me to thinking more earnestly.
Homeschool Family Dynamics
Then the next thing that I researched was how it would affect my family and its dynamics. Would we get closer or would it drive a wedge between us? That was exciting to read about as well because in blog after blog, story after story, and in book after book all I found was that the bond between children and parents and siblings were strengthened and sealed on a deeper level than ever before. It was a lifestyle, not just school. I wanted that too!
The Dreaded “Socialization” Aspect
Then there was the social aspect. I have been asked many times, “How do you socialize your daughter?” Asking as if I have my daughter locked in the closet until it is time for school then shove her back in there after it is over. Most homeschool families are very social and very active, quite a bit more than many normal families. And their activities revolve around kids of all ages as well as adults and people of all different lifestyle backgrounds. In regular school, kids are stuck in a class of kids all the same age from the same area of town… homeschooling seemed to be better at teaching your child how to communicate and have fun in all kinds of situations (unless you of course locked them in the closet all day except when homeschooling). 😉
I mean think about it, where else, other than school, do you go to work, or church or any other function where everyone is segregated by age and address? No where! Why do we do it to our kids and expect them to be more socialized. We send our kids to school expecting socialization, but they are told not to socialize in class because they are learning. hmmm … lol Not only that, but I don’t want a bunch of other kids teaching my kid social skills… “Lord of the Flies” anyone?
My daughter has learned how to play nice not only with kids her own age but older kids and younger ones. She has learned how to have fun with seniors and adults of all ages. She has helped feed the poor and do other kind things for people. Not saying that kids in school don’t learn these things as well, especially if they have engaged parents, just that homeschool kids do too and it can often be the focus.
The last area that interested me was the curriculum. I was able to figure out what kind of learner my daughter was and make sure that she had curriculum that will help her to LOVE learning so it wouldn’t be something she hates to do every day! What a novel idea! How exciting! And guess what? I not only learned her learning style, but mine as well. It sure would have been wonderful knowing that when I was a kid! It would have made things so much easier. Schools don’t have resources or time to do this with the kids. But you can at home!
When I started to see all the opportunities and possibilities, far more than I could share here, I started to get excited… very excited! It wasn’t how I ever expected to feel when the word homeschool was ever mentioned.
What Did God Have to Say?
During this whole time we asked the Lord to weigh in on the subject. Because without His leading where would we be? We knew that if we listen to God, researched wisely, made no rash decisions that we would be able to come to the right decision for our family. God knows what is best for us, and He will guide our every path during this decision. God has also given us very strong command to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6. It is our responsibility to make sure our kids learn, even and especially if they go to public school. Homeschooling puts that responsibility square in your lap, and that can be a very good thing for our kids. So with all this we felt a resounding and terrifying yes!
It’s the Best Decision We’ve Ever Made!
We have been homeschooling for 5 years now. It was the best decision we ever made. Our daughter is flourishing in school, she loves it! She reads close to 100 books a year that are not part of her required books. She is reading at a 10th grade level. She writes like crazy, chapter books, poetry, music, short stories and she journals all the time. She is currently writing 2 chapter books and is loving every second of it. Her favorite subjects are history, science and writing. Math she hates. lol But she still gets A’s on everything and applies herself. She loves learning so that means when she wants to know something, she looks it up and learns all about it (with my help of course)!
*Side note, if you want to laugh and be thoroughly disgusted, look up the history of toilet paper. Yep, we did that! Boys would especially love this.
She has friends, family and faith to fill her life. She rides and competes with horses, she sings on the worship team when that is an opportunity, she is involved in some different sports and in VBS and AWANAs. She is actually creating her own VBS right now. And she can play in the snow all she wants and do her school work outside because I am the teacher and I said she can and I say when schools over! Even if it is only 10:00am 😉
Do Your Own Research and Ask God for Confirmation!
If you are thinking of homeschooling, remember that other people’s experiences are vital, reach out. Research is a must, you need to find out your own answers so that you know what you are getting yourself into. It isn’t easy, it is harder than anything I have ever done. But it is also the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done. My relationship with my daughter is incredible, even if we do drive each other crazy from time to time. 😉
Knowing your family is imperative. But if you do not consult the Lord through it all, then you are flying by the seat of your pants. You may end up doing the right thing, but not without a lot of stress, heartache and bumps that could have been avoided along the way. I pray you are able to make the right decision for your family with God’s help.
Let Me Help You!
If I can ever answer any questions I am more than happy to do my best. My heart to equip and empower moms to do what is right for their families. God loves our families and He gave moms a special heart for them.
I asked in the title, “Are you willing to be courageous and homeschool?” Yes it is hard, but I know without a doubt, you are courageous enough!
Thank you for listening to our homeschool story.
Come see me on 30 Ways We Homeschool – Blog Party tomorrow! My blog post will be, “How to live a homeschool life full of grace.”
You can also enter to win a ton of homeschool curriculum! Who doesn’t like that!? Go to They Call Me Blessed and sign up to win today!
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