I am a second-generation homeschool beginner.
Before attending a tiny, church-affiliated private school, I was taught at home by my parents for 5 years. I learned to read at the kitchen table. It was also there I learned those basic foundational skills that carried me through the remainder of elementary and middle school, high school, and finally college (WKU class of 2008 - Go big red!).
This is the first year I've sat on the other side of the table.
We did preschool this year. The past-tense is only partly true. We had a lot of ups and downs and backs and forths while trying to get our feet under us, but the Kiddo is able to do everything (and more) I put in my original goal for the year, so overall I'm pleased. In a technical sense, we're done for the year. In a practical sense, I don't guess I'll ever really be done until my children's education passes into someone else's hands. Oh, and because I don't want a backslidden Kindergartner, we'll continue some random review work through the summer.
All that being said, I figured now would be as good a time as any to share some of our thoughts on educating our kids ourselves and our reasons for doing so.
I don't know when I formed the actual thought that I actively wanted to homeschool my kids someday, for Kindergarten definitely and maybe a couple years beyond that. I remember discussing it with my husband back when we were still dating and I remember at least thinking about it before then. It just always seemed sort of a given to me. Why would I hand my children over to strangers for something that I'm capable of doing myself?
It was a fun idea. I never assumed it wouldn't be hard work, but I have always thought it would be a lot of fun.
We continued discussing the topic as it came up throughout the time we dated as well as after we were married. He was publicly educated throughout his school years, but he was 100% on board from the very start. We both agreed on the idea of definitely the first few years and play it by ear as our kids got older... maybe keep homeschooling, maybe send them to the private school I had attended, maybe send them to public school.
Between that time and now, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Both kids were born, I began to do more homeschooling research and resource gathering, and we became acquainted with other homeschool parents. We also began to feel more and more strongly about the certain indoctrination that is taking place in the public school system about such topics as evolution, religious equality, sex education, etc. This is not to mention the absolute falsehoods that are printed and presented to kids as part of American and world history.
All of this and more caused us to feel more and more uneasy about the possibility of ever sending our children to public school. Other issues raised question to the possibility of my private alma mater.
But all of these things paled in comparison to the conviction I felt growing in my heart.
I had always wanted to teach my children at home for some amount of time. I had looked forward to it. But suddenly, and for the first time, I felt that I must.
This was something God was calling me to do.
Now, for reasons that I can only blame on my human weakness, it wasn't until after I felt that conviction that I began to question my ability. Satan has his ways of casting doubt on even those things we feel most led to do. The truth of the matter is... if I pray and seek God's guidance, He is sure to help and strengthen me. Even in those situations where I feel the least capable.
Can I teach my kids to read? Sure. Can I teach them to add and subtract? I feel confident that I can. Can I teach them the history of this great nation and explain photosynthesis and how to read music and how to diagram sentences? I don't deny that some subjects may be challenging for me as they get more advanced, but I honestly don't think that any of these things will be the truly hard part.
The truly hard part, I've found even in this little bit of time, is persevering through the hard days, having patience in the face of persistent distractions, applying wisdom in choosing the best material, and, of course, answering the tough questions... like any one of the following:
"Mama, why did Brother Brad say he got lost?"
"What kind of new bodies are we going to have?"
"How can God and Jesus be the same person? And what about the Holy Ghost? What does He do?"
But we would rather do our best to meet these challenges ourselves and fail miserably than to drop our kids off every morning and never really know whether or not the people they come into contact with each day are even attempting to help them grow into the best versions of themselves. Or attempting to drive them in the opposite direction of everything we hold so dear.
What is boils down to is, even if there weren't countless other little reasons that seem to keep popping up around every corner, the main reason we've chosen this path is because... well, because we haven't chosen it at all. It was chosen for us. And sometime when I haven't driven myself to the point of puking, I'll write about how absolutely terrified I am at the prospect of the years (and years... and years...) ahead of me.
To close up this particular blogpost, I want to share one tiny little personal tidbit about how God has grown me a little bit through my short journey thus far. I struggle a lot with prayer. I've written about it before, but I'll say it again... I like order. Lists and post-it notes and calendars and planners and things of that nature... but God won't let me pray that way. I've tried. It was ugly. One way He's taught me to pray is through the scriptures. I'll (hopefully) write more on that another time, but here are the 2 verses that seem to show up the most in my prayers (and thoughts) these days:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
(If anybody in the world ever needed that basket of fruit, a homeschool parent does! Okay... ANY parent!)
And... perhaps my all-time favorite words in the Bible...
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (from II Corinthians 12:9)
I could go on, but there I shall end. My plan is to start updating more regularly... but don't hold me to that!