- Why did you begin homeschooling and is it the reason you continue?
We began homeschooling because my husband worked far away and only had weekdays off, no weekends. I realized our child would rarely see him anymore when he started K. Private school was also very expensive and I'd probably need to go back to work, even though I felt that I was just finally getting the hang of being a stay at home mom. It broke my heart to think of no longer spending my days watching my children meet milestones and make discoveries. So I discussed homeschooling with my husband.
Well, he was not on board, fearing weird, unsocialized kids (which he remembers from his church growing up). So I began to pray, "Ok, Lord, you've put this on my heart. You have to convince him because I can't." I began to journal every time the Lord brought another reason for homeschooling to my mind, instead of continuing to tell my husband, since he was not interested. And I kept praying.
One day, I don't remember how the topic came up, but he said something about homeschoolers sitting at the dining table all day. I told him that homeschooling had changed a lot and reminded him that our city had a large community of homeschoolers. But, I also remembered, I can't convince him, only God can. I said, "I'm not going to try to convince you anymore, but I have been journaling about it, if you ever want to see that." He said, "Okay, I'll read it. Send it to me." (It was in a PDF which I could email to him.) So I sent it to him, and then forgot about it.
He called me from work later that day and said, "I read your journal, and those are all very good reasons. I don't know why I've been so resistant; I think I just had an ideal in my mind about our routine once the kids were in school. But if you want to try homeschooling, I'm behind you 100%!"
Wow, guys, I was so shocked! What's more, he's been my biggest support and encouragement all these years (in our 6th year), even through my own doubts and the doubts of those around us. Praising God daily for this blessing. I had decided I wouldn't try it unless we were in agreement, and God gave me better than that!
My husband's works schedule is a little better now and he works closer to home, but we've come to love the homeschooling lifestyle. We have so much freedom in our routine, especially to travel in the off season!
- What do you hope will happen this year?
I hope that I'll get better at going with the flow. I've always had a difficult time with natural interruptions: holidays, sickness, travel. I need to be okay with not doing everything on the list, and being "behind" sometimes. Because, truly, we are never really behind- we're doing life.
- What works well that you want to intentionally continue?
I highlight everything we've done in the TM which gives me a great sense of accomplishment, especially on the weeks we couldn't get to everything. It's awesome to see a page full of yellow highlighter; makes the skipped items seem smaller.
Also, I've finally been able to work in foreign language on a regular basis, as well as instrument practice. I want to keep those up for sure! It's amazing to see how much they advance when we're consistent.
- Are you trying anything new – small or huge?
I'm doing Bible first, math second, and history third. Everything else is gravy, in my opinion, so it's working well to get the important stuff done first. (Especially since history covers many aspects of LA, too.) I'm also alternating subjects they dislike with stuff they do like; learned that from a friend. It works SO much better than trying to get them to do all their hard work before the fun stuff. A lot less tears here this year!
- What was a challenge last year that you hope to find answers to?
My daughter has some dyslexic tendencies, but since she's improving so much, we're just watching it right now. I've learned some ways to help her by researching online, but have not sought therapy yet. She's reading really well now (last year was not fluent). She's in 3rd grade and reading on a 4th grade level. Her spelling isn't great (2nd grade level) but improving every day. And she still reverses b's and d's, and occasionally numbers. But if that's the worst of it, I think we're ok for now. I hope to determine this year that she's continuing to excel without therapy; otherwise, we need to seek help.
- Is God saying anything special to your heart that you would like to share?
Sharing something personal here, but I'd encourage homeschooling parents to be SURE to take good care of themselves. I have been struggling with anxiety issues the past year and I finally sought help last month. Medication was the right solution for me, and I'm not ashamed to say so. I prayed God would give me a clear answer on whether or not to try it and He did. I finally feel like myself, and I truly think my kids are happier too. I didn't realize how much my intensity affected those around me until I was out of the "fog". I'm so thankful to be clear-minded and experiencing joy in the little things again. I'm much more able to cut loose and play with my kids, and I'm not getting so overwhelmed by the ebbs and flows of life. Take good care of yourselves, Mamas and Daddies.