How (& WHY IN THE WORLD?!) we started homeschooling.
Before I became a stay at home mom, I was a public school teacher. (Don’t roll your eyes yet! In my eyes - that actually DISQUALIFIED me from homeschooling more than anything! Keep reading) I taught middle school math and language arts. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a teacher and I always envisioned myself teaching in the classroom until I retired.
Upon the birth of my second child, it made more financial sense for my family for me to stay home and care for the children until they were school aged than it did to have two young children in childcare on a teacher’s salary. So, that’s what we did. I left the classroom a week before my due date and I haven’t been back since. As I continued to have babies and attempted to raise them every. single. day. I often wondered if I’d ever return to the classroom setting and I also wondered if I’d ever homeschool my kids.
In the summer of 2017, My oldest child reached the milestone of kindergarten registration. We lived in an amazing school district and I was simultaneously celebrating a 3 and 1 year old birthday for each of my daughters and a positive pregnancy test all at the same time. For obvious reasons, homeschooling was nowhere on my radar and we registered our oldest child for Kindergarten. I grieved the ending of the “all of my babies are home” season in a healthy way, while balancing an excitement of what was to come for my little kindergartener man. I loved school growing up, and I prayed that he would too.
Journey is defined as “an act of traveling from one place to another”
As my oldest child thrived in kindergarten and continued to academically excel at the start of first grade, my younger children and I were finding a rhythm at home and the thought of homeschooling one day re-entered my mind. I considered letting each of my children attend school from kindergarten until 2nd grade and then I would gradually homeschool them from 3rd grade on. I considered letting my son (the only school aged child at the time) just finish through 2nd grade and then homeschool all of them the same year that my daughter would start kindergarten. A lot of varying scenarios raced through my head but I consistently envisioned a calmly paced, smoothly transitional journey from public school to homeschool for our family IF God called us to homeschooling.
Then in 2019, God moved us.
Also known as the absolute MIDDLE of the school year.
We moved multiple times prior to this through my husband’s job but not since our family had grown and certainly not since we had a school aged child to consider. After much prayer, we decided that although it was sudden, we would move as a family unit instead of my husband moving first and us coming later. After much more prayer, we made the decision to homeschool our son for the rest of his first grade school year.
Amidst the craziness of moving our family into an apartment, our belongings into a storage unit, and adjusting to life in a new city, a new state, and missing our friends and church family dearly, I slowly began to take back ownership of my child’s schooling/education.
It was awful.
My son and I both pretty much ruined it completely.
I found myself wondering if I was cut out for parenting at all, much less homeschooling on top of it. (You can learn more about how I epicly failed at homeschooling in later posts but for now… trust me… it was not good.)
It took me a while to realize that all of the thinking I had done about homeschooling, all of the wondering I had done over the years about whether or not it was for me and for my family, had revolved around an incorrect view of homeschooling.
I viewed homeschooling as a destination that we would get to.
I knew that we would face challenges along the journey to homeschooling, sure, but once we arrived at the decision to homeschool and once we found our rhythm, the journey and transitional period would be worth it, and I would continue to joyfully homeschool our children.
I was wrong - Homeschooling isn’t a destination. It’s a journey.
Every day that we begin our “structured learning activities” (even typing that word “structure” makes me giggle) and every day that we just do life together, is another step in the journey. Every time that we find a rhythm that works, someone hits a growth spurt, or loses attention and we have to change up the rhythm and find something new. Honestly, parenting in general, and our life with Christ is best described as a journey and it isn’t until we rightly view our life-long journey that we can appreciate it and experience it as God intends for us to.
Hebrews 12:1 compares our life to a race!
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Don’t miss the imagery of a participant in a race who is ACTIVELY pursuing the finish. Homeschooling, or whatever God is calling you and your family to is NOT a finish line, it’s a journey.
As you read the Hebrews verse quoted above, ask yourself - in what ways can having a right perspective of your calling, help you to persevere? Pray for God to give you the perseverance and endurance to run the race He has set before you.