Every Christian has a unique story of how they came to know Christ. Every married couple has a unique story of how they met and fell in love. And every homeschooler has a unique story of how they chose this method of education.
Growing up, I attended an excellent public school system. While not perfect, I had a very good experience. Academics were strongly emphasized, extracurricular activities were abundant, and the environment was safe. Although smaller and less advanced, academically speaking, my husband had a similar school history.
Our intention had been to send our kids to public school or, if finances allowed, a private Christian school. In fact, my son attended private daycare and preschool programs 2-3 days a week from ages two through four. The plan was for me to return to teaching college full-time after our daughter entered kindergarten (which would actually be next month).
Sometime in early 2010, during our first year in Arkansas (when my son was three and my daughter was one), either a speaker I heard or a blogger I read mentioned asking God to turn our hearts toward home. I was already a stay-at-home Mom at the time, but I sincerely prayed for God to turn my heart toward home. I believe that He did just that. Shortly thereafter, He opened the doors for me to begin teaching online instead of part-time in the classroom as I was doing at the time.
Fast forward about a year. My son was in a K4 program three half-days a week, and we were planning to either keep him in the same program for K5 or return to a local Christian school for him to begin Kindergarten. Because of the relatively low test scores of the local public schools, we had already ruled out that option.
About this time, a friend of mine decided to remove one of her daughters from the best junior high school in town because of severe bullying. My friend had done everything right – she was super-involved in the school, she had talked with the school leadership about it, etc. – but still it continued. This friend is not someone who coddles her children, so I knew it must be a serious situation. I began thinking, if it can happen with her children, at a school where she is so involved, maybe I need to look into this homeschooling stuff. (If I were to list the reasons we homeschool now, bullying would be very far down the list, but it was the initial impetus for considering it.)
I knew absolutely nothing about homeschooling. I had heard of it, but I didn’t know how it worked. Would we be doing school from 8am-3pm every day? What would I teach? How do I find curriculum? What on earth??? Another friend whose son had been in my son’s K3 class had begun homeschooling that year, so I asked her to meet me for lunch one day and explain what they did. I also began researching online. I was amazed at what I found. I had no idea so many resources were available!
So I was taking the tenuous step of considering homeschooling. Next step, of course: praying about it. This was in January 2011, and our pastor was beginning a sermon series involving a chronological study of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, so the early sermons involved Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and so forth. I’m sure this was not the actual main point of any of the sermons, but what I kept hearing was come out from their midst and be separate. I knew that was my answer.
During this time, I was also talking it over with my husband, and he was in favor of giving it a try. My son’s birthday is in late April, so he would be a very young kindergartner. We had been considering keeping him in preschool an additional year. Because of that, we figured we had a “free year” to try out homeschooling. If it worked, great. But if it was a complete bust, we’d just put him in kindergarten the following year, and it would be no big deal.
We started homeschooling in June 2011 (the kids were anxious to get started!) and, unless the Lord directs otherwise, we have no intention of stopping. Each year has had some really fun days, some really not fun days, and a lot of ordinary days. Some things have worked very well. Others, not so much.
I know that homeschooling is not for everyone. If you don’t homeschool, that’s fine, and you are certainly more than welcome here. All that matters is that you are doing what the Lord has led you and your family to do.
So what’s your story?