October 10, 2005

How We Came to Choose Home Schooling

I thought it appropriate to take some time to reflect on just how we got to this point in our parenting journey, the point at which we have made the commitment to home school our children--not just for kindergarten, not just for elementary school, but for their entire school experience up until college.

I had not heard much about home schooling during my own school years. I knew a few students in my high school who had been home schooled at one point or another, and my college roommate of two years was a home school graduate. She, like the few others I had met, seemed perfectly normal, with above average intelligence and a well-rounded resume. So I never really understood the concern about the "stereotypical" home schooled child.

During my student teaching experience, I lived off campus with a home schooling family. At the time, Laurie, the mom, was about where I am now, with a kindergarten-aged daughter, a toddler son, and a third child on the way. Even though I was gone during the hours Laurie was actually doing school work with her children , I truly owe much of my foundational commitment to home schooling to her and her family. Laurie was an example to me of what a stay-at-home mom might look like. I had never really put much thought into it previously, but by this point I was newly engaged, and thoughts of marriage and family occupied my mind as never before. Of course, I realize much of my parenting skills were actually instilled by my own dear, godly parents, but as the daughter, you can imagine how often I objectively observed their actions in order to prepare myself for my future roles as wife and mother: never!

So my quarter with Brian, Laurie, and their children was probably the single most influential aspect in what I have come to view as my calling as a home school mother. Meanwhile, Ted was attending Bible studies while at the Air Force Academy, being mentored by a captain who was a father of (at the time) four children, all home schooled. Our letters to one another discussed our ideas about home schooling, so even then the idea was germinating.

Years later...we began "home schooling" Charis when she was about 3 1/2. I thought I would try a pre-school workbook from Sam's Club, and as it turned out, she loved doing her pages and begged for them every day. We continued doing workbook after workbook. During this time we moved from Ohio to Maryland, and I knew that during our one-year assignment there, I needed to do some reading, talk with home schooling families, and learn all I could. God graciously put me in contact with a wonderful group of women, and I joined their home school group Godly Home Educating Mothers during the year we were there. I learned much from simply talking to the moms, and a couple of them particularly mentored me during that time. I am so grateful to have had the privilege to get to know these dear women and their (rather large!) families and see various home schools in action.

Meanwhile, Charis was thoroughly enjoying her "school time," and as I saw her writing becoming steadily better, along with her math and thinking skills in general, plus the fact that she was beginning to read already, Ted and I began to discuss when we might "officially" start her on the home schooling journey. I don't remember a time when I ever thought that we would NOT home school, although I believe Ted would probably share that he had some reservations in the beginning. But as this blog is written from my perspective, I will leave the explaining of that to him, and if you want to know more about how the Lord has led the head of our home to the commitment to home school, you are welcome to ask Ted himself about it!

As the time for our move from Maryland to Nevada approached, I found myself knee-deep in a pile of home school catalogs, searching the Internet and asking questions of anyone who would put up with me! The time was drawing near for the ordering-materials-and-making-a-school-schedule part of home schooling, for, as many home schoolers already know, we have been doing this since birth, really. We read to our children; we spend time with them; we answer questions; we share life experiences. But this fall marks that official time where we can say YES! We are a HOME SCHOOLING FAMILY!

This makes me very excited, if you couldn't tell! It has been my dream since I was little to be a teacher. I adored teaching English in Hungary during two summer mission trips, and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching Speech, Composition I and II, and American Literature at a small business college in Mountain Home. However, after being disillusioned by life in the public school (my one year of teaching at Mountain Home High School was more than enough for me!), I now consider that I am truly doing what I was made to do. This is not to say that the year I did teach high school was a waste, by any means. I trust the Lord had me there for a purpose, and I do pray He was honored by the work I did there. However, when I look back on that experience, I feel that there was much I would change if I were to do it differently. My passion for teaching has only increased as I have learned more about the ins and outs of home schooling, and, Lord willing, I plan to never go back to a classroom, public or private, again. Instead, our home will be the classroom for all the children the Lord gives us, and when I am yearning for a different teaching setting, I will simply look forward to my stamping workshops, at which I get to teach excited women the art of rubber stamping and scrapbooking!


Bob & Claire said...

I love to read how people came to choose homeschooling! I just posted our journey last night, so I guess great minds run on the same track! : ) I saw a lot in common in our stories, aside from the fact that I did have a negative opinion of homeschoolers when I was younger. We both had experinces living with or in other ways being deeply involved in the lives of people who homeschooled that really influenced us. How neat! And a challenge to me to provide that same kind of support to other people who may not even know that they are interested in homeschooling!

Pilot Mom said...

I popped over from 'bob & claire's' blog. I'm Claire's aunt. It has been interesting to several of your posts and 'get to know you.'

Thanks for the visit! :)