I hope part 1 of our homeschooling series, Why We Homeschool gave you something to identify with. The biggest bump in our homeschooling journey has been me—my fears. So I want to share them with you and how I got over them.
My initial fear of homeschooling was just a result of pressure. It’s a lot of pressure to think that I alone am responsible for every child learning to read. I alone am responsible for making sure every child can do math. I have never been taught how to teach! What mother doesn’t want her children to grow up just perfect? I knew then and I still know now I can’t teach my child all there is in life.
I cried out to God and asked him first of all, how can I be sure this is what is right for my child? (It started with just one, after all.) I asked for guidance, for wisdom, for discernment. He lead me to people who worked in the school system–wonderful people. I didn’t tell them flat-out I am considering homeschool, but I did ask them many questions about our system including where they thought it was headed. And I feel they were all honest with me.
I found out the child to teacher ratio at the school where my child would attend. I found out the serious traveling the athletes did when they were doing sports–how much this travel cost and who it cost (this would surprise you). I found out the educational break athletes got for all their time away. I found out the policy for young girls seeking contraceptives at age 14 (with zero parental contact or permission needed). I found out when and how often student counselors were available. I found out there is no school nurse. And I found out about the big push to teach “equality in sexual education” starting in 3rd grade for the little girls and 5th grade for the boys–changes are happening folks. And if you don’t know or don’t talk to someone on the inside, it’s very difficult to know where you are sending your children for most of the hours in a day, most of the days in a week.
So, I weighed what I now knew. I realized it was probably just the tip of what I didn’t know. I prayed some more. My husband prayed some more. Then we talked together and decided we didn’t just want children to survive being thrown into the world. We want them to thrive in this world when the time is right. And four and five years old is not time for them to be let loose to thrive. The school system in our area at the time was not where we felt our children were going to learn to thrive. There were many beautiful, loving people working there, but they weren’t going to teach our children the lessons we want them to learn. As scary as it is sometimes, we are the people our children need to be learning from right now. We reserve the right to enroll our children in a public school system when God tells us it’s the right time. He just hasn’t told us this yet.
Well, once I was relieved that I knew what our plan was, I became anxious again. How am I going to do this? I’m not prepared. I’m not qualified. I realized as I stated in Part 1, God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. I have been called. I will be equipped. You never read stories in the bible where God sent someone into battle and then start laughing and saying, “Got cha! Ha! Let’s see how you handle that!” No, He never fails us.
And I can’t expect large swords to be given to me for this battle. David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), was given rocks in the beginning of his story. Three of them. And then told to go face a giant. And not just any giant–one that all of Israel feared. It was clear that in this battle, He would be alone–just him and the Lord. That’s the situation we faced. Neither of our families support homeschooling. We lean on each other, knowing that we are being obedient–and we have an open heart to hear God’s wishes.
Being at peace didn’t solve how I was going to homeschool. I got on-line to check my favorite blog (there was one blog I read at this time). It had a reference to a homeschooling link. Out of curiosity (or desperation?) I clicked on it. I don’t remember which site it was. I only remember that it suggested I look on their Pinterest Board. I started a Pinterest account that day and looked around gathering many ideas. There are a couple of sites I know God lead me to that helped me to get comfortable and survive that first year (I plan to share them with you in a later session, don’t worry.)
It was important for me to pray on it, decide what I wanted to do, and then get going even though my oldest child didn’t have to start preschool for another year. I got a Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System (TL901) , a ream of paper, and began prepping things far before the school year started. I printed just what I wanted to do–not everything.
My last fear was that my child would resist learning from me. I had to figure out a way to make it special. For our family, that meant my child could put off his nap for one hour. All the younger siblings went to bed at 1:00 for their naps. I told him he could go nap or stay up with mommy and do special school. Of course he chose to stay up and do school. We began by doing school from 1:00-2:00 and then he would take his nap. I lucked out in finding his motivation.
As time moved on, I began to fear maybe the next child would resist too. Eventually the oldest one bragged about “doing school” just enough that the next one wanted to do it. I lucked out again. Now it’s just a right of passage that they look forward to.
These may not be the same fears you have. But I believe the solution is the same. Ask God to guide you–and when you open yourself to receive the help, start looking for rocks.
What are/were some of your fears and hesitations?
Join us in Part 3 and learn how we afford to homeschool.