Although many of you don’t homeschool, you might wonder what it looks like. And for those of you who do, three cheers for staying at it!
With our second week of school in full swing I thought it would be a good idea to cheer on my other mama-friends out there who spend their days educating their kids. You guys are amazing cause it definitely is not for the faint of heart!
This past June I had the privilege of saying I had finished 30 years of homeschooling. Actually at 20 years I told Dw I thought I should get a pin or a party or something…I mean people in one work place for 20 years get a pin or an award, right? Well that didn’t happen and for the record I wouldn’t be getting the pin because I was/am an amazing teacher (I’m not!) I’d be getting it just for endurance!
Abigail was born in 1983 and somewhere around 1986 I was listening to Dr. Dobson interview Dorothy and Raymond Moore. The Moores were kinda’ pioneers in home schooling and now were spending their lives compiling research regarding the advantages of not only home schooling, but the benefits to starting a child’s education later than earlier. They shared some pretty interesting things on that broadcast. Well I had always wanted to be a teacher and their interview gave me the courage to tell Dw I wanted to home school Abigail when she was school age.
Dw wasn’t sure what he thought of the idea. Both his parents were public school teachers and he had loved school and he really liked the idea of sending her as well. Besides we knew no one who was home schooling. In fact in 1988 when I began teaching Abigail kindergarten at home, people freaked out. I mean seriously, they did. Not kidding. Everyone was wide-eyed and would ask, “Is that legal?” To which I would whisper, “No, don’t tell anyone or they will haul me off to jail.” Kidding of course. The next question they would ask is, “What about socialization?” Now I’m pretty sure anyone who spends a day with my kids doesn’t need to ask as they love people, communicate well with all ages and the six oldest have launched well into society.
At one point, before I even began home schooling Abigail she had told Dw that she had already decided that she even wanted to home school college! That caused daddy to panic, “Linny! Did you hear her? I’m not sure I like this home schooling thing – she already said she even wants to home school college.” I laughed, “Babe! She also wants to marry you! I’m pretty sure by college she’ll have changed her mind on marrying you and home schooling for college.” Spoiler: She didn’t marry daddy and she did not home school for college.
Eventually we decided that we would see how it went and we’d take it just a year at a time. The thing was that it took me forever to get pregnant or adopt and I just couldn’t bear letting someone else have the pleasure of her and Tyler all day long. I needed more time with my long-awaited, desperately prayed for treasures! We reasoned a year at a time and then we’d likely send her to school by 3rd grade.
But lo and behold I loved, loved, loved home schooling so much and soon Tyler was home schooling beside her and the rest is history! At one point, Tyler was probably in fourth grade and I asked him, “Ty, do you wish you went to school?” His response was, “Mom! No chance! I’m pretty sure they don’t serve warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies with history lessons, so – No way!” Cause you know friends, it’s all about the food!
Over the years we’ve had mostly good days home schooling. Of course we’ve had some hard days. I’ve had kids who gave me hassles about anything I assigned and yes, I’ve thought I was going to pull my hair out. Good news though! I am able to part my hair in a way that the permanent bald spot is nicely covered.
Some might wonder: Did you ever think of quitting? Really, you have to ask? Of course I did! Quite a few times! But I’ve been in it, from about the second year on, for the long haul and love doing life together!
Our favorite part of the day is when we gather for worship (music off YouTube), Bible study with discussion about anything and everything, sharing together how God’s word pertains to our daily lives and how the only way to true happiness is serving Him by loving others, and then we have prayer time together. And let me tell you, we pray! Together the kids and I have seen some incredible answers to prayer!!
Let me just add here…if you have wondered about home schooling – here’s the nudge you need! Do it! You will not regret it! Promise! Try it for one year. You will not ruin your child or children. You won’t. There are a zillion resources out there too! There are co-ops that are also a great help! So really, you can do it and I predict your kids will thrive!
So what do we have to show for the last 30 years? Abigail, an incredibly gifted artist who founded AbiQPhotography – flying (literally) all over the world creating gorgeous lasting memories. A son who is a leader of leaders flying Black Hawk helicopters. Autumn who is doing all she ever wanted to do by being a stay-at-home mommy (and running a business she started in her home). Emma who moved to a developing nation at 19, single and now is the Founder and Director of The Gem Foundation – a home for special needs orphans. Graham is a self-taught web developer who, at age 20, moved right up the ladder at corporate U-Haul so that as a senior developer had those under him who were college graduates(!). He now works building software for a company that serves nonprofits. Liberty had a 4.0 last semester as her first in college and is studying to be a social worker and when finished plans to move to Uganda to help at The Gem.
Over the 30 years we’ve done book based curriculum, some years we did unit studies (my most favorite years of teaching), we’ve used online curriculum and now we are back to straight books.
Funny story…we were pastoring in Virginia, my Multiple Sclerosis had gotten really bad and I was spending days in bed, using a wheelchair some, falling into walls, hand and arm trembling 24/7 for years, always needing a cane…and one day I was in the kitchen. I wasn’t feeling like home schooling – I was sick and tired – literally! I can remember it like it was yesterday, I stood near the island and thought, “I’ve never been a quitter, I will not quit now, besides I must be nearing the end of home schooling. Let me think, I’ve been home schooling for 14 years”...and at that very moment my sweet baby Liberty, who was only 3 at the time interrupted my thoughts when she walked in and I was jolted into reality! With Liberty only 3, I still had 15 years left and total exhaustion washed over me as I laughed to myself and leaned over and pretended to bang my head on the island with no one around to appreciate the humor. Yes indeed, I’ve had hard years.
Yet God is so merciful and good and He healed much of the MS…if you missed the story, it’s here. I still have MS and I still have struggles that serve to remind me all that He set me free from and that when I am weak He is very strong!
Nehemiah and Elizabeth working on some pretty cool Science experiments together…
Brothers reading together…
Of course since that day of pretending to bang my head on the island we’ve added eight more treasures! So at this point with Birdie only being 5, I’m looking at home schooling for at least 14 more years.
And as a side note: An unexpected blessing of home schooling is that it has given our treasures the ability to spend their days healing. Adoption involves so much heartache and loss before even reaching their forever family and for us, this has been one of the best ways to bring healing to our sweet pile.
Bottom line? Mamas out there – I cheer you on! You can do it!! When you get discouraged (cause everyone does) you remember you have another mama who “gets it”, has had plenty of “those days” over 30 years,
even head-banging days but even with the hard days, 30 years into it I can honestly say, “I have zero regrets for choosing to home school!”
So friends, let’s celebrate together the privilege of being a home schooling family, the privilege of teaching our children to read, the joy of watching a Science experiment accomplished, the thrill of a persuasive written paper, the astonishment of inventing something useful, the joy of a cognitively impaired treasure who after years of working finally understands the concept that one plus one means there are now two, all of it – yes, all of it! Such a privilege.
And yes, I’m using pictures from Mother’s Day. Ya’ know why? Cause I’m still standing at the counter typing in my bathrobe at 12:14 pm! Which would be another great reason to home school. *Big smile!*
Three cheers for the wonderful gift God has given us!
Well said! Schooling my kids is one of my greatest passions. We are starting year 17, but our youngest is 8 and in 1st grade, so there are many years to come. Thank you for the encouragement of your blog!