Our Homeschooling Journey
Hi, and welcome to our homeschooling nook! I am so glad you stopped by today! We have three beautiful daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah, and have been homeschooling since 1998. It’s been quite a ride!
When our oldest daughter Heather was in tenth grade, God spoke to my heart to begin homeschooling. At that time, I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled, and was scared to death! I began researching it, and meanwhile God also told Ray to pull Heather out of public school for us to start homeschooling her.
I ordered some textbooks from a Christian homeschooling organization to do “school at home,” joined HSLDA, and armed with only a faith in my God, support from my husband, and a love for my child [who had been struggling with her grades and was encountering some immoral influences at public school], we began! We saw an immediate positive change in Heather’s spiritual countenance, her grades improved, and she began having more of a sensing of God’s purpose in her life.
The next year I was a little more relaxed and began searching for alternatives to doing “school at home.” I then discovered the gentle teachings of Charlotte Mason, whose faith in Jesus Christ, strong emphasis on excellent academics, and short and interesting lessons changed our homeschool from one of “do your lessons” to interest-led learning. Copywork, narrations, nature and art study, and most of all, reading from living books changed our days from dull routine and drudgery to a love for learning and much more fun.
I studied children’s learning styles from Cynthia Tobias and read everything I could get my hands on, and Heather began earnestly seeking God on her calling. She believed that God was calling her into missions work, and she graduated from our homeschool in May 2000, then went on to attend YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Arkansas.
During her year-long training, she went on a very difficult, month-long missions trip to South America (Brazil, Peru, Columbia) into the jungles and remote villages, facing her fears of seeing anaconda snakes and huge spiders, bearing intense heat, and suffering much with sickness. She came home with drastic weight loss, but a new love and fire in her heart for Jesus.
Later during her studies, Heather went on another missions trip to India. Upon her graduation, she believed God was calling her to full-time missions work – but then she met her current husband Kyle, a very successful computer programmer. Heather is now the devoted mother of two beautiful little girls, Annabelle (6 years) and Violet (4 years). When Annabelle was a year old, both grandmas and Kyle got to babysit and Heather was able to take a week long missions trip to Mexico. A missions trip to Africa is now very much on her heart (and ours). Heather teaches a zumba aerobics class with a devotional afterward to her peers, and has a wealth of friends. She is always on the go!
Our middle daughter Eden (my stepdaughter) lived many years in Texas with her mother, and then her remaining teen years with Ray, me, and Leah. She was in public school since kindergarden while living in Texas, and then she began attending Christian school when she came to live with us in Missouri, until she married and had her baby Jacob (our other precious grandchild!). Eden now works part time as a hostess at a restaurant, and has plans to get her GED and then pursue college studies. She is very creative, is an extremely gifted artist, has a wonderful sense of humor, loves fashion and makeup, and has the sky as the limit for her future.
We have always homeschooled our youngest daughter Leah, and she is now in 10th grade, doing well. I started out her homeschooling with Abeka preschool and elementary materials, and later began incorporating Charlotte Mason methods of education. She’s very bright, is an incredible artist, loves to read (especially science fiction and other fiction books), and usually is seen wearing her Ipod earphones! The years are passing all too quickly with our youngest one still at home, but I am trying to savor each moment.
As speaker and writer Donna Jean Breckenridge said once, in homeschooling you will have good days and you will have bad days. We learn the best we can, and hopefully draw closer to Jesus and one another through them all. There are tears, hard toil, and pain on this uncertain road called life, and homeschooling doesn’t exempt any of us from hurts, trials, and frustrations. Yet there is also the sweetest joy in this incredible journey of homeschooling and life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
My prayer is that I can encourage you that you can do this, too. I never thought I could, but God helped me all along the way. He will help you, too. Nothing is impossible with God.
Don’t forget that some days you should just put the books down and head out the door to feel the sun on your face and the wind on your cheeks. Learn laughter more than any academic subject, as well as grace, forgiveness, and especially enjoying your children, who are precious gifts from God. The days pass so quickly. Slow down. Talk to them. Hug them and tell them you love them.
The academics are not as important as knowing and loving your child, and teaching him or her to know and love Jesus. We are discipling a generation who seeks His face. This world is often a scary place, but in God’s presence is fullness of joy, a peace that passes all understanding, and a love that conquers anything.
Our homeschooling scripture is Deuteronomy 6:5-7. May it speak to your heart and lift you up as it did me, so many years ago:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
posted by bethj