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The first time I really heard about homeschooling was after I married my husband. We lived in a small college town and attended a small church. We had become friends with a couple close to our age, whose child was 7 months old at the time. They already knew they were going to homeschool her. That blew my mind!
Fast forward several years, to the summer before my oldest entered 3rd grade and his younger sister was to begin 1st grade. I was set to head back to school with the kids, to teach a Pre-K class of 3 year olds. However, we had discovered near the end of Kindergarten that our daughter had a vision problem that had affected her ability to read. The Lord kept bringing the verses from Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 to mind:
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 on 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
We decided to give homeschooling a try. This would be our third attempt…I had had two false starts….but I promised my husband that I would stick it out the full year, no matter how much I might want to quit. Thus began our homeschooling journey, and how I came to be supplying this list of reasons why I homeschool!
1) God told me to! He kept bringing the above verses to mind. I was taking courses at the local community college, had my children in day care for the summer, and was planning to head back to school in the fall to teach while they were in class. While I was teaching the 3 year olds, my own 3 year old would be in the other 3 year old teacher’s class. I would not be able to attend any of his special events such as the Christmas play, the Mother’s Day party, or any other ‘special party’ his class may have, because I would need to be with my own class of 3 year olds. With these verses, God was telling me that I needed to teach my own child, not place him under someone else’s care so I could go teach others’ children. I needed to be obedient.
2) My daughter needed me to! She required extra help both with learning to read and with therapy for her eye. Due to the un-diagnosed vision problem we were unsure of how long she had been unable to see well. I knew the teachers at the private school. I was, and still am, confident of their ability to teach! However, I also knew that with 15-20 students per classroom, my daughter would not be able to get as much help as she needed to learn her letters and sounds properly in order to begin reading. We also would not have had as much time each day to patch her ‘good’ eye, or to perform the necessary hand-eye-coordination activities that her eye doctor had recommended had she been spending her days in the classroom. I needed to make the responsible and best decision for my daughter.
3) God gave me the desire to teach, but He had His own plan for how that would look. I never could have guessed that I would be a teacher at home. I’ve watched my children learn to read, one by one. I will soon help my 4th child learn and then my 5th, as soon as they are ready. What a blessing! And one I would be missing out on, had I left them in school!
4) God wanted to renew my love for learning! I have come to love learning again, through great literature, excellent online articles via blogs and magazines, and through the many homeschool friends I have made over the years. I love subjects such as history and literature, but I also truly love to learn about homeschooling!
5) I have a passion for encouraging others on this journey, or those who are just thinking about embarking on the homeschooling journey. Since I am nearing the end of my 7th year of homeschooling, I now have a little bit of knowledge and experience. You’ll notice that I emphasized the word little. And, what I do know has come from God. He has given me the compassion that I have for others who are beginning this homeschooling journey. He has given me the desire to seek out information for myself, and to share it with others who may benefit from that knowledge. Any ‘influence’ I have or have in the future is simply due to His leading in my life. I want to continue to share my love for homeschooling with others!
6) Through homeschooling, I have gained the ability to tailor my children’s learning. If the math text does not fit quite right, we can switch mid-year to something that does fit. When we are slogging through reading material that is not engaging to us, we can feel free to set that aside and pick up something that is engaging. If I do not have the knowledge or desire necessary to teach a high school Biology class, we can (and do!) choose to take the course online or through a local co-op. Freedom in learning is an exciting reason to homeschool!
7) Homeschooling means my oldest daughter can focus on her photography and my oldest son can focus on his writing. It means my middle child and youngest son can socialize with his friends at co-op without the fear of being sent home with a note to mom. It means my younger daughters know their siblings. They get to spend each day with them, hours a day in the same house. While being together 24/7 may sometimes get on all of our nerves, I would not trade it for the world! Homeschooling means relationship.
8) Homeschooling means that I know my children. I know when they are mad. I know when they are happy. I get to hear them laugh together daily. And as irritating as it can be, I get to hear them squabble. I say I ‘get to’, because it gives me the opportunity to teach them how to react. I can ‘teach to the moment’. That does not mean that they always ‘get it’. I don’t always get it either. We have to apologize to one another. We need to take a time out every once in a while. But we are learning. Together. And to me that is priceless.
Wendy Woerner, married to her high school sweetheart for just over 17 years, is nearing the end of her 7th year of homeschooling. Wendy is creator of the Pre-K Activity: Read and Play for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is currently a Star Contributor and member of The Schoolhouse Writer’s Group associated with The Old Schoolhouse® magazine.
You will find her blogging about her life at Following in His Footsteps and writing about feeding her family at Southern Test Kitchen. Wendy is also a brand new allergy-friendly recipes contributor over at Managing Your Blessings, so be sure to look for her first recipe in the coming months!
When she’s not working, Wendy loves spending time with her family, getting creative in the kitchen, reading about all forms of homeschooling, and encouraging other moms that they can be successful with homeschooling, too!
Wendy would love to hear from you, so please feel free to send her an email or leave a comment either here or on her blog!