Friday, June 7, 2013

Homeschooling Despite Reservations by Jamie Hausgen

A few days ago, I read my 8-year-old a story while cuddled up in my bed both of us in our pajamas at around 9:30 a.m. on a week day.  The story was from her school reader.  She normally reads her reader by herself, but this particular story had been hard to understand, so I re-read it to her.  I was actually thinking about how great our day was going and that surely that day would be a good day to work on my blog post.  A little later that same day that same child deleted all the pictures off my memory card while using my camera to take a picture of her Lego creation.  I decided that if I was waiting for the perfect day, I would never get my post written.
When I was asked to write a post about homeschooling, I knew immediately that I wanted to do it, but I also knew that it would be something that would be challenging.  I have rewritten this post 3 times now.  I have a lot to say, but I feel like there are SO many homeschooling moms out there who are much smarter and much more articulate than I am who have written much more compelling posts about homeschooling than I can.  My hesitation and uncertainty remind me of how I felt when we started homeschooling – 7 full years ago.
About halfway through 4-year-old preschool with my oldest children – twins, it was evident that they would not be ready to move on to kindergarten mostly due to their late birthday.  My husband had really wanted to homeschool for as long as I can remember, but I had never been on board – until this point.  I wish I could say that I wasn’t ready to send them off to school full time and I just wanted them home with me all the time.  This, however, was not true.  I also had a 1-year-old at the time, and I was a very over-whelmed, young mother.  The fact that my twins weren’t ready for kindergarten coupled with my daughter’s severe peanut allergy almost made me feel as though I had no other choice than to homeschool, so I agreed to try it.  We did pray about homeschooling a lot, and despite my reservations, we did feel that this was the schooling path the Lord wanted us on.
We were ready to try homeschooling, but most of our family and friends were NOT on board with the idea.  My sweet niece who was about 13 years old at the time even told me that all the kids she knew who were homeschooled smelled funny!  I’m pretty sure my parents and my in-laws thought we were crazy and were hoping this was just a phase we would soon out grow.  Also, I hardly knew anyone who homeschooled their children.  I felt very alone and isolated.  I did ask some questions of a few of the homeschooling moms I knew, but I was so clueless that I didn’t even know what questions to ask.
I would like to say that I did extensive research to figure out my homeschooling philosophy and what homeschooling curriculum would best fit our family, but I didn’t.  I read one book, and I decided on our curriculum based on the fact that my twins had used Abeka at their pre-school, and the church we were attending used Abeka at their academy. 
Our first year was a learning experience for everyone.  It was so hard at times that I just wanted to quit – this has not changed, sometimes it is still so hard that I want to quit.  But we have leaned on the Lord, and he has sustained us.  And I have had the privilege of teaching my kids to read and write,  to add and subtract, and to do many other things.  I get to talk to them about Jesus all the time.  Homeschooling is not that different than parenting in general.   Sure, it’s a big deal to be responsible for your child’s education – but in reality, a child’s education is always the responsibility of the parents. 
As we finish up another year of homeschooling and as my oldest two finish up elementary school, I am so thankful that God has called our family to be a homeschooling family.  I really do like having my kids
around all the time (most of the time).  I am glad we get to learn together and that we can stay in our pajamas sometimes if we want to.  I am glad that my kids can sleep in a little bit if they don’t feel well.  And I am so thankful for the many friends that my kids and I have made. It turns out there are tons of homeschooling families in our area, and we are so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. 

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