Most of the time, I try to stay away from writing about homeschooling on my blog. This is not a homeschool blog, and it’s not a topic that everyone really cares about all that much.
But right now, it’s one of the big things in my life that’s getting a lot of attention, stress, and prayer. And the longer I blog, the more I find that those are the topics that resonate with people – the personal, privately painful, deep, life stuff.
If I share what I’m truly struggling with at the moment, it seems there is a much better chance of someone else connecting with my story – someone who, for whatever reason, needs to hear those certain words, that different point of view, the reassurance they’re not alone.
So here’s a post about homeschooling, for anyone who might be needing it, for whatever reason:
I grew up in a town where homeschooling just wasn’t done that much. The few who tried it were viewed as being…kind of weird.And beyond that, I never gave it a lot of thought.
But when Anika was three years old, some friends of ours came over for a visit, and shared how they were considering homeschooling their kids.
I was surprised – they seemed so normal. Why would they be interested in homeschooling?
As they shared their reasons, I felt myself slowly starting to relate to what they were saying. The dreams they had for their family were very similar to ours, but I had never considered homeschooling as a way of accomplishing those dreams.
When our friends left that evening, Ben and I looked at each other and said, “Interesting. We may have to talk about this some more, someday.”
But Kindergarten still felt a long way off at the moment, and it didn’t feel like a pressing concern, just an interesting thought.
Two months later, the opportunity to move to Red Rock Bible Camp presented itself, which meant some big life changes for us, including…homeschooling.
If we chose to move out there, sending Anika to the nearest school would involve her spending two hours per day on a bus, in addition to over an hour of driving for us, getting her to and from the bus stop.
We saw homeschooling as our only option: Were we prepared to do it?
I have never been so stressed about Anika’s future. It was extremely difficult to make the choice to homeschool, and to move to a place where social interaction with other children was not guaranteed. We were dealing with infertility at the time, so producing siblings for her to play with wasn’t even looking like a realistic option. Would she be lonely? Would we regret moving out there?
In the midst of my turmoil, one day I felt God say, “Trust me with Anika’s future.” I realized He cared far more for her needs than I even did.
So we went for it. And at the job interview, when I was asked how I felt about my possible role at camp, and if I was prepared to homeschool, I cried when I answered.
I couldn’t help it! It was such a weighted question for me at that time.
I thought for sure Ben wouldn’t get the job because of his crazy, emotional, bawling wife.
But he did, and we moved, and we homeschooled.
And we loved it.
Not in an “Everything is sunshine and roses and happiness ALL THE TIME” kind of way, but in other ways.
Our family found it’s rhythm. We found a relaxed, flexible pace and schedule. I loved being there for all those times when Anika was learning something new, and the look of understanding and excitement flashed across her face. I loved learning with her. I loved shopping for all the fun books and resources. 🙂 I loved being the one to help her with all the other life stuff that came up while we were doing school. I loved seeing the kind of relationship she grew with Kaylia because they were together all day. I loved all the hours she had for playing, reading, imagining, and getting outside when she was done her school work. I loved being in a place where every other family was doing the same thing, and loving it for many of the same reasons we were.
And we didn’t love every single moment of homeschooling, but we loved the results.
It’s like potty training – sometimes it’s hard and messy and frustrating, but I don’t ever quit for those reasons. I stick with it because in the end, I love the results, and it’s so totally worth the effort.
After four years of homeschooling, it’s become a part of who we are as a family.
We could change. We could send Anika to school, and she could love it.
And we may do that, someday.
Or we may not.
But for now, we just like it. Sometimes it’s hard, and very frustrating, but some moments are gold.
Now that we’ve left camp, I am starting to see more clearly how much our family changed and adapted to our life out there. It was very, very different than life out here.
Maybe our adventure at camp made this “normal life” seem harder to blend in with, but maybe blending was never the point. And I could never regret these past five years, because we loved it. It made us who we are. So has homeschooling.
But I find myself feeling scared again.
I am scared this could end up being a bad choice for Anika. I’m scared I won’t be enough. I’m scared we’ll shelter her, or hold her back from good opportunities. I’m scared she’ll seem weird to other kids.
Right now, though, this is where our hearts are at, and once again, I have to trust God with Anika’s future.
If He makes it really clear that Anika needs to go to school, off she goes. But in the meantime, this is who we are.
God has blessed us and cared for us so very well – far beyond our expectations.
Those social concerns I had for Anika at camp – not having enough kids to play with? There were 15 children living at camp when we left. I really didn’t need to be so worried.
I think He’ll work things out this time, too.
If you want to read some great resources about why homeschooling can be amazing, these are my favorites: