“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”
I’m a product of the public school system. So is my husband. Growing up I think I knew a total of 5 people personally who were home schooled, and they were my cousins.
2002…When my husband and I were engaged he mentioned in some way that he wanted me to homeschool. I’m not sure exactly how he said it. It wasn’t an order, it wasn’t a must, I think it was just his preference that if possible, he’d like me to. I immediately told him no-not-ever. Again, maybe not in those exact words. But I definitely had no desire to ever do it.
2005…Fast forward a few years to kid #1. My decision at that point changed a little, but not really. I said that I would only consider homeschooling if we ended up in a church where we had a large homeschool support system built in already. That was an easy answer, because at the time we were at a very small church and my kids were pretty much the ONLY kids at the church. I only had 1 friend who was a stay-at-home mom, and I DEFINITELY didn’t know any homeschool moms! So this was my way of giving a hint of consideration, but knowing that there was no chance it would happen.
2009…Now fast forward a few more years, I’ve got 2 kids, we’ve moved to Birmingham, Alabama and go to a huge church. My oldest is starting kindergarten. I still don’t know a single person who homeschools, so that option is never even considered.
The next 4 years I meet a TON of people who homeschool. I co-teach a 7th grade girls Sunday School class with a girl who told me she was a sophomore, and I just assumed she meant in college. It was a few months before I realized she meant she was a sophomore in high school. She is one of the most spiritually mature girls I’ve ever met. Of course she’s homeschooled. I continue to co-teach with her until she graduates high school. I attended her high school graduation ceremony and was just moved by what a sweet ceremony it was. Every dad spoke a testimony of their child. I totally cried.
Friend after friend at my church homeschools. I think they are all crazy. I tell them all, “I would LOVE to homeschool someone ELSE’S children. There is no way I could spend all day with my kids and still be sane at the end of the day.” But I honestly think the teaching part of it would be a TON of fun! But still, it’s definitely not for me.
2013… A great friend starts praying about homeschooling her preschooler who is in the same age as my #3 (did I mention I have 4 now?) and I pray for her. We have lots of conversations about her concerns and fears and worries and reasons why she wants to and feels called to. Another friend from church has 2 children at the same public school as mine. My kids LOVE her kids. Over Christmas she pulls them out to start homeschooling them (they are in 4th and 2nd grades, my oldest are in 3rd and 1st). I feel like it’s starting to surround me. But I never once am considering this being an option for myself.
Spring Break 2014… Great week. We stay in town, go to Hobby Lobby to get crafts, have lots of library days (the Hoover Public Library is THE BEST!) and we have a GREAT week! Until Friday. That’s when my patience is gone and I post the following on Facebook, “Day 5 of Spring Break (home alone with kids): confirmation of my decision NOT to homeschool my kids.” And I love the fact that I get 30 “likes”.
I also want you to know that we LOVE our school! We have had nothing but the BEST experience at Rocky Ridge Elementary. And we are even super excited because one of the 4th grade teachers goes to our church and we LOVE her and are really hoping that Will gets her next year (did I mention she’s from Florida and is a Gator???).
Secret Church on Good Friday 2014… 6pm til 1am spent worshipping and studying the word and praying for the persecuted church. My favorite night of the year. I love every single topic we have done, some more than others. This year is by far my favorite ever. So practical. So Convicting. Session 3 starts. Topics include: Living Every Day to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, A husband’s daily approach to his wife…, A wife’s daily approach to her husband…, A parent’s daily approach to children…, A Christian’s daily approach to other Christians…, A Christian’s daily approach to non-Christians…
I want you to know the topics so you know that none of this is coming from some Homeschool seminar I went to and felt guilty about and decided to do it. Not at all. I’m sitting there listening intently to everything my pastor is saying. Taking great notes. And OUT OF NOWHERE I really start feeling this pressing on me about homeschooling. I just don’t even know how to explain it. I just felt this conversation going on between me and God where it went something like… Me: But my kids are old and so used to being in public school already! God: I am bigger than that. Me: But I can’t stand to be with my kids alone for 1 hour, let alone all day with no break! God: With Me you can. On and on. And I cried the whole time. For about 30-45 minutes it was like this. As I continued to listen and take notes, I continued to wrestle with this.
Bottom line is I was completely being convicted of a lot of sin in my life that deals with selfishness. The #1 reason I have never wanted to homeschool my children is because I want free time! I want to be able to sit by myself and eat fast food while I’m watching NCIS. I want to sit down and read a book. I want to crochet a baby blanket to help my friend raise money for her adoption. I want to go to volunteer at church sorting through pony beads to get the Salvation Bracelet supplies ready for Rock The Block (our backyard bible clubs). I want to have time to unwind and play some games on the computer (unfortunately that turns into way TOO MUCH time). Not that any of this alone is bad, but when I get a little, I want a little more. Then I want a little more. After months of this, when my kids get home from school I’m too busy doing me stuff to be bothered by them. I get irritated at them more quickly and I don’t understand why. They’ve only been home for 30 minutes, how can they drive me so crazy so quickly? And this has confirmed in me the notion that there’s no way I could handle them all day long. And the weirdest part is I have 4 AMAZING kids and I love them like crazy. But I love them and spend time with them on my terms, not theirs.
Back to Secret Church. I’m crying and taking notes, wrestling with God and taking some more notes. Break #3 and I head to the restroom. On my way back to my seat, blocking the aisle in front of me (3 or 4 rows behind my seat), is a girl wearing a shirt that says, “Keep Calm and Homeschool”. Are you kidding me? God what is that about? I only saw that girl one time that night. No clue who she was.
On the way home (sitting in the Taco Bell drive through at 2am for 45 minutes) I tell Scott everything that happened. He’s so confused. “But David didn’t even MENTION homeschooling ONCE! Where did this come from?” Exactly. That’s why I know it’s kind of important. And not that I think this means we have to homeschool now. I don’t know the answer to that yet. I am seriously praying about it. But the thing is, up until now my husband and I have always told people that we feel called to public school. We have access to so many kids and their families that we never would have if we had been in private school or homeschooling. And it’s totally true. We have a great ministry with our Yemeni neighbors that I KNOW we wouldn’t have if not for our kids being in class and riding the bus together. And right now my husband and I are very thankful for those opportunities. And even though for years it was kind of always his preference for me to homeschool, it really isn’t any more because of these opportunities we have.
But even though I’ve always said we’re sending our kids to public school because we feel called to that, I know that’s not been the truth for me. I was just too selfish to consider the alternative. If we choose to send our kids to public school next year, I want to honestly be able to say that we’ve prayed about it extensively and feel that our ministry is too great to give that up at this time.
Or I want to be able to say that God has called us to homeschool during this next season. Maybe not forever, but at least for now. My oldest 2 are completely on board, and #1 actually specifically prayed for it during family worship last night.
So here we go. Praying like crazy. Research beginning. No answers yet. We’ll see….!