Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"What led to your decision to homeschool?"

Monday's question in the 'Back To Homeschooling Week' activity was "What led to your decision to homeschool?" Below is our story, and please be sure to take a few minutes and join us in the fun. I'd love to hear about YOUR story too!

I think it's wonderful that some parents know that they're going to homeschool from the time that their oldest child is still in diapers. I wish that would have been how it was for us. But, it wasn't.

I don't think I've ever shared our story of how we became homeschoolers with my cyber-girlfriends, so I guess nows the perfect time.

When our oldest was still only four, we knew the time was coming to decide where to send her to school. You see, we never even thought about homeschooling. We didn't even know anything about it. So I went down to the elementary school and got the papers to sign her up for pre-school. She went through the mandatory testing day and scored very highly in everything they had her do. I was so proud!

But each day, while driving to work, my husband passed a local Christian school and just felt led to send her there. So, that's what we did. It was by no means cheap, that's for sure! And we really couldn't afford it, but somehow we made it work. Baby girl started there for her K-4 year. (What is it with pushing our babies to start school so early anyway? Sheesh. If I had it to do all over again...)

Anyway, she really enjoyed herself and did well. Then came Kindergarten. We again sent her to the Christian school and I was home with a 2 year old, a 1 year old, and I was pregnant with our youngest daughter. Everything was fine... until the baby came in January.

The Christian school is a 15-minute drive from our home, so I was getting out twice a day with 4 children ages 5, 2, 1, and a nursing newborn, in the winter time, twice a day for a MINIMUM of 30-45 minutes each time. Now, YOU tell ME how hard that was?

At the same time, Baby Girl's teachers were telling us that she was "the smartest one in the class" and "she already knows everything we're teaching" and "she really should be in first grade". That got us to thinking.

We're dishing out about $200 a month that we really can't afford to send her somewhere where she's not learning anything? And I have to bundle everyone up and get out in the cold twice a day with all these little ones just to take her to these expensive babysitters?

I must back up a bit here for sake of the story. For a couple years before this, Sweetie and I would sit around the pool at his aunt's house during their yearly family reunion and talk with his cousin's wife who homeschooled their children. I really enjoyed talking with her, and she never pushed homeschooling. She would just mention it casually here and there during our conversations. We did notice, however, that their children were just the most polite children we had ever been around!

I also have a sister-in-law that had homeschooled her children for their Kindergarten year and she loved it. She had told me once that you would never regret doing Kindergarten because it was so much fun.

At the time, these conversations didn't really stick with me, but now they were all coming back to my mind as we contemplated what to do with Baby Girl. We KNEW getting out in the cold with the babies was growing old very quickly. We KNEW Baby Girl wasn't learning anything new. We KNEW that we sure could use that $200 a month somewhere else more beneficial. We also knew that it was the second semester of the school year and we really didn't want to change schools then. And we REALLY knew that we weren't ready to send her to public school.

So, where did that leave us? I did go to school to be a teacher, even though I didn't finish. I did have some experience with teaching little ones after all the years I had taught Sunday and Bible School. This WAS our own little girl we were talking about here, and no one loved her and wanted to see her excel more than us. And we DID pay for all those Abeka books she was using so they'd be coming home with her. Besides, Sweetie's cousin and my sister-in-law had talked so much about homeschooling... and it WAS already into the second semester. It'd only be for a few short months....

So, we prayed. I KNEW what I wanted to do, but I asked God to give Sweetie the answer (I didn't tell Sweetie this) so I would know that it was Him and not me making the decision.

And one day, all of a sudden, as he was walking out the door to go to work, he stopped and looked at me and said, "Well, are you ready to start teaching?" And that was that!

As much as I had loved everyone at the Christian school Baby Girl was at, I was shocked and just a bit hurt at their response to our decision. When I had menioned to her teacher and aide that it was hard on me getting out with the babies and that we were praying about homeschooling, I was told how crazy I was and how they would NEVER do that and how I wouldn't like it and that I'd lose my mind... yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, little did they know that they were only adding fuel to the fire! LOL! In February, we pulled her out and began this wonderful journey that has provided us with more precioius memories than we would have ever had if they were gone away from us every day.

And that's how we became homeschoolers. And 5 1/2 years later we love it even more than we did when we first started (now that we know what we're doing!).


Tricia said...

That is a great story.

This year I realized that if my kids were in Public School, I'd have to drop 4 kids off at 4 different schools!


And people think homeschooling will drive you crazy? Try being involved, doing fundraisers, meeting all the teachers, etc for 4 different schools!

That would make me loose my mind.

Tricia said...

By the way, I have to add that my oldest went away to a private Christian school for K because I was sure I could not teach him with all these babies at home (3 year old and an newborn)

Now I just laugh, it is KINDERGAEDEN! What is so intimidating about that?