March 10, 2010

Homeschool - How Did I End Up Here?

Some time ago, our dear friends, Bill and Hope, asked how Allen and I ended up on this journey. I promised an answer and time slipped away. In these many happy years of home school I have answered that question more than my share. The thing is... it isn't really that great a mystery. God laid it on my heart and here we are.

So there is a little more to it than that. I married when I was 18 years old. Just after my 19th birthday Kaitlin was on the way. I knew nothing about being a mother. I didn't even know enough to know that I didn't know anything. I read some pregnancy books and some baby care books. After that I just took it one moment at a time and prayed that God would show me where to go, what to do and how to do it. He has been faithful to do that these 18 years.

One of the ways he did was to lay home schooling on my heart. I say it was God because it couldn't have come from anywhere else. Before she was even born, I knew that was what I would do. I had never heard of home school. I knew no one who home schooled their children. When I started looking into it, I discovered that despite what people said, it was not illegal. At that time there were 100 home school students in our county. By the time my boys started school last year there were more than 1000 home school families in our county.

At any rate, I was a product of private school and my husband the public school system. Allen does not like new and untried methods and was not quite sold on the whole idea. Every time the discussion would come up he would say, "Don't worry, by the time Kaitlin gets to school I will be able to send her to private school." He didn't yet understand that it wasn't about which school but about what God had called me to do. I just let it go and waited for God to work.

When Kaitlin was three, I was ordered to bed rest for four months, while pregnant with Brianna. This is really when home school started for us. We had absolutely no help at all. No friends, neighbors or family to lend a hand. Allen was in college full time and working two jobs to keep the bills paid. There was no way he could help out. I had to find some way to keep my active three year old out of trouble.

Against doctors orders, I would get up and take her to swing or to swim in the morning for a while and then in the afternoon, when the activity had gotten contractions going pretty good, I would lay on the couch and do work books with her, read stories, count gummi bears... anything to pass the time quietly until Allen got home. By the time her little sister came along, Kaitlin was reading Dr. Seuss to me, adding and subtracting and understanding fractions a bit, too.

Not to mention, she was hooked on the fishing channel and home improvement network. But let's not go there.

Learning continued to sitting at the table and practicing writing while I fed baby or reading aloud to me while I played with Brianna on the floor. By the time Kaitlin turned five and the school system made kindergarten mandatory we were still broke. This is the way God was working. We both agreed public school was not an option and with no money to pay for private school, home school became the only alternative.

It was a neat and tentative time for us. We had no clue what we were doing and no one to seek advice from. We truly entered with complete blind faith that if it was God's will he would show us the way. As a matter of fact, the school board was hardly sure what to do with us. With so few home schoolers, most of who reported to umbrella groups, there was no need for a full time position for reviewing and accountability. However, state law required some sort of reporting. We were sent to the principals of our would be schools for an annual review of our work.

The first review was a scary proposition for me. I quickly found our reviewer to be a friendly and helpful man. Over the years, we have been very blessed to have only the most delightful of pupil personnel to report to. We have come to look forward to our annual checkup. One grandfatherly gentleman even shared the kids' love of fishing, cars and shooting target with arrows and would spend time discussing those topics with them.

Of course, as the home school movement has grown, I have come to know many home school families. In fact, in 1998 when the Lord answered our prayers and led us to a new church, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that at that time every single family on the membership roster home schooled their children! Likewise, the Lord has blessed me with many opportunities to help others get started on their journey.

One of the most common topics of the emails I receive from my blogging friends is questions about home school. I hope to answer most of those in the coming weeks. If you have specific questions you would like addressed click on my email button on the side bar and drop me a line.

*Note to Kate and Heather... I have tried to leave comments at both of your pages over the last few weeks and have not been able to do so. Just wanted to make sure you knew I got your messages, appreciated them very much and will be addressing your questions!*

P.S. After I finished this post, it occurred to me that I never pointed out that after a few months of home school, Allen was won over, too. He fully supports me in my efforts and would never consider another option for our children's education. In fact, with college looming in our childrens' future, we are praying, researching and strongly considering the online college options that are becoming more common each year. Just thought you should know that.

Hugs,

5 comments :

  1. Kat,

    What a wonderful way to show how God worked in your life from the time you and Allen got together and even through now. I love how you took us back in time through this journey with you. You've given me another reason to love and respect what you do and the person you are, Kat!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

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  2. It's so good to hear about other familes journey in the homeschool adventure, it's reassuring to me! I appreciate your posts as well as your comments on my blog. Keep having fun with your family!! Blessings to you! ~Amy

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  3. i'm not sure why you can't leave messages? it's puzzling to me :(

    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Thanks for sharing! We are just embarking on our homeschooling adventures this year and it's so nice to read other people's stories about it.

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  5. That was fun to read, it's always interesting to see where other families "come from" and how they get to this homeschooling journey. There are a few similarities in our story, particularly in how our husbands were won over, so I could relate to that. Thanks for sharing!

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