“What made you decide to homeschool?”
I get that question all the time. The answer is so complicated that I usually avoid giving a straight answer, because—there really is no straight answer.
I decided to homeschool because my children asked to try it, and we were in a good position to try it. I only had two school-aged children at the time, and they frequently complained of boredom at school. My kids are extremely curious about the world, and they ask a million questions daily. Every last one of those questions makes me brain hurt.
I remember a few specific conversations my husband and I had in our first few years of marriage about a decade ago. We discussed our vision for our family, and I ever-so-maturely listed all of the things I would never in a million years do. Naturally, these two topped my list:
- Stay at home with our kids.
My husband was homeschooled for a portion of his childhood. I had no experience with it myself, but I knew other people who homeschooled. Since I knew I didn’t want to be at home with the kids full time, I also could not imagine teaching them [gasp] myself. Excuse me while I clutch my pearls.
My mom stayed home with me and my siblings for a decent portion of our time at home. I will always be grateful for God’s provision and my parents’ sacrifice. However, there were certain aspects of daily homemaking that didn’t appeal to me at all—like cooking and cleaning. My mom was all in for us. She gave us everything she had every single day, while using her God-given talents to bless others.
Why SAHMhood Was Not on My Radar
- Stay-at-home parenting appeared to be all-consuming and so much bigger than I was.
- I needed to feel like I had my own life and identity apart from being a mother.
- At the time, I couldn’t see the value in sitting at home doing “nothing” with an expensive college degree.
I marvel at how much I knew about the world…
The bottom line is that I was so adamant about my decisions regarding motherhood that I never considered my husband’s wishes for our children’s education. In fact, he didn’t even tell me how he truly felt until I became pregnant with #3 and I had a change of heart. It was then I learned that he had always hoped that I would want to stay home with our kids, and that he was open to homeschooling.
Seeds of Change
At this point (about 4 years ago), we had been getting homeschool curriculum catalogs mailed to our home periodically. I had no idea where they came from, though hubby assured me he did not send for them. A likely story, am I right? Just kidding–I believe him.
At the same time, my mom (who is a school teacher) had been asking if I had considered homeschooling our kids, to which I emphatically responded NO WAY. Earlier this year, several of my friends who homeschooled asked if I would consider it. Seriously? What is the big deal about homeschool? I wondered.
One night, halfway through my kids’ last year in public school, they sat at the dinner table while I cleaned the kitchen. I can’t remember the exact conversation we’d had that evening, but I do know that school came up. I remember clearly the expression on their faces as they looked me dead in the eye and said Mommy, we want you to homeschool us next year. When I asked them why, they said they didn’t know. They didn’t have any homeschooled friends at the time, so I had no idea where they would get such an idea.
A Change of Heart
Despite everything that went on, I didn’t consider or pray about it seriously until the summer, during vacation Bible school at a church down the road. The pastor’s wife taught my daughter’s class that week. The first night I picked the kids up, we started talking. And of course, she asked Have you considered homeschooling your kids? And of course, she was serious. I had been so utterly confused that this issue came up so often in my conversations until I realized that He must be behind it all. God had planted a tiny seed in my stony, stubborn heart and patiently watered it and gently tended to it until it began to grow. I went from never (ever) wanting to homeschool to actually considering and praying about it.
A few weeks before the school year began, we made our final decision to try homeschooling. I spent the last several days of summer furiously researching and piecing together a curriculum for a fourth and fifth grader. I was instantly overwhelmed. There was so much I didn’t know, but I also felt that I had a potentially amazing support network in all of my friends who were veteran homeschoolers.
There have been days when I questioned this decision, and even wanted to quit and put my kids right back on that yellow school bus. Even more than I want to throw in the towel, I want to see what happens on this journey.
Have you found yourself doing something you never imagined you would? Tell me about it–leave a comment!
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