As God called our family to homeschooling my husband and I both had preconceived ideas and fears. But as the journey started this one thing helped turn it around.
(Edited June 5, 2021 – I just wrapped up our fifth year of homeschooling four kids! It is still a joy and a blessing!)
When it comes to homeschooling I’m a complete novice. I’ve only been doing it with one of my children since August. That’s a whopping four months.
Needless to say I still have a LOT to learn. We are still figuring out routines, learning styles, what curriculum we enjoy, etc. And in just a couple weeks we’ll add a whole new dimension to the mix as my five-year old joins us.
When Homeschooling Isn’t Your Choice
Growing up I had preconceived notions about homeschooling…or should I say homeschoolers. So when I had my own kids it was not something I even thought about at first.
As my oldest approached school age it did cross my mind. But not enough to actively pursue homeschooling. And my husband didn’t want to either.
It wasn’t until this past summer as my daughter was preparing for third grade when we all reached our limit on trying to push her through the day, every day – barking commands, getting angry, having her in tears, always telling her to go. When all she wanted to do was stay home and pursue her passions.
The Lord laid it on my heart that we needed to switch directions and start homeschooling.
The decision did not come without a lot of fear and anxiety. I asked every homeschooling friend I knew for advice on curriculum, what to do, where to start. One of the best pieces of advice I got was to just relax.
But it wasn’t until I happened to hear from Kelly Crawford, a homeschooling mom of ten(!!), that I confronted my fears. And had them all put to rest.
I read her book “Think Outside The Classroom: A Practical Approach To Relaxed Homeschooling” in about two days. It would have been one if I had that much free time to read. I did not want to put it down. It helps that it’s an easy read!
I felt like she was speaking right to me, addressing every concern I had. It gave me a new sense of peace and excitement about the journey ahead.
What I didn’t expect was the conviction it gave me about how amazing homeschooling really is. It changed my whole perspective on how I raise my kids and my purpose as a mother.
What Is Education?
Kelly starts by addressing what education actually is. I had never even thought about it. I grew up going to public schools. Everyone learns the same stuff. Everyone goes to elementary, junior high and high school. Then you try to figure out what you’re supposed to do with your life.
But that’s not what I want for my kids. I want them learning right now what they want to do and be. More importantly I want them developing their God-given talents and learning how God can use them.
Homeschooling as a Lifestyle Change
Next Kelly talks about learning as a lifestyle as opposed to something you do five days a week inside a brick building.
I found myself nodding and smiling at every point she made.
- Yes, I want my kids outside, exploring, learning about nature and life.
- Yes, I want my kids to have time to ask questions and search for the answers without bells telling them it is time to move on.
- Yes, I want my kids to have time alone to think and wonder and listen.
- Yes, I want my kids to always be in conversation with me about the world around them.
Top Priority of Homeschooling
More important than any of those? Teaching the fear of the Lord. I want God to be number one in my children’s lives. Making that the priority in our house is so important.
We have daily Bible times and talk about how we can put God’s Word into action. I always make sure all of the kids are awake and available to participate in devotions.
It has really changed my mindset knowing that my role is to help my children discover who God has created them to be.
It’s not my job to tell them what subjects should interest them. Instead I need to help open doors for them and give them the education to develop their talents.
Education Versus Learning
Even at eight years old my daughter already had ingrained in her head that school was about getting answers right and doing things perfectly. We’ve spent the first four months of homeschooling trying to undo that.
Education is about learning. That means understanding concepts and how to use them. It means knowing how to find the answers to your questions. It means enjoying the learning process and not working towards a grade. Getting an answer wrong is not a bad thing. It’s just a way of telling you there is more learning to be done.
Kids Can Communicate And Contribute at Home
One of our focuses has also been on effective communication. Growing up I was painfully shy. I still am!! I want so badly to be able to speak in front of others and share my knowledge..but my lack of communication skills stops me from doing it. Now I am actively seeking opportunities for my kids to speak, perform, write, etc. It is one of the best skills they can learn.
I also love how Kelly focuses on teaching kids to be productive. Just because you are young does not mean you can’t be responsible and contribute. My kids help around the house. My five-year old already has such a great work ethic. He is willing to lend a hand any time. And I’m sure we will continue to cultivate that gift.
Even though my daughter is only eight she is constantly begging me to help her start her own business. She has a lot of ideas! And we will put some of them into action over the next few years. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is running a successful business by the time she’s twelve.
The Top Two Questions for Homeschoolers
I can’t write about homeschooling without mentioning everyone’s biggest questions:
- How will they be ready for the real world?
- How will they learn to socialize?
Don’t worry. I had those questions too! Kelly does a great job answering them. Here are some of her thoughts on preparing kids for the real world.
I was really worried about the social aspect. I’m such a homebody by nature. But the homeschooling community here is amazing! In just four months I’ve started developing deeper friendships with other moms than I did in four years of my daughter going to school. And she is already making some great friends.
What really makes me excited is she is even meeting friends from families just like ours – real food, natural living, etc. My daughter is so excited to have friends that really get her and don’t think her lifestyle is weird.
Plus we have more time to socialize. I consider it one more part of our lifestyle of learning to get together with friends.
Pure Joy from Home Education
You have no idea the joy I have experienced seeing my daughter’s frustrations dissipate. To see her spend three hours getting lost in a good book in the afternoon instead of walking off the bus exhausted just before dinner time. To see her and her little brother explore and imagine outside for hours on end instead of looking longingly out the window while she does repetitive worksheets. I have been blessed to witness first hand her curiosity and gifts blossom.
And even better – our relationship as mother and daughter has been restored. There had been a disconnect for years. But now we have time to talk. She shares her dreams and her fears with me. We love to spend time together. It is such a blessing.
Did I Help Answer your Homeschooling Questions?
I could talk for hours on homeschooling and how much I love it. But I’ll stop here. I’ve already given you a lot to think about (hopefully it was helpful!). If you are on the fence about homeschooling I encourage you to talk to someone experienced and read Kelly’s book.
Honestly, I wish I could just copy the whole book here for you to read! It’s that good.
This book is for those considering homeschooling, those just starting the journey or even for those with years of experience that need a new approach or a renewed purpose.
Every time I talk to someone that says they are considering homeschooling I want to give them this book. Now I get to!
Then tell me your thoughts! Are you considering homeschooling? What is holding you back?
Want to hear more from Kelly? She blogs at Generation Cedar!! Check it out.