The Start of our Homeschooling Journey
It’d be safe to say our homeschooling journey started on the very first call I had with my now husband. We were on a video call before FaceTime existed and he told me he was homeschooled. I remember very vividly pacing my room throughout the conversation and saying, “do you expect your kids to be homeschooled too?” His answer, “nope.” Phew. Dodged that bullet. He shared that it worked well for him, why he liked it, but he didn’t expect it for his kids.
I’m the product of mostly public and some private school. The idea of homeschooling made me think of denim jumpers and a handful of kids from youth group, but that’s about it. Funny how things change.
My life has turned out to be a whole lot of things I said I’d never do, like marrying someone from the South, moving back to Northern Virginia, and now that includes homeschooling as well.
The way we got here though wasn’t a decision that happened when my oldest was four or even two. We didn’t set out to be here and my husband would always say, “homeschooling is a calling.” While I believe that to be true, I think there are more and more families who are finding homeschooling to not only be maybe the best option for their kids, but sometimes the only option as well.
Our kids went to a little preschool near our house. Two of them attended kindergarten there to stay in a small classroom for one more year before I really had to think about what we’d do. Even then though, probably when my oldest was 5, I didn’t see us at public school. A great Classical Christian school was also nearby and he attended that for first and second grade. He loved the school and was challenged. I found myself now with three kids, in the car a lot, waking up the baby from naps and running between preschool schedules, kindergarten, and a private school. How did this happen so quickly? What happened to my kids childhood? Why were we in the car so much and how did my 7 year old have so much homework?
When it was time for our second son to think about grade school things changed for us. There was a hybrid model school near us that seemed like it would be the perfect fit. They’d go two days a week, have a teacher, get work for the days at home and while I’d get more time with them I wouldn’t have to think about all the curriculum or schedule that seemed to overwhelm me years ago.
Fast forward and here we are.
Through a lot of different circumstances we realized, and God confirmed, that the best thing for our family was truly homeschooling.
I’d be able to pick curriculums that worked for each of the boys and I wouldn’t live in my car anymore. Hooray! We'd get our slow mornings back, our unhurried schedule.
I wanted there to be some community aspect and thankfully we were able to get into a Classical Conversations community near us midway through the year a little over a year ago. I had visited in the past, swore it would never be something for us, and here we are. See, another thing I said I’d never do.
CC has acted as the backbone of our homeschool world, our community for many friendships, mom’s nights and fellowship among other moms all schooling their kids at home. There’s accountability for my kids that everyone else is memorizing the same things they are, working on the same history, or in the case of my oldest, doing the same language arts program and paper that week.
Our journey to where we are has taught me a lot. I never set out to change our schooling so often, but God showed me it’s ok to take things one year at a time. I knew last year that homeschooling would be what was best for us. I have a peace that it’s what He wants for us next year too and that’s not something I take lightly. I remember months of praying that we’d know what to do about school because we were struggling with the what would be best for each of the boys and didn't have peace. Having a peace that you know you’re right where you’re supposed to be is huge and something I’m very grateful for!
In the coming posts I’ll share what’s worked for my now 5 year old, my 8 year old, and my 10 year old. Each kid is different and I don’t think schooling or curriculum is one size fits all. Sure, maybe one size may fit most, but what I’ve loved is my kids can be challenged where they need to be and we can take our time where we need to as well. There’s no more homework late at night, no more comparing to what other kids are doing in their classes. My kids are doing well, they’re happy, and that’s worth a whole lot.
I’m happy too. While it may seem to overwhelm some, and would have overwhelmed former me, I know we're right where we're supposed to be. I know with God’s help He gives me each day just what we need. I know that means instructing me in how to instruct them. Scheduling our days but keeping things open to know when to take breaks to read together, when we get the freedom to go on field trips and yes, even the freedom to take breaks in the middle of winter when most other kids are sitting in a class.
Our road here wasn't what I expected, and your road to homeschooling may not be either. Even if you do homeschool, how you do it will look different from how I do it, and that's ok! We weren't created with the same talents or gifts or interests. We don't have the same kids! Homeschooling has come a long way, but the heart of it has remained the same. A bunch of families coming alongside their kids, teaching them, instructing them, engaging them as they grow. It's something I'm very thankful for.