I know the exact moment I was called to homeschool. We were gathered in the kitchen, having just cleared 4th of July lunch from the table, my rambunctious 1 year old climbing all over my lap. My two sweet cousins-in-law were looking over curriculum guides for the next fall, eagerly discussing their program and how excited they were to begin. They swapped ideas, curriculum favorites, books that the kids would love, and games that would correspond with their learning. I sat at the table and watched them have this exchange.
It was then that it struck me, these women are crazy! I was never going to homeschool. I had a career that I loved and worked very hard to achieve. I was going to go back to work as soon as M was old enough for anything that even slightly resembled school. These thoughts ran through my head, and since I’ve never been great at self-censorship I said, “Ya’ll are crazy! I’m not going to homeschool. I’m going back to work as soon as I can.” The moment the words left my mouth, I felt a whisper in my soul that said ‘hush, watch, learn, and be open’. That was the moment. I didn’t realize it then, but reflecting on that time I see exactly how the Lord placed the calling to homeschool on my heart.
My career, before becoming a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom, was a high school English teacher. And I LOVED it. I was great at it. My students loved me; I loved them. There was literally never a day that I woke up and thought, “Ugh, I’ve got to go to work.” Teaching was always a joy for me. There were frustrating days, of course, and days I left my classroom in tears, but not because I didn’t love it, only because I loved it so much.
It was because of my love of teaching that I really struggled with the idea of homeschooling. How could I leave the classroom forever? At the same time, M was beginning to learn to say words, and sentences, learn her alphabet, and letter sounds. We would wake in the morning and begin to play right away. Always learning, always teaching. Watching her grasp a concept that I taught brought us both so much joy! There was a whole world to explore, and I wanted to be the one to show it her.
When I became pregnant with my second child, the role of stay-at-home mom seemed to click all of a sudden. It was as if now that I was going to have two children it was acceptable for me to stay at home. I really began to settle into my role and accept all of its responsibilities. This peace with being a stay-at-home mom was a crucial step in my calling to homeschool.
A year or so passed, M was three, and very ready for school. She’s a typical first born girl. Reading early, writing early, speaking early. I began to feel a panic. The question of homeschooling was still a thought fluttering in the back of my mind. My husband and I hadn’t even discussed it yet, but I’m pretty sure the assumption from us both was that she would go to preschool the next year. There was a tugging on my heart and mind that would not cease. I wasn’t done teaching her!
I became aware of my desire to homeschool in the same way I become aware of most things these days. My Facebook newsfeed. It was right at the time that Common Core was just beginning, and articles were being shared everywhere about parents frustrated with the current public education system. Crazy math problems that no one could solve, and frustratingly inaccurate history test questions filled my newsfeed. I began to wonder if the public education system, that I had so loved, was a good fit for my daughter.
One day we were going through our normal routine of diapering the baby (who never slept), rocking, nursing, and reading to M amongst the baby’s snuggles, when it dawned on me. The part of parenting that I love the most, is the teaching. It fills my heart with so much joy to watch her learn something new. I’m refreshed and renewed when we step outside and explore our little world with fresh eyes and wonder. The part of parenting I didn’t love: the cooking, and cleaning, and diapers, and discipline would be all that would be left of our day if we sent our kids to school. I didn’t want to give that special and most precious part away. I wanted to treasure it, and hold it safe for years to come.
That realization was when I knew without a doubt that homeschooling was the only option for our family. My husband and I prayed about it and discussed it, but it didn’t take much time before we both were in agreement that homeschooling was our calling.
Just like my experience with being a classroom teacher, there has yet to be a day where I wake up and think, “Ugh, I have to homeschool these kids.” There have been frustrating days, and there have been days that EVERYONE has cried, but it’s still the best parenting decision we have ever made. I wouldn’t trade this crazy homeschool life for anything. The Lord called us to it, and it has been an incredible blessing.