Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Homeschooling: That Thing I Do (Part One)

Hey Everybody,

Today I am getting ready for the CSTHEA homeschool fair coming up this weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee! I am so excited about seeing the folks there! I am also excited about getting my kids their books for the upcoming school year!

This will be Danya's senior year, which is unbelievable to me. I remember when I was just starting out, and oh my, her senior year seemed quite far away! But what a wonderful journey it has been for our family. When I am asked about homeschooling, I will quickly say that I do not believe that homeschooling is for everyone! I believe it is a calling--just like anything that you give your life to. My dad, a pastor, would never walk around telling other people that they should be preachers, too. That is his calling. My mom was called to teach in public school for decades. She didn't think that everyone else should do that as well. When you are called to something, whether your calling is dentistry, homemaking, fire fighting, or counseling, then that is what you should be doing. That said, who knows? You may have stumbled upon my blog today with questions of your own as the new school year approaches. So in case the Lord is calling you to homeschool, or if you simply wonder what would ever possess someone to go this route, I'm sharing my story.

I felt the Lord calling me to be a homeschooling mom before I even knew there was such a thing! It began when I just eight years old! I was home from school for a "snow day." I loved being at home (and still do!). Snow days were such a treat because my mom and sister were home from school, too. I'm not sure why, but on this snow day I decided to count up the number of hours each week that I spent in school, the number of hours I spent sleeping, and the number of hours I actually had at home. Even at eight years old, I remember thinking that I didn't like the way those numbers added up. I know it may sound really strange to some of you (maybe all of you!), but I believe that the seed for homeschooling was planted in my heart that day.

Fast forward nearly ten years (1985). This time, I was a high school senior, at home with a bad case of "senioritis." LOL! I was watching the Phil Donahue show, and Phil's guests that day were David and Micki Colfax. They were getting national attention for their outrageous decision to homeschool their four boys. I was glued to the screen! The Colfaxes had written a book about their experience with home education, and the proof was in the pudding: Their sons were all headed for Ivy League schools. Impressive! The seed settled into fertile soil.

Less than two years later, I was working my summer job at a Christian book store in the mall. It was in-between my freshman and sophomore years of college; you know, that time in life when you are absolutely convinced that you know everything! :) Working at the mall had afforded me a view of the world that I had not seen much of in my 19 years--mainly because I had not been around many children--but I had soon seen my share of spoiled, bratty kids terrorizing their parents. I recommended Dr. Dobson's books to everyone who walked in the store with a screaming child (or even a slightly pouty one!). One afternoon, a cute little mom came in with two kids, probably around 6 and 8 years old. These two well-behaved children quietly followed their mom around for several minutes, then asked for permission to go look around. (I was hot on their heels since I had also had my share of picking up after kids whose parents were not watching them!) They went to the children's books, sat down, and carefully began looking at them. Beautiful!

In all my wisdom, I said to the mom, "Your kids are really well-behaved. What school do they go to?" As if the school was responsible for her children's behavior--I realized later how that must have sounded. She looked at me and answered in a tone I deserved, "These children are homeschooled!"

At that point, the seed in my heart began to take root.

More tomorrow!

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