Friday, April 23, 2010
How we came to homeschool
My husband's mother started a private school "Peel Academy" when he was younger because she wanted a better education for him. Each year as he got older she got accredited for his new grade. Until, after fifth grade, she hit new regulations that stopped her form becoming accredited for 6th.
From the time we had our first child we knew we would chose a different path. We were still young and naive then we hoped to put our children in private school.
We lived around a great community of friends all with kids the same age. We got together and started a community preschool co-op of 3-5 families. Each mother (plus one grandma) would take turns teaching our children. We loved this, it was so much fun.
Then it was time to go to kindergarten. Private school was way out of the budget. Every time I considered sending my child to public school it felt wrong. I started looking for part time private schools. Then I stumbled across a private/ homeschool combo school. I had never even considered homeschooling. Only one family I ever knew homeschooled. Their daughter was my best friend for some time. But I never understood the homeschooling thing, I was just glad to have a friend.
I started out with the question "what is homeschooling?" I read on the internet for hours to find the answer. Then I asked "can I even homeschool?" Which lead to "how will I homeschool?" I researched every major homeschool philosophy I could find. My husband and I talked it over. We were unsure and nervous.But finally we had the thought that, the one year you can "try" to homeschool, with the least negative effect, was kindergarten. We decided to "give it a try". After all, how much different could it be from the preschool co-op I helped start.
I started to tell people we were thinking of homeschooling. I was completely unprepared for the backlash. Family members who previously praised and highly supported our preschool co-op, suddenly became very negative. We were treated like we were selfish and out to ruin our children with foolishness. At least that is how it felt to me. Everywhere I went I kept getting this same question "What about socialization?"
I had not even thought about socialization. Socialization had been so easy with the preschool co-op, we went to the park, visited friends, had the co-op and play groups. Did it really become so much harder when you started homeschooling? I guessed it did, because all the other kids were in school. Maybe just maybe the solution was another co-op, a homeschool co-op?
I started looking for homeschool co-ops. I was blown away! I could not believe how many their were in so many different subjects. Everyday my husband would come home and I would excitingly tell him about some new co-op I found. It became a hobby, I started collecting co-ops, looking for everything I could find. I was amazed, who knew the homeschool community was so big?
My husband and I talked about it. He was very supportive. We could see that what we were doing for preschool was going very well. We were taking a small risk, it was only kindergarten. He said, "if you want to do it I support you, it is your decision." So with confidence I told him that as long as he supports me then I knew it was what I wanted to do. We were unified in the decision, we would homeschool.
Then came the fateful day. The last day to register my daughter for school. I think I got at least two calls from family, maybe three, reminding me that this was the last day to registrar. This spun me into a tortured battle of logic verses feelings. I tossed it over and over, all the time in complete doubt of myself. I would ruin my daughter! After a long time of wrestling with the spirit and my fears I decided I had better register now, rather then regret it later. I picked up the phone to dial 1411 and ask for the schools phone number. Though I had been in turmoil and full of doubt for most of the day, non of those feelings felt quite so strong as the one that overcame me when I started that call. I was filled with a pure spiritual feeling of "don't call." "Why" I asked my self. "Just don't call" was the feeling. I tried to ask the spirit why several times. But the feeling was undeniable. "DO NOT CALL." Weary and confused I hung up the phone and took a nap.
When my husband came home I was still exhausted. I was too worn out to even think about the topic any more. I told my husband. "I decided not to registrar our daughter for school" "Register?" he was confused "What do you mean, I thought we were going to homeschool." I told him the story as best I could. In the end I tried to describe to him why I finally did not call the school. All I could say was, "it just felt wrong. I just could not do it. I don't know why I should homeschool. I just know that every time I think of calling the school now I start to panic. It just feels wrong. I just know I should not registrar her for school."
Well, now the decision was really made. Time to jump in with two feet. I loaded the kids up and we went to a homeschool park day. I looked for the closest one that stated the soonest.
If registration day was awful, this park day was equally wonderful. I could just feel myself singing inside, I was so happy. There were so many people. So many normal looking people. Everyone I talked to I related with, I related with more then I related with other people. Lots of ideas and thoughts I had that had been abnormal were now standard in this new homeschool community. I was just overjoyed with the feeling that I had found my home. I will never forget that day, it was the turning point of my life. On that day we talked about natural birth, natural family planning and baking bread. How strange it was to be in a new world where these things were normal.
Since then I have enjoyed so many wonderful conversations with fellow homeschoolers. We are like minded in so many ways. Most importantly we are like minded in living life deliberately even if that means coloring outside the lines.
Now, six years later, I am homeschooling four children.. Our homeschool is named Peel Academy, after our original inspiration, Granny's private school. I now feel that one of the best decisions I ever made in my life was to homeschool. I am so thankful the Lord blessed me and lead me down this path.