Last year was my first year homeschooling my daughter, and I must honestly admit it felt like my method was disorganized chaos. I was riddled with self-doubt, fear, and worry, and constantly wondering, “Am I doing this homeschool thing right?” I could not decide what curriculum to use. Boxed? Lap books? Abeka? Horizon? Life of Fred? None of the above? I lacked self-confidence, was constantly doubting the choice we made to homeschool; and, to top it off, I continually received criticism from others about homeschooling. Many of the criticisms or comments are the frequent ones homeschool parents receive. The endless questions about our decision to homeschool ranged from “Is your daughter being socialized enough?” to “Are you qualified to teach?” — and my all-time favorite question was the one where someone asked why I was sacrificing my finances and my retirement for my daughter.
I found myself last year feeling like I needed to defend my choice, and often felt like I needed to explain this homeschool thing. I would explain that my daughter has health issues and that the stress of private or public school could possibly exacerbate them. I would also explain that my daughter’s pre-k teacher encouraged me to homeschool too. I felt like I was constantly battling the world, my family, and well-meaning friends.
To make matters worse I had little homeschool support when I started. At this time, I am the only mom in the church I attend that homeschools. I eventually stumbled across a local homeschool co-op; however, the children are all in middle school and above, and it was not a good fit since my daughter was in kindergarten last year. I felt like I was an island unto myself, and was grateful I stumbled across the SDA Homeschool Families Group on Facebook.
Before my husband and I chose to homeschool our daughter, we discussed how this was going to impact our blended family. I have my own personal health issues and was not sure how this was going to impact my overall health. We prayed and asked God for His guidance, and we both felt that this was the direction we were supposed to take.
Looking back on last year, my family received so many blessings through homeschooling. My daughter was able to explore music in a way she would not have if she had been in a traditional school, and she had the opportunity to do special music at church. She was able to spend much needed one-on-one time with Daddy and establish a bond with him that she, if not homeschooled, would not have been able to form. Daddy even became a part of the homeschool experience by listening to her read, encouraging her music, and doing Lego math with her. Even the daughter from my heart who attends traditional school got in on the action and participated in field-trips with us. She is now begging to be homeschooled too.
Over time the critics and questioners have slowly stopped asking and doubting me, and, best of all, I have stopped listening and internalizing the fear that was being thrown my way. Some of my fiercest critics have commented about how well-behaved she is or how mature she is for six. The best compliment we received was from the principal who did her portfolio review. He said to my daughter, my husband, and me that we made a great decision to homeschool her. He stated she would have been bored in regular kindergarten. She is reading and doing math above grade level, so together we must be doing something right for her.
Our homeschooling is definitely a journey. Each day brings something new, and over time I am slowly transforming. My self-confidence is slowly building, and I am no longer doubting myself. Our overall disorganized chaos has lessened. We did not use a set curriculum, but rather learned that the thematic/unit study approach worked best for us. Together each day my family is learning that with Christ we can do all things….even homeschool.