We all have our story, I suppose. Our own road, that led us to where we are, homeschooling. I know we have ours. And I would think nobody would really care to hear it, except for the fact that, people ask! -ALL OF THE TIME! But I warn you….it’s really a story. Like, of the novel kind. In the way of lengthy. So, if you are interested to read about it, you may want to go all out, and make a hot beverage to go with it, or something. I’m not sure it’s all that entertaining, but it’s our story, nonetheless.
My First Thoughts of Homeschooling Our Children
I think the seed was planted in my heart real early on, to be a homeschooling Mama. As a child, myself. I never really liked my own reality of being in school, at all. But I did love playing school, with my siblings and friends. I have many memories of pretending. One of us would be the teacher, and the rest of us would be the students. I vividly remember some summer days, of sitting on a couple of front porch steps made of boards, with our bare legs and feet dangling underneath the porch, and using the one step higher as our desk. (Something I would never do today, knowing the spiders and other creepy crawlies that would be under there. Lol.). So yeah, playing school was a favorite activity of mine to play, even though I wasn’t a fan of real school.
Miss Beadle Made Me Do It
I’m pretty sure I also got some inspiration from Miss Beadle, from Little House on the Prairie! I most loved any scenes in the school house. To this day, I have such a love for old schoolhouses. Granted, Miss Beadle’s class was not truly homeschooling. But still, I fell in love with the simplicity of the one-room schoolhouse, with the bell, the old desks and chalkboard slates, the burning stove for heat, and the notion that kids of different ages, even siblings, could not only learn together in the same place, but could actually benefit in many ways, from that. It differed a lot, from my own experience of going to school. I also really felt some kind of connection with the style of raising children in those days on the Prairie, and how it seemed to build strong character in them, as was seen in the roles as they grew up over the years. Of course, it was just a show. But as I got older, I learned that it was a true representation of that era, and to this day, I am drawn to that way of life.
So those impressions probably took real root in my heart, even as young as I was. But, I think the first real, formed thought I had on the matter, was in the moments that I held my first newborn baby, Alexis Grace, in my arms. I had had an all natural, drug-free birth with a midwife, and I was so exhausted after laboring all through the night. But I vividly recall being in my hospital bed sometime later that day, holding my new baby girl in my arms, all wrapped in a blanket, and looking into her sweet little face with her little pink cotton hat, thinking: “I cannot even imagine ever sending you off to school every day.” I knew, she would grow up in the blink of an eye, and I already did not want to miss any of it. I think that was the day I figured I would never send her to school.
But Then I Did, for a Blink.
When she became kindergarten age, there was no doubt by then that I simply wanted to homeschool her. No part of me wanted to send her to school for a 1/2 day, 5 days a week. But in the same time frame, I found myself pregnant. (Hooray!!) And I found myself thinking about the 1-on-1 time I had had with Alexis, in her first year, and I didn’t want to not be able to give that same valuable bonding time, to our new baby. Honestly, I find it kind of silly looking back now, but it’s what I was concerned with at the time, as much as I was conflicted because I didn’t want to miss having Alexis home, at the same time. In addition to that, I wasn’t sure I could school Alexis effectively, and care for a newborn with the same attention. (? – I know now, I could have, with one baby.) So, being on the fence with my decision, I did take her to be tested and registered her for kindergarten. Just in case, we decided to send her.
Well, the baby on the way, turned out to be three babies on the way!
That ‘kindergarten year’, turned out to be non-stop caring for, feeding, bathing, changing, rocking, soothing our 3 newborns! That is, once we got them all home! They were born several weeks early, after my own 6 months of strict and complete bedrest, while I was pregnant with them. (Early complications that threatened them.) But what I found in those bedridden months, while spending such time with Alexis on my bed, was that home schooling was for us, as much as I ever thought it was! Among our pillows and blankets on my bed, Alexis really learned to read, and write, and teaching her such things as critical thinking, was something I found I really loved to do. Watching her get it, and be excited, and grow in her knowledge, was just downright fun to me. And she seemed to be loving it, too.
It was also the time that I spent very pregnant on bed rest that I spent a lot of time praying, and bargaining with God, or so I thought. It was a personal promise to Him, in that time, that later cemented my commitment to home school our kids as soon as possible. Of course, I would soon have my hands more than full, and be way short on sleep. So off to kindergarten Alexis went, exactly five days after her triplet siblings were born. I was seriously hurting, physically, but I was determined to be the one, that brought her to school, for her first day. Of course, another mother (just trying to be friendly and chatty), had to mention how I looked like I was ‘ready any day’, and asked me when I was due. Thanks, Lady! She was every shade of apologetic and astonished, when I had to tell her I already gave birth 5 days prior, to triplets. Honestly though, I couldn’t really blame her. That belly took it’s sweet time going down.
That First Year
I wasn’t too bothered by Alexis going to school that year, for half days. For one, her school was literally within walking distance. But also because my own kindergarten year, were rather magical memories. At that time in our lives, it gave Alexis a change of pace that was good for her, and Lord knows I would not have had much time to really teach her well. But over the following weeks, the babies grew and progressed and came home one by one, all in God’s time, and we were all finally home as a family, a week before Christmas. THAT, was the best Christmas, ever!! Honestly, after all we had been through, I think that was when we learned to truly trust in God, and had learned to appreciate the little things. Journeys like that forever change people. It sure did us.
(2002-Home All Together for Our First Christmas – Our Christmas Card)
So, in reading this, you’d probably think the next year, I began home schooling Alexis. Right? But no…..it took me a couple of years, to get my groove, caring for 3 babies. With the reality of official homeschooling being new territory for me, I wanted to do it right. Whatever right is, right? So, Alexis continued to go to school, through 1st and 2nd Grade! All the while we knew she would be home schooled as soon as I could. I have to say though, that there were regular instances in her formal school years, where I knew formal schooling would not be for us. So at the end of 2nd Grade, I pulled her out of school for good.
And Our Homeschooling Journey as a Family Began
(2005 – Alexis in 3rd Grade / Triplets 3 years old) – Catching and studying Periwinkles!
Of course, I would have the other 3 to school as well, soon enough. The triplets have never been to school, and that was the plan from the beginning of their lives. Honestly, I believe children begin being schooled by their parents, at birth! So it’s really a natural progression, to just keep going. But the ‘first day of school’ that Alexis technically began schooling at home for 3rd Grade, in 2005, the triplets were only 3 years old. It was an easy and relaxed first year. Alexis did her written work and math easily, and we did a lot of out door excursions all together, learning about nature, and finding our homeschooling groove. Which came quite naturally.
2005- Alexis with her bull frog, “Goliath”.
I began kind of formally schooling the trio the following year in 2006, although they had only just turned 4 and were too young for kindergarten, only because they kept asking to “have school work like Alexis does“. So, I began table work with them that year. Meanwhile, they were picking a lot up and learning right along with Alexis….
2006-Science / Nature Trail Walk / Learning about mushrooms we found.
The following year in 2007, I was officially homeschooling all 4 of the kids:
2007 – School Photo. Alexis: 5th Grade / JackMichael, Olivia & Shane: Kindergarten
Because they learned so much the year before, Kindergarten was kind of a joke to them. I heard a lot of, “I already know how to do this, but it’s still fun!”. It was just a warm up year anyway, to start working at the table in a disciplined way, for an extended period of time. But making learning pretty fun and exciting, in those early years, I came to believe was crucial. I found it really sets the pace for their attitude, about learning. That theory of mine, could also be a whole other post, sometime. But let’s keep this post on track.
Suffice it to say, after so many years of homeschooling now, all 4 of our kids still have a great attitude about school time, and love learning so much, that it is often self-propelled. Now that they are older, it is not always FUN, per say. But they all still seem to have a great appreciation for the process of learning. Mind you, while we do throw some fun in our school year here and there in various ways, most often they do put several hours into several subjects a day. I’m not an easy teacher. It’s all getting done, and done well. Because I feel they need to know how to work hard as well, and to understand, that often times in life, there are tasks to be done, responsibilities to tend to, or lessons to be learned, that fun or less than enjoyable or not, still need to be accomplished. That’s life. But to start out with a good experience with learning while they are young, and create that curiosity and thirst for knowledge in them, followed by more disciplined work ethic and a good outlook, really seems to have set a nice pace for our kids. We think, hope, and pray, that it has become a part of them, for all they set out to do, or find themselves faced with, all throughout their lives.
So, that is our story, of how we came to be a homeschooling family. All of the reasons WHY we homeschool, could be another post all it’s own. All I can tell you now, is that there isn’t a day we have regretted it. If ever we found ourselves back in time, with the choice once again of which road of education-style to choose, we would take this one less traveled by once again. We really do feel, for our family, it is making all of the difference.
Our oldest daughter is away in her second year of college. She is double-majoring in Communication and Theology.
NOTE: If you homeschool your children as well, share with us a bit about how you came to making the choice. If you have told your story and have a link, leave it for us below! If you are not homeschooling yet, but are considering it, why do you feel you are drawn to it?
Got a homeschooling topic or question you’d like to hear from us about? Let us know that too!
We’d love to hear from you, and connect with you all!