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Nov 6, 2013

It Takes Courage To Homeschool

MaryAnn Gaver

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. " - C.S. Lewis

 

Homeschooling isn't a baby any more. Having gained major traction in all fifty states, it's becoming more and more popular. Gone are the days when the trend-setters and trail-blazers (that's what I call those early homeschoolers) of the 80's were the lone people teaching their kids at (of all places!) home. They forged the way for us. Well, although homeschooling has become widely accepted by society, it still takes courage to teach at home.

Questions flood our minds: How am I going to balance being a wife, mother, and teacher? Will I succeed? How is this going to work? What will my parents think? Should I, or shouldn't I?

I recall that first moment I announced to my parents,"Mom, Dad, we've decided to homeschool." 

Silence.

 "Well.....(long pause).. ohhh.....really?" Then came the questions, "What about friendships, sports and the prom?" Of course, somehow, I felt that it was necessary to do a huge dissertation about homeschooling. I touted its benefits, and launched a full-fledged defense of our new educational endeavor.

Over time, my parents truly accepted the idea, saw the pros, and fully embraced our decision. In fact, they accompanied us on many interesting field trips, were an encouragement to the twins in the area of music, and eventually became outspoken homeschool proponents. I know that's not always the case, so my heart goes out to any of you who have parents who are struggling with your decision to homeschool.

When I started homeschooling, I always seemed to face opposition and discouragement in the neighborhood or at the grocery store.

September, a few years back. Aisle 7---

 "You're what? Homeschooling?"  While in the grocery line, one mom shared extreme, strange, and ridiculous stories---examples of kids who didn't know their multiplication tables at age 16, or moms who fell apart. I was trapped in that aisle. 

At first, it bothered me. Then, over time, I learned to purposefully develop immunity to such negativity and to avoid (when possible) the crabby ladies at the grocery store.

 Sometimes when I told neighbors that we homeschooled---they simply fell silent. 

Well, don't worry about what other people (including your parents) will think. Your educational choice is between you and your husband.

Let's say that your parents are leery of homeschooling. My suggestion is to honor and love them, and to encourage your kids to do the same. Then, move forward in teaching,---and hopefully, in time, your parents will come around and may even begin to support your decision.

 As for friends---seek ones who will encourage, not discourage you.

The big question: Will I succeed? That's one we often wonder. The answer is a resounding yes! A thousand times, yes. With God's help -- yes! Check out You're Going To Soar and Fact #3 About Homeschooling. If God calls us to homeschool, He will enable us to succeed.  Remember Luke 1:37---With God all things are possible.

How will I balance everything?  Well, just like motherhood --- homeschooling takes a big commitment. You'll develop your own style, and your family will settle into a certain rhythm after the initial adjustment. And, remember -- you're already teaching by your example, your life, and your investment in your children. Why not make it official, go a step further, and teach the academics as well? You can do it!

Still considering homeschooling? Should I, or shouldn't I? Go for it! You won't regret it. Have courage and begin.

So, ignore the naysayers in the grocery store or down the block---take courage and teach well!

Onward!

love,

MaryAnn

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