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Feb 27, 2014

What Does It Take To Homeschool? Part I

MaryAnn Gaver

"Start by doing what's necessary, then, what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." -Saint Francis of Assisi

The house was unusually silent. She poured her morning coffee, and strode from the kitchen to the little school room upstairs, the carpet muffling the sound of her footsteps. She sat at her desk, took a sip of steaming coffee, and glanced around the room. A tall bookshelf in the corner, three desks, and some fluffy pillows on the floor. On the walls next her were NASA pictures, reminding her of those visits to Cape Canaveral.

She focused on that one piece of art―the photo of one of the shuttles taking off. Taken from the press site, the bottom right of the picture showed the mission clock...six seconds after take off...smoke billowing in every direction. Filled with anticipation, that painful thought, the secret, crept forward once more. She struggled to put that to the back of her mind, walked down the hallway, and swung the door wide open, "Boys, time to wake up. This is our first day of homeschooling."

I loved that we didn't need to rush through breakfast, so we lingered at the table to enjoy our steaming bowls of oatmeal. Looking out the back patio slider to a splendid fall day, we noticed the neighbor's dog, Cooper, the little brown, black and white Beagle mix, sniffing around at the back of our half-acre lot. "Mommy, we really should help return Cooper―do you mind if we go get him?"

Well, what I thought would take only a few minutes turned into half the morning! As I tucked the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and looked out my kitchen window, I noticed the boys running every which way chasing that elusive little dog. I feared that another neighbor who lived behind us, the eagle-eyed Javo might turn us in for truancy on our very first day!

The day was salvaged as Cooper's owner showed up, and the twins settled in for their second grade reading session, math, music, and a little art. Overall, it ended up being a decent first day.

...What I hadn't told the family was that I was only "trying out" this whole homeschooling thing. I wasn't really in it for the long haul. One year, that's it. Try it on for size, like a sweater―see if I like it...that was the secret that I kept to myself...

Thankfully, as days turned into months, my inner conflict resolved itself―like that crescendo in music when finally, the measure resolves. I absolutely loved teaching at home, embraced it fully, and started to see some wonderful results and benefits. The unity, the one-on-one instruction, the ability to do exciting field trips, and the freedom to impart our faith were a few things that I liked right away.

Homeschooling changed me! Well, really―God changed me, but He used homeschooling as one of the ways to bring about that change and growth. I discovered (after a few years teaching) that I definitely wanted to continue to teach at home as long as possible.   

Yes, I had days that I wondered if it was worth it, but overall I enjoyed teaching, mothering, and managing our home―and wouldn't trade those eleven years for anything!

With new resolve, I made sure that I communicated to the twins that I felt called to teach, and that God would enable us to keep going. "I'm not looking for something better. This is my job, and I love it."

What does it take to homeschool? I think the first thing is that if you feel called to homeschool―go through with it. Commit to it. Yes, it's a big commitment―but one that will have lasting benefits. That's the first step. 

God bless you as you teach today!

love,

MaryAnn

Photo Credit: Georgina Smith Photography via Compfight cc (text added by Charity Klicka)

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