By Annette Lanford (Guest Author)
“Full of Blessings” is my response when the often-said phrase, “wow, you have got your hands full” is directed to me when I am out in public with my children. I love how it makes the person take a step back and think for a brief second. And, more often than not, I receive a kind response acknowledging and/or agreeing with me. That is how I feel about homeschooling as well; it is such a blessing.
When I hear about something that has happened in the school system, I am so grateful that I am homeschooling. And sometimes, I feel it is a reminder from God to appreciate what I am experiencing with my children. I am blessed to know the content my children are learning and what is being exposed to their innocent minds. I am sure all of you feel the same way, too. The rewards outweigh the challenges ten-fold.
I began my homeschool journey when our eldest was to start going to school. She was such a firecracker, and I knew she was not going to do well in a normal school setting. (She may or may not have been asked to leave a dance studio for her wild tendencies). I envisioned the same treatment happening at school, and I was afraid she would be labeled with some diagnosis with medication suggested. I did not want that for her, and she did not deserve the negative labeling. Her fun and outgoing spirit was a blessing! Now, she is so well behaved, and I often get complimented for her good behavior. I passionately feel it is our job to be our children’s advocate. God blessed us to not raise our children to be the cookie cutter norm.
Even though we have been homeschooling for five years, this is our first year participating in a co-op. And as I write this, we have missed three of the cottage meetings, but I still feel blessed to be part of this community. When my husband came home from work after our first day at the co-op, one of our children ran up to him and said, “DAD!! We were at school from 8-2! It was so long!!” We laughed and noted that school attending children go for longer durations AND they go every day! I love this new adventure my children are experiencing. We have participated in other homeschool meet-ups and I always felt the “clicks,” but I don’t feel that here. It is quite a blessing.
We have allowed our children to help with the household tasks of cooking, canning, cleaning, laundry, changing the oil in the vehicles, and doing yard work from an early age. Basically, everything we do to maintain our house! I feel blessed our children want to help and even though it takes up more time, they are learning. They help with our chickens, the garden, their Amachi’s( gradmother in Basque) sheep, and cleaning their grandparent’s house. I hope they know the lessons they are receiving are empowering them to be independent and functioning adults in our society.
All these blessings that we get to experience would be difficult to accomplish if we did not homeschool. I love the flexibility of our lives even though I am often told, “I don’t know how you do it.” I think to myself, I don’t know how they do it. I cannot imagine sending my children to school. But, that’s just me. To each their own!
Sometimes I wonder when my children will know they are blessed to be part of this homeschool journey. I recently called my mom after ironing the kids’ uniforms and packing their lunch for the co-op. I told her how much I appreciated all the hard work she did for me. She ironed my private school uniform and packed my lunch every day for so many years. I was the seventh child, and she did it for all of us. I am 41 and just realized my blessing! HA!