By Bridget Elkins
I started my homeschooling journey when I pulled my son out of public school halfway through his fifth-grade year. I did not know what I was doing, just that I was doing it and that was it. I am not the type to make big decisions (or little ones) without much thought and research. It takes me forever just to buy an area rug because I have to read all the reviews and shop around until I am convinced I am getting the best possible deal. This one was different though and I can’t explain why, other than I had an opportunity I haven’t had before and I felt compelled to go for it. I was a little nervous (maybe a lot) because I really did not know how this was going to go (Jesus take the wheel!). Looking back, I believe, I was graciously courted into becoming a “crazy, Christian, homeschooler” long before I became one.
But of course, how could I truly be initiated into the world of homeschooling without all the typical push back from family? I received all the standard input like the fact that I am not an “accredited teacher” and because of this I was holding my son back; also the ever so popular response, “he will be socially awkward.” All this commentary was coming at me along with my own insecurities of not having an adequate resume and leaving behind the career I worked so hard to get. BUT there were a few good people in my life to encourage me and guide me into this new world that I didn’t even know existed until I was in it. Kind of like becoming a parent.
I have learned several things along the way, beginning with the realization that all of the discouraging commentary from the peanut gallery are just lies, or uniformed, well-intentioned people showing concern (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt). I can totally homeschool my kids without accreditation and college is still a possibility for them if that’s what they need. My kids are going to be just fine socially because we are out in the community, socializing at the park, in the grocery store, on field trips, at home with each other (our main source of learning conflict resolution), at co-ops and more. Also, my resume just got bigger and more diverse because I am now a professional in many areas other than teaching such as: landscaping, baking, accountant/bookkeeper, dog trainer, personal family chef, family therapist, activities coordinator, housekeeper, and travel agent just to name a few. I am a domestic steward and we wear various uniforms (under our stretchy pants of course).
One of the most important things I have learned is to remember my mission statement. Developing good character in our kids by raising them according to the instructions given by our Creator using His word. I am often reminded that when I am having difficulties with my kids I need to stop and address the character traits they need to be taught or reminded of. If they have self-control, respect, kindness, and gratitude things will go much smoother. Teaching them these things sometimes brings a little conviction in myself and reminds me when I need a little character lesson as well.
I am always learning, right along with them, so many things I was not taught. I often think “How am I going to teach things I don’t even know?”, or “Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t already know that and it’s in the kindergarten curriculum!” Homeschooling is humbling. Although hard to take at times, it is just another part of this God given gift and there are more elements surfacing all the time. Being a mother truly is the gift that keeps on giving and homeschooling has enabled me to be closer to my kids resulting in me being more grateful for it.
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