My name is Chantel and I am a reluctant homeschooler. At least I started out that way. I am a product of public schools, as is my husband. The homeschoolers we knew were all a bit…strange. When your child is 5 years old, you enroll them in Kindergarten. (Unless you were one of those over-achievers who already had them in preschool.) That’s the way it was when we were kids, and the way it was supposed to be when our children grew. Or so we thought…
That first day I put my little girl on the school bus I called my husband at work, crying, that she was on the bus. He said, “You’re following the bus to school, right?” I said, “Well, I will now!” I met that bus at the school, and was heartbroken to see my little girl standing on the sidewalk unsure of which direction to go. That sure didn’t make it easier to let her go!
To try to make a long story short, public school was not a good fit for my daughter. She has dyslexia and dysgraphia that was not diagnosed until a later age, and her teachers at the time were unwilling to help. They simply wanted to hold her back a year or two until she caught on. So my advocating for my daughter began. The only viable option for us in the short term was homeschool.
The first 6 years of our homeschooling journey were “temporary.” I was just doing it until I could find a better option for my daughter and she was able to learn well. I researched her learning issues like nothing else. I explored different options. I advocated hard for the online virtual public school which was supposed to be ideal for children who fit outside the normal box. Once that option became available I was standing in line to sign up. I thought this was the answer to all of my prayers. Let me tell you something — it was a complete nightmare! It took 10+ hours a day to complete assignments for each of my (at that time) 3 children. It was not fun. There was no flexibility as they advertised in letting kids excel or slow down at their own pace. The only good that came of it was that we did get official testing and diagnosis of the learning disabilities my daughter had.
Finally, that following school year I got it. I had a long, deep conversation with the Lord and understood that He wanted me to homeschool my children. Not temporarily. Not reluctantly. But to fully embrace this journey. I had to accept that it was what was best for them, and His plan for our family. Once I accepted that reality, things started going MUCH better. My daughter found her passion in livestock through 4-H, and later FFA, and applied that passion to her schooling and excelled. It was beautiful and amazing. I still had fears and hesitations, but I did my best to be faithful.
Something amazing happens when we follow God’s calling. He leads, takes over, and blessings flow. My reluctant learner with learning differences excelled. She became an independent learner. This girl who said she would never go on to college because school was way too hard had found her passion and began taking early bird classes at a local college towards her Associate’s Degree. She worked hard and graduated high school with 15 college credits!
She graduated high school — from our homeschool! It turns out that not only could we do this homeschool thing, but we ACTUALLY DID IT! She is enrolled full-time for the fall semester in college. She worked hard to gain scholarships and has worked to save money to go to college debt-free.
Don’t get me wrong, we still have a long way to go – three more children and at least 10 years to go. But let me encourage you (and remind myself) as we prepare for the new school year — we can do this!! I have had plenty of mess ups along the way – curriculum fails, trouble sticking to a schedule or getting much school work done for far too long of a time – but God is faithful. He still fulfilled what He promised, despite my many shortcomings. Despite all of my fears. He loves our children so much more than we ever could. Don’t give up, and trust Him!
I want to hear from you! How many children are you homeschooling? What are your biggest concerns about homeschooling through graduation?