"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction."
- Proverbs 1:7
Well, here we go. Today is our first day of homeschool. What on earth led me to that decision? Maybe not what you think.
Six months ago I blissfully said goodbye to my kids as they walked out the front door to school and than I happily went upstairs to work for 5-6 hours a l o n e before I picked them up from school in the afternoon. Six months ago I would have told you I will never homeschool. No ma’am. No sir-ee. Not me.
My, how much can change in six months. Six months ago if you’d told me we would have a major toilet paper shortage, I would have laughed at you. Six months ago if you’d told me schools would close and in some places wouldn’t reopen in the fall, I would have said no way. Six months ago if you’d told me everybody would be wearing face masks everywhere for a virus with a 99% survival rate, I would have told you that’s ridiculous. Six months ago if you’d told me some churches would shut their doors for the rest of the year, I would have thought you were nuts.
Six months ago we lived in a different world.
But God didn’t start this process in me six months ago or less. God started this process towards homeschooling nearly 2 years ago. It was slow at first and then sudden at the end.
Like many, the events and happenings in the last 4-5 months have caused me to evaluate what’s important. I could tell you some personal stories of how God laid it on my heart to focus on my kids more than my business (something I battle often). And I could tell you about some conversations with women whom God put in my path to share their homeschool stories with me.
But what I want to say first is this:
I know a lot of friends who are homeschooling this year, and with everyone I’ve talked to, we have chosen this option for different reasons. It’s a very personal decision. Everyone has to make their own decision based on their kids and their family situation. And though you will read my personal opinions below, you will get no judgement from me on what you decide for your family. This is simply the story of why we, the Whitten’s, decided to homeschool this year.
I’ve never ever had a desire to homeschool. I always said I’d *never* do that. I LOVE alone time. It’s when I feel most creative and refreshed. God probably laughed at my arrogance!
The process towards homeschooling started when Haven was in kindergarten. Her sweet teacher called us in to a meeting to talk about a potential processing disorder. Maybe nothing, maybe something, just be aware. Probably nothing you can have confirmed until 2nd grade, she said. But I started noticing Haven wasn’t thriving in a traditional setting.
I walked out of that meeting silently thinking, “God, don’t make me homeschool!” And later I felt convicted about that. So I changed my prayer to “Lord, help me be willing to do whatever is best for my children.“ But seriously, not homeschool.
We had never intended to always send the kids to private school. We both grew up in public school and had good memories of it. Hey, we turned out ok! So we had planned over the years to eventually put them in our neighborhood school. Even before school started in 2019, we told the kids “This is probably your last year at this school. Enjoy it.” I was sad about the thought of leaving this sweet school. I dreaded the switch, but I realize that I'm very sentimental and don't always like change.
However once the re-registration deadline at the private school had passed, I started feeling more uneasy. I began asking Andy, “Are we doing the right thing?”
Enter school-from-home in March which did *not* go well. We had quite a time adjusting to so much togetherness and sitting for hours in front of the screens doing school. We had very little flexibility to take a day off and do a picnic or work ahead. We were floundering. I had zero time to work - and also zero motivation.
My homeschool mom friends began popping up in my world saying, “Hey, this isn’t real homeschool.” And they explaining some of the benefits of choosing homeschool versus the forced school-from-home we were doing. I was intrigued.
In the midst of all this, a sweet friend mentioned to me a message by Voddie Baucham called “Children of Caesar.” I watched it and boy, that was eye-opening. As was a documentary I stumbled upon called Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit by Curtis Bowers. As someone who enjoys reading about politics and current events, I had already heard stories and seen testimonies of disturbing things taught in schools (in regards to gender fluidity and other progressive topics). So much of what I heard in the videos above just reinforced those stories.
One caveat here - Many of my family members and friends are public school educators, and I have much respect for what they do. I know there are good Christians in the school system, and we need them there! I also know they don’t write the curriculum.
"A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher."
– Luke 6:40
All these things were coming together for me, but one thing kept coming to my mind: TIME.
Then came the mask mandates.
I haven’t spoken publicly how I feel about masks. I know it’s a controversial topic. I’ll leave it at this: I didn’t want to have my kids wear them all day.
So I tentatively told Andy, “I think I want to homeschool.” (He maybe thinks my body was taken over by aliens.)
But he supported it. And I'm so grateful that he trusts me to do this.
So here we are.
Curriculum has arrived. My office is turned into an office/school room. School starts today - Lord, help me! I'm saying lots of prayers.
I’m a little nervous. Togetherness-fatigue has set in a little. It’s been a long summer. I’d love some alone time.
But I have a peace. And that is assuring.
I believe this is what’s best for this moment in time. We’ll take it one day at a time.
I know it won’t be easy. I may cry more than usual. I may be a little more absent on social media. But I’m excited to do this.
So when people ask, “Why did you decide to homeschool?” I can say it was a combination of academic, spiritual, and the ‘rona. Given each thing separately, we might have chosen a different path. But the convergence of these things pushed us over the edge.
If you’re curious what curriculum we chose, here it is:
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOMESCHOOLING? LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
Thank for reading my story!
With love and lettering,
As a grandmother who homeschooled her children in the days of Homeschool Defense Fund and CPS knocking on your door because of homeschooling I can tell you that the decision was so worthwhile!
My advice? In the words of one of the early homeschooling pioneers, Mary Pride, “Never forget: you’re educating children, not teaching curriculum.”
Use your curriculum, it’s a good tool (but it is just a tool). Enjoy your children and teach them how to love learning. And remember that God wants you to succeed even more than you do: He’ll not let you down! 🙂
I highly recommend the book Teaching From Rest. The only advice I have is don’t give up if the first year is hard. It’s takes a little bit of time to work out the kinks and figure out what works best for you, your kiddos, and your family. Also if you or the kiddos are having an “off day” it’s okay to close the books and do something different for the day. Homeschooling has been such a sweet blessing for our family and I pray that it will be for yours as well!
We chose to homeschool on a year to year basis. By the end, we were fasting each year to know if God wanted us to continue. I’m glad the Lord didn’t tell me at the beginning it would be 14 years. BUT we wanted to ‘reclaim’ our family and protect our family time. BEST decision ever for us.
Krystal, it’s a crazy ride but if He has called you to do it, He will guide you through it. Praying for you.
Thanks for sharing, Krystal! Our experience has been so, so much the same, and we decided to homeschool our first grader this year for many of the same reasons! Prayers for us both! :)
YES!!! This is an amazing thing for your whole family. Homeschooling is the most rewarding thing I could have chosen to do for my son’s education, academic and otherwise. We started our second year last week and couldn’t be happier. If you haven’t already, check out Jen Mackintosh at https://wildflowersandmarbles.com/ She offers so many resources and so much insight to new and seasoned homeschooling families. Good luck with everything; we’ll be praying for you.
I loved Beautiful Feet for history…especially with history being “changed” so much recently. It’s literature based.
I also had a daughter who had processing issues (auditory processing is a vague term) and that was part of the reason I homeschooled too. We had a few good years and then she actually did better in public school later. Every child is different every situation is different.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s good to remember that their teachers were always on a learning curve too, but no one knows your child like you do. They will be okay. Promise.
Also – Don’t compare yourself to other homeschool moms 😉
Enjoy it. Great curriculum. I understand the fears but remember God has called you and he will
Life skills and character are your goals along with academics. You are doing the right thing.
A dear friend told me when I started,”homeschooling is for the
purifying of the parents”.
So, all that to say, “God has you and He will do great things.”
Your hubby was homeschooled, too, for a few years and I’ll bet he has some good memories of that. I’m excited for you guys! Enjoy!
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