Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why did we choose homeschooling?

Many years ago, I was opposed to homeschooling.  I mean how on earth are kids supposed to learn about real life cooped up in a house all of their lives (totally tongue in cheek). What can I say...I was young...I did not know any better...I didn't have the desire then that I do now.  I am firmly convinced that homeschooling is a God given desire and He worked in my heart and life until I surrendered.  I was ready to take this plunge long before Jamie was.  I did tell him of my desire to be a homeschooling mama.  He shut me down immediately.  He wanted no part of it.  I sister in law prayed.  I asked God to give him the same desire if it was His will for me to be able to do this.  Over time Jamie's heart and mind softened to the idea of homeschool. I did not pressure or push him in the least.  I let God do all of the work.  He was, however, concerned that we couldn't make it financially if I quit work.  After I had each of my children it was gut wrenching to return to work and leave them.  Now, you must know that as hard as it was, it could have been way worse.  I left them with my mother not a complete stranger.  Still though, it tore me up.  Then, after I left Lucie Rose, I told Jamie I could not ever leave another one if we were blessed with another.  Well, I did get pregnant again, in 2009.  Jamie and I decided then that after having this baby, I would stay home and homeschool our children.  Then the unthinkable happened.  Eli was that baby...he didn't make it.  We decided for many reasons to forge ahead with our plans to homeschool and now I am staying home with all of our children. 

Having taught for 12 years in a public school setting, I assure you, I know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  To be totally honest with you I would have no qualms whatsoever putting my children back in the local public school, if I had to.  They, for the most part, are good.  And to be totally honest with you, I feel like parents ultimately determine how much children get from any education, whether it be public school, private school, christian school, or homeschool.

For me...for my family, homeshooling was and is the answer.  Homeschooling is not for everyone and that is perfectly alright.  Let me give you a little background on my family.  Jay is a wonderful, thoughtful, sweet young man.  He is extremely intelligent and was in the gifted program when he was in public school.  He also suffers from ADHD.  For a while we tried to medicate him and control this.  The meds worked.  I honestly grieved over the decision to medicate him.  It hurt me to the core.  I was one of those people who said that ADHD was a cop-out.  It was a parent's way around discipline.  I had to swallow my pride I guess you might say and allow him to be evaluated for ADHD.  There was an immediate change in him when he was taking medicine to help him focus.  We told no one about our decision to do this.  I didn't want anyone to know that my child was the one who took a pill to control his struggle with impulsiveness and focus.  We had great success with a pill.  Jay was able to focus and it made him feel better about himself. I eventually was able to come to terms with the whole issue of  medication.  Then we started noticing small nervous ticks in Jay.  He would constantly fiddle with his hands and play with his face.  We watched it for a while and I began to grow very concerned.  All of this started to surface about the time we found out about Eli.  I thought maybe he was having a difficult time with so much upheaval in our household.  I talked to another teacher at school about this and she mentioned that her son was on a specific medication that gave him nervous ticks.  She began to describe exactly what was going on with Jay.  I asked her if the medication he was on was for ADHD and she said yes.  It all began to click with me then.  I took Jay to the doctor and sure enough, that was a potential side-effect of the medication he was on.  She suggested we change it and try something different.  So we did.  The nervous ticks did not get any better. So, Jamie and I decided to pull him off of the medication and just see what would happen.  After being off of the meds for a few weeks, the nervous ticks began to go away.  So, we made the decision to no longer medicate him.  His teacher then never knew he was on medication, so we did not tell her we pulled him off.  We did not hear from her so we assumed that things were going really good.  His grades were pretty good.  They had dropped some but not enough to cause great concern.  Really, considering all that was going on in our house around that time, he was doing great.  About two weeks after Eli's funeral, we had parent/teacher conferences for the middle nine weeks term.  I sat down with his teacher at the time and she unloaded on me.  To be honest with you, I couldn't process it all right then.  Jay had not done some assignments he was supposed to do and it was taking him more time than was allowed to complete other assignments.  I had no clue.  I inquired about why we were not made aware of this and this was literally, the response I got.
     "Well, now that your horrible situation is over, you can focus more on your other children."
It took all of my will power and might not to break down right then and right there.  All of my children are important to me. Jamie and I both had made a conscious effort not to let anything go.  That statement cut me like a hot, sharp knife.  I then told her about the medication and there was an immediate change in her attitude towards my Jay.  She determined right then and there that she would tolerate very little to nothing from him.  Jay had never been written up or been to the principle's office before then.  After that day, I had to go to the school twice concerning behavioral issues.  She refused to call me and allow me to handle it.  She just sent him to the office.  This is one reason I was hesitant to go back to work after Eli's death.  I wanted to be available to go up if needed or pull him out and finish the year at home. The last time I had to go to the school, I point blank looked at this teacher and told her if needs be, I would come and park my rear end in a seat in this classroom to make sure there were no more issues.  She cooled her heals after that. You know, Jay is just the kind of person that he does not realize it if someone doesn't care for him.  Things like that just roll off of him. ( I wish I had more of that in me.) He still loves that teacher. Jay loves everyone and will defend the underdog in any situation.  I love that about him!

So, all of that being said, Jay was one of my major deciding factors in the decision to homeschool...not the only factor, but a major one.  Cooper, well he is just the opposite of Jay.  Cooper is super focused, artsy, and can read like there is no tomorrow.  He is every bit as intelligent as Jay, just in different ways.  He is any teacher's dream student.  You do not have to tell him what to do next.  He just knows and does it.  Not only does he do it, he does is well! I must share this story with you also.  After I left Jay's parent/teacher conference, I was shaken and near tears.  I then had to go to Cooper's teacher and do you know...She ushered me in her room, shut the door, and put her arms around me and gave me the sweetest hug.  Just what I needed right then.  You know I lost it right there.  She looked at me and said, "How are you, no, REALLY, how are you?"  I loved her in that moment! She then gave me a copy poem that her mother had written (which I still have).  Her mother had passed away a week or two before that day.   She was grieving also. She is a precious lady...the kind of teacher I would want my kiddos to have every year.

Then there is Lucie Rose.  She is just miss personality and we have started some schooling with her.  She is soaking it up like a sponge.  I'm so excited to be able to teach her and Amelia from the start.  Honestly, I think Lucie Rose is going to be a lot like Jay in her learning style. I've put on my working boots and feel pretty ready for what she has for me, but still I pray...

Teaching has been the most rewarding career. Homeschooling is sure to be much more rewarding.  I look forward to the years to come and what they will bring.  I look forward to knowing that my children will grow and learn under my leadership.  It is a labor of pure love.

The tool that I will leave you with today is PRAYER.
If homeschooling is something you are considering or already doing, I say bath it in prayer.  Give it to God and He will provide all the answers. Prayer brought us here and will take us there.

Much love,


  1. I love this post. My husband and I have no kids (yet!) but we have already started crossing this idea of how our kids should be schooled. He's on the public schooling side, and I'm on the home schooling side. His apprehensions will be the same as your husband's. It's encouraging to me, to read of another couple having this debate. I look forward to the rest of your posts.

  2. Before we even had kids we had the "conversation" of education. Fast forward 7 years and we have our first and only. We have been in prayer about what to do and still are and will be fore awhile. Look forward to your post. I am also a 31 Dayer....blessings and beyond to you and yours

  3. I love your homeschooling story Jennifer -- and I look forward to reading more about your homeschooling thoughts and methods. I agree -- giving everything to God in prayer and trusting Him will give answers.

  4. I love that you are homeschooling! After sending my first little baby off to school I finally understand why people would want to do it. Unfortunately, I do not have that gift or desire so I am entrusting my babies to wonderful teachers like you!