Dana at Principled Discovery is hosting Home Education Week. Each day of this week, she is listing writing prompts dealing with homeschooling. I forgot about yesterday's, so I'm combining Sunday & Monday's prompts.
Pre-children, I was a high-school English teacher for nine years. I absolutely loved my job. I taught at a small magnet school in our school district, and it was an ideal situation. Most of the children were pretty well motivated to learn, and there were few discipline problems compared with the typical public school. Because we were small, I had many preparations and have taught an abundance of English courses (English I, Composition & Grammar, Freshman Seminar, English II, English III, English II Honors, English IV, English IV Honors, & AP Literature)I loved planning, staying up late at night to find additional resources and activities that went beyond the textbook and sparked students' interest. I loved learning myself, especially about pedagogy, and received my master's in English Education, became AP certified, and National Board certified, and led workshops for other English teachers.
Even before I became pregnant with our first child, I knew that I would give up my teaching career and stay home with our children. Both my husband's mother and my mother had stayed home with their children, and we felt that it was a right fit for our family, even with the sacrifice of losing one income and my great teaching position. I reasoned that I could go back to teaching once the children were in school.
About three years ago when I was teaching Bible School, one of the Bible Verses took root in my mind: Deuteronomy 6:6-9. I continued to think about these verses every so often, and the flower of homeschooling began to bloom in the back of my mind. This past summer and fall, my daughter played Upward Soccer for the first time. At the games, I ran into an acquaintance from high school, Karen, who had moved back to town and was homeschooling her four children. I was also introduced to her two friends who also homeschooled. They were never overt in their talk of homeschooling, but when I asked Karen about it, she shared how she became interested and what they did. She then loaned me her copy of The Well-Trained Mind, which I devoured. I then checked out every book our local library had on homeschooling, beginning with Lisa Whelchel's book So You're Thinking about Home Schooling.
Caroline, another Upward Soccer friend, invited us to attend our local homeschooling groups special night for couples in October. I broached the idea of homeschooling with Joel and suggested that we attend. He agreed, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time at the meeting. We met many other homeschooling families, who, we were pleased to find, were mostly like us. The speakers at the meeting were a husband and wife who had homeschooled their children from preschool through high school. Their homeschooling philosophy was in line with mine, and Joel & I left the meeting that night encouraged and with our minds pretty well made up that this homeschooling thing was something we wanted to try.
Around Thanksgiving of last year, out of the blue, I was offered two different teaching positions. These offers rocked my confidence in our homeschooling plan. One person had even said, "I'd hate for you to waste your talent. You're so good at teaching." Now, she didn't know that I was thinking of homeschooling, but that comment still shook all my good intentions. After much prayer, the Lord led me to Titus 2, and those verses confirmed for me that homeschooling was God's will for us. These verses have also become a beacon for me in illuminating my mission at this season in my life (they are also the inspiration for my blog title). Now, if I were faced with the above comment, I would simply answer, "I'm not wasting my talent, I'm concentrating it."
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity of staying at home and accompanying my children on the exciting journey of learning. We will begin "officially" homeschooling this fall, so the closest thing I can offer you to show what normal is for us is my post on deciding curriculum. You can find it here. I am sure that mixed in with all this planning will be days when things don't click, when Emily Anne doesn't feel like school, when I am discouraged and frazzled by other demands, when Will won't allow us time for school. Still, though, I can't wait for the journey to begin!