Our homeschooling journey is unique in that we have not homeschooled all of our kids exclusively. My stepdaughter, Taylor, has always lived in Montana with her mom and she attended public school. Our oldest son, Dylan, also attended public school for kindergarten and first grade. Tanner, our 16-year-old, attended school up until the second semester of his sophomore year. Our two youngest, Brandon and Madison, have always been homeschooled.
If I go way back to fourteen years ago and you had asked me about homeschooling, I would have thought you were crazy! Back then, I had a few friends that homeschooled but never, in a million years, did I think I would get on that crazy train! I worked full time and enjoyed it. When my kids were little, I honestly couldn’t wait for them to be old enough to start school. And so that is what we did. Dylan went off to kindergarten and then first grade. Until, one day, my husband came home and inquired about homeschooling. Um, no. I think I will pass, I said. He heard a lot of good things about it from a co-worker and asked if I would pray about it. Reluctantly, I said ok.
I prayed . . . half-heartedly, if I’m being honest. Could I do it? Did I even want to? I would need to have oodles of patience to homeschool my children. And patience is not a virtue of mine. Spend all day, every day, with my kids?! All these thoughts I had terrified me. Not that I didn’t love my kids. Of course, I did. But to teach them all day every day and not ruin them in the process?? I wasn’t so sure about that.
However, as I prayed, things began happening to Dylan at school. Oh, my Dylan. He was a follower. A people pleaser. And I saw that weighing on him. There were choices made (might I remind you that he was in first grade at the time) that I don’t believe would have been made had he not been trying to please his friends. So that, coupled with prayer, led us on the path to homeschooling the very next year.
And, honestly, it was HARD! I envisioned perfection (man, that is such a flaw of mine!). My boy was home (along with his three-year-old and one-year-old brothers!) and we were going to have so much fun! And we did, some days. Some days, though, I wanted to crawl back into bed. Dylan had gone to public school for two years and, in his eyes, everything was fine. I’m sure he thought “why the sudden change?”. So, he struggled with that. We did talk to him about why we felt homeschooling was best. It took time but he adjusted and things ran (mostly) smoothly. The problem was with me. I tried to re-create school at home and I don’t think I’m alone in that mindset. Please tell me that I’m not alone!
But, I just kept thinking that I went to public school and I wasn’t a “real teacher”. So, I just needed to mimic school and we’d be fine. However, that created more tears and frustration. Our schedule ruled us. I’m a classic “check the box” person and, if a box didn’t get checked, our whole day was ruined (I am MUCH better now but, even after all these years, I still struggle with this).
Admittedly, Dylan wanted to go back to public school the very next year. Looking back, I can’t blame him. I knew I needed to change my ways – big time! I prayed and asked for guidance. The way I was doing things was clearly not working. It’s so hard. I am constantly looking for ways to improve BUT when I make a change and it doesn’t work the way I envisioned, I tend to throw in the towel. Anyone with me? I hope so! It’s a constant battle.
Anyway, as the years went by, I loosened the reins on our schedule and let go of what I thought needed to be done and let God lead us. DUH! What took me so long? And, what do you know? Things got better. I have to remind myself (even today!) that I am not in control. Will my kids be ruined because we skipped math or some other subject? No!! They will not be ruined. I promise.
You see the picture above of our youngest two? They are enjoying the day learning . . . even if we skipped math that day. I finally learned. . . Go where God leads us. He loves us immensely and will never steer us the wrong way. Let’s get out of the way and let Him take the driver’s seat.
One thing that helped me to let go is Sally Clarkson’s book. It’s called Educating the WholeHearted Child. It was like a breath of fresh air!!!! It was everything I wanted to do with my kids but didn’t know how! I encourage you to check it out if you have the same struggles I did. Homeschooling is about so much more than checking the boxes. Click on the link below to read more Sally Clarkson’s book.
Want to hear more about our homeschooling journey? I will talk about the later years with Dylan and how I started very late in the game with Tanner. Stay tuned!
Keep the faith,
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Hi! My name is Tamra. I’m married to an amazing man. I have five kids (21-10), and 1 grandson. I’m a very blessed woman!! My husband recently retired from the Navy, after 24 years, and moved us to Oklahoma to begin his next career (I’ve lived in California my whole life!) I will be sharing our journeys on my blog. I hope you will join me and you will be encouraged.