As we say down South, “Happy Fall, Y’all!” I hope you enjoy sweet times with your family today and the last installment of . . .
What a Journey, Part 3
By: “Janie,” A Homeschooling Mama
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I make my way back to my vehicle and I just sit there, stunned. I have no idea how much time had passed, but I finally got enough sense about me to call [my husband]. He answered the phone, and I fell to pieces. I was sobbing and sniffing. He had no idea what I was saying. He thought something terrible had happened. Something terrible had happened! What was I supposed to do? The words, “You’re sending my sheep off to the slaughter” just played over and over in my mind.
I was finally able to talk to [my husband], and it was decided that I would homeschool. I was scared to death! What if [our daughter] can’t read? What if she can’t add or subtract? What if she doesn’t thrive? What if she doesn’t act normal? I chuckle on that last question, if you knew her dad and me, you would understand! Normal is overrated anyway, right? So, once it was decided that I would homeschool, I felt the load lift somewhat.
Now there is a whole new burden to bear. [Our daughter] still had about a month and a half of public school left. We had decided that we would finish out her Kindergarten year in public school, and I would use the summer to prepare for her 1st grade homeschooling year. So, that is just what we did.
I was miserable! I would take her to school, and then I would call throughout the day to make sure everything was ok. I would purposely forget to put her lunch money in her backpack, so I would have a reason to go check on her. I did this for the entire month and a half! I am sure that school was glad to lose this momma! Nut job! I just knew what I was supposed to do, and that month and a half felt like an eternity!
I remember being so sincere in prayer time, time and again during all this. I told the Lord not to even open this door, if I was going to be a failure. “Do not let me do this if I can’t. You know me, Lord, don’t let me be half-hearted in this. I want to go headfirst or walk away now.”
Finally, the end of the year came, and we were so excited! Now, we move on to yet another set of problems! I had a couple friends who had homeschooled, so I sought out Godly counsel from them. I probably would have gotten more out of a foreign film with subtitles than our conversation. They were using words like umbrella school and curriculum. “Is that something I can find down at the Walmart?” If we could hit a rewind button, I would see that the conversation was very wise and educated. They were just talking to a foolish, ignorant woman.
I remember telling [my husband] that I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this. He, being the cheerleader he has always been for me, told me with the utmost confidence and respect that if anybody can do it, I could. He has not realized that I am not Wonder Woman, and I hope he never figures that out!
I took newfound courage from my sweetheart, and I begin to order magazines and different free samples of this new thing they call curriculum. I broke nervous yet again and went back to [my husband] and said something like, “Ummm, we can’t afford to do this. We ain’t got this kind of money now.” Yet again, [my husband] being [my husband] said something profound. He told me that the Lord would provide.
And yet again, he was right. I settled on a curriculum and ordered it early so I could see what in the world I paid so much money for! In the meantime, I figured out what an umbrella school was and got all that taken care of. Our books arrived, and it was like Christmas! I remember during a conversation with a seasoned homeschool momma that she told me to familiarize myself with my teacher’s books. I poured over those 1st grade books like my life depended on it. I remember reading them cover to cover. I had post-it notes sticking out of them everywhere! I stressed and worried myself. It is funny to me now, but at the time, I thought, “What in the world have I done!”
Finally, August came, and school was to start. I was ready, [our daughter] was ready. Lets do this! We had gotten up early that Monday morning and ate breakfast together.
Time for school!! We get to our designated school area, and I could not have messed up, even if I tried. I had that whole day memorized! I knew what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. I remember looking up at her sweet face, looking deep into her beautiful blue eyes and thinking, “I do not even know who you are. I don’t have any idea what you are thinking. I don’t know what you dream about. What makes you tick?” And I realized at that moment that I was living to find out! “I am your momma, and I will know all about you.”
[Our daughter] and I began a deep, wonderful friendship at that moment. No longer was momma worried about being a failure. No longer would momma trade her most precious assets for the almighty dollar. [Our daughter] had my full attention, and I don’t regret a single mile of my journey!
Now let me be clear, there have been times when I have doubted my abilities, but never once have I doubted if I was supposed to homeschool. It was a calling, literally! The Lord has placed 3 souls in [my husband’s] and my care, and that is a huge honor and a tremendous responsibility. I have had to go back to the Lord many times in my 9 years of homeschooling.
What I hope I was able to get across to any readers is that homeschooling is within your reach. Reach out in faith. Maybe you homeschool now and have for many years, but you’re burned out. Maybe you have a struggling learner, and you are at your wit’s end and fresh out of ideas for tomorrow. Maybe you’re considering homeschooling for the first time in your life.
No matter where you are in your season of life, take heart. Take courage. Talk to the Lord. Vent, and vent some more. Cast all your care and burdens on the Lord, Momma. He cares, He knows, and He has a plan! Look around you—what are you thankful for?
My beginning may have not been real pretty, but my ending will be glorious! The Lord has provided everything we have ever needed. We have had times of plenty and times of lean. We have had times when it was a financial burden just to buy a gallon of milk, but the Lord sustained us thru it all. I have had times I could buy the brand-new curriculum, and times I erased pencil marks in used books. Regardless whether my curriculum was new or used, outdated or fresh off the press, it has to do with my mentality. Homeschooling has become who we are—it doesn’t matter what curriculum we use.
Homeschooling is tailor-made by you, Momma! I hope this can be and will be a help and encouragement to somebody along the way. Wherever you are, whatever you are going thru, just remember it will not always be this way. Circumstances change, situations seem to just work out, everything will be ok. Seek the Lord’s will for your life. He will be faithful! I am living proof!
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I wish I had had a friend like “Janie” when I started homeschooling thirty years ago.
Therefore, encourage one another
and build one another up,
just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11