The small part of the world I live in now isn’t used to meeting women (or men) who homeschool their kids. It is legal here, thankfully, but not common. When folks here find out I teach my children at home, they are usually full of questions. I’m sort of an anomaly in our neighborhood.
One of the first things the locals usually want to know is, “Did you homeschool in the States also?” I have come to realize the locals carry an easily accessible offense to us as a North American family when they assume we feel their public schools aren’t good enough for our children.
You can see the indignation building on their faces as they stare me down, awaiting my response.
Once they learn we began our homeschooling journey back in the States, the tension between us relaxes a bit. Thank God! This usually gets me out of talking about my opinions of their shame-based school system!
Among acquaintances who actually want to know more, the next question is usually about my teaching materials. Yes, I purchase an American curriculum from the States.
When we have local families over to share a meal, they have the opportunity to see our ‘school room’.
“Wow, this really is a school! It’s incredible!”
They thumb through books, and the kids bound in to show them different things they are working on or have completed. They show off their maps on the walls in the local language.
After seeing the school space in our apartment, compliments then begin to pour in.
They have gone from being skeptical at best, to fully supportive of my choices as a mother and sincerely believing it is the best thing I could do for my boys.
I wasn’t predisposed to think about homeschooling my children.
I grew up in a conservative Christian family, but I didn’t know any homeschooled kids growing up. It wasn’t as popular in conservative Christian circles back then as it is today. I successfully attended public school kindergarten through high school.
Not having an obvious connection to homeschooling, many people have expressed their curiosity as to what made me decide to homeschool.
Seven years before we moved overseas, I was pregnant with our first son. We were living in Detroit, Michigan at the time and the school options were, let’s say… undesirable. Even before he was born, we were thinking about which schooling choices we wanted to make for him.
We trusted God to guide us in making the right decisions for his little life.
It was sort of shocking to have homeschool come to mind, to be honest. I had no baseline for it, and absolutely NO idea where to begin!
As I brought this strange revelation to the Lord, asking for some direction, I remembered one woman who homeschooled her kids overseas. I babysat her children when I was barely a teenager and not long after, their family moved overseas as missionaries. I knew she homeschooled. That’s about it.
I decided to take the risk — I reached out to her and asked for help. I’m so glad I did. She graciously responded to me and offered her precious wisdom on the subject. After speaking with her, I felt at peace. I knew it was the right direction to go in.
At the time, I had NO CLUE we would be moving our family overseas.
Now, as I sit well-settled on the other side of the ocean, I can see God’s gracious hand leading us to make choices early on that would connect us with the plans He secretly held for our family.
Since those first thoughts and discussions about homeschooling, I have received so many more confirmations that we made the right choice for our boys. It’s not the right choice for everyone. But for us, it is.
I have come to appreciate I have a very important job to protect my children’s spiritual understanding and shape their world view. And give them a top-notch education to the best of my abilities.
I’ll never be a perfect teacher, but I ask for help when I need it, and I’m never sorry I do. I’ve discovered I love teaching — it’s a happy place for me and comes naturally.
I have found the Holy Spirit is my best helper for knowing how to present the material to my ever-changing boys.
This is not to say that we don’t have difficult days where some or all of us are in tears! It’s not to say that some nights, I don’t want to prep for the next morning, or that once in a while I throw in the towel altogether. We are such typical humans!
For me, the benefits outweigh the cost.
I love being home with my boys and seeing them grow and develop. I like our flexible schedule for travel or when we receive visitors. I like customizing their curriculum to focus on what is important to us and best for their learning styles.
I’m still learning. I will always be learning how to do this homeschooling thing. Just when I think I have it all down, one of my boys change and I am again trying to figure out how to make it work for us both! My boys are very different in both their personalities and learning styles, so they keep me on my toes.
I see the value in the time I spend with them.
Their childhood is whizzing by and I am so grateful I get to be with them every day of it. I also rejoice at a day off when my husband takes them to the zoo!
Whichever way that God guides you in educating your children, He won’t fail you. He will stretch you and make you do things you never thought possible. Enjoy the ride!