Friday, August 12, 2011

This Week In The Life Of A Homeschooler: My New Adventure

My New Adventure Begins

The State Park where I live

I love adventure. Unfortunately, I'm a little slower than I used to be thanks to the Fibro. I remember planning trips I never got to take, things I thought I would do, and who I would encounter on the trail I was going to blaze down. Things don't often happen like we plan them, and that's okay. I really wouldn't have it any other way. I know I made a lot of mistakes in my life and irresponsible choices. I hear people say things like, " If I knew then what I know now, I would never have done __________." I honestly cannot say that. I know that I probably should have done things differently, and in fact, I vividly remember thinking that thought while doing them. I really should be making better choices, I really shouldn't be doing this, I think this is a mistake, and a variety of other phrases ran through my mind on a regular basis. However, If I hadn't made those mistakes, I wouldn't be who I am. I think I'm pretty content in this skin. I refuse to look back on things I can't change and pine away for something that will never be. I don't think that's what God wants either.

Many of you who have read this before, know that I have chosen to step away from a number of things and venture into the world of "full time mom, homeschooler, and housewife". I'm sure there have been people who thought I was making a mistake, and I'm truly sorry if they feel like I have let them down in some way, but I can say that for the first time in my life, I'm content. I'm scared to death, but content. I think that's okay as well. People get ideas about what "your calling" is. They see an anointing that may or may not really be there, and when you stop, they logically question your motives. I have no problem with that, because there have been plenty of times when I've tried to run away from what I WAS supposed to be doing, only to have someone say, "Hey! Where do you think you are going?"

This is what we now consider "clouding over". :-)

I said I was scared, so I will let you in on my list of fears. First, I still daily battle Fibromyalgia, and not knowing what tomorrow will bring is a little scary. A "thorn" I don't think will be leaving my flesh any time soon. It's not that I think I deserve it, or that I'm not serious enough about God to demand it leave my person... It's just that I have realized that His grace is sufficient, and that's all I need. I continue to try things, exercise, pray for healing, and read the latest findings on the topic, but freedom from it no longer consumes my heart's desire.

Second, I'm fearful I will forget to teach them something truly necessary, and their lives will be ruined because of it. I know, that's a bit dramatic... I'm really not that anxiety riddled. I do want to give them the best education I possibly can, and in spite of my underwhelming fear, I believe that we can realistically give them that. I know I don't have to rely solely on my knowledge, and that's a great comfort. There are things called books, the Internet, friends educated in subjects I am not, a plethora of curriculum, and the list goes on. While public school children all have to fall in line under the same teaching methods, keep up at the same pace or be left behind, and often struggle with boredom or lack of interest, I can twist and tweak my schedule and teaching methods to suit their individual needs. I think that is pretty awesome, and can't see how that could be detrimental to their education.

Third, and last, and worst, I hate being judged. I've gone through a tremendous amount of this in the last couple of years. More thanI believe I've even dealt with in my entire life. Maybe it was the harshness with which it was dealt, or the ability of the people delivering the lies to speak louder than the people who told the truth that makes is seem so terrible. Most of it had no basis in truth at all, and that's what hurt me most. Lies, rumors and gossip held more weight than actual fact, and that seems to be what many people use to judge homeschooling as a general group.

Some of the best and the worst kids I've ever met were "homeschooled" and I do use that term very loosely. The few bad cases seem to overwhelm all the good ones, which go mostly unnoticed. Texas is a great state to homeschool, and a terrible state to homeschool. Anyone can pull their kids out of school under the guise of homeschooling, and then never teach them anything, but it also protects homeschoolers in that it allows them to teach faith based curriculum and tweak a students education based on their articles of faith. There are many states that dictate every aspect of your students education, or don't allow you to homeschool at all.

Did you know that there was a study conducted that found that homeschooled children do remarkably better on ACT's than public school kids? Did you know that there were several studies that concluded that the social abilities of homeschooled children were far better developed than public school students? Did you know that some very successful and famous (not infamous) people have been homeschooled, such as, Venus and Serena Williams, Albert Einstein, and Pearl S. Buck? The list does go on. I just say these things to show you that this is a viable choice. Yes, I guess I am trying to argue it's worth just a little. I am a natural debater in case you weren't aware.

I'm not saying that homeschooling is better choice for everyone over public school, or that everyone should homeschool, or that my kids are better than your kids. My kids are pretty fantastic, by the way... I'm not saying that I'm smart enough to teach my kids everything they need to know on my own. I'm not saying that I won't make mistakes. I am saying that I love my children enough to go to great lengths to make sure they receive the best of everything, and if you still feel like you have an opinion that is better than mine, you need to develop said opinion after researching, reading, praying, and actually getting to know my children before you make an assumption or lump us into a category where we do not belong.

Wow, I didn't mean to get on a soap box. Forgive me. I know it scares people when they see others making a choice that isn't mainstream. I completely understand that, but it scares me when I see someone who is all too eager to put their children in the hands of people they don't know, and never question what or how their child is being taught. Someone who is just ready to send them to school to be "relieved" from them, or who expects every child to just function and learn in the same way as every other student. BUT I know that's not all parents who send their children to public school. I know that many parents who choose public school believe in and get to know the teachers, get involved, and truly care about what is going on in their children's lives. They help their children when they are not getting what they need in the classroom, and supplement their education in whatever way is necessary to see them succeed. I also have many friends that are educators, and they love their students and want to see them grow and learn.

So, shouldn't all truly loving and caring parents who want to see their children succeed, consider themselves at least "part-time" homeschoolers? Just a thought.

So, my first week has been successful. I enjoy my kids, and cannot wait to see what we each learn from this whole experience. It will truly be my greatest adventure to date, and I intend to take advantage of every single moment of it. I guess, for those of you who are fighting Fibro and were hoping to read an uplifting and helpful blog from me today, I want you to think on this... Don't let Fibromyalgia stop you from jumping head first into your new adventure. I'm taking it one day at a time, and letting God lead this dance. I hope that you will be right behind me, and all the way realizing that your adventure is just as important, just as exciting, and just as meaningful. Whether it be something you consider big or something you consider small, it's all worth the fight. I'm praying for your adventure today.

I've always enjoyed the way the light dances it's way through the leaves.


  1. Heather, congratulations on your brave start to homeschooling. I found it to be the most wonderful experience,to be with my children, talking about everything, anything, throughout the day. They are different, "better" than they would have been without that. It gave them abilities and confidence they wouldn't have otherwise developed. You go, girl!! Have FUN with it!

  2. OK I didn't get the part about moving to a state park? I totally agree with homeschooling if a person is able - secular based education is a whole different ball of wax (and somehow my mind goes off to ear wax and nevermind my rabbit trails of thought). I am completely supportive and encouraging - you know any time you need an ego boost you need to contact me - you have been and will remain one of my all time favorite people - your sense of humor, beauty and generosity are so endearing. You'll be a wonderful homeschool mom - there are a zillion resources and you already read Pioneer Woman's blog so have access to t he wonderfully divergent views of the Homeschool bloggers there. Go for it - I'm much older -have some things I regret I've done (Shugart's anyone?) but OH so blessed by the mercy and grace of our Lord. You know I don't believe sickness is a punishment - you have your thorn and if Paul the Apostle couldn't pray away his thorn - don't beat yourself up because some misguided souls think you "Should do this or that or haven't done blah blah blah" -
    Love you - admire you and woo hoo to new adventures!