An unsuspecting public school teacher…that’s what I was. Homeschooling wasn’t even on my radar. I had no idea in 2013 that within one year I would be answering questions about why I homeschool.
You see at that point in time, I would’ve laughed out loud at the thought of homeschooling my boys. But, sometimes, the Lord has a way of derailing our “best laid” plans in an effort to get us where we need to be.
In 2012, I went back to teaching after taking seven years off to be a stay-at-home mom. I had to work really hard to become the absolute best teacher I could be. For this to happen, I had to put my family, and everything else, on the back burner.
My typical day consisted of me getting up at 5:30 am, rushing my kids through the morning so we could get to school by 7:00 am. We would burst into the school, and I would give them a quick hug and kiss as I pushed them out of my room toward the gym. After teaching all day, my boys would come back to my room in the afternoon where I would hurry them through their homework in an effort to prepare for the next day.
We would stay at school sometimes until 6:00-7:00 pm as I tried to keep my head above water. Then, we would arrive home just in time for everyone to eat whatever take-out or quick meal I could sling out before bathing and climbing into bed.
I would muster every ounce of energy I had to give my husband and my children a few precious minutes of attention before bedtime. By this point, I hadn’t even started cleaning or doing laundry. I would have just enough time to collapse into my bed before starting the same rat race the next day.
I found myself on the “hamster wheel” of life. I was running as fast as I could and getting nowhere. In my heart, I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace much longer. I was tired, had misplaced all of my priorities, and was running on empty.
The Chaos That Threatened to Take Me Under
The chaos escalated as we entered the 2013-2014 school year. In September 2013, my mom had to undergo stomach removal surgery due to a cancer diagnosis. Because of some complications, she was in the hospital for a total of 40 days (5 of them in the ICU on a ventilator).
During her time in the hospital, my son’s first grade classmate and friend was killed by her own mother. How was I going to explain this to my innocent little boy? There are no words to express the depth of that tragedy.
At this point, I had become overwhelmed with it all: my mom, this child’s death, school. My mom needed my help, my boys needed their mom, my husband needed his wife, my students needed their teacher.
Yet, somehow, God brought me through it all.
I’m so thankful to be able to let you know that my mom made a full recovery. (She lives with some “less than ideal” issues related to not having a stomach, but my boys have their Nana, and I have my mom.)
But the truth is, these kinds of life events really do a number on you.
I knew I wanted to adjust my misplaced priorities and to deal with the chaos in my life. But when the 2014-2015 school year began, the chaos returned. The crazy schedule and physical exhaustion made the balancing act impossible.
I knew things needed to change. And that’s when God began whispering to my spirit.
Why I Homeschool: Realizing Change Was Necessary
A huge turning point came when I attended a women’s conference with my mom in the fall of 2014. The speaker, of , delivered a message of simplicity that absolutely resonated in the deepest parts of my soul. I honestly think the entire conference was just for me in this season.
Suffice it to say, God got my attention. I realized that I was craving simplicity in the chaos of my life.
Christy spoke about how we needed to fiercely protect our time and how spending time simply being present with our loved ones was essential. I felt this tug as my heart began to cry out. Being more mindful of how I was spending my time and being more protective with the time I had became paramount.
It was like the Lord had just put my innermost thoughts and feelings on display. I was broken, and I knew I needed to make some changes. But thechanges that I could see on the horizon absolutely paralyzed me.
Why I Homeschool: Following the Lord’s Leading
It was at this point that I began feeling a pull toward homeschooling. But I was terrified at the thought. After all, I was a public school teacher who enjoyed teaching. In truth, the idea of homeschooling my kids was crazy to me!
A good friend had chosen the homeschooling path, but she had always been drawn in that direction. I, on the other hand, had never even considered it, but here I was completely torn by the Lord’s leading.
I was reluctant to talk to my husband about it because he had given up a lot for me to stay at home with our boys. Now that I’d gone back into teaching and doubled our income, we were finally able to afford some of the things we couldn’t previously.
The idea of going back to one income was terrifying, and I honestly felt guilty asking him to give it all up, again.
When God gave me the words, I shared my heart with my husband. I figured he would just say no, and that would be the end of it. But his response truly surprised me; he said we needed to pray about it. Because this decision was going to affect every aspect of our family’s lives, we started praying earnestly for God’s direction.
Why I Homeschool: Stepping Out of the Rat Race
During this time, we only told three people who would unite with us in prayer as we sought direction. But, after 6 months of diligently seeking our answer, we ultimately made the decision to homeschool.
In February 2015, I told my principal I wouldn’t be returning the next school year. She was incredibly supportive. She knew that we didn’t have any issues with the school system; we simply needed to follow the Lord.
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, reality hit me like a ton of bricks!
It was official! I was not coming back to the school.
- My boys would be relying solely on me to teach them.
- We were going back to one income.
- Will I regret this decision for the rest of my life?
Why I Still Homeschool
So here we are, almost through our fifth year of homeschooling.
- Has it been easy? Nope!
- Have I ever doubted that we made the right decision? Yup!
- Are we still following the Lord’s guidance? Definitely!
- Do I question my abilities? Daily!
- Am I thankful to have been given this opportunity? Absolutely!
This year we gave my oldest son the opportunity to start high school in our local public school. I figured he would jump at the chance to be back with his friends, but, after praying about it as a family, he chose to continue with homeschooling.
Honestly, I’m so thankful that he did.
It’s funny how you can look at your life sometimes and think, “How did we get here?” And to this day, I marvel at how God has directed my path. But I can tell you without a doubt that the reason I homeschool is because that’s what the Lord directed us to do.
I can also say without question that God has cultivated special relationships within our family as a result of homeschooling!
I don’t pretend to know the future, but it appears we will continue homeschooling all the way through high school. If God chooses to direct us differently at some point, then we will change course. But, until that time, we’re continuing on this amazing homeschooling adventure!