An unsuspecting public school teacher…that’s what I was. Homeschooling wasn’t even on my radar. If you had told me 6 months prior that I would be homeschooling within one year, I would have laughed…out loud, and then checked you for a fever. But, sometimes, the Lord has a way of derailing our best laid plans in an effort to get us where we need to be.
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 had an empty tank.
The Fast Lane
This was the case for me. In 2012, I went back to teaching after taking seven years off to be a stay-at-home mama. 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. 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, bathe, and get ready for 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.
The chaos began again as we entered the 2013-2014 school year. In September 2013, my mama had to undergo stomach removal surgery for cancer. She was in the ICU on a ventilator for 5 days because of some complications, and in the hospital for 40 days. During my mama’s time in the hospital, my son’s classmate and friend in first grade was killed by her own mother. How was I going to explain that to my innocent little boy? There are no words to express the depth of that tragedy.
At this point, I had become overwhelmed with my mom, this child’s death, school, and yet, somehow, God brought me through it all. I was still greatly struggling with wanting to be a good mama to my two sweet boys, desiring to be the wife my husband needed, and most importantly, becoming the Christian woman God needed me to be. Yet, I needed to help my mama.
Once the 2014-2015 school year began, I found myself seeking to simplify my life. I wanted to adjust my misplaced priorities, but I didn’t know how to continue being a good teacher while simultaneously reorganizing the chaos. Amazingly, God began whispering to my spirit, and I knew some things needed to change.
Time for Change
A huge turning point came when I attended a women’s conference with my mom. The speaker, Christy McGriff of Be Still and Live Ministries, delivered a message of simplicity that absolutely resonated in the deepest parts of my soul. Suffice it to say, God got my attention. I realized that I was craving simplicity in the chaos of my life. Honestly, I think the entire conference was just for me in that season.
She 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 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, the changes that I could see on the horizon absolutely paralyzed me.
It was at this point that I began feeling a pull toward homeschooling, but I was terrified at the thought. The idea, of homeschooling my kids, was crazy to me! I was a public school teacher who enjoyed teaching for goodness sake. 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, and now that I had 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 honestly, I felt guilty asking my husband 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. So, we started praying earnestly for God’s direction because this decision was going to affect every aspect of our family’s lives.
The Ultimate Decision
We prayed for God’s guidance for 6 months before we ever told anyone. In February 2015, I told my principal I wouldn’t be returning the next school year, and explained our decision. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, reality hit me like a ton of bricks!
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.
What were we thinking?
Thankfully, my principal was nothing but supportive of our decision. She knew that we didn’t have any issues with the school system, we simply needed to follow the Lord. I thank the Lord that He paved the way for the conversations that could have been really difficult.
So here we are, getting ready to start our fifth year of homeschooling, and I’m even more confident now that I’m where I’m meant to be. One day, the Lord may direct us differently, and at that point, we’ll change course. But, until that time, we’re continuing on in this amazing homeschooling adventure!