It’s been a while since I have posted anything. Having another baby in January probably has something to do with that. Ha! Yes, life has certainly been busy.
This week, our oldest is finishing up 1st grade. He’s had a great year academically and we are very thankful for such amazing teachers who have taught him so much these past 2 years. Yet, we are embarking on a new journey this coming school year. We are starting homeschool.
Now, you may be wondering why someone who has had a good experience in the public school system would decide to rock the apple cart and homeschool. Sounds crazy, huh?
When Luke was getting ready to start Kindergarten, I really wanted to homeschool him. I know a lot of parents who choose homeschooling can endure a lot of criticism from family members and friends, but that wasn’t really the case for us. In fact, most of my family hoped we’d homeschool. But after a lot of praying, I felt that homeschool was not what God wanted for us at the time. Two years later, I still believe that to be true and stand by that decision. I can’t tell you all the reasons why God didn’t want that for us at the time because I don’t know that I know them. I will say, though, that one of the biggest reasons I felt God leading us in a different direction was because my decision to want to homeschool at the time was largely driven by fear. Watch the news any day and it’s easy to understand why a parent’s heart might be gripped by fear for their children and why they’d want to try to do anything to protect them.
While we believe it’s very important as parents to lead and guide our children, to be aware and informed of the dangers that threaten our children and homes, as Christ-followers we do not believe we should be driven by fear. Search the Scriptures and you’ll find countless times where the Lord says, “Do not be afraid.” At the time, I could try to justify homeschooling Luke, but deep down I knew that fear was why I wanted this so badly and God was telling me, “Trust me.”
God has been ever faithful in our short journey with public school. He’s placed Luke in the hands of excellent teachers and friends. We have decided to homeschool for many reasons, but fear is no longer what drives that decision and perhaps why God is releasing us to do so now. I don’t know. It’s not my responsibility to know all the reasons or have all the answers. It is, however, my responsibility to obey, so we did what we felt God asking us to do at the time.
I believe that deciding to homeschool is a very personal decision and what’s right for my family may not be right for yours. We have received some criticism but mostly from well-meaning individuals who really love us and our kids. I am new to this journey, but one thing I can definitely testify to is that if you do this, people are going to criticize you. Get comfortable with that fact. While it’s important to seek wisdom and godly counsel from those who have earned that role, the most important step in making this decision is prayer. What does God say and how is He guiding you and your family? Also, this is what we feel called to do at this time, but it doesn’t mean it won’t change at some point. We are taking this a year at a time, but I pray we stay in-tune to the Holy Spirit and His guidance for our family, understanding that what’s right for us now, may not be right for us next year.
Again, I’m totally new to this journey, but if you’re also new, I would encourage you to attend a homeschool conference in your area if you can. I just attended one last week and it was so helpful! I learned so much, I was encouraged by all of the research out there supporting homeschool, and I left pumped to do this! I also left feeling more empowered to get a plan together for our school year. And even though I’m new, I feel like I’m probably going to want to attend that conference every year for encouragement!
If you can’t attend a conference, though, DO seek out advice and tips from other homeschool families. I have not been shy in asking veteran homeschool families for their help! I even had a friend who graciously allowed me to come observe a homeschool day at her house and that was probably one of the most beneficial things I could have done. Also, at the advice from others, I am joining my local homeschool group this 1st year where I’ll get support from other homeschool families and keep abreast of lots of opportunities out there for homeschool kids like field trips and activities.
So, do I have my concerns about homeschooling? Absolutely! This journey is going to be just as much of a learning experience for me as it will be for my kids. I know that it will be hard often and I am positive I will be discouraged at times. But I’m also very excited about all the possibilities! I LOVE the flexibility that homeschool offers. We’re going to start our school year in mid-July this year and run on a mostly 6 weeks on, 1 week off kind of schedule, ending our school year in May. My husband works construction and his current project will end at some point this fall. As he works 50-60 hours a week typically, we are so excited that homeschool is going to allow us to take a family vacation together once that project ends and we won’t have to worry about being restricted to the school calendar. October, November, who knows and who cares!? We’re homeschooling so we can make it work! And two of our biggest goals for the homeschool year are 1) To work on discipleship with our kiddos and 2) To put a major focus on teaching our kiddos to be fluent in Spanish rather than “rusty.” We are so excited that homeschool is going to allow us to really focus on these things that are important to our family.
I’m interested to see how my homeschool philosophy will transform this year through experience. Will my ideas about curriculum change? Will we like this somewhat year-long homeschool approach or will we find we need something different? What mistakes will I make and how can I learn from them? What am I going to find to be the most difficult and what am I going to love? Only time will tell, but for now, Arrows Academy is just about ready to embark on its 1st year. Pray for us! I am sure we will need it! ☺
“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.”
Psalms 127:4-5, NIV