February 10, 2012

About Homeschooling

I don't believe I've ever shared the story about our decision to homeschool. It feels so long ago....the details seem very faded. It may, or may not surprise you to know that I originally did not intend to homeschool.

Shortly after I met Greg, his aunt started homeschooling her 3rd grade twins , my dear friend Carla was homeschooling her girls, and a couple other people I knew through my in laws were homeschooling. That's about the extent of my exposure and understanding on the subject. I had a lot of preconceived ideas and stereo types in my head, but really didn't think much about the subject.

              {neat thing, his twin cousins graduated as homeschoolers, and are now preparing }
                                                 to homeschool their kids

Then the amazing adoption of our boys happened....and with it came a whole new set of decisions. Parenting decisions, school decisions.  Because Greg and I held the same faith as my inlaws they started to just assume we would be homeschooling. We all went to the same church, and the majority of the attending families homeschooled. My mother in law would say things like "when you homeschool" or "when the boys are homeschooled" and I wouldn't correct her and say "we aren't planning to homeschool". I honestly became a bit double minded.


As our babies turned into little boys, the decision about school became a big focus for us. When I would get together with my friends we would often talk about the beginning of kindergarten. I would mention homeschooling, but usually end our conversation by saying....."nope, we aren't going to homeschool" or "yep, I'm registering them....I think". Then, when talking to my inlaws....I was all...."oh yeah, we are homeschooling". I just floundered somewhere in the middle without committing to either decision.

Truth is, I didn't know what I wanted. I honestly would change my mind on a daily basis. I sort of felt like I was jumping onto my own little island. It felt sort of lonely. I wanted to be on the big island with my friends. That little island looked a little scary. Let me add that at the time Greg would have been fine with whatever we chose, though he leaned toward homeschooling.

And then the summer before kindergarten came and it was time to register them for school. The days leading up to that decision were not as stressful as I would have thought. Suddenly, the 50/50 scale between homeschool and other school tilted strongly to one side-in favor of homeschooling. I started thinking more and more about it....praying about it..... It almost felt like an out of body experience......my mouth was saying "I want to homeschool" yet inside I was screaming "are you crazy? why? are you sure?".

Each day the desire to homeschool grew stronger and the reality of it grew more real. Greg and I had many discussions on the subject. He wanted me to try homeschooling, but also did not want to push me into the decision. He was a great cheerleader telling me "you can do it. I'll support you". What ultimately led to our decision to homeschool?

The deadline for registration came....and went. My mother in laws assumptions became our reality {thankfully}. We chose to ignore our fears, confront our worries, and go in the direction we felt was right for our family {even if that meant spending a lot of time on our own little solitary island}. We just went with it.

One thing I almost forgot about.....we had been living in our "then house" for about 4 years during our homeschool decision time. One weekend, we were driving out of our neighborhood and saw a garage sale. Greg and the boys stayed in the car while I checked out the sale. I started chatting with the father and met a couple of his kids and soon found out that they were homeschoolers {the mom, and my future dear friend was not there at the time}. The dad shared about a local homeschool sports group, and we exchanged phone numbers. Soon after, we got together for dinner and began a special friendship that continues to this day. Thinking back, I remember feeling so encouraged about homeschooling through that meeting. I felt like it was a little gift from the Lord. I'm pretty sure they may have been our first homeschooling friends?? I'll have to ask Greg about that. 

And then we were homeschoolers. I jumped over to this unknown territory and had no clue where and how to begin. So, as with most things in my life....I just did it, I just began. The first year was rough.  I couldn't relate to my non-homeschooling friends anymore {and they couldn't relate to me}. Actually, that was a very hard situation. We would get together and I would feel like I lived on a different planet. I realize now that it was because of my lack of confidence in our choice. I would usually end our time together in tears{and confusion} on my drive home. During the week, they were all meeting for lunch and I was home schoolin'. There were days that I felt so isolated and envious of the moms who didn't home school. I wondered what it was like in the free world.....the land of uninterrupted cleaning, solo errand trips, and lunch with the girls. At that time, the Internet was a limited source of encouragement and information. I cannot believe how far homeschooling has come in just 5 years.

I'm happy to tell you that though it has taken some time.....I finally feel confident in our decision to homeschool. I'm thankful to be able to stay home with my boys and grow through this experience. Truly, we are learning together. I believe that with any big decision there is a processing time.....a period of adjustment. The first year, or two was hard. If I knew then what I knew now it would have been a much smoother and tear-less process.

I've realized that the days I feel like throwing in the towel are not really about homeschooling. Usually, something else is going on in my heart and homeschooling seems the obvious target. Recognizing this fact has put me in a place of not questioning it anymore {well almost not anymore}. My old girlfriends {still my current girlfriends} are fully supportive of homeschooling now! It's a non issue for our family and friends......when before it was the subject of many debates. Times have certainly changed.

I can honestly say that even though we didn't necessarily choose homeschooling without a second thought....I'm so glad that I overlooked my fear, and worry, and the criticism to give it a try. It's now just a part of our story.

 Maybe next I will share how Greg and I got engaged. It didn't involve bended knee and a surprise proposal. It did involve a mother in law and more of her assumptions ;)


Jessica Washburn said...

I love it Mimi, you are one cool Chick! I miss it, glad I did it for two years but realize it's not for us long term. Your kids are lucky!

really.truly said...

Jess, I'm thankful to have met you through homeschooling and to have continued the friendship regardless of how either of us school :)

Wendy said...

I'm so glad you shared your story! And don't you dare delete this post. ;) It's great that you feel so confident now and that your friends have just rolled with it too. I'm thankful that I met you and that we've been able to encourage one another in our homeschooling efforts. You're a great friend!

Tiffanie said...

Of COURSE you shouldn't delete this post! Silly girl! :) I'm so glad homeschooling is the blessing it's intended to be for you guys! I love you!!

really.truly said...

Wendy...I'm so thankful that we met through the homeschool group before we both moved! So cool! You've always been so encouraging and such a sweet friend....and y'know, I'm mostly confident, sometimes I'm iffy :)

really.truly said...

Thank, Tif...love ya, too!

April said...

Your post shares some hard truths, but I think it's important for others to realize it isn't always an obvious decision for those home schooling (or not home schooling). It is amazing the connection we can have now via internet and blogs; we definitely aren't "on our own". Have a blessed day & I hope you do leave your post up. :-)

really.truly said...

So true, April.......and I'm so thankful we aren't "on our own". Thanks for your thoughtful words.

sara's art house said...

Great to read your story- so neat how God works things out!

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