Homeschool Blog Hop, Week 2: Why or how did you get started?

Why or how did I get started?

 How did I get started?  Why did I get started?  These are two separate questions that I will try to give equal time to.  Just in case you are just joining this blog hop- Hi, I’m Kathleen, a homeschooling mother of seven.  

The Breakdown- Spring 1995

When Audrey reached school age, I dropped her off at school, Amerey off to preschool and headed to the gym to work out for an hour and a half (while Hunter stayed in the gym nursery). Afterwards, I picked Amerey up, made lunches and tucked the younger two in for naps.  When they woke, we loaded the van up and picked up Audrey, fixed a snack and ran off to some sort of practice or church event.  It was a juggling act that didn’t have much relationship built in.  Time was spent, not on togetherness- just spent.  We consumed it with not much to show for it.  I worked out, carted kids around, shopped and did it all over again the next day.  Meals were rushed.  One night, during our fifteen minute dinner so we could get to some practice, I threw a plate of spaghetti against the wall in protest.  The kids looked at me wide-eyed and bewildered.  Why was mommy so upset?  Why did I want to stay home and eat a real meal without rushing off to an event after inhaling an instant, pre-packaged, pre-made cardboard meal?  The children lived on the conveyor belt life that I had built for them in accordance to the blue-prints supplied by my neighborhood culture of keeping up with the Jones.  Workout your body.  Ignore your mind.  Listen to the media.  Recycle your plastics, but not your children.  Throw them out into the world, onto the conveyer belt of busyness.  Ignore relationship.

The Voice- Spring 1995

I was sitting in a board meeting voting on a name for a new Christian school in my community when I heard a voice behind me say, “You are going to homeschool.”  I turned and looked behind me.  No one.  I scanned the faces of the committee.  Everyone was talking.  I didn’t know what those two words together meant.  I had never heard them combined.  Was I losing my mind?  I didn’t regularly hear voices. God didn’t regularly speak to me in an audible voice or through a burning bush.  I went home and researched those words.  I hesitate to tell this part of my story.  At this point, you may think, this lady is a lunatic and pitch this in the trash or delete it.  I share because I am compelled to, these words were a turning point in my life and in the life of my family.  After much prayer, many “are you crazy?  is that legal?” comments and some research on the subject, we jumped off the conveyor belt.

Fall 1995

Boxes of books filled the oval oak kitchen table. It was Christmas in August.  We unwrapped books, tapes and workbooks and began our homeschooling journey one vowel at a time.  Amerey, bouncy-happy loved the vowel songs, but hated the heavy workbooks.  Audrey, knowledge-hungry loved whole books, but hated pace work and missed creative writing.  We made adjustments and settled on a literature-rich curriculum and added in plenty of writing for good measure.

The wilderness

 It was wilderness time for me.  I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled.  There were no blogs.  No support groups in my area. In the wilderness, I had another paradigm shift- my teaching degree obtained through secular education was bashed to bits as I re-examined it, pieces of it floated back down and remained valuable, but most of it was washed away by a new/old philosophy:  Charlotte Mason, Susan Schaeffer McCauley and Sally Clarkson were my mentors.  Whole books replaced most text books.  Rather than simply rote learning, relationships were formed with literature and each other. We joined the great conversation.

The rushed days were replaced with school work on the couch and at the kitchen table. Kids did beside me jobs, loading the dishwasher, sorting laundry, helping with dinner prep and being a family. Life wasn’t always perfect. We didn’t wear matching outfits (okay, not all the time). My kids had character issues and learning issues. We worked through them together.

As I write my story, I can see my path so much more clearly.  While I was in the wilderness, I asked, “What are you doing, Lord?”  Now I know.  He was turning my heart towards my children in a fresh, new, deeper way. My desire was to spend time with them, not just to spend it.  God used the time to work on my inner man.  I had the gift of time to read a book aloud for a whole afternoon, to make homemade pancakes, to think, to write.  My lifestyle changed dramatically.

Winter 2000

After the adoption and more than doubling my family and my homeschool load, I knew I couldn’t throw these newbies into the public school system. More than the three R’s, they needed time to attach. They needed to feel secure and safe. How could they do that away from the home? Survival behavior would have kicked in and dominated their days. Homeschooling gifted us with the time to attach, to turn survival into security and to work on habits that fazed out some of the behaviors. Reading aloud taught my newbies the English language quickly (as well as arguing with siblings). Doing chores together built character and a sense of accomplishment, not a false self-esteem. None of my children are perfected; neither am I, yet homeschooling has been the best choice from my family from the audible voice to the still small one that speaks confirmation to me today.

Join us for the rest of our blog hop: Here are the upcoming topics and links of fellow bloggers!

  • Why or how did you get started?  (Tuesday, April 9th)
  • Homeschooling styles and/or curriculum choices  (Thursday, April 11th)
  • What didn’t work for you?  (Tuesday, April 16th)
  • My biggest frustration . . .  (Thursday, April 18th)
  • How do I feel about socialization?  (Tuesday, April 23rd)
  • Blogger’s choice (Thursday, April 25th)

Clockwise, from top left:
Lorrie @ Life and Lessons LearnedSelena at Campbell ClanKathleen @ Positive Adoption
Audrey @ Everything BeautifulCharli @ WV Urban HippiesTracey @ Building My House, and Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home 


5 thoughts on “Homeschool Blog Hop, Week 2: Why or how did you get started?

  1. I think your story is powerful. Especially since you never heard “home” and “school” together in one word! It is a big testimony of how God used you in forming this in your family, but also, in building a network of support for a growing homeschooling community!! I really couldn't do this without your support and the co-op!! And I definitely agree, life has definitely become more enjoyable and more peaceful!! I could definitely see myself throwing spaghetti (or anything!) in exhaustion as well! 🙂

  2. I have heard you tell this before, but I always love to hear it. You can't get more definite encouragement than a direct word from God!

  3. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. While I believe it is possible to stay off the conveyor belt while simultaneously having kids in public school (kinda blogged about it today) the path you have chosen is a God ordained path. Your family has been and will be blessed by your obedience.


  4. Thanks, ladies! Maria, I am glad you have support! Selena, you pretty much saw my lifestyle change. Hope it helped you! Megan, I totally agree, you can jump off the conveyor belt. I think I was too hard headed at the time and too influenced by the world for me own good. God had to speak to me with an audible voice! I don't think I was listening any other way. God was also preparing me for adoption. It all makes sense.
    I admire you, you are homeschooler at heart. You take the time to make connections with your children, daily. Cannot wait to read your post.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story! I wish that I could say that my calling to homeschool had come as loudly, clearly, or peacefully as yours did. I was confused, terrified, at my wit's end, exhausted, and in denial. Public school was not working for my 1st grader, it was a major fail! I thought homeschooling was an awful thing to do to a child. I found a great curriculum (we use Time4Learning) and took the plunge. Within days my home was more peaceful (though it is still chaotic!), I saw my daughter smile, and begin to learn voraciously. I also realized that if I had listened harder, I might have heard that calling to homeschool, but I was in such denial until I ran out of options and homeschooling became the only choice I could see. More than six years later we are still going strong with homeschool, and I can't see any other way to educate my child. Thank you so much for reminding me of the reasons I homeschool.

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