This song could be heard the entire mile home from my local elementary school. I couldn’t believe that I had a WHOLE three months of freedom! Freedom to read Little House on the Prairie as many times as my heart desired … freedom to explore my dreams and my passions. For a short time the world was mine, on my terms.
Years later when it was time for my children to attend school, I failed to remember my childhood yearnings for freedom. I placed my children’s futures into the hands of strangers without a second thought. It never occurred to me that I could provide them with a viable, more excellent alternative.
Two years ago I began the journey back home. I was determined to succeed at providing my kids with the best education. I spent thousands of dollars trying to find the right curriculum. I endured hours of planning lessons. I researched every known educational style. I neglected the whisper in my heart: Give them freedom.
In the midst of a homeschool conference God began to speak to my heart.
“They are mine. I made them to live in freedom. Release them.”
I wept as I realized that my children belonged to God, not a man, not the state and certainly not me. I was responsible to guide them along the path their Father had prepared for them. It was a humbling experience that made all the difference in our home.
Looking back, there are some things I could have done earlier in the transition to make our journey easier:
Take a break from learning. This is also called deschooling. My youngest required 4 months; my oldest, 16 months; my middle, 12 months. I’m still in the process.
Find a mentor. I discovered that some of my previous friendships ended with my decision to homeschool. I had many days of loneliness and doubt. Finding a mentor made the difference.
Don’t buy curriculum. I cannot tell you how many different math curriculums I purchased for my middle child. I will not share how much money I spent/wasted. Just take my advice, don’t do it.
Discover my child’s learning style. I highly recommend reading The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. We actually had our children take a learning style panel. My three are highly kinesthetic learners with varied secondary learning styles. It has been a challenge to find a style that will meet all three of their needs.
Discover our learning philosophy. I had never heard of Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Unschooling, Eclectic, Waldorf, Unit Study, Child-Directed, Relaxed, School-at-Home before homeschooling. It wasn’t until I had spent a lot of time and money, that I discovered our family enjoys a relaxed environment with a dose of Charlotte Mason and unschooling. Want to learn more? http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/783291/
Is your heart whispering “Bring them home?” Do you wonder what to do next? I would encourage you to continue praying and asking for guidance. Find a mentor. Read everything you can about homeschooling. Begin to model learning as a way of life for your children. Be flexible. Give your children grace and mercy. Live, Love, Laugh. Learn Together.
The journey is worth every step.
An aspiring photographer, you can always find a camera in Taunya’s hand. She is the homeschooling mama of three previously public-schooled children. Although, the dream to become a full-time on-the-road family eludes them, they find opportunities to take extended journeys learning about the United States first-hand.