Hello! My name is Shelly. I’m so excited to be a guest blogger at Blissful and Domestic! My husband and I live in California and are parents to (almost) eight children (ages 19-5). Two of them are joining our family this year through the blessing of adoption. Our oldest two children are living out of state. And three of the crew have special needs.
Why do we homeschool? Well, we originally started considering homeschooling in 2011, when our 3rd child was about to enter Kindergarten. Earlier that year, I met several local moms who homeschooled, so I became really interested and started researching. We prayed for a few months, I looked at a friend’s curriculum, and read books like, “The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child” by Linda Dobson. Our first year, I think we did “okay”, but it wasn’t my best year juggling motherhood with being a teacher.
The following year, I tried again, and we had a really great year. I look back on 2012/13 with much fondness and confidence. We did it! I successfully homeschooled four children at four different levels, and we had FUN!
Due to some weak moments and doubts on my end, the Littles attended a full year of public school this past year, and we prepared to enter 2014/15 in public school again with no second thoughts because everyone thrived, and the kids were looking forward to going back.
Except.one.thing. The nagging pull. The familiar "call" to homeschool was coming back. We are a family of faith. We tend to make all of our big decisions after prayer. When we listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit, we know blessings will come. Barry and I both thought the summer was too short, but we weren’t expecting to do a 180 two weeks before school started. We were both very surprised to be getting the prompting to homeschool again, even though we know the great benefits we’ve all had from doing so. I clung to the good experiences we had in 2012/13 in order to make the huge leap to prepare for the changes.
So, why do we homeschool now? We honestly feel called to do so, but it’s more than that. We have so much flexibility, time together, great memories, time in scripture, protection from outside (bad) influences of language and behavior, freedom to choose what we teach, and time to travel to name a few.
I know I'm not the best example of being a homeschooling mama. I know my weaknesses and faults. I know when I'm failing miserably. But I also know when I'm doing great with them, because their smiles and enthusiasm say it all. They are happy to be home with me and with each other.
If anything, I hope that my story can show others that nobody does it perfectly, and all of us learn as we go. Some families commit to homeschooling from Kindergarten through high school, and others take it one year at a time. We are just taking it year by year, but slowly gaining the testimony of why homeschooling is best for our family.
I'm slowly and finally learning how to lean on the One who can carry me through it all. I'm diving into prayer and scripture study each morning before the children wake up. I'm praying with the kids before we start school. I'm reading scriptures with them as part of our curriculum. And I'm praying each night that I might have done "something" right during the day. I'm also learning to listen to the counsel of my awesome husband, who is so in tune with God that I could really learn a thing or two from him (like when he told me NOT to send them back to school last year) ;)
I'm confident that this will be a good year. And when I'm frazzled and everyone else is frazzled, we'll take a breather. What I love about homeschooling is that it’s fluid and ever-changing. We can tailor it to suit each child’s needs. We make it the way that works best for our family.
I've realized there is no easy way. It's not easy to send your kids off to school, and it's not easy to keep them home all day. It's hard work no matter what. But I really, really love the flexibility of homeschooling and the moments I get to see that I would miss if the children were gone all day. I know I need time for myself, my husband and my friendships, and time to prepare in order to recharge my confidence levels.
I know that if God calls me to do something, he will see me through it. He doesn’t leave me alone to figure it out on my own. I’ve found great encouragement in the scriptures and from other homeschooling mamas, and even homeschool conference talks from speakers who have experience with this beautiful lifestyle.
We’re so very blessed that I have the opportunity to stay home with my children; the children that the Lord has entrusted to my care and nurturing. And I know I can’t do this alone; my husband is a huge source of strength. We are a blessed family.
If you’d like to follow my blog, I love to write in my spare time at Diary of a Taxi Mom.
Thank you so much for sharing your homeschool story!
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