The One and Only Reason Why We Are Homeschooling Next Year (And a Few Reasons Why I Like the Decision)
My oldest daughter is turning five in just two months’ time. (How is that even possible??)
And as she has gotten older and closer to starting Kindergarten, her future schooling has become the natural course of polite conversation with the adults in her life.
Each time it’s brought up, I cautiously help her relay that we will be homeschooling her next year, a reality that she only partially comprehends. And each time, I am greeted with a warm and truly surprised reaction. People are genuinely curious to know what brought us to this decision.
The first few times I was asked to explain our thinking, I hemmed and hawed trying to come up with some actual “reasons” –but I could not present them with any great conviction.
However, as I searched within myself for these answers over the course of several conversations, I eventually realized that there was only one real reason for this decision: I believe that God is calling me to do this.
It all started several years ago. I don’t know why I began to consider this option –my husband and I both went to public school and had positive experiences –but I did.
I gave the idea some thought, and I did not like it –not at all. My husband didn’t like it either. We were just a little too cool for that.
But as the years wore on, I could never quite shake this concept of homeschool. I brought it up in conversations with my husband many, many times. I said I wouldn’t like to do it. I said I wanted “freedom” from our kids to pursue other things, like writing. I said I wasn’t structured or disciplined enough to make it work. My husband said he didn’t want our kids to be socially awkward. We both said, “We live in a great school district, we should take advantage of it!”
However, the fact remained that I couldn’t shake the idea, no matter how I reasoned. I could find no peace with the idea of sending our oldest daughter off to Kindergarten, so I decided to give home education a trial run with her preschool year, just to see if it would even work.
It has gone amazingly well. My daughter and I have meshed easily in these roles, and we’ve discovered many shared passions as a result. She is a sponge, and easy to teach. That is very rewarding for me!
I began to see how it could work, and in my heart, I knew there was no other option for us. But I also know that it would be essential for my husband and I to be on the same page.
So, I laid my hesitant desire to homeschool Kindergarten before him and asked him to make the final decision. I omitted the “I think God is telling me to do this part,” because I knew God would work it all out if it was indeed HIs will. I didn’t want to “manipulate” the situation with those words.
To my great surprise, my husband chose to support my wishes unreservedly without hesitation or further discussion. (Say what?!)
The decision was made.
Since that moment of submission, that tiny “yes” to God, I have felt incredible relief and peace.
What’s more, after the “yes,” He unleashed vision, joy, purpose and excitement in me for the coming year! This has been absolutely inexplicable, and something that has served as a massive confirmation for me personally.
This is the adventure of life with God! I don’t know how it will all play out long-term, but I do know, next year, we’re diving in!
- So, do I think God is calling everyone to homeschool? …No I don’t. You must seek Him and be responsible to Him alone for how you live your life and raise your children.
- Will we homeschool every kid for every year of their education? …I don’t think so? But I really don’t know. I’m committed to following God’s leading in this area.
A Few Reasons Why I Like the Idea
I’m learning to die to self
One of my major objections to homeschool was the loss of freedom and margin for personal pursuits and dreams. Isn’t “when the kids go off to school” when I’m supposed to get to live for myself again? To have a career? To have financial freedom?
However, somewhere along the line, with God’s help, I’ve let go of some of my expectations and learned a bit more about what Jesus means when He says that real love is to lay down our lives for others.
I’ve learned that I won’t literally die if major decisions don’t revolve around my will. In fact, God has a way of adding every other thing to our lives when we make it our business to seek His kingdom first and to follow Him where He leads. I already see it happening through this blog! …but that’s a subject for another post.
I’m grateful for God’s continuing work to set me free from myself, and I’m grateful for His rich and abundant blessing when I do reluctantly lay down my interests for the sake of His calling.
I’ve adopted an eternal perspective
I’m not saying either of the following options are bad! But…
which of the following are more important—
- Having a fun, easy life OR taking up our cross to follow Jesus?
- Having a premiere education and great sports opportunities OR learning to love the Lord and people?
- Being “up on” pop culture and socially hip OR growing in the disciplines of prayer, worship and service to others?
I think all of the first things are wonderful, and I hope them for myself and my children. I know God can use these things for His kingdom work… BUT, in and of themselves, they don’t matter. They are utterly fleeting and meaningless, and when we value them over the latter and teach our children to do the same, it’s to our folly.
Through hard seasons and deep times of introspection, God has taught me to shift my eyes to eternity and live my life according to this metric. This changes everything.
The home stays as a more prominent influence
The home is the greatest influence on a child’s development no matter what, but there is no doubt that other influences creep in –sometimes to the detriment of the child.
As parents, we (hopefully) don’t have to be helpless victims of this! It’s our job to be the gatekeeper for our young children. This looks different for different situations, but for us, homeschooling will be part of our strategy in these early years.
The simplicity and flexibility
You know I love simplicity. Homeschooling provides that more than I realized it would. We don’t have to build our lives around public school schedules. The time it takes to achieve the same result at home is FAR less than at school so far (speaking from my very limited experience! …this may change over time.)
I am amazed how far a one-on-one education can stretch! Through doing about 1-2 hours of formal “school” per week during this preschool year, my daughter is on pace with children a year older than her –children who are going to public school Kindergarten 35 OR MORE hours per week.
Less hours to achieve a similar result definitely adds some flexibility to our family life! With this extra margin, we are hoping to find one great weekly enrichment for her to do (perhaps sports like those on Coral Near Me, gymnastics, music lessons or ballet).
What’s more, my husband has an unusual schedule. He works every weekend and has only one day off per week, which is Friday. I value our time together as a family very much, and I desire for our kids to get lots of exposure to him. He’s a great dad! Homeschooling will accommodate our unique situation.
I get extra time to enjoy and build my relationships with my children
Hanging out with my kids is more fun than ever. I truly enjoy getting to know who they are and taking full advantage of my chance to guide and shape them. I am fascinated by how God made them, and it’s exciting to reproduce all my “best stuff” into them. Having more time with them will hopefully lend itself to more relationship.
The opportunity to further nurture and maximize these relationships is something I count as a privilege!
I get to use my skill set
In college, I studied to become an elementary teacher. I worked hard and became very interested in the process of teaching and learning. I excelled, and went on to get a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I eventually taught fifth grade for two years. I loved many things about my job, but the pressure and stress of paper work and testing and dissatisfied parents often felt overwhelming.
I’m not longer teaching, and I don’t have any plans to go back to it. The process of becoming a teacher amounted to a lot of hard work, effort, and money that hasn’t fully “paid off.”
However, now I get to see God bring my former expertise and passion full circle! He is working in ways I never could’ve imagined when I completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees. It’s exciting to utilize this knowledge and skill I worked so hard to amass in a context with so much freedom. I can tailor most things to my own strengths and interests.
It is amazing to see how God brings everything together. I look forward to watching our story unfold in the coming years. He is so gracious to provide the means for the call.
So, where are you with your children’s education? Do you clearly know what God is calling you to do, or is this a matter for prayer?
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Hi Katie, I’m reading this article as a stay at home mum in Australia and I’m so encouraged. It’s so beautiful to see other Christian mothers all over the world are making sacrifices for their families. Our children are precious gifts from God that he’s entrusted us with. This article has really opened my eyes, thankfully my husband and I have a little time until they’re school age but will definitely prayerfully consider this 🙂 thank you for allowing God to use you as a writer. God bless you all!
My question is how do you find time to blog while raising kids, keeping house, making dinners, and now homeschooling?
I feel led to homeschool too. This year I have a pre-k and a kindergartener as well as twin 2 years olds. I started to blog about a year ago just to take my mind off of daily chores but I’ve come to like it and now I can’t seem to ever find time for it. So was debating to send the older ones to school but don’t feel the peace about it.
That is a bit of a mystery to me, honestly. At the heart of it, God gives me the grace to do this because He’s called me to it. Despite my plans to home school, my two oldest kids go to preschool two mornings per week. So for now, this is a big part of my strategy. On Wednesday mornings I put the baby down for a nap, and I make myself do housework (cleaning and laundry) the entire time, which is 3 and a half hours. This is the only time all week I clean my home, and it’s good enough for this season. On Friday mornings I write my blog newsletter and play with my baby.
Besides that, I devote nap time every single day to my blog (which amounts to at least 2 hours or more!) My oldest has a timer set for 90 minutes of quiet time in her room, then she watches TV until I’m interrupted by something else. I stop working around 4:30 each day to prep dinner. So basically, the challenge for me is to get all my chores done while my kids are awake, which I’ve gotten into a good groove with. I write about that here: http://www.embracingasimplerlife.com/2015/02/09/how-im-keeping-my-home-tidier-than-ever-even-when-life-is-at-its-craziest-yet/
Because I love doing it, I don’t mind that I have no time to nap or watch TV myself. Those are the biggest things I’ve sacrificed I would say. Also, I use strategies to be productive and maximize my time, such as establishing daily and weekly goals and setting a timer to keep myself focused. I’m only homeschooling my daughter an hour-ish a week right now, so next year will present its own challenges! I’ve discovered that where there’s a will (and a willingness to work hard), there’s a way! Blessings as you figure this all out, walking in God’s way!
I am in my first year of homeschooling as well! My oldest is in 2nd grade. We moved from two years of public to homechool with him whol my daughter is in public kindergarten. My youngest is in preschool and I am feeling like I want to move the younger two to homeschool eventually. I see so many wonderful reasons, but I, like you, want to pursue other things. (I am a writer myself). God and I are in discussion about the 16-17 school year right now. He is so patient ans kind as he deals with us all individually!
My husband and I don’t have children yet, but this is an area which we’ve discussed at length. At first I thought the same thing, no to homeschooling…we both went to public school and we’re fine. But I couldn’t let it go! As my husband and I talked about our future and our future children, my words started to change…I wanted to homeschool! I know that the Lord calls us all according to our purpose, and I know that what’s happening with you here is happening in my heart too. 😀
This is great Katie. We are working through our first real year of homeschool and I am in the midst of choosing curriculum for next year. I feel overwhelmed ALL THE TIME, but I also see how much it already benefits our children. You are so right that you must feel called to do it, because there will be many times an easier route looks very appealing ;-). I look forward to following along more with your homeschool journey. The community aspect has already been one of my favorite aspects of choosing this path.
Great decision, Katie! Actually, I mean GREAT reason to make your decision, Katie! We’ve been homeschooling for the past four years (counting preschool), and just today I was making the decision all over again. I needed to remind myself that it IS what God is calling me to do … it’s tough, because when I keep needing to learn and relearn to die to myself, it’s just not comfortable. And it’s just not easy. But how often is the Christian life comfortable or easy? I know it’s what’s right for my family … I just can’t lose my eternal perspective. As long as you know it’s what God is calling you to do, though, it’s easy to remind yourself of THAT. For the challenges you’ll face, you’ll also have so many more joy-filled experiences!
Hilary –thank you SO MUCH for the encouragement. Every once in a while I still have a slight moment of “what-am-I-doing?!” panic, because it’s easy to lose sight momentarily of the bigger picture –God’s definitely calling to for me to homeschool next year. I don’t feel like I can see that far into the future, but I’m pretty committed for the next two years I would say. I’m hoping things will work themselves out by then!
This is very similar to our story. We have committed to Kindergarten and 1st grade and then we will see from their. My daughter turns 5 in less than a week and we just started a kindergarten curriculum in January and we are loving it!
I love this post! My oldest daughter just turned four and I’ve really enjoyed doing preschool at home with her. It’s so rewarding to see our kids learn and grow right in front of us. I’m not sure when we are going to start homeschooling but I’m trying to focus on creating a laid back schedule that will eventually work for when we do begin. For example, after breakfast each morning, my girls do “school”. It’s usually coloring for my two year old and an easy workbook for my four year old. They are starting to understand that it’s part of our daily routine and I think it will prepare them for the years to come.
We are homeschooling too. I could definitely mimic your many reasons and add some. Daily I still think “can we really pull this off” but its God and not us and I have to remember to keep laying it down. Thanks for sharing this!
Congratulations! Enjoy the ride! I fully respect your decision, and the fact that God led you to it. I am currently struggling with a decision where I feel like God is leading me/us in a way that I didn’t even realise was a dream of mine, but for the past few months (probably longer if I’m completely honest with myself!) I have gad a real yearning in my heart. I would really appreciate if you could please pray for clarity for me as to if this decision really is Gods will for our life?
That’s exciting Eliza! I am taking time to pray right now!
We are homeschooling for a lot of the same reasons! I’ve felt called to homeschool since my oldest was two years old. At the time, it seemed like an impossible dream because I was working full-time and my income made up over half of what we brought in each month. But we were faithful to that calling and I’ve been home with my girls for the last two years now. There are times when our budget doesn’t make sense on paper, but he always meets our needs. Praying many blesses in your homeschool journey!
That is so cool Mandi! I LOVE to see how God provides in mysterious ways. We have gotten to see that in our own lives since I quit my job to be home as well, and it has truly built my faith and trust in Him. Thank you!