And then we became parents and we did a lot of things we said we would never do. “We're never going to let our child have a nukky past age two!” "We will not talk in made up baby words." “We will not resort to bribery.” “Our children will be intrinsically motivated!” Ummm, well, you know then life happened and reality set in and parenting was much harder than we anticipated. We’ve eaten our words many times as parents; as humans who feel passionately and sometimes strongly about various topics.
Something else happened too, parenting was also much more fulfilling and amazing than we expected it to be. As a couple we have had many in-depth conversations about how we want to raise our children and what we want life to be like for our family both inside and outside of our home. We’ve discovered that parenting is less about the children and more about the parents. Motherhood is less about the children and more about the mother. Fatherhood is less about the children and more about the father. Nothing in our lives have made us examine and discover who we are and who we want to be more than becoming parents and then suddenly needing to lead by example…to not only tell your children how to act and serve, but to show them by living it out daily in the both the mundane moments and the exceptional moments.
There are both pros and cons to every single situation we will ever choose for our children.
We feel nervous, excited, grateful and certain about our decision to homeschool. In all honesty, there is a very slight fear that we might one day regret our choice. However, we feel that is very unlikely and find comfort in knowing that this choice isn’t permanent. Though we have hopes to homeschool long term, we will continue to pray, discuss, reflect and will revisit our decision each year. This is one of the biggest parenting decisions we have ever made. A decision that we came to partially by leap of faith and conviction and partially by a desire to lead a certain lifestyle...that just so happens to be a little different from the norm.
Over the past year and a half, we have spent countless hours praying, researching, and talking to parents and educators in our area's private Christian schools, an international school, a Montessori school, and even a virtual charter school. We have talked to homeschooling parents and their middle and high school aged children about both the successes and challenges. We talked to passionate homeschoolers and to homeschoolers who tried and then decided it wasn’t the right choice for their family anymore. We interviewed and toured our local public school. We gained a lot of valuable insight and see the value that each setting has to offer. We have not come to this decision lightly.
Sometimes, you have to say no to a perfectly good option, so you can say yes to what really is best for your family. We are confident that homeschooling is the best choice for our family at this time.
Deep breath…we have chosen to homeschool.
Once upon a time, we scoffed at the idea of homeschooling. We were opinionated on a subject matter we knew very little about. We clung to old fashioned stereotypes. We didn’t take the time to understand and learn about it.
Since then we have learned to never say never. Ever.
For a while, we’ve felt that God was tugging at us. Leading us down a different path. Telling us to slow down and be intentional with our time, our resources; with each other. We tried to ignore the tugging. Tried to slow down by setting boundaries and saying "no thank you" to invitations for get togethers so we didn't feel as if we were constantly trying to "keep up with the Joneses"; constantly trying to play catch up on housework and quality time with our little family unit. We tried to slow down without making any drastic career changes or non-mainstream schooling choices. We worried a little too relentlessly about how we would be perceived by others. Worried about our ability to pursue this lifestyle, about our ability to perform up to the expectations of ourselves and others; throwing out excuses without ever seriously considering it.
After a while we gave in and considered the idea of becoming a homeschooling family. Prior to that decision, we had already discussed becoming a one income family. What would that look like, what sacrifices would we need to make, what are the pros and cons, how long before we would be able to safely and comfortably make that leap? In case you were wondering, the “what would that look like” became very appealing, the pros won out by a long shot and financial sacrifices that do need to be made seem a small price to pay. Now, after very careful discernment, planning, prayer, and budgeting discipline (tracking everything and aggressively working toward our goals) over the past years we are finally at a point where we are comfortable with our decision to become a one income homeschooling family.
Insert brief moments of doubt balanced with moments of excitement and anticipation for what our future holds.
Educational preferences are different for everyone. Situations are different for everyone. School can be an amazing place too. We are not discrediting it for others at all, or for us, or forever. There are so many educators we know, respect and cherish as people. We can’t thank them enough for all that they do, continue to do, and have done for children. It’s a sacrifice and a calling for them. We admire how they pour their time and energy into caring for and teaching children. We are grateful to live in a place where we have the freedom to choose the educational path that best fits individual families.
If you are curious about something in regards to our decision to homeschool, please ask. We welcome sincere and respectful questions! (It sure beats that awkward smile that people keep giving us because they just don’t know how to react or what to say or because we are kind of freaking them out a little…but don't worry; we get it, really! We’ve been there, done that too.)
"Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole (family). My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Making a living is not the same thing as making a life.” ~Maya Angelou
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