(originally written in 2006)
Are you a new homeschooling parent and wondering if you will ever feel at ease with what you are doing? Have you been homeschooling for a long time and wonder if you will ever feel comfortable? Did your best friend convince you to try it and said you would love it, but you can not see why?
For me it took 10 ½ years before I felt completely at ease with it. I have had many friends start homeschooling and give up. It always makes me so sad. Why did we keep going while others get overwhelmed and stop?
I always knew that I was supposed to be homeschooling. It is my call. I had always wanted to be a teacher so when I found out that I was pregnant. My husband and I decided that I shouldn’t continue to take out student loans to learn to teach someone kids. I would have my own child to work on.
I had always wanted to homeschool. My husband didn’t want me to. We knew that we would be not using public schools. Our Catholic faith meant so much to us that we would do anything to see that their education was from the parochial schools, just as ours had been.
We prepared our first for the beginning of school and toured the facilities of our parish. We took her in for the state testing and in to the school for their testing. She had so much anxiety that afternoon. She faced it with Grace and style and she would prove to do as time went on over and over again. She would have handled school with ease if we had sent her. Her father stated to worry that she would not be challenged because she was clearly very smart. So just in case I also gathered some information about different homeschool programs as we prepared all the paperwork for her to enter the private school.
We received a note telling us about the expenses for the year, uniform fittings, and to send in payments by certain dates. In this same mailing was letter telling us that there was not a spot for our daughter because they had too many children in the class already. We had turned stuff in early and had jumped through every hoop. She was number four on the waiting lists. She should just wait until a spot opened. I was so upset, we had sat down with the pastor and discussed this very subject when we registered in the parish. At that time we were assured that every child would have a spot in the classroom.
We sat on that note for two weeks. We were very upset. Did the pastor lie to us? In retrospect I am sure he did not, but it felt like he did at the time. I sat there one afternoon looking over the packet of information I had just received from one of the Catholic Homeschool providers. My child would excel with these books. The cost would be much less. What would everyone say? My mind was spinning. Dad was home that afternoon. He came down to the kitchen to see me looking over these books.
When the phone rang he took my spot at the table and let me get the call. As it turned out it was the school. They were upset because I had not sent in my last required pre-payment for our daughter’s tuition. I asked what the payment was for considering they didn’t have a spot as of yet for my daughter. School was to start a few weeks later and they still had her on the waiting list at number 4. One student had dropped out but another younger sibling of a current student got that spot.
The secretary was rude as she asked for the payment and laughed when I asked why I should send payment in for class. While at the same time she was telling me that I needed to get our daughter registered for public school and let her go for about three weeks. By then a spot would open. That would be only if I had sent the next two payments in by the end of the week.
Looking back I am very thankful that the secretary was so rude that day. It was just enough to get my husband thinking. We knew that public school wouldn’t happen and we were now very angry that this school needed several thousand dollars by the end of the week to hold our daughter’s spot even though she didn’t have a spot. He told me, “Let’s homeschool one year. We will see how it goes and we can put her in school next year. If it works we will talk next year about what we should do.”
We have been on a “one year at a time” basis every since. Man that is a long way until retirement. So far I will be teaching until the school year of 2024-2025. I would give up at that thought alone if I haven’t seen all the reasons of why I do this. It feels like it will never end. We reserve the right to put them in school if it is ever needed. I pray that will never be the case. I love what we do and how we do it.
That is a huge investment. But it is more worth it that I could ever put into words. We have faced many challenges and I am sure God has many more in store for us. I am confidant that with his care we can continue on.
The proof really is in the pudding. We have spent years around other schooled children. We have seen the bad right along with those parents. I know we made the decision that we were supposed to make. The homeschool movement has changed so much over the past decade. I can only imagine where it is headed. Our children are well behaved, they love to learn, they are kind, gracious and smart. Those qualities will help them get into heaven. That is all the truly matters and that is what keeps us going.