I’ve wanted to homeschool my children since my eldest was still in the womb. I wanted to protect my children from worldly influences and keep them close by my side. Luke was learning a lot about the benefits of homeschooling too during this time and was fully supportive. We spent the next few years studying home education and all it’s exciting possibilities.
When my eldest son turned 3 and a half I ordered some pre-school type workbooks and I began sitting down with him on most days doing a few pages from his workbooks. Homeschool began naturally and slowly. We would bundle our three youngest children up and go for walks around the nature park near our house. Learning happened all around us, through our conversations, through being in nature and through the different people we met at church, play group and through friends and family members we welcomed into our home.
I wanted my children to be close by my side so I could spend lots of time with them shaping their character and ultimately, teaching them about God every opportunity I got.
As my first born son approached school age I began to doubt myself and my ideas to homeschool. I had a lot of opposition from various people and the negativity began to get to me. I didn’t know anyone else at that time who homeschooled. We felt all alone in our quest for an ‘outside-the-box’ education and lifestyle. Different fears began to present themself to me; what if I’m ruining my children? What if they miss out on things they need that other regular schooled children have?
On top of all this, the year my son was starting his first year of real school, I had a 5 year old, a almost 4 year old, a 3 year old and and a 5 month old baby. I was snowed under with my own household chores. The laundry was always piled high, the meals and dishes were never ending, the house was a constant mess. I had very little help besides my husband. I was recovering from quite severe depression from my recent pregnancy. I was very discouraged, I lost my ‘spark’ and I needed a break.
We enrolled our son in the local public school. It was the only option, as we were living out on a my parents farm and it was the only school within reasonable driving distance. But still 30km away.
It was hard going getting him there. He didn’t want to go and got very upset. Once we had to rip him out of the car onto the school bus while he was kicking, screaming and crying. My heart was breaking as the bus rolled away.
He spent one term at that school. One day he was in the car and was upset yet again and didn’t want to get out. I was not going to create another distressing scene of pulling him onto the bus. I had three other little ones in the car that I needed to get home and still feed breakfast too. I was tired of trying to get him to school. I was tried of everything. I got out of the car and told the bus driver that our son would not be getting on the bus today. Got back into the car and drove him home again.
I didn’t take him back to school again for another year.
I ordered some more curriculum and homeschooled him for the rest of the year. It did get a little better and I began getting some of my homeschool spark back. We took him into town for weekly piano lessons and to the library every Friday and I was beginning to find my ‘groove.’
The following year we moved to a new location and suddenly found ourselves surrounded by other families who also homeschool their children. It was the support I had always hoped and prayed for. They even have a weekly meet up where homeschooling families all get together and do activities and make friends at. But I was expecting our 5th baby and decided to enroll our eldest into the local public school because I was worried about how I wound cope homeschooling while I had a newborn. I kept our second born son home for reception though as I felt he was too young and not quite ready for school.
By the middle of the year I was feeling much more confident. Our 5th baby was settled and happy and both Luke and I agreed that with the support of other local homeschooling families things would be much better. We agreed that it was time. Finally time to dive deep into homeschooling for good and not look back.
We pulled Francis out of school for terms 3 and 4. And homeschooled our two eldest sons then aged 5 and 7. These were probably our best 2 terms of homeschool ever. We began using the ACE curriculum and, though it still had it’s challenging moments, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and my role of ‘homeschool mum.’
This post is getting long so I decided to divide it into two parts. Come back next week and I will share the rest of our story and go into why we had to choose public school again and how I’ve gone from deep disappointment to excitement and hope.