This post is all about homeschool. Why we chose to homeschool our boys, and the amazing, wonderful resources we use.
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Hello friends! As I mentioned above, this post is all about homeschool. Why we chose to homeschool our boys, and some of the wonderful resources we use. This isn’t a post to convince or condemn those who don’t homeschool. I truly believe it is a sacred choice for each family to make on their own. I am simply sharing why we made the decision to.
In 2010 I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in history education. I was eager to move back to Michigan, marry my highschool sweetheart and move towards becoming a full time teacher.
I passed the required exams to become a certified teacher in the Michigan Public School system, and began substitute teaching in our local school district while I waited and prayed for a full time teaching job.
I substitute taught for a few years, but in 2013 our first son was born. I continued to sub when I could up until Caleb, our third son was born. At that point in my life the calls were too last minute and stressful for our family, and I felt convicted and called to full time motherhood.
Flash forward to 2020, ten years later. We have three boys with plans for another and our oldest is in first grade at the same public school I graduated from and substitute taught at. I am now juggling motherhood and picking up substitute jobs wherever I can – all while keeping up with this blog I began in 2017, Pine and Prospect Home.
When the pandemic hit, and our oldest was sent home to do virtual school for the remainder of the school year, my call to full time motherhood began to grow deeper and so did my passion for my son’s education.
No one was prepared for the pandemic. Not us, not our sweet teachers, and not our little local school. So I was careful to discern the frustrations of virtual learning with what I felt God was calling me to do with my precious boys.
We finished out the year and I spent the summer diving into resources and questioning close friends who chose to homeschool. I read as much as I could, and tried to be open and let go of the stereotypes that are attached to so many homeschool families. Most importantly, my husband and I prayed that God would lead us and direct our path.
Homeschool – Why We Chose To
There were so many questions and concerns that I feel many parents face when deciding to homeschool. Today I am sharing the two main questions that my husband and I spent months praying about and sorting out.
What would others think?
Unfortunately, the people pleaser in me was worried about what others would think if we chose to homeschool. We have a simple, small local school and to be honest my husband and I love several of the teachers that work there to this day.
I know many parents are worried about what close friends and family would think and I was worried about that as well. My older sister especially was opposed to the idea and as close as we are, that worried me.
I spent countless hours researching and talking to friends who chose to homeschool and it just seemed like two extremes – homeschool is by far the best route to take or homeschool would not be the best choice for my children and would hinder their future.
Ultimately my husband and I had to pray and make the decision for ourselves, not based on what other peoples’ thoughts or opinions were. The future of our boys depended on us, not on others. God called us to be their parents and to raise them with the tools He equipped us with and that conviction was stronger than any of the opinions of others.
We both felt strongly that God had made this path for our lives very clear, and I began our homeschool journey in the fall of 2021 with our oldest in 2nd grade and our youngest in Kindergarten.
What if I don’t feel qualified?
This was a huge concern of mine.
Yes, I have a teaching degree, but all the tools I gained learning to teach in a classroom setting would not necessarily be applicable at home. Teaching individually versus teaching to a group was completely different – in the best way possible.
I learned from so many valuable resources that homeschooling is not the same as a classroom setting. It would be very hard to be successful if you forced it to become one. One of my favorite resources is an amazing book I highly recommend – The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment.
In this book she covers both of these fears and lists and so many more in beautiful detail. She equipped me with the courage and the tools necessary to become the best homeschool teacher I could be to my sweet boys.
I am definitely a work in progress, still learning daily. But she encourages you to show yourself grace and have patience throughout your journey. I could not recommend her book enough if you are considering homeschool.
I love that quote – “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
Will I lose all of my freedom?
This is one of the most common questions I get when I encourage other mamas to consider homeschool. They simply can’t imagine being with their kids all day. Again, this is something that Ainsley addresses in her book, but I want to share a bit about my own personal experience.
When my oldest was in school, weeknights were stressful. Finishing homework, signing papers, packing lunches, getting his outfit ready – all with a baby and toddler to care for as well as trying to grow my blog and business. The mornings were just as hectic. Trying to feed him breakfast and get him dressed and out the door on time while the baby wanted to nurse…man I can remember it like yesterday.
When he came home from school, there was the rush to get dinner on the table and start the whole process over again. And at night I felt like I had barely spent time with my boy. Then there were the extracurricular activities, the bake sales, the pressure to be involved in every single event.
None of these things were bad in and of themselves. But this wasn’t the life that I wanted for my kids. I wanted freedom to talk to them, go on a walk with them or a bike ride. To have long conversations on the beach or to cook or bake with them simply because we were craving cookies, or homemade spaghetti sauce.
Instead I was constantly checking the clock, or telling my kids “we don’t have time” or “not on a school night”. Our calendars were full and life felt crazy all the time.
Since choosing to homeschool, I don’t at all feel like I’ve lost my freedom. In fact, I feel like I’ve gained more freedom than ever before. If I wanted to, I could load all my kids in the car tomorrow and take them to the library, a local museum or a new hiking trail.
I promise, homeschool is not an 8-3 type thing. We have been so conditioned to believe that learning only takes place at a desk in a classroom, and it’s just not true. Plus, we choose to have “quiet time” in the afternoons and that helps a lot, too. 😉
Homeschool – What We Use
When we decided to homeschool I was pleasantly surprised at the abundant resources available. Online programs, printable curriculum, curriculum bundles, individual studies and the list goes on and on. If resources are your worry – don’t let them be!
For our first year we decided on a curriculum we were both familiar with and just like any curriculum you decide on, it had it’s pros and cons. This is our second year homeschooling and we went a different route this year and currently use the Good and the Beautiful.
We are half-way through the year and we love this curriculum. It is brilliantly colorful and beautifully illustrated and combines multiple subjects together to learn all at once. It has so many unique, out of the box ideas to help your child learn the content they need to.
Not only that, but also the curriculum is designed specifically for homeschool. When you open the lesson book, it tells you exactly what to say to your child. You don’t need any teaching experience! It’s absolutely wonderful.
In Ainsley Arment’s book I referenced above, she has a chapter titled “Discovering Your Homeschool Style”. She begins the chapter with:
“When it comes to homeschooling, there is no “one size fits all” approach. Homeschoolers come in all different shapes and styles, influences and interests, preferences and peculiarities.”
I could not agree more. As you prayerfully decide whether or not to homeschool your children, as well as the curriculum and resources that you use, it will ultimately depend on the style you feel works best for your kids.
And that may take time to figure out! That’s why it is so beautiful. Your child is unique, therefore they will learn in a way that is unique to them! There is so much freedom and grace in homeschool – to explore and adventure and learn together, with your children.
In fact, there are so many new and wonderful things that I have learned ever since we began this journey.
Homeschooling In Conclusion
For anyone reading this that is on the fence about homeschooling, seeking desperately for answers, clearly I am far from being an expert. My husband and I followed a conviction we felt as parents and two years later I am so thankful we took that leap of faith.
We absolutely love homeschooling. I am actually very passionate about it now, and the longer we homeschool I am realizing how much of a blessing it is.
My fears that held me back have been conquered. To be honest, it’s hard for me to not become that mom now who subtly hints to everyone she can, that homeschool is an incredible gift from God. One I will never take for granted.
It brings me to tears to also share that one of my largest critics – my older sister – now homeschools both of her sweet girls alongside me and she just may be even more passionate about it than I am.
I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from The Call of the Wild + Free that I shared above. She shares:
“It takes courage to homeschool, especially when society questions your every move. And then there are long days, the lack of time for yourself, and the seasons when fatigue or discouragement get the best of you. But the time we have with our children is a precious gift we get to unwrap each day. In the years to come when they are grown and on their own, we will remember the beautiful and rewarding, albeit difficult and often harrowing journey we travelled together.”
And that my friends is all I have to say about homeschool – at least for now. I hope to continue to share our journey with you as I continue to grow myself. If you have the slightest nudge to homeschool, do not ignore it. Prayerfully consider the amazing blessings that may be waiting for you on the other side.