Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Homeschool Experiment

And, so it has been decided. And, it is so unlike anything that I have ever done before in my life. For the first time, I don't have a plan. I don't know what we will do next year or the year after or the year after that. But, I do know one thing and that one thing is. . .

We have decided to keep our boys home this coming school year.

And, every night when I tiptoe into their room before I, myself, go to bed, and I see them lying there in peaceful sleep, God affirms our decision in my heart. Oh, precious little ones, that we have been given only a short while to shepherd, we need this time with you. I am committed to using this time to pour myself out for them. To use every minute of every day to teach, correct, love, and train them in the ways of our God.

I love school. I am certainly not anti-school. Joshua has had a wonderful experience in school. We struggled through this decision last year, too. And, I know there will be aspects of school that Joshua will miss this year. But, I cannot explain how God has burdened my heart over the past year to keep him home. I could not feel at peace last year no matter how hard I tried. I remember vividly telling Erik over and over as we walked through the year, "The present system is not working!!!!" Over and over again I felt defeated. It seemed the most important things were not getting accomplished, yet I was running myself ragged. And, each night I would tuck my sweet Joshua into his bed, and think to myself, "I have no idea what went on in your life today. I don't know the hurts. I don't know all the ins and outs. I don't know anything. How can I guide you through life this way?? But, we don't have time to discuss this or anything else right now. It is late and I need to let you sleep so you won't be tired at school tomorrow." And, the next morning we'd wake up and begin the busyness of life once again.

I'm not sure homeschool will be all that I hope it will be. It may not be the answer to our problems. But, as the leader of our home told me, "Erin, I don't want us to have any regrets when the boys are grown. I think we need to try this for a year and see what it is like. Then, and only then, will we know."

It is a risk, and I am not crazy about risks. Stepping off into the unknown. . . What if I don't do this well? What if they are behind? And, what about standardized tests? Socialization? These are the worries that come at night. And, many that we have told about our decisions have confronted me with these same questions. And, I don't have an answer. I can't explain it, except that I feel called to take this risk. And, if I fall flat on my face, so be it. I followed what I believe in my heart to be God's sweet whisper and this confirmed by my husband. And, therefore, we get ready to embark on a new journey. And, if it is only for a year, if at the end of the year we feel led to do something else, than, oh, what memories we will make this year as a family!!!!!!!

Last weekend, as the boys swam and Erik grilled, I couldn't help feeling overwhelmingly blessed. And, the thought that kept floating to the top of my mind was that we are going to have a year of this. A year of time together ~ growing together, laughing together, playing together, exploring together, and learning together.

It will be an experiment. And, I am going to give it my all, so that I can look back without a single regret. I haven't decided for certain when we will begin our school year, but I will be sure to post about it and everything else we do as part of our little experiment!!!


ME :) said...

I think you will LOVE IT! I have three girls and homeschool them - we get the same questions and at first I overwhelmingly did not know how to answer them - but as time passed - the girls took care of that for me. Others saw that they are still outgoing and still 'normal' :) - everyone's journey is different - very different - God will meet you each and every step of the way - He will prepare you for the Mom you need to be - He is SO SO faithful. I am not anti-school either - I am the only one in my family that homeschools and the only one out of my friends that does too - it is just such a personal journey for each family. I am SO excited for you because I think you will be wonderful. VERY wonderful. Sunshine

Deidre said...

I think we as Moms second guess everything if we're truly trying to do the right thing daily for our children. We want what God wants, yet do not have His mind which is hard. The only thing we have to go on is the gentle leading of His Spirit. I am praying with you and for you and know He will bless this time because you are choosing to honor Him in this next step. That doesn't mean it will be easy, but when we choose to honor God, he honors us.

I have thought many times about this and continue to seek the Lord. I feel like time is slipping away from me and last year left my head spinning.

Blessings to you and your sweet family!

Linda said...

I think you have made a wonderful decision Erin. My daughter-in-law has home-schooled for the past ten years. My oldest granddaughter just graduated from high school. It has been such a great experience for all of them. There are tons of opportunities for home-schooled children to socialize. You can join a home-school group for things like that.
You have such a tender heart and sweet spirit. I know you will do a wonderful job.

Tricia said...

Just wanted to encourage you, from another homeschooling (not anti-school) mom, who with my husband decided on this venture for the same main reason - TIME to shepherd, discipline and shape our children. Their growing up years are just too short to spend so much time out of our care. We have four kids that are 7, 5, 3 years and a 8 month old. Homeschooling has been an absolute joy. Definitely not conventional classroom by any stretch of the imagination, but the kids are flourishing academically and I get to spend my days with them. Thanks for your blog, I always enjoy hearing your thoughts!

Paula said...

I think it is a wonderful decision. One that we are making for the first time this year as well. I am SCARED to death!! But God is sufficient and will provide where I lack!! I went to a HS conference this week. One speaker made a statement about socialization. She said, "do we want our kids to be just like all the other kids or more? Do you want your children to be a light for God. It is not impossible in public school at all, but harder when the child has 8 hours of outside influences. It is hard to temper that with a few hours each night to follow the same routine again." Just food for thought!! I really liked that!! And congrats for your faithfulness. God will bless that!!

Jenny said...

I am so excited for you!! I've been reading your blog since before Elijah was born. I think you are going to be a wonderful homeschool mama. I have 4 kiddos also (11, 9, 5, and 3) and have been homeschooling for two years. There are hard days, but I LOVE having so much time with my kids, and there are great days to make you forget about the not so good ones. :) Blessings!!

Kim said...

WAHOO!!!! I have been thinking of you Erin and as I nailed down my curriculum choices for this year you came to my mind this morning and I actually have an e-mail in my drafts!!! How crazy is that?

I was positively terrified when we pulled our girls out and found myself (still do) scrambling for the right words that don't offend and my go-to mantra is always this.

It was not something we were "running from" but rather something we were "running to". We feel God all about our decision to homeschool and to truly be able to apply God's word ... woven into every part of their day ... conflicts, fears, obedience, service, humility, hard work, joyful attitudes, AND academics.

(note the academics were last)

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! Oh, my do I need to remember this every second of every day!

I run a pretty tight ship but I have found myself to be an eclectic little bird when it comes to curriculum. If you find yourself drawn to both the "classical" method as well as the Charlotte Mason (your friend Sarah) then might I suggest (without overwhelming you!) a wonderful mixture of the two with the most precious approach AND the ability to teach several grade levels?

I am using My Father's World this year :) Love it and from just reading your blog it just might be a good fit (personality wise). Of course there are so many options!

Homeschooling is such a great investment Erin ... the days will be long but the grace will be abounding! Can't wait to read this journey as you move ahead. If there is anything I can help you with, I would love to!


Monkey Momma said...


I cannot say this without it sounding a little crazy. I have an almost 3 year old and an almost 1 year old. I work FT outside of the home at a wonderful company 5 minutes from my home for pretty good pay and bennies and send the boys to a wonderful local daycare. But I've been REALLY struggling this past year with having both of them at school. I miss them SO badly and I'm losing time with them every moment. I don't want to have regrets either and I already do...only three years into parenthood!

I've been praying for peace and confirmations with the idea of quitting my job. My husband and I have just this week decided to give it a try. I'm not in the exact same position as you, but similar. I'm excited. I'm terrified. But like you, feeling called to make the sacrifice (in my financial security) and spend more time with them. Blessings to you and your decision. I hope it turns out exactly as you'd like. I'm praying for the same on my end.

(I'm actually seeing your post as another confirmation to me.)

AnnaChristie said...

Alot of these comments are from the vantage point of moms homeschooling their younger kiddos, so allow me to weigh in as a new college graduate who was homeschooled! As an adult looking back now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

My Dad asked my Mom to do the same thing my Kindergarten year - just "try." We all fell in love and never looked back.

Today, I am a nurse working cardiology and I will soon be doing ultrasounds for PRC. One of my sisters is an EMT, on track to becoming a paramedic and is also a wedding photographer. Another is studying criminal justice and is a support advocate for victims.

We have pretty diverse (though bloody interests, by the looks of things ;0) and we were each able to pursue and excel in our various fields of study.

My parents laid that foundation, and I know you will lay an equally precious one for your boys, however long God calls you to this particular course.

You will be phenomenal!!! I know :0).

Blessings on this new venture!


Sara said...

Yayyyyy!!! You will be great! Wish I could be homeschooled by you :)

ohio12 said...

I can't believe it! I have been following your blog since you recommended that carseat to me a couple years ago. It always seemed like you loved your boys school and you were so involved there. I think you will be so good at homeschooling though because loving your kids and being willing to work with them and train them is the key..and you already do that everyday. I actually started a blog series at my blog today telling about some of the academic stuff we did this year. e-mail me if you ever have questions.

Allison said...

Oh I am a fellow homeschooling mom, who actually is trying something new this year too! My children will be attending Classical Conversations (you can google it). I will be praying for this adventure you are on.

Katina said...

Congratulations! We homeschool too. The most important factor to successful homeschooling (in my opinion) is a loving Momma who genuinely cares about her kids and wants to be around them...that's you! Enjoy your school year!!!

Dear Abbi said...

I've been following your blog for some time now, and my prediction is that you are going to LOVE homeschooling!! It is HARD WORK, no doubt about it. But I think you are going to do an AWESOME job!!

Helen said...

I first began reading your blog upon seeing it recommended by Jason Dukes on the caringbridge website. As far as your decision to homeschool goes, that is a decision only you and your husband need to make. I know there will be some people who do not agree or understand but only you and your husband know what is best for your family. My husband and I are both public educators in Florida and were highly criticized for sending our daughter to private Christian school thru 8th grade. We had no option except public for grades 9 - 12 but it went smoothly and she was a very successful student, graduating 5th in her class out of 279. She and her husband are graduates of NOBTS. He is currenlty in graduate school there and our daughter works for Dr. Rhonda. As you said in your post, you will not be able to get these days back so make the most of them while you have your regrets. God bless!

Brandon and April said...

I have been reading your blog for almost 4 years. In my opinion, you will do an awesome job!! You are very inspiring to a young mother of 1 who desires to be a mother to 4 some day!! I pray the Lord's blessings upon your planning and beginning to something wonderful!

Jen said...

Congratulations on your decision to homeschool. We have a High School graduate, a 10, & 8 yr old. We have been homeschooling for 7 years.

I still get the socialization question and sometimes it drives me crazy:). I just tell the person asking that sometimes I wish they weren't so socialized:). With music lessons, choir, field trips, library trips, concerts, etc. we are definately not lacking in that department.

I will be praying for you and your family.

Erin @ Closing Time said...

Erin, I know you will do an incredible job! What a great adventure you and the boys will be embarking on! I'm back in my hometown for a while, if you ever want to talk or have questions I do have a little bit of experience!

Teresa said...

Although I've always been a lurker to your blog, I have to say that I think you will love it and your boys will too. Yes, you will have days when you will think this is toooo much but remember God is the one who has shown you this plan! He is faithful and He will do it through you...I am very excited for all of you. Your boys will so enjoy spending time together.We started 10 years ago with God placing the idea of homeschooling on my heart...My oldest is now almost 17 and there is much to be said about families growing and learning together...don't even give another thought about "socialization", it's hogwash!Praying God's guidance for you....Teresa

Kari C in SC said...

You do not know me, but I have read your blog on and off for years. My name is Kari. I started homeschooling my oldest son in 1999 when he was entering 5th grade. I had many of the same fears you had. I was so not sure I was making the right decision for him. My sister in law homeschooled and assured me I would not ruin my child. We homeschooled him till graduation. He joined the Army when he was 19 and went on to serve a tour in Iraq. He was stationed in Alaska, far from our SC home. Last month, he was killed in a horrific auto accident. My heart aches for him, but over and over during these weeks - I have given thanks to God that we took him out of school. I got to spend so much time with him that I would have lost out on. I won't lie to you and say that it was easy. We had awful day and we had awful fights when he was a new teenager. We also had amazing days more often than not. When he left for Alaska, my heart literally broke. I held my breath and waited to see the IM from Iraq. When he returned home from Iraq, he called me up to 5 times a day. My husband says that is all because we homeschooled and he loved his Momma. I just wanted to tell you that you will be fine and your boys will remember these days. Blessings to you!

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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