Thursday, May 17, 2012

The End of Our Homeschool Journey

Today Mason took his last test and with sadness I closed the last book, marked the last grade and sent all the final paperwork to Abeka Academy.   Fifteen years ago I could never have imagined having done this,
as homeschooling was a journey that we had never planned on taking.

We were stationed in Germany the summer before Chandler
was to start Kindergarten.  Chep was up for re-enlistment in October but felt God had called him into the ministry.  We spend months praying as per where God would have Chep go to college and we were thrilled when we felt God calling us back to Idaho to school and to study under Pastor Tom Campbell, the pastor of the church I had attended as a child.  The church had its own private Christian school and we sent off the paperwork and money to enroll Chandler.   As a teenager I had promised God I would never send my child to public school.  Chep and I had both grown up in an area that was predominately LDS and we were in a very, very small minority that was not.  I remember being persecuted by fellow students and even teachers for my faith and I swore to never make any of my kids go through that.  Because of this I was determined that my children would only attend a christian school where they shared a faith with the other kids and where God was taught daily.  Chep and I were both so excited God
 had provided a school for Chandler to attend.

Our pastor's wife in Germany offered to homeschool Chandler
 up to the time we left, using the same curriculum that he would be being taught in his new school, that way he would not be behind in his work.  It worked out wonderful and we had only two weeks left before we completed our move to Idaho when my husband got the phone call.  The christian school Chandler was enrolled in had shut its doors. We were devastated!  What were we going to do?  There was no way we were going to let Chandler go to public school and there were no other Christian schools of like faith in the town we were moving too.  Chep and I prayed and prayed and decided that we would homeschool until we found a school to send our children to. 
As soon as we got settled in Idaho, the Christian school that had closed,
gave us all the school books and curriculum to get Chandler
started in Kindergarten and Mason started in pre-school. 

Each day as we homeschooled, we fell more and more in love with it! I loved being able to pray throughout the school day with my children and teaching them about God and his creation and teaching science and history through a Christian viewpoint.  I loved being able to spend all day, every day with them and being able to love on them and laugh with them over the silliest of things.  I loved taking them on nature walks and drawing and studying what we found.  I loved waking the boys up at 2 am and going out and sitting on a blanket to watch a meteor shower.  I loved taking them to the library and spending hours there as we lost ourselves in story after story.  Learning was such an adventure and we loved every minute of it!  One day as I was doing my daily Bible reading, I read this passage that touched my heart. and changed my thoughts of sending them to private school.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.  And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:  That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

I knew if we sent the boys off to school we couldn't teach them and train them the way God wanted us to.  We couldn't constantly keep God's Word around them if they were away from us for so many hours a day. 
From that point on I knew we would homeschool until both boys graduated, and so started this very special journey that would touch every aspect of our lives.  An amazing journey of learning, exploring, discovery,
growing, bonding, and loving.

Of course we heard from everyone that we were crazy for homeschooling, that our kids would not gain the needed socialization skills, they would get in trouble with the law and be in jail by the time they were 16, that they would not learn what they needed and never be able to go to college and so on and so on.  The thought of homeschooling was abnormal to all our friends and family and everyone thought we were
ruining our kids and setting them up for failure. 
Those thoughts were far, far from the truth.

Fifteen years after beginning homeschooling, my husband and I are so blessed by what homeschool has done for our family and being able to see God raise two extremely wonderful young men before our eyes.  Young men that are smart and funny (definitely not socially backwards), young men that are loving and kind and always looking for ways to help others, young men that have never been in trouble and never shown rebellious actions or attitudes, young men that are responsible with fantastic jobs, and most importantly, young men that are grounded in the Word, following God and seeking His will in every decision they make.

We praise God for allowing us to take this journey, for allowing me to stay home all these years with my children, and allowing us to train them in the way we feel God has led us. Homeschooling has been an incredible journey and I am looking forward to continuing watch, as my children follow God and start their own families and watch as they too start their incredible journey, for in truth the homeschool journey never ends.

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