Over the years, I have drafted articles with titles like, “Why We Don’t Homeschool” or “The Homeschool Influence” or “Charlotte Mason Philosophies in a Public School Home.” Since I was a child, and especially since I had my first two babies, I have been drawn to homeschoolers and their stories–their eclectic way of life, their love of learning and books, and their thorough intelligence of the world. I have interviewed them, read their books, spent time with them. At the start of every school year, I have prayed and asked God if I could homeschool my children. And very strongly the answer has always been no.
For a while, I needed to get a handle on my mental health. There was one full year when both of my daughters went to school all day, I was pregnant with our third, and I absolutely drank up all the rest and quiet. I had spent six years of being a mom pouring everything I had into my children and forgetting to pour anything into myself.
I needed time to learn how to take care of my introverted mind, to speak up for alone time, and to take breaks before breaking down.
And I think each of my family members needed time to decide homeschooling was right for them, too.
Public school went really well for the first couple of years, but last year things changed. We moved across the country, first of all. The girls started at our new neighborhood school and some things were very good there! But I look back on my journal entries only a month into the school year and it’s easy to see things needed to change. I won’t share all the details here, because they’re personal to my girls and to our family, but I think it’s enough to say, the girls became shells of their true selves. As I had read about so many times, the lights in their eyes had gone out.
Two things helped us make the final decision:
The first was something I read in Charlotte Mason’s book Home Education: “That children should be trained to endure hardness was a principle of the old regime. ‘I shall never make a sailor if I can’t face the wind and rain,’ said a little fellow of five who was taken out on a bitter night to see a torchlight procession; and, though shaking with cold, he declined the shelter of a shed. Nowadays, the shed is everything; the children must not be permitted to suffer from fatigue or exposure.”
I had spent many months telling myself that the difficulties my girls were facing at school were good for their character and were exposing them to real life. But these lines from Charlotte Mason shook me awake and God’s voice was clear: “How will my children change the world if their foundation is not sure?”
Not long after, we all came home from school and work because of COVID-19. If there was one ray of light from the coronavirus pandemic for us, it was that our whole family got the chance to see what life would be like if we were all home together. And it was good. Emotional and behavioral issues we had been seeing from our kids all school year vanished. They vanished! Before long, none of us could deny that our family worked best this way.
And when I prayed again to know God’s will for our family, His answer was clear: It’s time to homeschool.
Our Guiding Vision
We homeschool to add more beauty, richness, and peace to our lives.
We homeschool to experience the very best the world has to offer, that our children may be rooted in love and security and have a sure foundation to grow from.
We homeschool to simplify our lives and get enough rest so we can be our best selves.
We homeschool to have adventure and firsthand experiences, to learn at our own pace, and to explore our passions.
We homeschool to really learn and retain what we study–to let knowledge of the good and beautiful things of the world mold us into humans that will in turn make the world more good and beautiful.