If someone had approached me two years ago and prophetically told me, “Kristin, in the fall of 2015 you will be homeschooling your children,” I would have laughed. In fact, I would have said, “There is absolutely no way I am homeschooling. I am NOT cut out for that.” I have always admired and esteemed families who chose to educate their children and home. But, at the same time, I have always been a public school advocate, and didn’t feel the need to explore the option for my own family. So, the fact that we are embarking on this new journey just proves that God has been at work in my heart. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the LORD determines his steps.” There is no doubt that this mommy had plans. A year ago, I had been wrestling with a decision to either continue teaching voice at a local college, or stepping away and being a stay-at-home mom again. While I love college students and the energy on a university campus, I was not passionate about my career. I love singing and performing. I also love teaching. But, for some reason when the two were put together, my passion just fizzled. I prayed and prayed for direction, but no clear answer was given. So, I did what I had done for the past 4 years…I turned in my teaching contract. The next morning, I woke up with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had made the wrong decision. Thankfully, I contacted a few people and they graciously released me from my contract. Immediately, a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I breathed fresh, free air and a peace ensued. The first step had been taken.
Let’s back up a bit to the previous spring. It was in April-May of 2014 that the seeds of homeschooling began to be planted in my mind. But, even then, in the midst of some difficult struggles that our oldest daughter had encountered, I didn’t seriously consider it. Sure, the helicopter parent instinct had kicked in for a couple of weeks, but any decision made due to fear is usually not a good solution to the problem. But, a few months later when I made the decision to step away from voice teaching, more space seemed to be created in my life and I really pondered everything that had happened. There are many times I asked God, “Why? She’s only in second grade!” He was so patient with me even though I doubted His goodness. What I did know for certain was that I needed more time with my children–especially my oldest. She needed healing, peace, and a restoration of her joy and confidence. It was very clear to my husband and I that she continue in school that fall. It was almost as if God was saying. “Trust my heart. Trust me. Don’t interfere, just abide.” As I look back over this past school year, I see His hand in so many things. She was placed in a classroom with a teacher who is very perceptive, kind, and nurturing. She was just what our daughter needed. Not only that, our daughter’s best friend was placed in the same class, along with another sweet group of girls. God had orchestrated the perfect environment in which she could find peace, healing and encouragement.
I look back on our first parent-teacher conference as a moment of truth. This was the next step along the path. I am so grateful for this teacher who looked deeper and who sought to find solutions for our child. It was a hard meeting, but a wonderful one at the same time. We talked about many things and as we left, my mind was filled with questions and thoughts. I realized that I had to do more focused educating at home–supporting and reinforcing the concepts being taught in her classroom. It was like a lightbulb turned on inside my heart and brought to light the little seeds that had been growing into seedlings. All of a sudden, the door to homeschooling seemed to open wide, and I began to actively consider the prospect. Each day after school, I worked with our daughter. Some days were a struggle, but we made it through. My husband and I began praying about the possibility of transitioning into full time homeschooling. It was becoming abundantly clear that educating our daughters at home would be the right step for our family. But now the question loomed: “When to start? Now? Next year?” Right before Christmas I had another excellent meeting with the teacher, and she was so encouraging and agreed that we were making the right choice. But her advice was to wait until the next school year. Yes! That again was what was best. This gave me plenty of time to research curriculum and pray. I was also able to continue watching what God was doing in our daughter’s life through our extra work with her at home, and through her teacher and classmates.
Sometimes we don’t experience God’s healing and restoration until years after a hurt has occurred. We can suffer for a very long time, and God works good out of it in His timing. This can be years for some and days for others. For us, this moment of realization came the day we received the state test scores. I opened the envelope with some trepidation and began reading her results. She has always been a great reader and so we knew those scores would be very high. But over the previous year she had really lost confidence in math and her scores had reflected that. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that some people are natural at math and some aren’t. I had always felt that she did have strong math abilities and kept encouraging and helping her to master certain concepts. So, when I saw that her math scores were even higher than her reading, I squealed out loud and called her downstairs. As I read her scores to her the floodgates began to burst open and she cried like I’ve never seen her cry before. It was a huge release and for the first time I really saw what she had been holding inside for all those months.
It was another step.
That night, I fully stepped through the open door and trusted where God was leading us. I began to water, prune and let the sun shine on this new garden that had been planted in my heart. From the get-go, I have had clarity about the curriculum and philosophy that we would follow in our homeschool. Ask any new homeschooling mom, and she will talk about the overwhelming amount of information she has to wade through to figure out those two components. As I was seeking advice from friends who homeschool in our town, I was handed a copy of “The Well-Trained Mind.” I devoured that book and every sentence seemed to ring true to me. So, homeschooling in the Classical Style it is–at least for this year. We are taking it one step at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves.
Another step, then another–one day at a time. If we get to the end of this year and God changes our path, then we will follow. But, for now, we move ahead with confidence in knowing that this new unexpected adventure is His design.
I hope you will join us as we plant seeds of knowledge in this coming school year!