When I had two little toddler boys, my husband and I started reading books about homeschooling.
I dreamed of having my kids home with me and teaching them.
My home was set up Montessori style, with shelves of activities and little tables waiting for their curiosity to be peaked. Pouring, sorting, cutting, pasting - all the little activities that littles love!
Then I had twins...
4 little boys age 3 and under was exciting!
My oldest turned 4 and I enrolled him in preschool.
I sent him to a Montessori Charter School when he turned 5.
It was a magical balance. He was in a beautiful environment, and I could take care of my energetic twins and toddler.
Soon I sent me second to the same school, and had my fifth baby.
My life was full of nursing, diapers, and messes, so I was grateful for a school that allowed my two oldest to learn in a creative environment.
Then we moved to rural Nebraska.
There was one public school in our town of 8,000.
We enrolled our boys in first grade and kindergarten in February. I was chasing 3 year old twin boys and a toddler girl, while battling depression and anxiety, and feeling very alone after leaving family and friends.
I knew my oldest was struggling in a regular school, but I didn’t think I could handle having all 5 of my kids home, so I kept him in school for the next year.
Just before we had lived here a year, I couldn’t take it any more.
My oldest was moody, angry, and often in tears over school.
His teacher wanted him diagnosed with attention disorders.
I called my parents in confusion, and my dad said “he can pay attention when something is interesting to him.”
It really struck me how true that was.
So my son didn’t learn like all the regular kids.
He didn’t focus or sit still as expected.
But he loved learning when it was something he wanted to learn about.
I was reminded of how much I wanted to homeschool my kids back when I only had two and life was simpler.
Somehow in the chaos of 5 kids and so many needs, so many messes, and so little time, I thought that it was easier to outsource my kids to a classroom for the day.
In a perfect world I knew that I wanted to homeschool, but I worried about how hard it would be. I worried about how to get everything done that needed done. I worried about what other people would think.
At this same time I was expecting my 6th baby.
I thought people would think I was insane if started homeschooling.
Like seriously, how could I think that I was qualified to deal with that?
How could I handle my oldest, who was 8, with his learning style, my second, who was 6 and strong willed, my energetic 4 year old twin boys, and my toddler daughter, all while about to have another baby?!
But I knew that it was what I wanted to do.
I decided that it didn’t matter what other people thought.
It also didn’t matter if I didn’t know how to do it all.
All that mattered was that I do what I thought was right.
So I pulled my kids out of school that same week.
I didn’t have a plan, I hadn’t filed the paperwork with the state, and I didn’t know what I was doing.
I just knew that homeschooling was going to be better for my kids than the public school available to us.
I wish I could say that it was all rainbows and daisies from there, but reality was difficult.
Homeschooling was hard.
It has taken trial and error, and worry and tears.
I have wondered if I am ruining my kids and if they will learn enough.
But I keep going.
I keep going because I know that I am supposed to homeschool my kids.
That and I have a compelling reason.
I really truly want to spend my children’s childhood with them. I want to be involved. I want to learn with them. I want to watch them grow up. I want them to have a magical childhood.
This reason keeps me going.
When things don’t go the way you planned, and are harder than you expected, having a compelling reason to homeschool is essential. It helps you stay grounded.
So why do you homeschool?
Is it because of your faith?
Is it because of a child’s learning disability?
Is it because of a child’s learning style?
Is it because of where you live?
Is it because of the school systems around you?
Whatever your reason, taking some time to find a compelling reason that you love is key to finding joy in the tough days.
When things get hard, if you do not have a real reason to keep going, sending the kids back to school will seem like a legitimate choice.
If you have a reason that you love and are committed to, hard days will not seem so bad.
It’s like in marriage: when you have a disagreement with your spouse, if divorce is an option, it might be tempting to consider that idea as the solution.
But if divorce is not even in your realm of consideration, then when you have a disagreement, you will focus on figuring it out.
You will find a way to reach a solution.
My reasons to homeschool include my oldest son’s learning style, where we live, the school system available, the ability to travel independent of school schedules, and my faith. All of those things contribute to my desire to homeschool my kids.
But the biggest compelling reason I have is that I love spending time with my kids and I love having them home. I want to have a strong relationship with them, and this is how I choose to create it.
When I have a hard day with my kids, I remind myself that I love spending time with my kids. I wouldn’t send them back to school in order to have peace and quiet because it would mean losing all the time and connection with them.
That is my compelling reason.
It keeps me going. It keeps me grounded when there is chaos, and lets be honest, chaos is part of the deal when you decide to homeschool 6 kids!
I love having my kids with me, and growing alongside them. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Homeschooling my kids is one of my favorite decisions that I have ever made.
I am so grateful that I had the courage to take the leap, even when I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
I come back to my reasons why often, and they lift me up and comfort me during the chaos.
I hope you find your reason too.
Why do you choose to homeschool?
What is your compelling reason to homeschool?
Let your reasons give you joy, hope, and peace in the storm.
This is an amazing journey!
P.S. If you are carrying a heavy burden, read this post.