Our Journey Home: How We Became a Homeschooling Family
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It was a scorching hot day in August. I stood with my sweet eldest daughter, her beautiful dark curls pulled into two pig tails, a smile spread wide across her face as she watched children pour into the playground. Her almost two-year-old sister begged to go play, her baby brother, only weeks old, was wrapped snuggly on me.
The First Day of School
She was a month from turning five, her excitement was palpable, as was her nervousness. The kindergarten playground, fenced from the rest of the school, was buzzing. Children running and playing, often running back to nervous and proud parents who stood nearby.
I stood with my daughter as she surveyed the landscape. Close by stood my husband & his parents. All the adults were proud, & a little sad. Our baby girl was about to begin school, for the first time she would be away from family & out on her own.
She had a lovely teacher who was warm & kind. The bell rang, the teacher lined up the students & we watched our baby girl walk into her classroom for the first time. She came home telling us about her day & the children in her class. She was no longer nervous but a bit of the excitement had faded as well.
A Loss of Passion
She continued to attend school, day after day, each day I would pick her up & ask her how her day was and what she learned. Her responses began as long accounts. As the days passed her responses shortened. She never complained, never said she didn’t like school but I saw the excitement fade & her passion wane.
Her teacher assured me she was a model student, she always listened & followed instruction. This did not surprise me in the least, she was a sweet & cooperative child. Nevertheless, I was saddened to see her joy diminished.
She went to school & came home, did her homework, day after day. By the holiday break in December her responses had become single word. “How was school?” I would ask. “Fine” was her response. “What did you do?” I might inquire, “nothing” was her reaction.
School let out for two weeks for the holidays. Our sweet girl was home! I watched her joy return as she played with her little sister & loved on her baby brother. I saw her eagerness to explore rekindled as she played in the dirt in the yard & her natural curiosity ignited as she learned the math & science of cooking as she giggled with me in the kitchen.
Reigniting a Fire for Learning
By the end of that break I was certain that I could not send her back to school. After much discussion, we decided that she would not return. We would keep her home & teach her where we knew she would be nurtured encouraged & empowered.
We did not intend to be a homeschooling family. When we decided not to send her back to school we figured perhaps we would keep her home for a couple years & then when she was older we would send her back. We planned to see how school might work for our younger children when they were older.
We had no intention of withdrawing from the school system altogether, but once we had our sweet daughter back at home, once we saw her grow & learn and thrive in her own environment we could not imagine doing anything else.
Our eldest daughter is now months away from her thirteenth birthday. The oldest of five, she is smart, funny, thoughtful, passionate & driven. She has learned a great deal & continues to explore and grow. She has been given the opportunity to discover herself, her own desires & passions. She has been encouraged to follow her own heart & dreams. Most importantly, she is HER & for that I am thankful.