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All interviews are presented to stimulate thought and assist Christian families in homeschooling their children. Interviews may or may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the management of HomeschoolChristian.com.

Overcoming Personal Challenges to Homeschool

Out of the Comfort Zone
by Alexa W.

My decision to homeschool really came about from others doing it. I had heard of it before, but I thought the legal issues would be far more than I could handle. Just to give a bit of background, I have a mental disorder known as agoraphobia with a panic disorder. I find it very hard to leave my home to even go grocery shopping. I also have severe clinical depression, which I am being treated for. This was a major set back when I decided I wanted to homeschool. I thought for sure that the state would intervene and tell me I couldn't homeschool my children because of my illness.

When we were moving from our trailer and into my in-laws home while our house was being built, some new friends visited me. I had informed them that we were moving and thinking they would never find my new home, because its in the boonies, I told them where I was moving and what month I would be there. Don't you know they showed up at my door a week after we moved in. Our conversations consisted mostly of the Bible. With my illness, this was the only real time I had to discuss the Bible with anyone other than my husband. Even going to church is a major thing for me. One day, Ruth brought with her a gentleman, he was very nice and we spoke about children. He informed me he had 6 children. We joked a little about some of the antics the kids pull. Then he told me that he was a firm believer in homeschool. Of course, this intrigued me, since my daughter, then in the second grade, was really getting bored with her schoolwork. She was having trouble with the "smarter" kids in school. She would fight with me everyday while getting ready for school. We always had a tearful good-bye as the bus came to get her. I would just come home and feel so helpless. I didn't know how to help my daughter. Things were even worse when she came home from school. She would mouth off, not want to do chores and homework was virtually impossible. Then in my daughter's Elementary School there was a bomb threat, that along with curse words written all over the bathroom made me make excuses for not wanting to send my children to school. We thought the usual, maybe private school, but how could we afford that, with two younger children as well. We are barely making ends meet as it is. Then this man came into my home and told me the joys of homeschooling. Intrigued and interested are really mild words to say how I was feeling. So, I talked with my husband, and he kind of questioned me on how things would be. I explained that the kids would still get an education, just not be forced to stay in a classroom with thirty other children. At first he was apprehensive, but told me that if I felt I could do then why not. Of course, at this time the shootings at Columbine had just happened, so I wanted to homeschool more than ever then. Ruth then continued to visit about once a month, our conversations grew more and more on homeschool. She would bring other friends that homeschooled, so I could speak with them. Some of them brought me articles and information regarding the homeschool law in our state. I had made my decision. A decision I don't think I have really regretted once. Yes, I've been tried, but never have any regrets.

Upon the decision to homeschool, we informed our families. My father and sister were very supportive. My dad was really shaken by the Columbine incident. He praised my decision and told me he was proud of me. I think that was one of the happiest days of my life. I have just learned he is trying to talk my sister into homeschooling, more in a nonchalant type of way. I really hope she decides to. My in-laws on the other hand were not as happy. They really came down on me during the months preceding us starting homeschooling. I would constantly get,"those kids need friends." "How are you going to handle having them home all day?" "Why would you want them home all the time?" Oh, the list goes on. There were times I would get really angry, but then learned to accept it.

The next step, for us, was more research. Talk to other homeschoolers; see what sites I could find on the internet etc. I found a couple message boards, which I left messages on with my concerns. I also found many sites on homeschooling in general. Of course, the most helpful site was HomeschoolChristian.com, at this site I really got all the support, information, and just plain caring a person would need. Its nice to know others out there have the same concerns you do, or have gone through them at one time. Since there are no homeschool support groups in our area, this is the closest thing for me, and really all I need. I no longer have the visitors that helped me see I needed my children home.

I will admit that first year was a challenge. I didn't think we would make it. There were times when I would cry the blues and think I couldn't handle it anymore. The one thing I continue to remind myself of is that I really didn't know my daughter when she attended government schools. I didn't know the bright, intelligent little girl that she is. Now, I know my daughter and will have the same opportunity to get to know my sons. In the year my daughter has been home, she has changed so much. She was once afraid to play with Barbies, dolls, and even her brothers, for fear that her "friends" would find out. Now, that has changed and she is doing the things that SHE enjoys doing.

When I registered with the state to homeschool, my illness was never questioned. I didn't bring it up and it wasn't asked. Our first portfolio was turned into the school board, and I have to brag, they were impressed with it. I did sign up with an umbrella school and have been really happy with them.

I feel that I am helping my children to be productive, helpful, Christian adults. I want my children to have all the opportunities that are available to them. Maybe they won't have a crowd of friends. Maybe they won't go out all the time when they are teen-agers. Maybe they will want to read a book, instead of watching TV. I bet though, that they will have at least one strong friendship, at least with each other, that I won't have to lay awake at night and worry that they won't make it home, that they will turn into wonderful adults. They are already wonderful children and deserve the best!

We have made sacrifices. We have lost friends, due to our decision. We get looked upon with disapproving eyes. You know what? It was all worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

About the author: Alexa (Alex) and her husband, Mike have three children ages eight, four, and three. Alex has been a stay home mom since her oldest was three, before that she was in the banking industry. Mike works as a yard supervisor for a trucking company.

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