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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

Our Journey to Homeschooling

by Julie M.

Hi there! My name is Julie, and I am a homeschooling mom. I have three boys, ages 8, 6, and 2. I wanted to share with everyone how we came to be homeschoolers...

The first time I heard of homeschooling, my oldest two were very small. One of my brother's friends had pulled her son out of school and was teaching him at home. He was a troubled kid, and had a difficult time getting along with the other children. Now, I thought, how will he ever learn to get along with others if he is home all day and never plays with other kids. (You know, "What about socialization?) Eventually this child went back to school as his mother was at her wits end teaching him at home. (This was a troubled family, and Mom didn't give up anything to teach this child, tried to squeeze him into her very busy schedule)

So, that formed my opinion on homeschooling. Not that I thought it was all bad, I certainly agreed that the quality of education was excellent, but honestly believed that kids needed to be with other kids. Then they went to school...

Being a good mom, I sent my oldest to preschool when he was just three and a half years old. After all, I didn't want him to be behind when he started Kindergarten! Three times a week we dropped him off, and I dragged his 2 year-old brother home crying, because he wanted to stay and play with all those cool toys, too. We survived that year OK. He had a very good teacher who stayed on top of the way the kids played and didn't let things get out of hand. She also included the 2 year-old in a lot of their activities, as I was a willing volunteer, as long as he could come too.

The next year, we moved to a different town. Our oldest was again enrolled in the public preschool. Our youngest was devastated, because we had spent the previous year telling him "Next year" and the new town only had preschool for the 4 year-old kids. Anyway, I was working second shift, so I dropped off at school, dropped off at my mother-in-laws, and went to work. This went on for about a month and a half. From the beginning I was uncomfortable with this school. The kids called the teacher and her helper by their first names. (Except for my son, who was told he had to call her Mrs. So-and-so) And no, she didn't have an unpronounceable last name, it was very easy. One day my mother-in-law mentioned to me that she had gone to pick up my son and the shades to the room were drawn, and the door was locked. She went around to the other entrance and that was locked too. When she asked the teacher, she was told that family members were not allowed in the school during class time. So, that was the end of that! No more preschool that year.

We moved shortly after that, and lived in a duplex owned by a homeschooling family who lived in the other side of the house. These kids were very impressive. They were well mannered, and very smart. My husband thought that I should have school at home with the boys, since public preschool had been a disaster, and we couldn't afford a private one. We tried for a short time, but I didn't know what to do with them! They were counting and knew the alphabet, and we already did painting and play-doh, and all the other stuff kids do in preschool. So that didn't last too long.

Two months after our third child was born, we bought a house (another move) and my oldest started kindergarten. He liked school but was not happy. "The kids don't listen to the teacher, Mommy" and all kinds of other things-they fight, say bad words, don't share, the list goes on. We spent that year talking about kids whose parents didn't teach them things like how to share, or to say please, and that some people really don't know what's right, because they have never been taught. I was disgusted with the fact that so many children had not been taught anything at home. I was also disgusted with what the school expected the children to learn. By the end of the Kindergarten year they needed to know how to count to twelve! My son went to school knowing how to count past one hundred. Not to mention that I no longer was good enough for my child. "My teacher said this is the right way.." I was not happy to come in second with this child. To top off this year, I went back to school part-time myself. And we were following a preschool curriculum at home with the other one, who had still not been to preschool, but would go to Kindergarten the following year.

The next year I had one in Kindergarten and one in 1st grade. This was the year that did me in. Being in school myself, I was not at the kid's school very often. However, my mother was babysitting, and I thought she had things under control. On the days that I was there I watched my 5 year-old always run to the kids who were causing trouble, because that was where the excitement was. And I watched my 6 year-old wander around alone because he was not outgoing, and couldn't just go play with someone else. That broke my heart, and I knew that there had to be a better way. I often thought of the homeschooling family we had lived next door to, and knew in my heart that this was what I wanted. However, I was not convinced that I was capable of doing this. By the spring, we had made up our minds that we would not send them back to school the following year. That was the hardest part, knowing that they would be coming home, and still sending them to school every day. Had I not been finishing up school myself, I don't think I could have waited. As it was I had no choice. We didn't tell anyone, and tried to keep the kids quiet about it. We didn't want anyone from the school giving the kids a hard time, so we waited for school to be out before telling anyone.

Freedom! The kids had the summer to relax, and we all got to know each other again. About a month after school got out, we were walking across a parking lot into a store and my oldest reached out to hold my hand. I wanted to cry! This sweet loving boy had stopped being publicly affectionate when he went to school. We hadn't even officially started homeschooling yet and things were already changing. I was so excited, and thankful that I didn't let my fears get in the way.

So, that's our story. Our kids were excited about homeschooling. The day after public school ended they got up and said "School's over, can we start homeschool now?" We are finishing up our first year. We have all learned a lot. Our belief in homeschooling has been strengthened this year, and we are confident we have made the right choice.

About the author: Julie and her husband Roy live in Massachusetts, with their three boys. Julie was a nurse before coming home to teach the boys, and Roy delivers oxygen to patients at home. They hope someday soon to get out of the city and live on a farm. They enjoy camping, hiking, and bicycling.

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