I truly admire the parents (Moms or Dads) who have always known they would homeschool their kids, even before their children were born. They inspire me because I wasn't one of them. I never dreamed of homeschooling or even considered it an option when I sent my oldest child off to public Kindergarten in 1999. We live in a fairly small town with very good schools. In fact, 6 years later, I loudly proclained to a friend that I could never do "that". (Homeschool) Doesn't God have a great sense of humor? He soon saw to it that I was homeschooling less than a year later! How this came to fruition wasn't by thunder and lightinging from the sky but it was most definitely God's call. It was almost as if he picked me up from where I was and plopped me down in the middle of a whole new world.
God's call came during a Catholic Family Conference in 2004. I can't explain it in words but it was written on my heart and I knew what I was being asked to do. I would later learn that many others had been called during that same conference...The Spirit was moving. Upon returning home, I knew God was calling me to homeschool but I didn't know what to do or how to do it. My husband and I were moving through our own conversions but he was still reluctant. I distinctly remember having an out-of-body conversation with God that was filled with questions that went something like this: "Who, me?"; "You have got to be kidding, God...Are you sure you have the right person?"; And "Didn't you hear me when I said I could never do that?"
Long story short, doors began to open and doors began to close. God was preparing the way. Shortly after my 2nd son entered Kindergarten, he was asked by his teacher not to talk about God in school. At that point it was simply the final push that I needed to make "the move." I have since been reassured by friends and teachers that this was an isolated incident and not the norm. Regardless, it was the conviction that I was praying for. It was the incident that rolled out the carpet for me to move forward with the new mission God had for the life of our family. Though my husband was still hesitant, he agreed to support the decision. After only 2 months of Kindergarten, we brought our son home. We left our oldest son in school to finish out his 5th grade year, knowing we would start his homeschooling the following year.
Homeschooling, for us, was a giant leap of faith. Yes it was primarily about educating our children in the faith but it was also about our own education in the faith. God was schooling our hearts with each move we made. We jumped in with both feet, painfully moving through the unknown. We knew NO other homeschooling families at the time and had no clue where to begin. There by the grace of God, go I.
Having picked up some Seton pamphlets at the Catholic Family Conference, it was a wonderful place to start. We purchased a few of their books and then turned to a local charter that was willing to help me tread very unfamiliar waters. It didn't take long before we were well on our way, legally and logistically! We moved forward and eventually made social connections with other Catholic homeschooling families in our diocese. It became clear that there was quite a movement going on within those years. Though the road was often laid with thorns, it was an exciting time. God continued to provide the graces we needed to complete the mission. Our children began a new education process, including our faith, and I learned right a long with them. I may not have been homeschooled as a child but I was now being homeschooled as an adult! Looking back on these past 7 years, we have all learned so much. Homeschooling for us has become more than a "school." It has been a faith-filled education, beyond my wildest dreams.
As I write this post, our 12-year-old is having breakfast with some dear friends...A lady in her 60's and a priest in his 80's. Oh, how I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear the wisdom exchanged around that table. I am thankful for these diverse relationships in our lives. Homeschooling certainly allows plenty of such opportunities for blessings to pour forth in this area. Oh yes, the challenges are always there and things aren't perfect, but God provides. After another bump in the homeschooling road, we no longer homeschool our oldest son. He is finishing up his Junior year of highschool but he continues to participate in our life of faith, of course. It was a tough decision for our family but one that has certainly boosted our prayer life!
My personal experience with homeschooling is much like that of other things in our lives. God often calls us to the most unlikely places. He gives us tough things to handle and even a few Crosses to bear along the way. He knows what's best for us and our families. Regardless of where we are called to be in our life vocations, He will provide the means to get there, come what may. I have learned that we are all different and travel by varied modes but He desires us all the same. He wants to purify our hearts and chisel our pride, sculpting us to His liking. He forms us to LOVE. Only then can striving for holiness become a natural way of life, with eternity as the ultimate goal. Looking back on the past 7 years, I see how much we've grown and how our curriculum has changed. Our schedules have been adapted as new children have arrived, embraced by our family circle. My vocation as a wife and mother has evolved and taken shape throughout the years. Through it all, I realize it was me He was really working on, chiseling and adapting. Under the guise of home education, He has been homeschooling my heart.