So You’re Thinking of Homeschooling?!

(Please welcome Addie as she begins posting here by sharing her personal journey toward homeschooling!)


Motivations for homeschooling are many. Dissatisfaction with public or private schools, illness of the child or parent, unusual work schedule, or needing to travel frequently may be some reasons. If you are a missionary in a country other than the U.S., there may be fewer education options available for your child. If you’re anything like me, the idea of homeschooling might not have sounded too thrilling at the beginning.

Growing up I attended public school in a small town. I had good experiences and did well in my classes. I entered college without a set career in mind but went into the education department and specialized in early childhood special education, that is, the education of children with developmental disabilities. I was in this field for one reason; I cared about kids. I cared that children were given the best education possible and I worked hard to serve the kids in my classes and to help them  learn. None of the teacher candidates in my classes were in the field because they were looking to get rich quick; they were there because they cared about kids as well.

In college I met this cute family at my church, who had the most well-behaved kids I’d ever met, and was surprised to learn they were homeschoolers. They didn’t fit my preconceived notion of the anti-social homeschooling family. To hear the mom defend their choice to homeschool just aggravated me—at first. It didn’t matter that they had prayed over their decision and had  researched curricula, state requirements and the law. I found it personally offensive that they believed (or I perceived they did) teacher’s motives to anything but well-intended toward their students. That certainly wasn’t why I was becoming a teacher. I loved kids!

Then I became a parent. We had our daughter, Caley, in January of 2005. I was about halfway through my program to obtain a Masters of Education and teaching certificate. I believe God gave us our daughter at precisely the right time, because  it was then that I began to weigh what I was hearing in my classes with what I was living as a new parent. Becoming a parent showed  me that my love for my daughter was different than my care for my students. It also showed me that though teachers have many wonderful motives, they aren’t my child’s parent, so their level of involvement and burden to provide a good environment is less simply because they don’t have that parent-child bond God that gives to parents.

It wasn’t instantly that I decided to scrap my plan on schooling. I finished my degree with the intention of returning to the schools when my kids were school-aged themselves. While staying home, God worked  on my heart even more. When Caley was about 15 months I remember actually considering homeschooling. At about 20 months I started a weekly play-group for Caley and her peers, mainly to keep up the skills I’d learned in school. Over time it became less about my skills being maintained, and more about educating my child. Here and there I could hear God say, “Yes you can do this” and “Just trust me.” He put me in community with other homeschooling families, and a few who let me observe how they do school and ask questions. He showed me resources in books and online with fun ideas and curricula to explore. He brought my husband on board, which was essential. Eventually I tried doing some direct “school time” with my then 3-year-old Caley and she loved it!

We are going into our second year of homeschooling preschool and our schedule is more organized in terms of what we study and when we do school. But I feel like we’ve been homeschooling since Caley’s birth because really it’s just doing what comes natural between child and parent. As a parent you want your child to succeed. You taught them how to speak, walk, eat with a spoon, and potty in the toilet. You are also more than qualified to teach them how to read, write, add, and subtract if you are led to do so! Certainly homeschooling isn’t for everyone in every stage of life. I’m sure we will face a time where things will need to change, but for now, God has placed us in this stage and I know He has our best interest at heart.

Addie 2By: Addie

Have you ever considered homeschooling? What are your thoughts? If you are homeschooling, what are/were the reasons and circumstances surrounding your decision? Were you resistant at first? How have you seen God work through that decision?


8 Responses to “So You’re Thinking of Homeschooling?!”

  1. 1 Ashley L September 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Addie, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! I am so excited to hear more. As for thinking of homeschooling, yes, we’ve done some pre-school at home and have loved it. We are leaning towards at least part time Russian school for the sake of language and adaptation, but I think we’ll eventually do English and maybe some other things at home. I’ve always thought the idea of homeschooling to be quite intimidating, so I was encouraged by what you said about it being a natural continuation of what we already do as moms. Thank you!

  2. 2 Becka September 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    My family will soon be in Ecuador serving as missionaries. I am a second generation homeschooler who homeschools simply because, at the moment, it is the best educational option for my children. When we first applied to our field, Loja City had an MK school. But, we have been informed that it will no longer be an option by the time we arrive. So, I will be homeschooling again. Hopefully the MK school will be up and running again soon. I was looking forward to a break- lol.

    PS. I was homeschooled 3rd-12th grade, back when homeschooling was still illegal in many states (including ours). I am now homeschooling a 4th grader, and 2nd grader, and a kindergartner.

  3. 3 Gina September 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I never planned to homeschool my children, but like many families in our situation, it was the best option for living overseas. We are now in our fifth year, and I enjoy it more and more as time goes on. I see the great benefits it provides for our family – time together, freedom for the kids to work at their own pace, greater emphasis on character and not just academics, plenty of time just to be kids. Yes, it’s difficult and time consuming, but it has also helped me develop a greater dependence on God above all and for that I’m grateful.

  4. 4 Addie September 20, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you Ashley for letting me share my homeschooling story! I am looking forward to getting to know you all and learning from you too about homeschooling! I’m still very new at this, but loving it so far.

  5. 5 RebeccaC September 22, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Thanks so much for sharing, Addie! My oldest graduates this year, and we’ve homeschooled all the way. We didn’t really set out to do it that way, it just “happened”.

    Except for a 6 month adventure in the Mexican public school system, in which my boys learned very little Spanish…aside from the swear words, all six kids have been educated exclusively at home. I wouldn’t change a thing!

    Moving from the US to Mexico caused me to downscale considerably. Over the past 4 years, God has been shaping our home-education system to meet His standards and I’m really liking the way it’s turning out. If I had to do it over again, there are many “curriculum things” I wouldn’t bother bringing. It’s funny how little you really need in order to successfully teach your kids — especially when internet is available. Thank you, Lord, for my computer!!!

    Anyway, I agree with you totally, Addie. I know that many (if not most) public school teachers really do have kids’ best educational interests in mind. I, however, have my kids’ best educational, emotional and eternal interests in mind. No teacher could care as much for my kids as I do and as long as it’s possible, I’ll teach them at home.

    One recommendation I would make to all new-to-homeschooling moms (and dads): Write out a “mission statement” for your kids’ education. It can serve as a goal to strive for or a rudder to keep you headed in the right direction.

    I recently ran across a list I’d made some years back (like, 10) and reading over it was really encouraging to me. It was a list of things I wanted my kids to accomplish by the time they graduated from our home. For the most part, we’ve stayed pretty much on-track. It was interesting to see where my emphasis has shifted and where I’ve remained steadfast. It was also encouraging to see how much we really have accomplished in the past 12+ years of homeschooling.

    Blessings to all you missionary moms — remember that even if you do sub-contract part of your kids’ education, you’re still their first teacher!!! ;^)

  6. 6 Shilo September 24, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Addie, do you have a specific curriculum you are using for preschool? I enjoy spending time with my son teaching and he loves to learn but how do I know if I am on track for teaching him the things that he needs to know? Thanks for any advice you can offer.

  7. 7 Addie September 24, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement! No, I don’t use a specific curriculum right now, mostly because I’m still learning this whole homeschooling thing and don’t want to plop down cash for something that might not work for our family. My philosophy, at least for homeschooling preschool, is just living life together and teaching along the way. Although I do use specific books for certain subjects, but generally life is school for my girls right now. I know that will change as they enter kindergarten and first grade. I do put a strong emphasis on reading, both teaching phonics and enjoying literature, partly because if your child learns to read, then eventually they will be able to self-teach. One curricula I recommend for reading/phonics though is “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by Engelmann, Haddox and Bruner.
    My daughter loves it so far and is getting more confident with letter sounds. I love that it’s not a workbook and I can use it again with other children as needed.

  8. 8 Shilo September 24, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Someone actually gave me the book you are recommending but I hadn’t looked through it yet! So glad to know it will be useful.

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