Let me tell you a story about a brave hero and heroine that you know.
Our hero and heroine receive a treasure map. With great bravery, they set out to cross raging rivers, climb high mountains, slay fierce dragons, and keep their fellow adventurers committed to their noble task. Forsaking comfort, sleep, and disposable income, they live the adventure to seek the treasure of a lifetime.
Who are these heroes? Why you and your spouse, of course.
While you are battling a fire-breathing dragon after a sleepless night awake with a sick child, you can wonder if the treasure is worth it.
How Our Adventure Began
Our own homeschool adventure began in 1991 when home education was still very rare. We were unlikely treasure hunters with Mike in seminary. We were almost broke! How would we pay for homeschooling curriculum?
With our eyes on the prize and a crazy idea that God would provide, we plunged in. The creator of a learn-to-read curriculum Sing, Spell, Read, and Write was a professor at Mike’s graduate school. I attended her workshop and purchased the kit. Copying, coloring, and laminating the letter pages, I made a border in our small dining area so that Katie Beth could see them while she ate her breakfast each morning, waiting for her to show interest in those letters.
Meanwhile, we read beautifully illustrated, well-written picture books, played at the playground, planted a garden, went strawberry picking, made jam, and explored the nearby woods all with baby Julianna in tow. We loved to sing in the car, talk to cows through the window, and make silly animal sounds while we did their peculiar walks.
“Maybe I should read, Mommy,” Katie-Beth urged as I struggled to keep my eyes awake. I was pregnant again and oh so very sleepy. Could I teach Katie-Beth to read and potty train Julianna with a brand new baby?
Blending the letter sounds was a huge challenge when I started teaching Katie Beth to read. It just didn’t come quickly for any of my children. Patience was the answer to that dilemma.
We faced the raging river of teaching something I had never learned myself. After praying for an idea, I went to the children’s section of the library and checked out books on the topic. After some quick reading, I understood enough to confidently teach a third grader. That came up over and over, until I learned to relax and learn with my children. After all, learning is a grand adventure!
Mike graduated from seminary. We had several options, but felt like the Lord was leading us to plant a church. Plant a church? There were some problems with that idea. We had no money. We didn’t know where. In faith, we packed up all our stuff in storage in Virginia Beach. We set out on a brand new adventure with no idea where we would end up. I felt like Sarah wandering off into the desert with Abraham.
Move to Florida
My girls were privileged to enjoy a month with their great-grandmother during this time. She let them fix her hair and help her cook while she told them stories of the olden days. A priceless education that wouldn’t have enjoyed if they had been in school.
In two years, we lived in four different places. “Isn’t it hard to homeschool in the midst of all that moving?” people would ask. I had to stop and think. “No, it actually brings stability. The routine continues even though each place is different.”
Soon we were in Central Florida in a brand new house that was completely empty. While we waited on Daddy to go get our stuff from Virginia Beach, we slept on sleeping bags, did our math on a borrowed card table, and ate lunch on a blanket. We had a picnic everyday! We stuffed pillows in empty corners so we could cuddle up and read aloud. Our new neighbors had their grandchildren visiting for the summer, so the children played in their pool, chasing butterflies and catching lizards when they were tired of swimming.
When we read Little House books, we would churn butter, dress up like the Ingalls family, and make up our own adventures. The Anne books led to tea parties and a completely different wardrobe. Learning led to play and play led to curiosity.
Our Homeschooling Journey Continues!
There were more babies and soon we had a houseful of children. With many children, come squabbles, so we had to teach our children to love each other and work through conflict graciously.
One of my favorite memories in our homeschooling adventure was family discussions about history, philosophy, Christianity, politics, law, literature—you name it, we talked about it. Some of us were quite opinionated and there were times our opinions clashed. Often questions arose that we had to investigate and research. Our family discussions stirred up a hunger to learn more, to read more.
Over the years, we used assorted curricula from classical to workbook, but our favorite way to learn was through living books and hands-on fun. We learned a valuable lesson in our homeschooling adventure: education isn’t something that happens during “school hours,” it begins from the first sleepy yawn until we drop off to sleep at night. The world is full of wonder and there is so much to learn about, explore, and investigate.
How About You?
Have you taken the homeschooling plunge? Are you thinking about it? You will have your own adventures. I have no idea where your family’s homeschooling journey will take you, but I want to cheer you on!
You can do this! And I believe you will enjoy this special time with your children more than you can imagine.
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!