Friday, September 7, 2012

My Homeschool Story: Blog Hop and Giveaway!

This week, the First Homeschool Guinea Pig turns 20. And let me tell you. . . .  it's really throwing me for a loop.

Either that, or it's the drugs I'm on for my bronchitis.

Let's just stick with the first scenario, shall we?

I've spent some time this past week thinking about the past 20 years and all the changes we've been through.  And like I do every September, I've also started reflecting on not only my parenting journey, but our family's homeschooling journey and what got us started down this crazy road.  To that end, I'm joining a great team of writers from Home Educating Family and participating in my first ever "Blog Hop"!  So stay tuned, enjoy my story, and read on to the end to join the Blog Hop and enter to win a fantastic giveaway!

How did we get from this . . . .

to this????

I'm from a family of public school teachers, trained to be a teacher, and married a teacher.  When our oldest was was born, I was teaching music in an elementary school in Connecticut.  It never occurred to me that she wouldn't join the ranks of Kindergarteners some day.  But even as early as our first year of parenting, I can see the Lord's hand in preparing our hearts for our homeschool journey.

•  When Kathryn was a mere 7 weeks old, my husband and I began attending a Bible study at the home of a family who homeschooled their children, all teens.  Honestly, I didn't know what to make of these kids.  They were polite, interesting, spoke to us intelligently, and were a general pleasure to be around.  (At the time, I thought they were strange. Little did I know I'd be raising the same kind of teens in a very few years!)

•  As I taught school, I loved those little kindergarteners. They came in every year, bright-eyed and eager.  But as the year went on, I noticed a change. They got. . . . . hard. Jaded. I didn't like the changes I saw in those kids. And didn't want to see the same changes in my kids.

•  The most important factor, however, was that I recommitted myself to my faith, and my dear husband became a Christian. We desired more than anything else to teach our children the truths we held to be so important.

So when I first became a full-time stay-at-home mom, when Nathaniel was born (yes, the cute guy in the pictures above!), I prepared to send Kathryn to preschool. After all, she was 4, right? And she needed a break from me, right? With baby brother in tow, I dropped her off at the local Christian preschool 2 mornings a week.

Imagine my surprise when she came home, about 3 weeks later, saying, "Pow Pow! You're DEAD, Mommy!" and shooting me with her imaginary gun.  Um.  Really?

When I went in for her Parent Conference, the teacher explained that they had three goals.  First, to help the children recognize their letters.  Second, to help the children separate from their parents.  And third, to help the children follow directions from another adult.   

"OK," thinks a much younger version of myself, "She's already reading. She's fine with being away from me. And she follows directions.  What am I spending $90 a month on?"  With that, hubby and I decided to homeschool her.  JUST for preschool.  Then we'd see what happened. . . .

The rest, as they say, is history.

Somewhere in those early years, we found that homeschooling was a wonderful blessing to our family.  We loved learning together, being together for the "A-Ha!" moments, and getting to know each other.  We loved watching our kids develop close relationships with each other.  And we loved being able to spend intense time with them, mentoring them and teaching them about Jesus.

Our journey became about what we were heading TOWARD, not what we were running FROM.

Just had to add another picture of my kids.  Cuz they're awesome.  That's all.

So how about you?  What got YOU started on your homeschool journey?  Do tell! 

You've read through my ramblings. . .are you ready for a GIVEAWAY?  It's a good one, too!

Since we're celebrating "Not-Back-to-School", the good folks at Home Educating Family have provided a full year subscription to their terrific magazine!

All you have to do is leave a comment, and you're automatically entered!  (And trust me - it's KILLING me that I can't enter this one.  Boo.)  I'll choose a winner next Thursday using  And this spiffy magazine will be on its way to YOUR mailbox!  (Note:  make sure I have a way to reach you in your comment!)

I'm also supposed to say the following (read in monotone announcer's voice):
Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. (Sorry to my Nigerian readers) This giveaway is not tied to any social media site.

And while you're at it, head on over to the Home Educating Blog Hop for more great posts on "My Homeschool Story".  See you next time, when I'll be blogging about "What Makes My Homeschool Unique"!


This High Calling said...

Woohoo, I'm first :) And, we told Travers we would try for one year. That was it....And here we are :) Grateful for your model and influence!

Erin said...

Great post! We never intended to homeschool either, and I can't even count the number of times I told someone "Homeschooling is great for you! But it's just not the thing for our family." :) Without going into specifics (but Heather knows!)... we are one of the least likely families to be candidates for homeschooling. Ever. But all I can say is that when God makes a command so obvious, you need to do it. Our story also shows that when God tells you to do something, it might not make "logical" sense. However, our job is just. to. do. it. We've been so blessed through the ways that He has led us through our homeschooling journey so far.

Jen in Al said...

Great post! Love the pictures and everyone in them! I love how when I see your children they wave and talk and make eye contact!:)LOL We were told we "couldn't" homeschool because of our oldest special needs but God in His mercy placed people in our lives to speak truth and He revealed His plan for our family. Joshua was in K for about 1 month before we pulled him out of PS. Actually we are coming up on our 10 year anniversary. :)sniff sniff... Since then we have come to realize we were homeschooling all along. So thankful for how the Lord continues to shape us and help us think outside "the box". There is the short story:) Praying for your continued healing! lots of love and hugs, jen

Danielle Hardy said...

I am another mother who never thought I would be homeschooling my kiddos. But here I am in our 5th year and I know my family is truly blessed to have this opportunity! Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Hutchinson said...

I'd love to win!!!! Never, ever thought I'd be homeschooling and have 5 children with 1 on the way!!!

The Caywoods said...

We are just getting our feet wet with our preschool curriculum. I am another mom who never thought I would be homeschooling, as I went to public school all 13 years. But, with David being homeschooled for 13 years, and my mother in law being who she is, is was a no brainer for us. I love getting to see Crissie as we explore the things that work best for her. I'm so excited about te years to come! (I'm sure I'll be turning to you with questions too!!)

Cassidy Cash said...

I always intended to homeschool Elliot. He is just now old enough to start considering "curriculum" but my husband and I are learning that we are way more about alternative learning than curriculum. We both teach, in a myriad of schools and education-styles. We have just decided that the whole "read this book, make an A" is just ridiculous. At least for us, that approach doesn't mesh. We are homeschooling our son because we want him to have freedom. to explore, to learn, to discover, on terms--and standards--of excellence that we teach him to set for himself. I'm not sure yet what the rules are--you know, legally speaking, for educating your kids 'properly' as far as what I might have to turn in for him to the state or cover school. I know this, though, I've seen entirely too many students hampered against just learning subjects because they were so brought down, discouraged, and literally depressed over the letter grade. I don't want Elliot to have to learn by sitting in a desk, and I dont want him to learn by rote memorization and test regurgitation. I'm one of those "young" people you mentioned, this is my first mommy experience, and maybe a few years down the road I'll look back and change things for future kids, but right now I want my son to be everything he was created to be, and I want his learning environment to be fluid enough to keep up.

Lisa C. said...

Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing, especially in such a lighthearted, funny way!

I would love to win a year of HEF! Woo Whoo!

Lisa C.