The Accidental Homeschooler
The Accidental Homeschooler. It kind of went something like this, “Mom, you can just homeschool me!” My 8-year-old daughter begged. Her excitement and hope confused me.
She did great in school, had so many friends, and wasn’t struggling academically at all. It was at home the meltdowns occurred. Her frustration would reach a boiling point that would bubble over and leave tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks. Her wide blue eyes would spill over with tears, and the sparkle was becoming rarer. It was at home, not at school, that the temper tantrums would occur.
I laughed. There is no way I could homeschool her. We fought with each other all the time. Our frustration would reach points where I am not sure we liked each other at all. Oh sure, we loved each other…but we really didn’t enjoy spending time together. Homeschool her? Why would I? We would kill each other. I DID NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE TO HOMESCHOOL THIS CHILD.
God Had Other Plans
I prayed, “God if you want me to homeschool my children, I need you to change my heart.” I was sure the answer would be to leave them in the amazing school they were in! They were doing so well. All three of my girls had great friends. They had teachers I loved! GREAT teachers. A community that involved parents and families.
Also, I Do Not Own Any Denim Jumpers!
And then I had an epiphany. I realized I missed my children. I could tell my youngest was a struggling learner, and my oldest was growing up so fast. That middle child, the one that just wanted her mommy to see her, she just needed to not be overwhelmed by the end of the day. Our days consisted of getting up early, loading up to drive to school, being at school all day, activities at night, go home, fast supper, clean-up, do homework, get ready for the next day, and repeat. This is what everyone does! I was a substitute teacher in my children’s school, and I got to see them every day…but they could never be my focus.
I will never forget trying to work through a math lesson while teaching my daughter’s class. She was so frustrated, but I couldn’t help her. I knew I could help her at home, and my job was to work with the other students. I then figured out she was copying her neighbors’ work in order to just get it done. I sat her down that night to talk with her and realized that she was hurting by the end of each day. She was exhausted. She needed more. More time to work at her own pace, more time outside, more sleep, more mom, and more family. How on earth could we handle more?
I Guess I am Homeschooling, even if I am an Accidental Homeschooler
I decided that I would pull her out for a year. I wasn’t committing to more than that. My original plan was to take her out for a year and leave her sisters in school. This wasn’t just any school. This school required parent involvement. 4 hours per week, per child. It was small, and there was a waiting list!
Wading In With One
OK God. I can do this. One foot in, one foot out. Let’s compromise? I will homeschool this one, for now.
My youngest child just wasn’t getting it though. She never had. Reading was really tough for her, number sense just wasn’t there. She was sweet, sensitive, and an amazing friend to everyone. Everyone told me, “Don’t worry. Developmentally she’s on track!” But I knew. Something wasn’t clicking for her. Once she found out I was going to be home with her sister, it became a non-issue. She had always wanted to just stay with me. At the end of her first day of kindergarten, she said to me, “I don’t know how to read, naptime is too short, I don’t think I need to do that anymore.”
I Can Homeschool Two
Ok God. These 2. I can homeschool these two. They are both young enough. I can teach them at home. My oldest however, I can’t teach her. She is so smart! I could never challenge her enough!
My oldest came to me shortly before the school year was up. “Mom, I don’t know, but I think I want to be at home too.” Ok. Don’t panic. I can talk her out of this.
And here I am finishing my fourth year of homeschooling, and I am probably doing it wrong. I am definitely not doing what I envisioned. I don’t have more patience, I still fight with my middle daughter about her math lessons.
God Will Fill in the Gaps for the Accidental Homeschooler
We don’t have only great days, and I never feel like I am doing enough. So many nights I lay in bed. “God, I did my best but we both know it wasn’t enough. I need you to fill in the gaps.” I have faith He will.
What we do have? Laughter when we trip up. Together we learn, we play, we explore, we grow.
The truth is we are involved in each other’s lives. WE LIKE EACH OTHER! Love has always been a given, but now, most days, we want to spend time together.
We want to make our home a culture of learning. Do I ever see that school bus go by and think, “Hmmm…I would have so much time if….”?
Would I change the decision to follow the calling God put on me to homeschool my children?
Rebecca Lundgren, The Accidental Homeschooler, lives in South Dakota with her husband Jeremy, three daughters, and their zoo of adopted animals. While her family never intended to homeschool, she has learned a lot along the way. Her background includes a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from South Dakota State University. Before she began her homeschool journey, she taught in Public Schools k-12, English as a Second Language (ESL) k-6, and directed an Early Childhood program. In addition to homeschooling, she is a well-loved teacher at True North Homeschool Academy where she teaches Jr High Classes. She loves camping and hiking with her family, reading, crafting, and children’s ministries.
For more of this type of you-can-do-it encouragement read Managing My Home and Time, Using teamwork in Your Homeschool, or Homeschool While I Work? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!