The decision to homeschool didn't come lightly. The idea was actually sparked within me after watching a news program on a large family who homeschooled, and no it wasn't the Duggars. Anyway, I was amazed at how well this large family got along and how everyone seemed to help out everyone else. It certainly got the wheels spinning in my mind. I rolled the idea around my head for a while before really considering it an option. I mean, come on, the kids can really drive a woman crazy! However, the more I thought about it the more I was warming up to the idea. All of this homeschooling business really started happening around February of this year. I tossed the idea around to W and to a few friends of mine. They all thought I was crazy... no doubt, but they all said they'd support me in my decision. I read books about the subject to educate myself. I wanted to see what all would be involved and how difficult this task might be. What I found was surprising! I was overwhelmed at the amount of information out there! It reminded me of when I started researching midwifery during my pregnancy with Little Love. The more I read about homeschooling the more and more I became convinced this is what we should do.
My resolve to keep the girls out of school was solidified after Mess was having bully issues in school. The bullying had been on going since Nov/Dec of '11 and had reached it's peak in March of this year. There were visits and phone calls to and from the counselor at school with nothing being resolved. We were sick and tired of it! By that point I was dying to withdraw the girls from school, but the more patient and mature part of me said to let them ride out the last of their 2nd and 4th grade year. Now, let me clarify something I've often been asked... Did we discuss the idea of homeschooling with the big girls? Yes, we did. W and I didn't want to make a decision without their input since obviously it's a big decision that affects their lives. Mess and Big Mak absolutely, without any doubts, loved the idea of homeschooling. I read books upon books, looked at websites and talked with friends before making our final decision. W has been incredibly supportive, as he always is. His only doubt was if I could handle the girls by myself so much. I've struggled with having patience most of my life and, to be completely honest, I was nervous about the thought of having the kids 24/7/365 without breaks. Yes, school days were breaks for me. With two girls not quite three years apart there was a lot of bickering and arguing, especially from the preteen. That didn't stop me though! The stubborn bullheaded woman inside of me put her foot down, stuck out her overzealous pouty bottom lip and said to W "I can do this, no problem!"
As the new school year began to creep up on me, and the school called to ask about the girls' enrollment, I knew I had to make the big final decision. I told the school that we would be homeschooling! Now that that scary step was taken care of it was time to start buckling down on praying and hopefully finding the right curriculum. After a lot of research into curriculum's, learning styles, and even attending a homeschooling fair with the girls and my mom, my end decision was to not have a set curriculum. There's such a vast amount of curriculum! It is truly staggering when you begin looking into the different types, prices, subjects, etc.
Within my search for the perfect curriculum I stumbled across a style of homeschooling called unschooling. It is truly fascinating! What it boils down to is natural learning. You don't "teach" your children in a teacher kind of way. You are just there for them as a mother and facilitator, just as you've always been. As a mom I didn't teach my kids to walk I only helped them along when they needed it and provided protection from avoidable accidents. It's the same with unschooling. I've been asked the question, "How are you going to know the girls are learning without any tests or quizzes?!" My answer is: I'll just know. I'm going to be with the girls every single day watching them grow and learn. Just because the government says our kids should know certain things at certain ages doesn't mean they actually will. Some children may excel at reading while falling behind in math at their grade level while some may excel in the arts but have a difficult time reading. I love the fact that I can cater to the individual needs and loves of the girls.
It's only a few days into the first week of "school" and God told me that the direction I was headed wasn't the one I'm suppose to take. The girls have their own little binders and papers filled with unit study work about The Secret Garden, The Bible, and the worlds greatest Artists along with vocabulary lists, word scrambles and a math website for those lessons. Today when I was starting to already stress about what the girls had or hadn't done I heard God's voice deep down within me. All He said was "unschool" and I knew. I knew without a doubt that that's what He wants me to do with the girls. This is not the first time God has confirmed the homeschooling direction to us.
I started at first with short, little general type of prayers to God about the direction we should take, asking for help with my patience, but the more we went to church and the more W and I were learning about God, the more I started praying heavily about our decision. The first confirmation we received from God was when we went to a church service in Southlake. We had never attended this large church before but had been going to their Frisco campus for the past couple of weekends. At the beginning of the service the Pastor asked us to think of a prayer that we desperately wanted answered and mine was about homeschooling the girls. Towards the end of the packed service a young woman sitting behind us taps me on the shoulder. She sweetly said that she had something she'd like to tell me once the service was over if we didn't mind speaking with her. I told her we didn't mind then about 5 minutes later the service ended. When W and I turned around she said to us, with her hands on our shoulders, "I felt the need to tell you that whatever you're doing with your children is what you're suppose to be doing. You're doing the right thing. Keep it up!" And that was it. Three little sentences that left a huge impact on my heart and huge tears running freely down my cheeks. She gave us both a giant intertwined hug goodbye. We left with colossal smiles on our faces and souls over flowing with love. As Christians we know God speaks threw us. That was our first direct answer from God. Our second came a few weeks later, in fact just this past Sunday. We were attending the church in Frisco that we've been going to for the last month or so, and where W accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and was saved. At the end of every service they give you an opportunity to go to the front and be prayed over or to have someone pray with you. I've only ever gone up to the front the once with W when he was saved however this time I was the one who had an overwhelming urge to go. I grabbed W's hand and he went up there with me where an usher pointed in the direction of someone who could pray with us. We were directed to a smiling young gentleman, someone far from intimidating, thank goodness. He asked what we'd like to pray about. W had no idea why I'd wanted to go up there but he held my hand tightly while I told the young man how I was nervous for the first day of homeschooling. I confessed that I felt it was a little silly to go up there over this but I knew I needed to. He said to me "You could have come up here and seen any one of us but you were sent to me for a reason. I was homeschooled for two years by my parents." Out of all the people up there God sent us to him! I told him about our first confirmation and he said to me whenever I'm feeling stressed, nervous, or unworthy to write down the two confirmations from God. So, when I'm feeling like I'm failing as a "teacher" or on the days I think I can't handle it anymore I'm going to look at those confirmations and know that my Heavenly Father wants me to help our children learn in the very best environment, with their mother and father.
This is how we've started our new adventures. We hope to let y'all in on what we're doing, and where God is leading us!
I still have our old blog up, if you'd like to reminisce like I sometimes do, here is the link - The Kendalls.