I have always loved school. I had perfect attendance first grade through twelfth… can you believe that? I loved college too although I was known to skip a class or two. After college I began teaching school, earned my masters in early childhood, and even had aspirations of being a teaching professor one day. Now that’s a lot of education wouldn’t you agree? I was in the classroom for about 18 years and I loved every single year. Scott used to say if he loved his job half as much as I did, he would have it made. One of the things that made it so wonderful was having the girls with me and hand picking my best friends for their teachers. It really was a beautiful symphony!!!

Then in 2004, God laid on our hearts the desire to adopt and almost 10 years to this day, we saw EK’s face pop up on a computer screen and my whole heart changed in an instant. I can’t explain it and won’t try but I felt I would be teaching my last days in a public school. I would go into ‘early retirement’ to be home with her each day. And that desire escalated about 1K percent when she was placed in my arms. She was an orphan no more with a mama who would begin mending all the brokenness inside this precious baby God had chosen to be our child. With His help, (and I would SO need it), I would stay home from that point on to be a stay at home mom for all four of our girls at that time. It really was a beautiful symphony!

The days home with her were not easy. As a matter of fact they were plain out hard. She didn’t sleep well or nap and had many sensory issues that it has taken me ten years and five other children to understand. I was so naive at the time but we were one on one so I was able to give her my undivided attention. I had no desire to put her in preschool as it just resembled the orphanage setting too much and I sure could do anything they could do for her. That wasn’t even the point. She needed her people to prove what 100% love, time, and security looked like and for that I was in for the long haul.

The next year God gave us the desire to move home where we had grown up as kids, so we leased our house and renovated Scott’s parents old home which had long been vacant. It was super small for our family of 6 but we made it work fine. We were then in the process of bringing SJ home at the time and knew we would need a bigger home in time. We lived there for a year before moving to our present home and this where the last five and now CallaAnne will come home.

HOME… such a beautiful word and place! So many thoughts go with that one word. Home was something only our big girls had ever known. Being born to a mom and dad securely attached and nurtured from conception to the present. Our adopted children came with many risks like trauma inside their birth mother and through delivery, abandonment, orphanage life, trauma of being given to strangers (us), and coming to live in a far away place. Can you imagine anywhere more healing than Home? In my mind, I could not imagine being separated from them once we had them home.

BUT we did give EK one year in public school for kindergarten to see how it would fit into the fabric of our family. All in all she did very well academically as I knew she would but the things we couldn’t see were the discerning factors. She was extremely irritable in the afternoon and evenings. She cried for no reason we could figure. There were night terrors and sleepless nights no child should experience. She couldn’t mesh back into our family for the short time we had together and that frightened me to no end. We were able to stick it out until the end of the year but I knew without a doubt, she would be home the next year with her then sister and brother.


 

WHY I Homeschool~ {It Really is a Beautiful Life Symphony

God: I truly know God has given me the desire to be home with my children and share in the education they receive each day. It is also my heart’s desire they love educating themselves and grow closer to Jesus each day. I am able to watch their growth and see the lightbulb come on when something new is learned. I get to be the one teaching them to read and hide scripture in their hearts. I record lots of what we do at Growing Whole Hearts if you ever wonder what it looks like.

Time: We are not bound by a clock each day unless we have appointments. Our days are routined and roll in a predictable way encouraging security and stability both of which our children need very much. One of the best ways to help children with sensory issues is a predictable routine; doing the same things at the same time with the same people in the same place. May sound monotonous to most, but when children have spent days, months, years, institutionalized, it is critical to keep them under sensitized and provide a sound foundation for their knowledge to build upon. Time is on our side and we use it to the fullest. There is no rush. We have years in front of us!!!

Work: Being at home all day gives us time for a well rounded tasks like with learning, playing, and working, We are able to learn life long skills which will spill over into their adult life always. We cook, clean, organize, take care of pets, and learn to cooperate with each other through a given day. Everyone carries their weight in responsibility as their age permits and take care to help each other along the way. I see that as one the sweetest benefits of being home together all the time. It will surely guide them as they grow into beautiful adults.

Nature: There is no greater classroom than being outside in Nature or looking out a window to see something interesting. I love the freedom we have to head out in our backyard or to the park or up to my parents’ farm whenever the fancy strikes us. We also get to jump in the truck for an outing if we like as well. Getting into nature really allows me to bond their knowledge of the bible to how they can see God. Bringing nature into the house and then into journals allows us to keep it in our hearts longer as well. We hope to do more of it in 2016! Giving children their childhood back with uninterrupted exploration is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Reading: There is NO greater gift other than their love for Jesus than learning to read. Once a child can read, they are able to teach themselves anything, go anywhere, and have an enjoyment for their whole lives. I get to be the one to experience this beautiful joy. The process is not always joyful… actually it can be quite excruciating, especially if pushed too soon, but that’s the beauty of doing it at home. It’s okay that my seven year old boys are just becoming interested in sight words and how sounds make words. I’m not bound by a scope and sequence. We take things slow and steady: after all, that is how you win the race. I love that EK and SJ choose books throughout the day for enjoyment and rush to tell me the story. That’s the beautiful return on an investment I can’t put a price on. Priceless!!!

Curriculum We Use to Help us Learn~ Go HERE to read all about it

I read a quote in a book I’m reading, The Walk by Paul Richard Evans~ “The reason we start things is rarely the reason we continue them.” and it sums up lots of the things we do in our family but it rings so true to our homeschooling adventure. Never in the years of my teaching did I ever think I would homeschool. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone teaching their kids better than me. How proud of me but God would change my heart for the orphan and bring me to my knees as I came off that high horse to be home with my children.

So you see, I started educating to share my knowledge with my students, NOW I am schooled each day BY my children. God didn’t bring me home only to teach my children. He brought me home so He could mold my heart into something I could never have imagined and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

I tell people EVEN on my my hardest day, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done other than birthing babies in a delivery room and civil affairs room but it is also my greatest joy every single day!!!

It Really IS A Beautiful Symphony!

PS. Today we come off of a three week break from school and the girls were a little less than enthusiastic about their book work looming in front of them so in my so sly way I said, “Well you could go ahead and get it done tonight and not have to do it tomorrow.” Oh they took the bait and in thirty minutes it was done and they went to bed SO happy~

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That is the beauty of homeschooling!!!

One last thing. Even if I had had NO educational experience, I believe God would still have called me to this journey. You DON’T have to be an educator to educate your kids. You just have to believe in your heart it is your calling and go with it! God will give you everything you need!!! I would be happy to help anyone or encourage anyone to this amazingly rich journey. It is a great calling and worth every bit as much!!!