A little more than 20 years ago, I found out I was expecting a baby.
When he was five months old, I found out I was expecting again.
|Another baby boy!|
Regular readers, you know the story, but let me bring those just tuning in up to speed.
I married my husband Michael in my early 20s. We had been best friends for a year, dated for a year and half, and were engaged for a year. During that long courtship, we talked about a lot of things. Both of us are extremely logical, over-thinkers, planners. We wanted to make sure we had the same ideas concerning just about everything--including how we would raise our future kids. On the day we said, "I do!" we knew we wanted to have several kids and we promised each other we would homeschool them--from birth to high school graduation.
I was floored when life didn't immediately pan out according to our amazing plan. We didn't have a whole bunch of kids right away. In fact, we faced infertility and then the Lord gave and the Lord took away. At least four babies--I don't really know exactly how many miscarriages I had--went to be with him. I felt like I was living a nightmare during that season of life, but it was for my sanctification. I grew in grace and my understanding of what the Scriptures teach concerning God's sovereignty, and I reached a place of being able to proclaim like Job, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Healthy Baby 1, Ben, jolted into this world like a thunderbolt. He tried to hold his head up at 10 minutes old. I am not exaggerating. He screamed liked a banshee when I kept him from trying again lest he hurt himself. He didn't stop screaming for nearly a year.
I completely freaked out when I saw the test results that clearly indicated Healthy Baby 2, Brian, was on the way. Don't get me wrong. I wanted babies--lots of them. I just wasn't sure if I could handle two little screamers at the same time. Thankfully, Brian was not a screamer. He was a content, peaceful, easy-to-manage little bundle of sweetness.
|1-year-old Ben would frequently go to Brian|
in his baby swing,
put his head near Brian's,
and say, "Ahhh."
Five years flew by and it was TIME TO START SCHOOL!
I was thrilled! I had wanted to homeschool my own kids for 12 years at that point. I had centers and interactive bulletin boards. I painted the walls of the classroom in scenery to match the subject matter for that area. It was bright and colorful and everything was labeled. I took print-rich environment to a whole new level!
We studied history, art, music, math, geography, foreign language, birds! Lots and lots and lots of birds! We read good books. We wrote stories. We sang, danced, and painted. There were science fairs and birding competitions, international festivals and speech tournaments, soccer and tennis and karate.
There was an autism diagnosis, OT, VT, speech therapy, social-thinking therapy. There was a lupus diagnosis and chemotherapy. Legs had to be reconstructed. An EKG had to be run 6 times. There were many, many visits to neurologists, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedists, internists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, and more "ologists" than I can recount.
We started a homeschool co-op and I taught 4 students, then 12 students, then 19 students...I will be teaching 40-60 this fall. B & B took science, math, journalism, computer science, government, economics, archery, and more. It opened their world to so much more than I could have done alone, yet the whirlwind of responsibility kept me so busy that suddenly I looked up...
...and another 12 years had passed.
Currently, he has one year of college under his belt, has declared History as his major with minors in Spanish and Political Science. He has made his school's VPAA list (highest honors) for his dual enrollment year and his freshman year and should be inducted within the year to four honor societies. He was a freshman senator and is now serving on the Student Activities Council. He is a writer for the college paper and faithfully attends Reformation and other religious organizations. He is debating whether he will go to law school or complete a master's and a Ph.D. in history with the goal of being a professor. And he wants to be a Fulbright Scholar and study in Korea or Japan. In other words, he's driven and quite the academic achiever.
We sat together on my bed, and he poured out his heart. Even though he has worked hard to keep his GPA up and he has the academic ability and work ethic to complete a college degree, he really does not want one at this time. For the past year we had looked at everything that fits his personality and talents. Engineering...nope. Computer programming...not interested. Graphic Design...nah. Information Technology...maybe...yes...wait...um....no...not really. In that moment of truth, he admitted that the past year of dual enrollment had been miserable for him. He wants to be outside. He wants to move and problem solve and use his hands. He is tired of books and subjects that don't interest him. Instead, he wants to be an electrician.
And you know what? Michael and I proudly support him in that decision. Because there is a shortage of electricians in Georgia, the state is going to completely fund his schooling. He should be placed in a paid apprenticeship within two years and have a nest egg instead of college debt. If he works hard, he can reach master electrician before he turns 30 and be set in a profitable career that suits him.
Ben and Brian are two very different people, both wonderfully and fearfully made and gifted to serve God in unique ways. I praise God that his grace is evident in both of their lives. Over the years the truth that homeschooling is not the guarantee of our salvation has been clearly proven to us. It is not a guarantee that kids will turn out happy, well-adjusted, or loving what is right in God's sight either. However, the Lord has enabled us to disciple our children through our lifestyle of learning, and we praise him that they are bearing fruit consistent with repentance. That is a work of grace, not of homeschooling.
I have enjoyed writing about them all these years. Perhaps, when they fly the nest completely, I will have more time to reflect and write about what I learned over the years. For now I will say that I am thankful to God that he directed a young man and a young woman to talk about homeschooling and enabled them to follow through, even through significant challenges.
There was a time I doubted it would happen. Then there was a time I doubted I would survive it all. Now, I'm at a place where I am wondering how it all went by so fast. The girl who couldn't wait to homeschool is done. She has given almost all her time and talents (and definitely all her spoons) to the home education of her children and the support of other homeschoolers.
She is confident it was time well spent.
Here is a look at Ben through the years! This slideshow played at his high school graduation.
Here is a look at Brian through the years! This slideshow played at his high school graduation.
Thank you for reading and following our adventures in homeschooling. May the Lord bless you and keep you!