Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Simple & Rich, all in one...Looking Back at our Homeschooling Journey

Looking Back
Just last Friday, as I finished planning the last Trimester of our second year homeschooling, I can't help but think back of our homeschool journey thus far. I have to admit, our lives have changed drastically. There were a lot of adjustments in our daily schedules, our lives in general, and the way we viewed homeschoolers, education in general, and me. Coming from a, mostly, public school upbringing, I went to college to study elementary education, while in college I taught CCD, ran Youth Ministry at two different parishes, and then three years later returned to attain a Masters in Reading Education...in essence I lived and breathed and was all things education. I had a couple of friends who homeschooled and I looked up to them but I had no idea, really I didn't. People (including myself) made generalizations about what homeschooling was all about and truly, I had not a clue! :D

Home All the Time
I am going to be perfectly blunt here, I have had the most change, not necessarily my children. I had to deprogram my brain (and still am)...first at the idea of being home 24/7. I remember a time when my good friend Laura was on maternity leave and I said to her, "are you ready to come back to teach?" and she said, "no, I love being home." I thought she was mad! LOL...really, I did! I thought, could I be home all day long and not have any adult interaction? and further thought, "would there be meaning in my life without a J-O-B?" Clearly then, I thought, "no way!" Now I'm not so sure, I think then I had no life. I said my good-byes to my babies early in the morning, got to sneak out during lunch to come home and nurse, then I would see them again at about 4:30PM. I would come home hold them for about 15 minutes and I would start cooking, cleaning, and really my household was not organized. I thought it was then, it wasn't really. Once supper was done, it was cleaning again, and bath time, get them ready for bed and they were asleep by 9PM, how long in total did I really spend with my children? Probably a total of five waking hours a day, in a 24 hour period, that is pathetic!  Mathematically speaking that was about 23% of the day!  :(

A Leap of Faith
So my husband and I took a leap of faith, when we found out he was being laid off, we moved out of Florida (too expensive) and moved to North Carolina (a little less expensive-but enough for me to stay home). My first year was an adjustment year, it was rough, to say the least. I had a lot of trouble (in my mind) with the idea of being home and not "making a difference in the life of a child (my students)." Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my kids and being home with them but I didn't realize the richness in it all, not then at least. It was a hard year for me. People's comments didn't help either, "you are wasting your Masters degree by being home!"; "will people hire you in the future after not teaching?"; "Don't you miss teaching?"; "Maybe you can just do this for a year and then come back?" It was hard to say the least.

The Tug-of-War
Not only did I leave my teaching career "behind" but now Todd and I had to make the next decision.  Guillermo, our eldest was entering middle school o.O - yikes!  and Josef was turning five = kindergarten time!  What were we going to do next?  We began researching the idea of homeschooling.  On paper it looked pretty good (I had no clue) and easy (totally not a clue) and thought if I can manage three preps and 150 middle school students (essays and all) I can do this!  {Boy was I in for a big surprise!}   But the fear of not socializing my children scared me (bare with me here).  So I thought, "there is strength in numbers" so I began to look for Catholic Homeschoolers in the area, I did...more than I thought were actually out there - "whoo hoo!  I can do this!"  After a couple of Yahoo Groups joined and back and forth e-mails between my new friends, the one e-mail that changed it all came.  "Are you joining our Co-Op or are you still on the fence about homeschooling?" were the words I read one day from my friend Katie.  This was decision time!  Todd was all for it!  I had that hurdle won!  So what did I have to loose?  My mind, that's all?, lol, "We aren't on the fence, we are in!" I typed back one afternoon in 2009.  There it was, little did I know what all that meant!

"Hindsight is 20/20"
Almost two years later, was I right?  Nope, not even close.  Was it hard, yes!  Has it been worth every minute, absolutely!  Would I do it again, you betcha!  I have learned many lessons along the way, read a gazillion (is that a word?) books about homeschooling, home making, the vocation of motherhood, prayers, lives of saints...and the journey has been arduous but joyful at once.  Is life perfect?  No way!  Do I love the life we lead?  Yes!  Is there room for growth?  Always!  Just today, I saw my youngest, and fifth child, take his first steps while I was preparing supper and where were the rest of our family?  Four kids and dad tilled the soil in our garden in anticipation for planting.  {In our garden, designed and planned out by our 13 year old son!}  Totally priceless!

Wearing Homeschooling on our Sleeves
So it turns out, Laura was right, being home with my children is amazing!  99%  of their time awake, I am with them.  It is my vocation, as a mother to raise my children and instruct them in the ways of the Lord, and through home educating, I am able to give them the best possible way to get to Heaven.  Are they learning? TONS, and so am I along side them.  

When we decided to homeschool our children, never in my mind, did I realize that we were making a life altering commitment.  It has been something that has become part of our way of life.  We are homeschoolers, we are constantly learning, we are homeschoolers, we are constantly growing in faith, mind, and body - WE ARE HOMESCHOOLERS and we love it!  There are so many advantages to homeschooling but I think that if I had to pin-point you to the one thing that has made a change in our family life, it has to be the quality of life that we lead.  Our home is Christ-centered!  All of our decisions are based on His holy will.  We are living and breathing our Catholic faith - how beautiful is that?  We definitely cannot say that when our children were in school and we were running around "living life".  We NOW are living life, the life the Christ has called us to live.  All because of homeschooling?  You betcha!  We wouldn't trade this life for the world.  Love its simplicity, yet richness!!  

Thank you, Lord for allowing us to home educate our children!

Hope you enjoyed my little flashback.  If you have your story to share, please remember to link up to this post!  Love to read your homeschooling journeys!



  1. LUV hearing a story like this. Thanks for sharing your joy in homeschooling!

  2. Hi Erika! I could have written your post! We too are in our second year of homeschooling and it has impacted our whole family for the good. I do indeed thank the Lord for leading me, my husband and our children on this incredible, truly incredible journey of love!

  3. Loved reading about your thoughts/experiences at the beginning since didn't know you then and since I'm nervously about to embark on the homeschooling adventure. I'm also very thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be at home with and homeschool my children and pray that I can do as well at it as you have. Thank you for being such a great inspiration to me!

  4. Erika, so glad that you are loving the homeschool life!! I can't imagine the transition you had to make coming from having a "real" job to "just" being at home. :) I am on the other end where I have never known any other way of living, having been homeschooling the kids since they were born. Love hearing about your journey!
    Love ya! Liz

  5. @uvamom & @Liz: Thank you dear friends! It really has been a great journey! Though we have days that are tough but I wouldn't trade it for anything else in this world! :)

    @anonymous: Thank you! :)

    @Veronica Lee: What is MBC?

    Blessings to you all!