Friday, September 24, 2010

The Secret to Homeschooling...

Have you ever wondered what the secret to homeschooling is?

I read a blog about this from the Latter Day Homeschooling blog, and I have to agree with what they concluded... But before I tell you what I now think, I want to first tell you about my past thoughts and feelings.

I used to be so afraid of failing. I was so afraid that I wouldn't teach my kids everything they needed to know. But I felt like I was the one God had entrusted these children with and that public school wasn't meeting my children's needs. This meant I was the one God was trusting to meet their needs. I knew I could not do it alone. I knew that I desperately needed Heavenly Father's help and guidance... so I prayed CONSTANTLY as I homeschooled them year after year. I never really knew how well of a job I did, but I trusted the Lord to guide me and just kept on homeschooling (with exception to one year... the school year before last {2008-2009} when I sent them back for one year to get a break). There have always been many things that I know my kids need to learn and many gaps that I see despite our best efforts.

At the end of last year I was asked to accept a stake calling as a Family History Consultant. I went to the Family History Center to be set apart in my calling and thought about homeschooling as I drove there. I had just begun homeschooling my kids again after taking a year off of homeschooling and felt really good about homeschooling them again. I prayed and told the Lord that my shift at the Family History Center was to begin at 2:00 in the afternoon... immediately after our school schedule freed me up for the day. I prayed that I would have the energy to school the kids, then continue serving at the center for 4 or more hours; and be prepared to school the kids again the following day.

When I was set apart for the calling the Brother setting me apart prayed for me in my calling... I sat there listening to the prayer with complete shock as I heard him begin to address homeschooling...

"I bless you that as you do this calling, you will continue to do a GREAT job of teaching your children the things of a secular nature... as you have always done. I also bless you that you will..."

My jaw dropped, and I cried tears of joy. I had no idea that the Lord thought I was doing a "great job" and "always" had (that is especially shocking... as you know how those sparse first couple of years can be). My fears were swept away and in their place was a peace knowing that the Lord was not only aware of all that I did.. but also pleased; he was indeed guiding me. Thanks to Him, I was doing the right thing.

After the blessing, the man setting me apart said, "So... you homeschool your children?"

"Yes." I responded with a smile.:) And I sat and peacefully contemplated on how thankful I was that I took the leap of faith and did it... even though there was no one there to tell me that I was right, and doing good. Though I'm sure I prayed and received confirmation that the Lord was pleased with my decision to homeschool... I no doubt - failed to always remember this at times when I was overwhelmed and found myself discouraged. Now that I had this additional manifestation that the Lord did indeed feel pleased with my choice to homeschool the kids and believed that I was doing a "great job"... it didn't matter what anyone else thought, and there was no more room for self doubt.

And because of this promise that I will continue to do a great job of teaching while I serve in this calling... I don't want this calling to end until after I get the last kid through high school!  :D

I remember talking to another mom who homeschools her children some time ago. She was feeling so insecure about her abilities. I told her that I had felt very insecure about my abilities, too, but that I believed this to be a great blessing to our family. I explained that because I knew I couldn't do it alone, I prayed constantly for inspiration and made the Lord my partner. I knew that I needed to totally rely upon Him for guidance and that because I asked (plead actually..) for it, He guided me and helped me to do so much better than I ever could have done without His guidance.

I think the secret to homeschooling is knowing that you are not enough on your own... but still having faith that God will direct and help you; having faith that he trusted you with these children for a reason, and that he will not abandon you during homeschool any more than he would abandon you as a parent before or after schooling; it is knowing that if you have faith to do the things God inspires you to do... you can not fail!

What if you have kids with special needs?

I have kids who were born with challenges that affect their social skills, and have learning differences/disAbilities. Many people have encouraged me to send them to school with the belief that public school would help them to be more social. I will admit that I used to think along these lines; I even started a daycare in my home when they were 18 months old, then put them in pre-school a year early - solely for the purpose of trying to get them to socialize with others. I enrolled them in speech therapy at 3 years old as well (which continued for several years). These particular children, I kept in public school through the third grade.

Even though the boys had IEP's and special tutors from preschool on, by the end of third grade they were so behind academically that I was afraid to continue sending them to public school to do the work I knew would be expected of them the following year. Because of their "learning disabilities" the school felt firmly that holding them back would not help. The icing on the cake was being told by a summer school teacher that there was no use in taking the phonics book home for the boys to work from for the remainder of summer break, because "they were never going to catch up anyhow."

It was then that with the encouragement of my husband I made the choice to begin homeschooling the kids, so they could have a teacher who believed they could learn, and treat them like they were capable. Interestingly, their social skills continued to develop despite not being in public school. They weren't interested in sports, and didn't click with the kids at church, and had other obstacles not mentioned here... so their opportunities to socialize have been much more slim than those of many other homeschoolers. Non the less, they have made friends and had 2-4 boys over at our home regularly after school and throughout the summer months. Our home is the place for teen boys to be. It is great! :D

Though my boys are still quite reserved in large group settings etc... so are other kids like them who go to public school. They are growing socially. They are growing academically. They are growing spiritually. And though their rate of growth may not be the same as other kids... they are growing, and they will mature to adulthood just like everybody else. They were late learning to read, but hearing them read now, one would never know it. I am certain that any other delays will also eventually become insignificant, and the time will come when no one will be able to tell they once struggled.

So again, the key to homeschooling... it isn't having genius children (though if you look for it you will realize that ALL children are blessed with genius in some way).... it isn't a particular curriculum (I don't even have one. I pick up various supplies from various places. It is completely eclectic); the key isn't a certain number of hours a day, or a certain method; it has nothing to do with money (our is done quite economically); it isn't a lot of things... it is one thing - ASKING THE LORD TO BE YOUR GUIDE AND with FAITH, following that guidance in order to DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD.

I know this isn't easy. There is no special formula to follow that you can get from other homeschool mom's that will guarantee success for all children; each child is individual and each have their own needs etc. This means the secret formula is stepping out into the darkness with prayer and faith in the lord that He will guide you to what your child(ren) need... and just doing it consistently. There have even been many times in which I did not know what I would teach the kids until the night before... or even the morning of. I have never had a years worth of plans in advance. I have prayed constantly and been inspired and led by the Lord one step at a time. This may sound irresponsible, but it is actually a matter of having a tentative plan, yet knowing that I must pray daily for direction and being open to receive that direction and allow plans to change.

I hope this post helps you homeschooling mom's who know you are not enough to do this big job. I hope you will remember that you don't have to be... that if you thought you were enough - you wouldn't lean on the Lord or be asking Him to be your partner.

I hope you will know that with His help, there is no one who can do better! He loves your children. He loves you. He believes in you, that is why He sent them to YOU. And if you know in your heart that homeschooling is what is best for your family... make Him your partner and go forward with faith.

If you do this - if the Lord is your partner, you can not fail. :D

Good Luck, and Happy Schooling!

Corine ;)


  1. I absolutely LOVED this!!! Thank you so much for writing this, very encouraging :) You're right, FAITH is the answer.

  2. OK, I totally got teary reading about that blessing. What an amazing reassurance for you! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring comments on my blog. I really appreciate your support and I am so glad that what I am writing really resonates with you

    Connie x

  4. Yes, I agree. I do not home school my kids, but I do supplement their education. I trust in the Lord to help me do it. He has never let me down.

  5. I have been searching for the secret...I'll have to read these carefully again.


  6. Personally, I think homeschooling is easier than sending my kids to public school......but......that's just me......

  7. Thank you all so much for your comments. :D I really do appreciate them.

    Crystal - It absolutely makes my day when I write something that somebody absolutely Loves! :D Thank you for letting me know. I always hope that what I write will be a blessing to someone.

    Kendra - The crazy thing is that I still struggle with self doubt sometimes. I am trying so hard to have more faith.

    Connie - You're adorable! I'm so glad you think my comments are "beautiful" and "inspiring." :D And I'm very happy to support you and your blog; you're adorable in every way!

    Patty Ann - I really admire mom's like you. :)

    Salma - I could be wrong, but I think the secret (to just about everything...) is having faith in God, enough to do the things He counsels you to do, despite the consequences.

    Rachel - In some ways, I agree with you; in other ways... I think home schooling is Way Harder (It takes a whole lot more work and time than sending them off... that's for sure!!!)!!! I'd LOVE to hear your perspective in greater detail. ;D


There is a ripple effect in all that we do; what you do touches me, what I do touches you...

THANK YOU for your comments; you add so much insight and brighten my day! :)