In The Beginning

My son John begins the second grade in Lawrence, Kansas

I never meant to become a homeschooling mom. In fact, I once wrote a letter to the editor of a magazine stating all of the reasons I thought it should not be done! This letter was written when my oldest son was a toddler and sending him to school was many years away. When he was old enough to attend and I found myself living on a military installation in South Korea without access to quality schools, my ideas began to change.

I was between a rock and a hard place. We were finishing up one tour in Korea and we knew that 18 months later we would be coming back. The Department of Defense school he was slated to attend was lacking in academic rigor. The local Christian school was not an adequate alternative. I began to talk to his pre-school teacher about the possibility of homeschooling. I talked to other mothers who were already teaching their kids, I researched curriculum through Mary Pride’s Big Book Of Home Learning. (The internet as we know it today did not exist.) When he attended a Catholic school for his kindergarten year in Kansas I interviewed his teacher and the principal. I wanted them to tell me why I should not teach him myself. Instead, they encouraged me to give it a try. My husband has always had a great deal of confidence in me and I had his resounding support. By the time we took our return trip to Korea we were officially a homeschooling family. The adventure had begun!

Kudos to you if you were able to follow my convoluted path to teaching my kids at home! It took over a year to come to the point where I was willing to make the leap. I felt like taking my kids’ education into my own hands was a daunting affair. For me and my husband, it was paramount that they receive top-notch instruction and that eventually they would be able to attend the college of their choosing. I was worried that somehow I was going to mess that up for them.

This was not a decision that I took lightly. After I realized that my husband and I were on the same page we agreed that the final choice was mine since I would be doing most of the instruction. I only ever made a commitment to teach one year at a time. Then at the end of the year we would decide if we should continue. It is unbelievable that I am now reflecting on twenty six years of teaching my children. Here I am, poised to take the last lap, the final trip through a school year as a home educator.

From left, Tom, Emily, Katie and John during the second semester of our first school year, Osan AB South Korea

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