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Some of you have already read how we formally started on this homeschooling journey 5 plus years ago. (If you haven’t, you should read it first.) There, I share many of the facts and resources leading us to our decision, but what I’ve shared little of is the emotion in this process. The fear. The doubt. The faith. I’ve now met many mothers and fathers who knew they would educate their children from home before they even had children. That was not me. Until Liam was three, I had never once given it a thought. I didn’t really know anyone who had been educated this way and sadly I still subscribed to the same generalizations and stereotypes many people do concerning homeschoolers: awkward, culturally out-of-touch, geniuses. (Isn’t that embarrassing?) Without even pausing, I had assumed school to be a necessary rite of passage for anyone wanting to be — well, normal. Afterall, didn’t it work for me?

The truth is, no matter how many persuasions or successful accounts you read or hear in defense of home education, in the end, YOU still have to do the work. You have to determine what it looks like in your home, for your children, for your budget and your time. The glory and freedom [gratefully] allowed to home educators in the US can equally cause paralysis and fear, especially when you haven’t experienced it yourself or through observing another family close to you. That was me. For every bit of my idealism and enthusiasm about home education, I felt the equally lurking doubts and fears of can I really do this well? Will my children hate me for it? Am I depriving them of a necessary social responsibility? I wish I could say these feelings have obliterated and I’m completely confident and carefree about my abilities as a parent and educator; I’m not. Regularly, we pray and ask the Lord for discernment about all of these things, and honestly, this is where we have landed each time. Although I work hard, researching and planning and teaching, I’m aware of the Lord’s grace over me in this process. We didn’t choose to homeschool out of fear of public school rather because we asked for wisdom and agreed together this is where the Lord was leading us. I’m mindful of an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s poem, Pioneer, O pioneers!

We detachments steady throwing,
Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

I am not a pioneer in terms of the homeschooling movement itself, but I am for our little family. And with each step forward in faith, venturing unknown ways, persevering, self- educating, staring down the fear and doubt, I am hopeful our children will inherit something greater, even if it is unknown to me right now. At the very least, in all of this, they can also discover that education is more than a class or a worksheet or a book; it’s a life-long process, and we never outgrow it.

4 replies
  1. sarah oliver
    sarah oliver says:

    Hi Bethany,
    I discovered your blog this week through instagram actually and I am so thankful! I am embarking on my second year of home education and I feel so overwhelmed and unsure about it all and whether I have what it takes and whether it’s the right thing! It feels like there is so much to read and research and plan and do and I am NOT a natural organiser! But all that said, in England kids start formal education when they are four, FOUR! And I couldn’t do that to my eldest boy, who’s sounds a whole lot like your Liam. I am sold on the values and sold on the beauty and freedom they will have and I know I have grace in this season, but its nice to know I am not the only doubter as well! Thanks for your authenticity and for the lists of books and curriculum. SO helpful.

    Sarah

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      Welcome, Sarah! One of the reasons I began writing about our homeschooling journey here was to lift the veil, so to speak, to encourage other parents, they’re not alone in the victories and hardship alike.I’m so grateful this encouraged and helped you today. Thank you for sharing. x

      Reply
  2. Joy
    Joy says:

    Such emotional honesty always makes me love you more:) Thanks, again, for the comfort and the joy I find in reading your words, my friend!

    Reply
    • cloisteredaway
      cloisteredaway says:

      Thank you, dear friend. I feel that honesty, although humbling, is the only way to really encourage other parents on their journey. It takes practice for a perfectionist like me, so thank you for the encouragement. ;)

      Reply

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