Education at Home

Ranunculus

Ten years ago, as I gave my mom the tour of our newly purchased home, I can remember one of her comments clearly: “This basement would be the perfect place to homeschool!”

I also remember my reaction: “Ha. I’m not homeschooling.”

Years later, I sent up a prayer. It was something along the lines of “Lord, I want to be open to whatever education path you would have for my children. But please, don’t make it homeschooling.”

Can you guess where this story is going?

In just a few weeks, Lord willing, I will start homeschooling my oldest daughter for first grade and I am so excited. If you ask me my reason for homeschooling, the first thing I would say is, “Because I desire to!”

Proverbs 16:9 comes to mind: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

As my oldest was preparing for kindergarten, I toured the local public charter school near us that I had been so very excited about. For some reason, as I walked through the school, there was a stop in my heart. In all honesty, I think some of it was just the shock of realizing that my oldest was school age! How did that happen? But there was something more there, too, and I began to think and pray about the possibility of a different path.

I reached out to Ben’s cousin, who I very much admire and who homeschools her four children. She said if I am serious about looking into homeschool, I should come with her to hear Carole Joy Seid.

And that conference was the turning point. I remember thinking, “I didn’t know homeschooling can look like this!” We can read really, really good books—not textbooks—and that can be a significant portion of our school day? We can do nature study for science? And teaching my children about the everyday work of home “counts” as education? What I learned that day threw out my former ideas of what homeschooling had to look like and gave me a feast of ideas for what it could look like.

I have an English degree and I worked in children’s educational publishing for years. But before that, I dreamed of being a teacher—specifically, high school English. So a literature-based education, which was a concept new to me, made my book-loving heart sing.

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I went to that conference in March 2018 and since then I have been applying myself to learning about educational philosophy, methods, curriculum, planning, and how to do this thing. My husband is on board, and there are so many sweet real-life mentors who have encouraged me as I prepare for this. And of course, the internet is chock full of information. (Some of my favorite reads are when a homeschooling blogger will write “a day in the life” post. Isn’t it fascinating to peek inside someone’s life—and school!—like that?)

So that’s where I am. And that’s where I will be, as the Lord wills and leads. Will I do this all the way through high school? I have no idea. But like I said, I am so excited.

A couple things here:

—I have long felt that I am at my smartest when I am writing. My thought processes, vocabulary, and logic are improved when I am not just thinking, but putting the thoughts down in an ordered way. I want to be a bright teacher to my children. Therefore, I must write. It might be here.

—I also remember choosing to change my blog name from Modern Chemistry to Modern Chemistry at Home. At the time, I thought it was because I would someday pursue something in interior design. But at least for the time being, it would appear that the “at home” will apply to life at home—including education. Because guys, I am big into home. Looked at a certain way, homes are the building blocks of our communities, cities, societies! In her book Eve in Exile, Rebekah Merkle wrote, “The home nurtures, feeds, provides rest, gives shelter, and creates a loyalty to itself that is one of the strongest and most compelling of all human emotions” (162–163). Not all homes are that way—but my prayer is that ours will be.

—Finally, I don’t intend to homeschool in the basement. ;) Nor do we have a designated homeschool room. As I have picked the brains of those around me, it sounds like homeschool naturally gravitates to the kitchen table. The very kitchen table where so much of our life happens already.

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