And so it went, year after year, homeschooling Ryan and his brother, and we all learned as we went. There were a lot of years — more than I should admit publicly — when I think I learned as much as the kids did. There is nothing like homeschooling to teach you about the deficits in your own education! Eventually, homeschooling became a conviction for our family. We came to believe that this was the best possible educational choice for our children. They were not only growing academically, but socially and spiritually we saw signs of the budding maturity we desired in them. This had become a lifestyle choice for our family, and we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
That’s not to say we were the perfect homeschooling family with matching, hand-sewn outfits and freshly baked bread every day. I assure you, we were not that family! I struggled with discipline and consistency in my personal life; and of course, that spilled into our homeschooling world. There were many, many days I found myself on my knees in prayer asking God if this was really what he wanted me to do. Surely I was not cut out for this! I struggled with frequent migraine headaches, so we planned a 4-day school schedule in order to allow an extra day for my health issues. We worked through learning disabilities and speech therapy and the year we all now laugh about and refer to as “Algebra with Anger.” It wasn’t pretty and we’re not proud of it, but I remind myself that lots of kids in public schools went through much worse things in 9th grade than a grumpy dad with a whiteboard who worked an 8-hour day and, after an hour commute, tried to teach algebra to an uncooperative student. (I don’t recommend it.)
If I let my mind linger on those days and experiences I’m tempted to think that perhaps we failed our children and maybe homeschooling is something better left to the “experts.”