In 1989-90 a close friend began to think deeply about the implications of what was happening in the public schools in our local school district. She began to share her thoughts with me and she shared resources from Christian radio and old-fashioned cassette tapes, too. In turn, I shared them with Ray. What she and the speakers on the radio programs and tapes shared with us rang true as we thought back on our own experiences in public school for the previous two years.
There was the day a boy spit glue in our kindergarten-age daughter’s face. There was the day the same boy kissed her on the lips and the ensuing conversation at home:
“Mommy, ______ kissed me today!”
“Honey, why didn’t you move?” I asked.
“I would have had to get out of line,” our compliant daughter replied.
I went to school to talk to the teacher. Both the teacher and I gave her permission to get out of line if she was in danger. I kid you not: our little girl and I later stood in our kitchen while she practiced getting out of line!
There was the Buddhist thinking our son was introduced to by his fourth grade teacher and the sex education class we pulled him out of in fifth.
There was the kindergarten teacher who didn’t seem to know our daughter’s special gift for math. There were the teachers who used curse words in teacher conferences — not because they were criticizing our kids — they were praising them. That was just how those women talked!
After months of listening and wondering and talking and praying, in August of 1990, Ray and I made the decision that I would homeschool our children. It was 1994 before we joined together in the adventure of actually becoming a homeschooling family instead of homeschooling parents who carried around the burden of trying to do school with our children at home.
In August of 1990, we thought about an 8 to 2 schedule and a school room with desks and a bulletin board. In August of 1994, we thought about freedom and opportunities and goals that were eternal.
In August of 1990, we were figuring out ways to teach our children traditional school subjects at home. In August of 1994, we were ready to explore.
What our friend shared back in 1989-90 continues to bless our children and our grandchildren today. First we began to think outside the box about school. That led to thinking outside the box about many, many things. When we decided to homeschool in the late summer of 1990, we thought we were simply starting to homeschool, but what we were really doing was starting to learn how to live.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly.