Our homeschooling journey started with a decision about a decision. Brett and I came from very different backgrounds one of those differences was our education. Brett was homeschooled and I was public schooled. The conflict on this subject arose just before our oldest daughter’s 4th birthday. Oddly enough it was outside people who brought the issue at hand to our attention.
The question on everyone’s minds was:
What are we going to do about school?
Even though both sides had different opinions, I heard a common thread coming from all directions. It seemed to me everyone’s questions started with the words,
Aren’t you afraid?
When I came to realize this, I quickly made the decision not to make any final decision from a place of fear.
One morning during my quiet time the Lord lead me to Deuteronomy 6:5-9
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand (forearm), and they shall be used as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
After I got done reading this I said to myself, ”How would I be able to walk this out if I sent my children off to school 8 hours out of the day?”
When God showed me the opportunities homeschooling would give to our children that public schooling couldn’t provide. One of those opportunities being a deep relationship with my children I was sold.
The Problem with Public School at Home
However, since I had a public school background and a type A personality, I pretty much just replicated public school at home. The more children who moved up the ranks the more like public school we became. Then the fateful day of state required, end of the year testing came.
If there was an anxiety tipping point for me, this was it. I felt it. My kids felt it.
I was having irrational thoughts like what if my kids didn’t score well would the state make me put them in public school? I started to teach for the sake of end of the year testing. Shockingly, tongue in cheek, I began to hate school and so did my kids. Even so, I felt tied to this way of doing school so I put my head down and pressed on.
Leaning Completely on Jesus
Then came October 20, 2018, where I was literally blindsided by a condition I have never even heard of before.
It came on suddenly, I was experiencing in the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. It was worse for me than childbirth only the pain set up camp in my face. I went into my physician and she diagnosed the condition right away, I had Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN).
Then I left the appointment with a whole lot of questions to which I had no answers. I did not know what caused the onset of the condition, or how to get rid of it. ATN is the result of the Trigeminal Nerve being pinched in the brain. Tri means the nerve controls three major branches the eyes, mouth, and the motor which runs the muscle of the face. Geminal meaning twin, the left and right side of the face. The whole left side of my face was losing sensation, I could not read, I could not write, I would speak with a slur, I lost muscle tone. Pairing this with the pain and life became unbearable, which is why it is nicknamed the Suicide Disease.
The only thing I could do was lean into Jesus, and I leaned in hard.
I refused to be another statistic. I wondered how long am I going to have to deal with this? And how on earth am I going to be able to live a normal life?
How am I going to be able to continue homeschooling my children?
This caused a series of conversations between myself and my husband. We discussed what it would be like if we just broke the mold. We threw out questions to one another while we sat in a dark room to minimize my pain.
What if we peppered our day with school instead of clumping it all together in the morning?
What if Brett covered the reading and I covered the math?
What if we had a book discussion instead of essay questions?
What if we focused on experiencing the things we are learning about instead of just studying them.
What if we celebrated the things we learned, and accomplished in a day, instead of brooding over the things that didn’t get done on our to-do list?
What if we stopped being frustrated at the ‘distractions’ in our day, and look for the teachable moment, and the character building moment?”
Shifting into Lifeschooling. Learning together as a family.
Somewhere in that conversation, a shift occurred changing from me educating our kids at home, to learning together as a family. Inside of this package of a storm delivered out of nowhere was the next step towards the goal of living one whole big life together instead of 8 very separate lives.
Inside of this package of a problem delivered out of nowhere was the next step towards the goal of living one whole big life together instead of 8 very separate lives. Tweet This!
The result is now moving towards the things that ignite our hearts, and echo God’s heart.
Now we lifeschool.
It’s so much more than academics. It’s intentionally letting the Lord teach us through His Word, life lessons, experiences, discovery, and the power of the Holy Spirit transforming us into becoming who He created us to be.
In March of 2019, the Lord directed Brett and I and gave us steps to the care which would eventually bring around my full healing. Even though life as we know it is gradually returning to it’s normal old self, we will never go back to doing school the old way.
When a storm hits…
Two weeks before the ATN hit our house, 8 tornadoes ripped through our area. The community pulled together to help each other out in the aftermath. One of the most incredible things about this storm was there was not one casualty and no one seriously injured. Our pastor made a wise observation the following Sunday. He said:
When a storm hits, you can go clean up the mess and try to make things look as they once were. But the truth is the storm changed something and removed other things which can never be regained. But remember this, when God allows a storm in your life to remove things, maybe even things you loved, or the things you thought you couldn’t live without. He isn’t just removing things. He is making room for new things. Beautiful things, things with the propensity to propel you into what He has next for you.