Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Little House That Schools-Part 1..almost

I got asked to do a guest post on another mama's blog.  How fun is that?  She wanted me to talk about homeschooling.  The how, why and what for of it all.  And boy..there is one thing I know...I know my own opinio, especially when it comes to homeschooling.  And since someone asked for it, I thought I would give it to all of you.

There is a lot to say so I am going to do it in parts. As much as I would like to just get it all out..I have got to work on my 2 scarves I here goes my guest post.  Let me know what you think.  I will link to her blog when she is ready to go for it. 

                                                    The Little House That Schools

I happen to be a freshman when it comes to home schooling. Another words, I am still wet behind the ears working my way through this choice. In some ways that is an advantage when talking with young moms who are discerning home schooling. I was just there. I was them, and in some ways I still am them. Even after 5 years of home schooling I have doubts, worries and regret.

Let me just state, before we go any further, I am a homeschooler….not an ANTI-SCHOOLER. And there is a difference in my opinion. I don’t think my children will become corrupt if they associate with, or enter a “school”. I don‘t hate school. I wish it were that simple. But just like with all families…there is more to the story than that.

Mine started when I was in Alaska, a young mom to 2 little girls, and I met 2 catholic home schooling moms. Upon meeting their families I was impressed. I just liked what I saw. The kids were kind. They were respectful. They spoke while looking at you. They prayed with their parents at supper. They read…for FUN!!

But this is not what you want to hear. If you are considering home schooling than you too have met families like this. You too are intrigued by what you see in these families.

I started asking them questions. A lot of questions. How do you do this? How do you do that? And more importantly …WHY?…that was my biggest question. And from there I began to develop my own how’s and why’s. But as time has gone on, I have found that my why’s have changed, and so have I. And the biggest problem I have in explaining my reasons for home schooling is there are so many different connected, yet unrelated reasons why I started, why I still do it, and why I plan to continue. Mine is just one story, my story, and nobody but me and God will ever know the whole thing. But let me tell you the first part.

All Things Start From Faith:

But first, some background…..

I am what you would call a revert. I was born and raised Catholic, but never developed a faith of my own. After getting married and having children I still was pretty “faithless”. I had a desire to know God but I never really knew how or where to meet Him. I knew how to go through the motions of being catholic, but never was one at heart. And that story began changing after I met the above mentioned moms. These two women were strong practicing Catholic wives and home schooling mothers. They wove their love for the Lord into their every moment, seamlessly. I was touched. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to love God with my daily actions. During this time I could not learn enough. I was inhaling books on the faith and praying like crazy. I was feeling God’s love in every area of my life. I started buying all sorts of kids catholic stuff. Reading to the girls, teaching them the basics of our faith. All the while I was learning right alone side them. I loved it.

My girls were very young so home schooling was just a twinkle in the future. But I felt my heart being pulled that way. I could not help but think, “I could learn a long side them.” And the idea of that was intriguing. Sure I had all the same thoughts you have, is this OK for them? Are they going to hate me for missing Prom? What will everyone think of me? Will my kids be weird? Do I have to start wearing jean jumpers ? You know, all those very rational things that rush through your head when you realize that God may be asking you to do something He wants of you.

Meanwhile my 4 year old daughter was (is) a high maintenance kid (her fault or mine???). She is not the affectionate type. I was having a hard time relating with her. I loved her and wanted to show my love to her but we were just “at” each other. I was reading all sorts of parenting books and trying some of the techniques but I was also very pregnant again right after delivering a baby at 20 weeks, and keeping up with my other 2 year old little girl. So needless to say things were a bit rocky between us.

During this time my friend happen to give me the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She told me that was how she taught all 4 of her kids to read and she loved it. I gladly accepted the book and immediately liked the Direct Instruction approach. I had worked with Direct Instruction in a private school I worked at in California. Direct /Instruction is a script format that the teacher and the student follow. I saw the success this type of instruction had on those students and thought I would give it a shot. And why not, 20 minutes a day was doable. I was not officially home schooling, just preparing my oldest for kindergarten.

Over the next few weeks I informally began using the book. I would pull Emily’s chair really close to mine. I would tickle her back, play with her hair and just be close to her. We would spend about 15 minutes a day doing this. I would always encourage her progress and celebrate her successes. After awhile I noticed she wanted to do more and more. Not that she loved doing the lessons, but she loved being with me. She did not want our time to end. I was noticing a difference in her altogether. She was more lovable, more affectionate. Could this all be because of that 15 minutes a day I was spending with her doing “school”? It was! Her and I became different people from that moment forward. I saw the power I had in this relationship and how it could be used for the good of both of us. I became a more aware, present mom once I realized the impact all my interactions with her had.

My heart was really feeling pulled to home schooling. And I thought that was what God wanted. But I began to wonder after I had my 3rd baby and 3 months later got pregnant again with #4. How in the world could I do this? And were my reasons for wanting to home school strong enough? Was it enough to just want to learn and live your Faith with your kids? Couldn’t I do that while they were home after a day at school? I prayed and prayed…and wound up enrolling Emily in Catholic School in Alabama which is where we were moving 3 weeks before school started and 6 weeks after my 4th child was born. I was convinced that was what God wanted…or was it?


  1. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series. We aren't homeschoolers, more like after-schoolers, I like to say. I'm always fascinated in other peoples homeschool stories though. :)

  2. I enjoyed this entry today. I have five children. Four went to Catholic school and later we needed to transfer them to public for various reasons. I have always pined to home school and Catholic school was our compromise.I have a three year old that I am going to try to homeschool for preschool! My sweet husband is still not on board with the idea of homeschooling him for the school years. I am leaving it in God's hands. I do so enjoy reading about what Home school families are doing and have been able to take some of that to our children after school, especially when it deals with our faith.Looking forward to reading more...

  3. So glad your computer drama is over ~ this is an awesome post! If only I had found this when mine were younger.....but traditional Catholic school is working OK for them..However, it really intrigues me....the whole homeschool experience. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Lisa-- I wrote a little intro over at my blog, and the full post will run tomorrow. Feel free to send pics when you get a chance!

  5. Great post, i am looking forward to more. My oldest is in public school but I am often pondering home school and love to learn more about it.

  6. Beautiful post and story! I too look forward to the rest of the story :) I was intrigued by the part about you and your daughter always butting heads which is currently my experience with my homeschooled 10 year old and her siblings!

    I have passed on an award to you and tagged you!
    Get more information here:

    Have a blessed day!
    Tracy at " A Slice of Smith Life"

  7. I can't wait to read the rest. If I could go back, I would definitely consider home schooling. Not sure I would have done it, but would have at least considered it. I love the story of your faith. My husband is Jewish. We were married in the Catholic church, because I wouldn't have felt married otherwise. He went through a major conversion 3 years ago. He's baptized and has made our family more Catholic than ever. I've learned soooo much from his conversion. God Bless. Can't wait to hear more of your story.

  8. I love this post. I can't believe how much of what you've said is something I've felt. My oldest son has a plethora of issues, learning and otherwise, but I just knew what he needed, and I knew what type of household I wanted. Funny, reading your take on it really encouraged me to remember my original goals... I think we've had a really rocky year getting adjusted to a new curriculum, not to mention that we had a tough summer, and our house has been on the market since spring... I needed a reminder that I'm doing this for the relationships, not just the education!! Now I'm going to go comment on the newest one.


  9. Lisa,
    I stumbled upon your blog through certain links and I can't belive what I am reading. I am currently in Juneau, husband is in the CG, I have 3 girls 5 and under. I have met two wonderful Catholic Alaskan homeschooling mommas who have convinced me through their beautiful families that homeschooling is what I want to do. I am sitting in front of my tree just so happy knowing you are doing such a great job with your family and that it gives me courage to keep letting Alaska work its magic on me. God Bless! Stephanie