When my daughter was in the first grade, she attended a private Christian school. Life smoothly sailed along until I began to notice her listening to her classmates over me. It was fine when she wanted her hair a different style and I could indulge her new desire for gym shoes. But no, it wasn’t okay for people to be immoral just because her friend on the playground said so.
How could a 7-year-old have more influence over my daughter on these important issues than me? After much prayer, God spoke to my heart, “Who is she spending the most time with? Let that be you. Homeschool her. If this is who she listens to at seven who will she listen to at fifteen?”
I didn’t like the answer! I was pregnant at the time, feeling pretty comfortable with my daily routine and didn’t relish the thought of giving up my nap time! But after the continual gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit, I knew what I had to do. A took a deep breath and reluctantly dove in with homeschooling.
The first year was horrible. Every day my strong willed daughter sat across the kitchen table from me glaring and spoke through gritted teeth, “I want to go back to school! I miss my friends!”
We tried making new friends at homeschool co-ops, classes and even had old friends from her former school over when we could. But it really wasn’t the same. She was bitter. She missed the colors, stimulation and yes, the people. My daughter was in shock like a tender plant uprooted and I needed to be patient and wise.
But by spring my resistance reached a low with homeschooling, and I was ready to throw in the towel. Then a whisper from the Lord came to me again, “Start a small co-op from your home next school year to allow her to develop close friends and capitalize on the things she loves.”
A light bulb went on. I was trying to make this school experience like her old one. What she needed was a fresh vision of an educational adventure! We needed to capitalize on the strengths of this learning venue at home.
I pow-wowed with my daughter about the things she loved and wanted to study. I combed through books at the library on small groups. I chatted with others who were already involved in co-ops. I decided I would do three things:
1. We would incorporate her passion of nature by collecting frogs, salamanders, snakes and toads. (Yes, I tried not to touch them!) We built a habitat for each of them and learned about cold blooded animals, scientific families and fed them all summer long. We invited her friends to join in by coming over to hunt for bugs under logs and rocks and watch them eat.
2. We would start a writing club where the kids wrote fiction about what they loved. There she could engage with other kids in an educational environment once a week. I chose my passion of art and would weave that in with the writing activities.
3. We would make a formal school room to celebrate the seasons and hang up school papers. It would be her very own special spot. She could choose colors, furniture arrangements etc.
By the end of the next school year she was hooked! We continued on homeschooling through high school and she graduated community college with honors. She currently serves the Lord in worship ministry and attests to the fact, “I wouldn’t be who I am today without having been homeschooled.” Listening to the Lord was the right choice before throwing in the towel!