Who would have thought it? A former public and private school teacher married to a missionary kid deciding that home schooling was what God wanted for our family. This was not something I would have ever considered until circumstances put our family in a position of deciding between teaching in a private school that would give us a break on the tuition for our two kids or just doing it myself and cutting out the middle-man. Since I had taught in public school for six years, I had no desire to send my children there, so that was not an option for us.
That first year, with the help of several other ladies, I began a support group that was based in our church. We had weekly classes, monthly field trips, and monthly potluck meetings for fellowship and information. The support group, HomeGrownKids of Berean Baptist Church, still functions basically the same way. We have had as many as twenty families and as few as five, but we keep going. I have been the leader for all but one of those years. I expect to still be the leader when I have to use a cane to get to the library to teach those eighth through twelfth graders on Fridays.
I have two sons, Marshall Aaron, now seventeen and a senior in high school, and Byron “Roy,” who is now sixteen and a sophomore. Neither boy has been in a public or private school. Marshall is planning to go into the ministry. Roy has yet to decide what God has called him to do, but he knows he wants to serve God somehow.
Marshall has thrived in a home school environment. He is a witty, serious-minded, compassionate, and caring seventeen-year-old who is not afraid to hug his mom in public and to stand up for what is right. He taught himself to play guitar and plays in the praise and worship teen band at church, works in AWANA and VBS, does his schoolwork with little complaint, and actually enjoys it at times! I delight in the time I spend with Marshall, and I thank God for the opportunity God entrusted to me to raise this son for Him. And no, I am not worried about socialization!
When Roy, my youngest, was a little over a year old, we discovered that he had cerebral palsy. Roy has no use of his right hand and has a weakened right arm and leg, but he could walk, talk, and learn, although it seemed he learned a bit more slowly and had some trouble remembering things. This became a bigger problem around third grade as the volume of work started to increase, and we began to realize that he had more learning concerns than we had known. We have continued to find ways to improve his skills in these areas, but home schooling has allowed him the time to develop at his own pace. At age 11, he began to have seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. He continues to take medication to control his seizures. Earlier this year, we discovered that the damage to his brain is actually massive—with almost the entire left side of his brain “disintegrated,” as the doctor termed it. Roy is a walking, talking miracle of God, and we thank God every day for him, for God’s watch-care over him, and for His guidance in our lives to homeschool this witty, wonderful, sweet, compassionate, and loving child! Roy is also working in AWANA and VBS, is running the sound system for his brother’s teen band, and is learning the sound system for the entire church.
In September of 1995, my husband, Byron (Bud to family and friends), was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was home on disability from April of 1996 until he passed away on March 2, 2002. During that time, my boys were able to sit at the feet of their father daily, something they could have never done had they not been homeschooled. Bud was able to be there for all the major ups and downs that children have. He was able to give them Biblical answers on-the-spot for all life’s difficulties and decisions. He spent the last years of his life pouring himself into Marshall and Roy’s lives, as well as the lives of his three older children from a previous marriage. As I write this, my boys are on an airplane returning from a weeklong visit with their older sister, brother, and his wife—all of whom are serving God faithfully. Their other sister lives in Florida and has our four precious grandchildren in a great church where their family serves God faithfully as well. What a heritage this man of God has left for his children!
Since my husband passed away, the boys and I have been doing well. We had a rocky first year, especially when I had to return to work, part-time in January of this year, then full-time in June. The boys understood, but there were still feelings of abandonment with which to contend. God provided a wonderful job for me as the secretary/personal assistant to the senior pastor at our church. I am able to work from home most of the time. We have managed to get into a routine that works for all of us, and things are moving along. We are preparing for the big senior year for Marshall, and driver’s education for Roy. This will be an interesting year, I am sure, but aren’t they all?
I am so thankful that God led us into this home schooling journey. It allowed my children to spend precious time with their father, and it allowed us to mold them and lead them to a close relationship with the Lord. I can honestly say I have never regretted home schooling, although there were moments when I wanted to chuck it all and move to the beach! Those were fleeting thoughts of frustration, however, and not under serious consideration. I would not trade this home schooling experience for the world!