Meet the Frank Family
Our home schooling experience actually began when our oldest child, Glen, was in half-day public school kindergarten. When we moved to Wichita Falls, my husband James and I carefully chose a home near a school with a great reputation. One day in October of that year, I had pushed the double-stroller to pick Glen up from kindergarten. While waiting near the playground, I felt like God asked me, “What are you doing here?” Honestly, I had never even considered home schooling. I tried to shrug off the feeling and did not mention it to James. But after two weeks of that constant prodding from the Lord, I shared my feelings with my husband. Boy, was James surprised! We had always planned on me staying home with our children, but we had never considered anything but public school. In fact, I had taught in public school until Glen was born. I had even pictured myself being this incredible homeroom mother. Yet I had neglected the fact that by the time I had a kindergartener, I would also have two little ones who would prevent me from being available in the classroom. I guess by October, reality had set in, and I was ready to hear God speak.
I found the only home schooling mom I knew and started asking questions. I went to the book fair in Arlington, and I have been buying books (and bookshelves) ever since! Our “kindergartener” just completed his freshman year in college at LeTourneau University, Jerod is 17, Jonathan is 14, and Hixon is 11. James has been a great support and encourager particularly on tough days; he serves as principal of “Frank Christian Academy,” as we affectionately refer to our school. In addition, he has been a terrific writing instructor and P.E. teacher. James and I just finished our thirteenth year of schooling at home with our four boys. My guys have all learned at different paces. We have so appreciated the ability and freedom to conquer academic material before moving on to a new concept. Also, the ability to notice and help them to recognize their God-given gifts is a treasure. Looking back now, I see why God called us to homeschool.
Of course, there are many things I love about home schooling. My favorite, though, is just being with my kids. Our time together is not just spent on school. We have helped run the Operation Christmas Child drop-off center for the past six years. We are able to devote a full week in November each year to packing a semi-trailer full of shoeboxes. The boys also help me teach a Good News Club at a local public school on Wednesday afternoons. We also provide childcare for Young Lives on Tuesday evenings. Mission trips have been important to our family as well. Our boys have had the privilege of traveling to Brazil, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey to visit friends on the mission field. James helped start a boys’ basketball program in which Glen and Jerod were able to play together. Sports-related road trips with the family have provided great opportunities to cheer each other on in their chosen activities. For several years we had a five-family co-op that met in our home. My kids have fond memories of those field trips, park days, and all kinds of fun learning experiences with friends. Additionally, we have thoroughly enjoyed vacationing while “everyone else” was in school. Finally, I love to read aloud to my boys. They will even clean up the kitchen after lunch to persuade me to read another chapter. You should try it!
While I love homeschooling, we have yet to experience the perfect day. If I were starting over, I would do some things differently to increase my chances of looking back on each day and knowing that it had been well spent. I remember thinking that it would be heavenly if I could go to Walmart by myself. I finally got to, and I was so disappointed. I had no one with whom I could talk, no one entertained me with their questions, and I had to load the groceries into the car by myself! Since then I have tried to enjoy right where I am with my family. I would intentionally smile more at my children. I would also implore God to help me see and appreciate each of their strengths instead of their weaknesses. I would ask the Lord to help me be content and not to waste even a single day that He has given me with my kids.
Alisha and James Frank have homeschooled for 14 years. James serves as President of the Straight Street board, Vice Chairman of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the THSC board of directors. James is in his third year as president of their local support group, HEAT (Home Educators Around Texoma). He has recently announced that his is running for Texas State Representative District 69 in 2012.