It is funny how many times the plans we make for our lives are so different than the plans that God has for us. When the idea of home schooling was introduced to us, I came up with my fair share of excuses as to why I could not and would not do it. I can’t homeschool! I hated school. How can I teach my kids when I can’t remember learning anything myself? No, my kids deserve a good education; it wouldn’t be fair to them to keep them away from their friends. They need that socialization. Everyone will think we are weird. People who homeschool live out in the country by themselves, have tons of kids, grow their own food, and bake their own bread. That is not me!!
My name is Dana Bailey, and my family and I are members of the Frisco HIS home school group. My husband Scott and I have been married for sixteen years, and we live in McKinney. Our children are Ashley (15), Sarah (13), Josh (12), Morgan (11), Collin (10), Austin (8), Benjamin (6), Zachary (4), Gracie (1 ½), and Samuel Addison is due early September 2006.
When Scott and I were first married, we discussed having five or six kids, but we never discussed home schooling. That was done by those who were legalist radicals. God had other plans for us and had a lot to teach us about what true home schooling is. Over the years, He placed two families in our path who would help to spark the idea of educating our kids at home.
The mother of one of those was a lady I met at my garage sale back in 1994. We immediately struck up a friendship. Then I found out she homeschooled. I could not believe it! She was so normal. Then I met her family, and they were normal, too!
When Scott began talking about us homeschooling, I still did not think I could do it. I had every excuse in the book. When it was time to put our first child in kindergarten, though, I just could not. Something deep in my heart said she was not ready. We later found out that she is gifted but also has dyslexia and ADD. That first year, while I was struggling to teach Ashley to read, my second child, Sarah, learned to read. I was hooked at that point. Not only did I enjoy the time spent with my kids, but I loved being the one who saw the light come on in their eyes when they learned something new. It was priceless.
The 2005-2006 school year marked our tenth year of home schooling, and I cannot tell you how blessed our family has been by it. I have learned that I was right in the beginning: I cannot homeschool, at least not in my own strength. Home schooling has taught my husband and me what it really means to totally depend on God for strength, wisdom, and patience. When I am frustrated and ready to put them all on the school bus (that drives by every morning), Scott is always there to remind me that God has called us into this and He will bring us through. In other words, they are not getting on that bus! Now here we are, ten years later, and we live in the country, we have tons of kids, we tried to grow our food, and I enjoy baking my own bread and milling my own flour. I would not change a thing. I never imagined I could have so many children and love it as much as I do.
I have served in leadership for Frisco HIS (Home Is School) since 2000. I first began as field trip coordinator. Then I helped to lead a Smoothing the Way group. I really loved that. We saw such a great need in our group to minister to the new home schoolers coming into our area. Kim Neve, Debbie Lindstrom, and I decided to write a curriculum that would be more of a custom fit for those homeschooling in our area. We called it Connections, and it has blossomed into a mighty ministry.
In 2004 I became the new director of Connections. This responsibility has been a true delight for me, as I not only get to share with other moms why I love to homeschool but I also get to help them with the struggles they face, whether it be dealing with unsupportive family members, teaching a child who struggles to learn, or just trying to find time for themselves amidst the chaos of motherhood.
Being in leadership has really shown me how deep a desire I have to minister to moms. God has placed a burden on my heart for the mom who is struggling to be everything to everyone. Being a mother is hard enough in today’s society; then adding home schooling on top of that makes life look impossible for some. I love encouraging them and letting them know that you can find joy in sticky floors, dirty diapers, and long school days. Then, when I am having a bad day, some of those same moms I encouraged are able to encourage me. That is what it is all about!
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.” In February I had the pleasure of working with several other moms to bring a one-day conference to the home schooling moms in our area. What a blessing it was to know that we were ministering and encouraging the hearts and spirits of these wonderful women in their walk with Christ. It was a great day!
I do not think I could have homeschooled as long as I have if I had not had the unwavering support and encouragement of my husband. His role in our home school is crucial to me. I hear from so many mothers who want and need the support of their husbands but do not have it. I am so blessed!
Congratulations to Dana Bailey, THSC’s 2006 Leader of the Year! She expresses gratitude for Frisco HIS, whose members nominated her because of her hard work and service for the group. She insists that the group has ministered to her, her husband Scott and their nine (ten by fall) children and feels honored to be recognized.