By Vanessa Vis
English and History Teacher at ZLO
Gratitude and respect. These swelled in my heart after helping my mom sort through homeschooling supplies. Each curriculum set, workbook, documentation represented hours of labor – No, not labor, rather, love! My mom is at the end of a 25 year role as homeschooling her five children. You may be at the beginning of the homeschool road, in the middle, or gasping to reach the end. Juggling material choices, feeling inadequate, and fielding the public’s opinion wear you down. One day, though, you, homeschooling mom, will receive gratitude from your child-student. Your love-labor will birth a bloom of thanks and respect.
Curriculum fairs. Exciting? Or perhaps daunting. If you are just beginning to school your young, the choices for teaching seem endless. Paralyzing perhaps! Nobody, especially, not you, wants to be responsible for “ruining” your child’s future! My mom, beginning to homeschool in the 90’s, faced selecting the right materials from then limited options. I was the oldest so I ended up going through more choices in curriculum than my siblings. My mom had to find the curriculum that worked well with us and for her. As you evaluate your options, remember, the material needs to work well for you as a teacher as well as your child. While my mom calls me her “guinea pig” for curriculum selection, I consistently did well academically. Recall too, you actually have the power to choose your materials, many formal teachers don’t!
On top of trying to homeschool when it was not well known, my mom did not feel adequate for the role. She had struggled in school and did not pursue a college degree. Additionally, English was her second language. Yet, my parents both sensed God’s leading to pursue this “homeschooling” educational approach and be the primary godly guides in our lives. My mom’s motto: “Only a year at a time.” And so it began, a year at a time, a challenging but fruitful journey where she ended up teaching all five of us. Despite her perceived limitations, all of us attended college. God used her to give my siblings and me that solid foundation in our education. God can use you. He will equip you for this journey.
Perhaps you pick out curriculum easily and feel confident you can teach, but others around you question your choice. My grandparents certainly wondered at what their daughter was attempting. Who would ever think of taking on your child’s education? Why, folks go to college to pursue this professionally! Nevertheless, my mom with my dad’s encouragement and a sense of God’s blessing endured the doubting family probes. Eventually, they stopped asking; the results were evident. My grandparents now respect my mother for her incredible feat. Someone will always question something you do, stand by what you believe is the right option for your family.
Looking back on 25 years of homeschooling, my mom testifies to God’s sustaining strength and I am so grateful and in awe of her dedication. So homeschooling mama, stay strong! The day of throwing out workbooks and selling texts will come. That work will testify as a pillar of your dedication, your love-labor. Your kids (students) will rise and praise you with gratitude and respect.