Homeschooling… some thoughts

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This year I retire from doing a job that I never would have picked for myself, but which I have loved.

This year my awesome last born graduates from our homeschool.

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In 1987 my family started an audacious journey.   Everyone we knew thought we were nuts.  Actually, we agreed with them , but God had put this on our hearts; and He would not let us go.

I feel like I have some things I want to say before I retire after 27 years, but I realize that my friends may not want to hear me ramble on; so I’ve decided to post here.  That way they can ignore me if they want  .

Homeschooling has changed in 27 years.

When I started it was barely legal.  I knew 3 other families.  The major curriculum distributors had just begun selling to homeschoolers.  Did you know that most of even the staple Christian publishers would not sell to us at first?  Our choices were really limited.

When I started, the bulk of homeschoolers were either “unschoolers” (aka devotees of Raymond Moore and his “Better Late Than Early” philosophy) or of a more Mennonite or Amish type lifestyle.  We all got along really well.  (When there’s only 3 of you in a town, if you’re smart you don’t pick at each other.)

State homeschool conventions were small enough to be held in a church.  In 1987 the Georgia State Convention hosted Greg Harris and was held in a church in Atlanta.  Almost all of the attendees (including me) were either in their first year or anticipating their first year of homeschooling.  The curriculum vendors fit easily in the church’s foyer.  Sing Spell Read and Write was brand new and epically innovative.  Rod and Staff was there, they looked the same, espoused the same values as they do now, and  amazingly were priced about the same.

There were no used book sales.

There was no internet.

Our neighbors thought we were really odd.  (We agreed with them.)  Sometimes they turned us into the authorities.  We did not appreciate that, and went to great pains to make our neighbors like us and our kids. It was a matter of survival.

And…. everyone was scared we’d mess this up, and our kids would go through life unable to do fractions.

All that uncertainty was good.

It put us on our knees a lot.  It made us humble as we looked at the overwhelming task before us and the absolute lack of resources behind us.  It made reliance on God a necessity…. there were no other options.

Now we have an abundance of curriculum choices, internet resources, co op opportunities, play groups, sports teams.  These are wonderful blessings that enrich our homeschool experience.

BUT…

 Sometimes I worry that the changes that have so blessed us have also crippled us, because we now have the dangerous option to think that our success comes from ourselves.

It doesn’t.

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The Coleman kids when we started our homeschool adventure…

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 and later….. much later when the girls were all graduated and the “Coleman” Homeschool was down to the two boys that kept us fun  🙂