Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Homeschooling with God's Blessing {Epilepsy Awareness}


Nine years ago around this time, it was time to enroll my sweet baby boy, my oldest into public school.  I totally wasn't feeling it.  It just seemed wrong to me to send my sweet and curious boy away to someone else all day.  So this lead me to research.

I immediately got online and began researching our schooling options.  I had come across Homeschooling somewhere on a parenting board.  It intrigued me and I wanted to know more.

We {my now ex-husband and I} had just went through a long ordeal of beginning our journey into Epilepsy with Emmalee.  She was still just a baby, around a year old and had been doing great on her medicine though she would have the occasional breakthrough as the dose grew weak during her growth spurts.  School would be coming up for her before long too, as time has a way of flying.  I knew I did not want her to go through the same things I had as a child in public school with Epilepsy.   I researched homeschooling even more.

I prayed.  I remember I actually got down on hands and knees for this one.  I continuously prayed.  I'd look at my children and say a prayer, "God just show me what to do".  I'd be in a store and think, "what should I do about school for them?"

It didn't take long for the answer to come.  One day, I was shopping in a thrift store and came across some How to Homeschool books.  I grabbed them up.  A few days later I was dropping off some unwanted items into the local swap building and discovered a stack of homeschooling curriculum someone had dropped off.  Since it was free swap, I grabbed it up too.

I came across our homeschooling association.  I put off calling.  After finding the items mentioned above, I decided to give them a call.  They were absolutely wonderful!  So caring and so helpful.

I went to the local library the association had suggested.  I spoke in person to the lady in charge of curriculum materials for homeschoolers.  She was a blessing to me!  God was providing just the people I needed.  She showed me so much that day and taught me lessons I still give to others today.

I attended the New to Homeschooling class from our local association.  It was an "Ahhh" moment.  I left there still nervous and scared but so much more prepared for this journey than I ever realized I could be.  God had  more than answered my prayer over that few months.  Homeschooling was exactly what we were going to do.

We started homeschooling Winston immediately.  Emmalee would join in later.  I was prepared for only one kid.  I had invested in a Bob Jones curriculum from the local Homeschool Used Book Store.  I was determined this was going to be done right and that meant Public School at home.  No one would say I'm not teaching my kid!

Boy, how little I knew then!  It immediately failed.  We struggled.  Win hated school.  And those lessons have stuck with him for life.

Win is my hardest student.  He excels at Math.  He loves going outside to learn science and is hands-on about history.  He hates and is not good at reading.  We have used almost every program imaginable and still he struggles.

Emma excels at reading and trust me, I often question how.  We have used so many varied programs that she really should be struggling with it herself.  With all the time I have spent focused on her brother's reading, she has really taught herself what she wants to know about the subject.  Sure the curriculum was there and it helped but the learning was all her.

{I am honestly proud, not only of her but she has shown me that I'm not a failure as a teacher after all.}

Over the years, we've kept plugging along with homeschooling.  There was a brief period in the midst that I enrolled the oldest two in Public School at the insistence of others.  I immediately regretted that decision when Emma began having migraines and seizure activity after being seizure free for a year.

And it was in that period of time that Win's esteem suffered because the school made him realize what he never had: he couldn't read at age 8.  Many boys don't read at that age but they never explained that to him.  I've spent many a day trying to rebuild that destroyed esteem and let him know it's ok that he struggles with something and it's not the end of the world.  He will get it and he is getting closer to where he should be each and every day.

I pulled the kids back out of public school.  Emma's health recovered almost immediately when we returned to our normal routine and she was able to rest and not stress.  Win and I are still working on the issues he gained while at public school but we are getting there.

Now here we are, 9 years later.  Over time, I have questioned our reasons for homeschooling.  I wonder if it was the right decision but then there is always something that confirms it was God's will to me.

Just today, I thought about it.  I realized there is no way I could even begin to raise and care for four kids with three that have Epilepsy if I wasn't homeschooling.  The schools in our area are not equipped for them.  Then there would be the issue of keeping up with their public school lessons, missing days, taking time off for rest and doctors, etc.  The truancy officer would surely be knocking on my door every week!

God knew just what His plans were for me as a Momma of children with Epilepsy.  He planned ahead, allowing me to Homeschool.  He blessed me with great children who love and listen and help each other along with Momma when she needs it.  He prepared us with a way to bond unlike any other and a way to learn that brings us even closer together.

As you consider your own journey into homeschooling, with or without medical reason, remember to pray.  Remember to ask God for direction.  Sometimes He will point you to Public School because He needs disciples to light candles in the darkness there too.  Sometimes He will lead you into Homeschooling because He knows it is what's best for you, as has been our case.  Either way, the results will always be to Glorify God in the lessons and in Life.

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