This started out as a response on Facebook to someone, and quickly turned into so long, that I hard to turn it into a blog post!

I admit I don’t get a lot of negative comments about homeschooling our girls – at least to my face. I have gotten a lot of “Wow, she’s one of those weirdos” polite looks, and some of “Well it’s a phase, and she’ll get over it” kind of quasi-support.

I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and honestly, some days I wonder if I can keep it up any longer. Homeschooling is not easy. It is HARD. It requires time and effort and a bigger commitment than I realized when I started. What I will say, that homeschooling the girls – something that started as a temporary measure while dealing with our crazy constant moving last year – has been one of the most amazing blessings on our family.

I am the first to admit that there are amazing, qualified, super-smart, gifted teachers out there. I am, in fact, related to a few of them! But being able to give that one-on-one attention and time to a child, teaching to their strengths and needs, is something that just can’t be discounted. I believe with my whole heart that there are teachers out there who’s gift and passion and calling in life is to teach children. I also believe, however, that they are often held back and strapped down by a system that is not working for the benefit of the individual child, since it is focusing on the masses. But that is about to get into a political discussion which is another argument for another day.

My dream is to never give homeschooling up, even though we do admit we take this as a year-by-year decision. We know better than to try to plan ahead too much, because God has had quite a serious chuckle or two at our expense this year!

Beyond what the girls are learning, I myself have learned things and have developed interests that I would have never found if not for homeschooling. (Case in point, new to my bucket list – learning to play guitar and Hebrew. Yup. Not that I have time right now, which is why it’s on my bucket list.) I have learned more patience than I thought even possible with my personality. I have gotten so in touch with my girls’ personalities, and spend time with them at this young age that I will never get back again. Especially since they refuse to obey when I order them to stop growing up so quickly on me!

And while I still hate math with a passion (sorry, Mom), I am getting into kindergarten/first grade science with a lot of enthusiasm! We got to go to a nature center this week and the girls learned about turtles from experts, and do lots of great activities, including racing different kinds of turtles! We made the dreaded volcano project (does anyone else remember that from elementary school?) and Joel is going to do a math experiment with them this weekend – to learn about measuring cups and estimating and stuff like that. Like I said, I still hate math.

And I literally get to watch my baby (yes, LILY) learn to read. She read her first little words last week. She picked up on it like a fish to water. Abby is reading everything in sight and driving me bonkers – I seriously can’t keep up with her!

And we get to spend so much time out in the “real world” and learn about “real world issues.” We’ve been very active in our church’s food pantry outreach – from working in the gardens this fall and harvesting fresh food for the pantry (and subsequently creating our own garden that was very much enjoyed by the bugs and squirrels, sadly), to donating cans of food, to helping out a the Thanksgiving food give-away at the pantry. Joel ran a 5K in support of the program, and we cheered Daddy on for that as well.

The girls have met a missionary to India, and saved all their change and worked hard around the house (with a good attitude, which is MY main requirement) to earn enough to donate a pair of chickens and now a pair of rabbits to the destitute families there. I sponsor a local missionary monthly in India. And now, Abby has heard about the problems in Haiti and wants to help “rebuild after the earthquake.” Tell me, what kind of six-year-old thinks about things like that on her own?

Abby has displayed this amazing artistic side, and Lily who is our “Little Miss Serious” is also the funniest ham in the family. Which is saying something in our family. Being super shy, it is very hard for her to warm up to a group, but I have had the blessing to just watch her blossom in the past year or so. Seriously, being with my girls like this is everything I expected being a mommy to feel like and more.

So, as much as homeschooling has done for our children, I am amazed by what homeschooling has done for me.