Before I had ever met Kevin, I knew that when the time came for me to have children, I wanted to homeschool. I had experienced going to public and Christian schools myself before being homeschooled during my last two years of high school. So I felt that I was making an informed choice. When Kevin and I were dating and talking about getting married, I told him that I wanted to homeschool, and he was on board with that idea. He had met a few people who had been homeschooled and thought that they were very smart, so he had no issue with going that route.
Our daughter arrived 2 months after our first wedding anniversary. Her arrival was just the medicine I needed after a stressful pregnancy. My mom had passed during my 5th month and so I was grieving and trying to still be happy and prepare the extra bedroom for my baby. There were some folks who were concerned that my grief would adversely affect my baby in the womb. Heather’s arrival gave me a new focus. She was a fairly easy baby. I had this little gal to watch as she grew and discovered all of the little things that we take for granted. The name “Heather” means “Joyful Spirit”. She fits that description. Yes, she’s had moments of not feeling so joyful, but she is generally a happy kid with a sense of humor (much like her parents humor).
By the time Heather was 3, I was already scouting around for homeschool materials. I asked friends and relatives who had been doing this for years asking about curriculum (because the one I used in school……..could have been much better). My original plan was to homeschool through the local Christian school that oversaw my homeschooling and in the end, would issue her a diploma. However, by the time my daughter reached the compulsory age to start, the school stopped having that arrangement and a couple of years later, the Christian school closed too. That meant that we were truly taking our child’s education into our own hands. Believe me, I felt that huge responsibility. It sometimes scared me. So I started with a curriculum fair and gathered used books, brochures for all sorts of companies, and had signed up for catalogs for curriculum from all sorts of denominations. To say the least, it was overwhelming to start with. I started with boxed curriculum from one company for most of the subjects and then something else for math. A couple of years later, finances dictated that I find curriculum that was more affordable, and I went the route of workbooks. There were a few years where we were trying to find the right math books that didn’t frustrate us. Math-U-See seemed to be the best fit. When she turned 18, I decided that really the best way to get her diploma was to get a GED. So I called the local community college and found out what she needed to do. They offered classed in Math and Language/Writing. She would have to study for the History and Science on her own. I bought the History and Science books that the college recommended. The classes that the college offered were free. She went to test to see which classes she should be placed in and tested into the top classes! She was relieved! I was thrilled to know that I hadn’t totally messed up her education. So last summer, she started riding the bus to the college. It was her first time in a classroom, and talk about diverse! People of all ages, lifestyles, from all walks of life were in her class, working for the diploma that for whatever reason, they didn’t get when they were in highschool. She surprised me when she’d tell me about volunteering to work math problems on the board for the class. Who does that? Apparently she does! She had teachers who encouraged everyone to not just stop with the GED, but to continue their education. People with GEDs have even been accepted into Ivy League schools! My daughter’s teacher also taught a class covering what to expect from college. At this time last year, college was not something she wanted to do, and now she’s not opposed to it. When she started those classes, she wasn’t sure that she wanted to walk through the graduation ceremony with the college. However, about 4 months ago, she decided that she did because “I worked hard for that diploma!”. Once she had made up her mind about that, she was encouraging her classmates who had taken their tests to go through graduation. By graduation day, there were 5 graduates from that class. That’s the most that the GED department has had in at least a couple of years. The teacher had to get herself a new cap as she hadn’t attended the ceremony in about that long. She took a lot of pictures like a proud teacher would. So, at the ceremony, we were teary-eyed. This part of my job is done. I have a full-fledged adult who is moving on to new things. What they are remains to be seen. Only God knows what is next. I’m looking forward to see what that is.