06 June 2011

The Beginning of Our Homeschooling Journey!

Recently Heidi-Mari had the privilege of presenting her first Card Making Workshop to a group of young girls and she planned the workshop with great care and dedication.  

On the day of the workshop, as I nervously watched her, I felt very proud of my daughter who is growing up so fast and I felt eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for giving me a daughter like Heidi-Mari.
Heidi-Mari wanted to present the class in a step by step method.  All the paper had been cut and embellishments sorted, but we didn’t take in account the girls worked at a different pace.    Not long after the class started everyone wanted Heidi-Mari’s attention at the same time.  

She stayed calm and spent time with every girl without getting stressed out.  To top it all, she had to present the class in English which is not her home language.
Card making is Heidi-Mari’s passion and a God given talent, but I believe that the success of the class had a lot to do with the fact that she is being homeschooled. 

She is used to being in an environment where she can be creative in her own way where no preconceived ideas are being forced on to her.
The same goes for CJ who was asked to perform as a stunt jump rider for the last scene of a 10 episode BBC television series, Camelot.  

It started in April 2011 on BBC.  Horse riding is CJ’s passion and God given talent. Thanks to his homeschooling he is able to think out of the box and this was to his advantage in the casting of the roles.  With great confidence, composure and his ability to communicate with anyone he connected with the crew and had the most awesome experience!

I am eternally grateful to God for opening the door to homeschooling to us and now we can guide our children to lead extraordinary lives to His glory through real life experiences.

So many people have asked what brought us to the decision to home school.  

Here is my story:
My firstborn son, CJ was born in August 1994 and from when he was about 3 years old, Christo has been asking me to homeschool.  

In the beginning I thought it was just a passing idea but as CJ was approaching the age where most children start school, I realized that Christo was serious.  I thought to myself how I would ever be able to do this, as I was not a qualified teacher?  Oh yes, I always had a passion to become a teacher and wanted to study teaching but my mother advised me to not even think about it.  She herself was a teacher and believed differently for her daughter. 
The time to formally educate CJ was creeping up on us. At that stage of my life I was not submissive to my husband in all things and Christo was also not yet the leader of our house in the way God wanted.  So we started looking for a school.  Just a few years before, it became law that a child had to complete a preschool year which meant my son would end up spending 13 years at school.  The hours I spent at school were not exactly of my fondest memories of my childhood.  It upset me to think that my child had to spend an extra year at school. Because of this, we were so excited to find out about a farm school nearby, just outside of our town.  There he would spend his first year learning as he played.  He would learn about picking grapes, making wine, sheep shearing and go on excursions to the river on a regular basis.  It didn’t sound so formal and we enrolled him there.
CJ started his first year of school.   I was pregnant with my third child, and Heidi-Mari attended a friend’s playgroup three times a week.  My life was carefully planned, I was in control and that was exactly how I liked it.
In April 2000 Christo and I was on our way to a Walk Thru the Bible seminar in the Magaliesberg.  I would receive training in presenting a New Testament seminar to children and Christo the New Testament seminar to adults.  On the first day things turned out a bit different to what I anticipated. For breakfast, lunch and supper we sat down with three different couples all of whom homeschooled their children.  I’ve always been very receptive to the Holy Spirit’s voice.  Add to that my studious spirit and my passion to please God. That night as we were getting ready for bed I realized that I’m not at the seminar for the reasons I thought. I think God wants me to homeschool our children. I shared that with Christo.

We were on our way home and very excited about this new path the Lord was leading us on. I was 5 months pregnant and we decided that CJ would complete his year at the farm school while I got to know our new baby and got him into a routine.  During this time I would also be getting everything ready for our homeschool journey.  Everything was still on track.
In August, days before the baby’s birth, CJ decided he wanted to be home to help his Mamma when the baby is born.  We were anticipating our first water birth at home and CJ didn’t want to be at school when his new baby brother or sister arrived!  We let the school know that CJ would not be going back and that he would be homeschooled.  Our announcement was met with numerous questions and frowns from friends and acquaintances. 

A week after CJ’s 6th birthday his baby brother was born in the middle of the night, but he was there to support me the day before, while I was in labour. He was even the first to hold his brother’s hand.
As I mentioned before, my mother was a preschool teacher and provided me with the necessary preschool and foundation phase material.  Through the years I hardly ever used any of it and came to realize that although planning and hard work on my side was good, it plays but a small part when in obedience to my Creator, I homeschool my children.

During the past 11 years I cried out countless times to the Lord in despair to help and guide me in my home school adventure!  My well organized, being in control at all times lifestyle was nowhere to be found.  I had all sorts of questions and fears:  “What was the correct way of learning?” and “What was my child supposed to know at a specific age?” and as he grew older more questions like:  “Are you going to homeschool him during the high school years too?” and “What about tertiary education?” was asked.

I didn’t know how to answer these questions or what to think of them!  I felt defeated on many occasions but thanks to my Godly husband, the Lord brought me back every time and reminded me how He called me to homeschool my children.  It was God’s will for our lives and because of that, going back to school was not an option for us.  Every time I hit a bump in the road I used it to examine my attitude towards my children, homeschooling and the calling on my life as a mother. 

God uses difficulties in what we are doing to refine and grow us.  Not once did I see the difficulties as an indication from God to stop what we were busy with.  Instead I saw the difficulties as God pulling me to a greater level of seeking Him and depending on Him.

I’ve heard many women say that there is no way that they would be able to homeschool their children, they don’t have the self discipline or the patience to do it.  Their children are too strong willed and they would ‘destroy’ each other!   I still don’t know how to answer to these arguments!  Of all the people I know, I am one of those that are the most easily distracted and patience does not come naturally to me.   I like things to be done my way and I like to be in control.  During the past eleven years our family has been through four very difficult pregnancies, one easier one, a miscarriage and three moves.  During this time I was seldom in control and very seldom had any of my own plans come to be.

CJ in the flight simulator they built a few years ago.

To add to all of this, all my children are also strong willed and control freaks!  Everyone wants to be the boss of the other!  Home schooling is the number one tool God uses to shape me into the Godly woman He needs for His Kingdom.  I also believe that this is an excellent way to shape my children’s strong wills and controlling natures. By being amongst many brothers and sisters 24 hours a day and under Mom’s watchful, loving and corrective training shapes them for life.   I do not want the carefully planned, always-in-control life, I had before my homeschooling journey!  I live in total dependence on God and I get pushed out of my comfort zone on a regular basis and I see the Mighty Hand of the Lord at work in our lives every day.

I see miracles in my older children’s lives on a daily basis, and I also experience the small blessings in life as seen through the eyes of my little ones. 

Irritations, frustrations, my own selfishness and unrealistic expectations drive me out of my comfort zone every day; therefore I need these verses to keep my head up:

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.”  – Is 40:11

“It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labours;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”  – Ps 127:2
"...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" – Matt 6:33

This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page.   In the meantime, head to the Hayes family where the carnival is hosted this week.  We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

With love


Wilma Gray said...

Dankie dat jy die storie gedeel het, ek is ook in 'n groot struggle voor die Here tans, en hopelik sal ons ook so duidelikheid kry hieroor. Jy is werklik 'n inspirasie! Dankie!

Huisvrou said...

Dit is so waar dat God jou hierin lei. Ek sal my storie ook gaan "blog" want dit was definitief God se wil (en my ongehoorsaamheid!).

Dankie Vriendin...

Trudie said...

Dankie Linnie, heerlik gewees om van julle reis te lees! Ek het dievolgende gister raak gelees: "Life Giving is about receiving from God in order to give to others" Barbara Mouser, en ek dink dit is so van toepassing op tuisskooling en om 'n vrou en ma te wees! Wat 'n voorreg!

Olivia said...

Thank You for sharing this story. It is always encouraging to hear that someone has/had the same fears and experiences and can still look back and see God's provision in it all.

I'm battling constant nausea and tiredness now with #5 on the way. I wonder if I'm cheating my other kids by having them home with all my failures.

But always there is Grace. And lovely bloggers like you for inspiration.

Keep it up!

Sonja said...

Dit is altyd so waardevol om mekaar se stories te hoor oor tuisskool! So bemoedig ons mekaar oor en oor!

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful story and testimony. Thank you Linnie! I used to think homeschooling was totally weird, in fact I wasn't that keen on having children either! I am so glad that God changes us!!! I so love homeschooling my little blessings. That for such an honest open look into your lives. Much love, Karyn

Taryn said...

this is a beautiful story of your journey with precious memories included! Thank you for sharing!

The Beavers Clan said...

Thank you Linnie for such an open and honest account of your homeschooling journey. We are preparing to home school our 3 children aged 14,9,8 from the beginning of 2012 and have met with mostly negative responses from friends and family. Reading your blog has encouraged me and I truly believe this is what God wants for us as a family.God bless you and your family.

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