Since my daughter, Olivia, was born five years ago, I knew I desperately wanted to homeschool her. I was mortified at the options available in my local school system, and my daughter’s safety was of my highest concern. Once I was able to arrange to work from home, I began to diligently gather materials, so I could teach her basic preschool subjects from home. Many people asked questions like, “Why isn’t she in preschool?” “How will she be socialized?” “How do you know what to teach her?” I tackled each question armed with the knowledge I had acquired from research into homeschooling. I caught a slight side-eye or “Oh, okay” response from many. Still, I moved on and worked at finding online materials, buying workbooks and other relatable materials from local stores and Amazon. I spent every day pulling together lessons and spending hours sitting on the floor with her teaching her colors, numbers and shapes. Three years have passed since I started that process, and I still to this day get an “Oh, okay” response when I mention that we homeschool her. The pressure is growing in intensity as she is reaching the age to enroll in kindergarten, and even though they know I have been homeschooling her for three years, I still get the same response, “Where are you enrolling her in school?”
The homeschooling community is ninja stealthy in my hometown, and there are no known groups that gather to support one another. I find myself traveling to other cities if I want to work with other homeschoolers. I often feel quite alone in this process. Having one child makes it challenging as well. I have to work harder to find activities and classes for her to attend, so she can spend time with other children and develop new relationships. Forging this path is difficult and unforgiving at times. But when I am feeling lost, I look at how quickly she learns. I remember that she has been playing violin since age two and piano since age four. I remember that she is already reading and that her perception of the world is growing by leaps and bounds. She is polite, entertaining, engaged and comical. These are all traits that we nurtured while homeschooling. I can see the advantage she has when she is able to cuddle her mother in the middle of the day. I can see the benefits of creating a schedule that works best for her growth and intellectual development. I see the blessing in being able to take trips during the day, just the two of us, or with a few friends, to attend a museum and practice hands-on learning.
My story is simply one of hope for those who are walking this homeschooling adventure alone. I say to you, keep trying, keep searching, keep believing that you are doing the right thing for you and your child. Don’t give up when you feel alone. Keep searching for those activities, classes and people who share similar beliefs. There is an end goal that you must keep your eye on. Our present circumstances can often fool us into believing there is no progress. Many would love to be able to teach their children at home but are simply not able. I say to you, stay strong in your vision of intellectual, spiritual and emotional growth for your children. Even in times where you have to walk the path alone—keep going.