I am expecting my first born son in September this year, so I suppose I can't technically say I'm home schooling yet. You can bet your bottom dollar that the moment he pops out, I'll consider us a "home schooling family". (:
Throughout my own childhood, I was home school and I absolutely adored it. I wanted to share my story with some of you to encourage you to keep going strong! I was the youngest in a family of five and so I always was encouraged to learn things that others may have seen as "beyond my age level". My big brother (aka my hero and best friend) was 5 years older than me. When he began reading, I chugged right along beside him and learned too. When he began algebra 2, I wanted to do math all the time and be as good as he was. When he did all his school work in 2 hours and it took me 6, I was devastated. I wasn't going to miss out on anything. *chuckles*
My mother was the most amazing teacher (sorry moms... She was). She always helped us open our minds and learn about everything we asked about. We asked about EVERYTHING. She always mysteriously had some crazy art project or awesome book that went along with what our other subjects were teaching on. Looking back, I am so proud of her.
Time passed and "grades" blurred... suddenly my brother was off to college along with my oldest sister. I was 12 years old at the time. At this point, my mother did something pretty gutsy. She pulled me aside and told me, "If you want to get into college, then you can. Figure out what you'll need to be approved easily and do it!" and without hesitation, she stepped back and let me take charge in my highschool years. She helped me when I asked for it, but I honestly didn't ask often. I researched what you needed to "graduate" and please college boards and I wrote out a plan to get it all done by 15 years old.
So, for the next 3 years, I worked my tushie off doing the requirements. I'm not going to lie, I had a few weeks of slacking off and boredom from "regular school work" in which I decided to spend shadowing possible careers. I also spent a lot of time volunteering and doing extra curricular things because I saw that they were also important to colleges. Either way, I ended up graduating highschool when I was 15 years old (about to turn 16 in the summer) with an associates degree in architecture to my name. The community college nearby offered free classes to home schoolers, so I took the harder courses I couldn't teach myself at that school so I could cross them off my college list.
That fall, I decided to go to a university. Off I went and boy, was I surprised! Everything went SO slowly there! I was incredibly bored each passing year. I just kept adding on more and more credit hours each semester to hopefully fill my time better. I had no problem what-so-ever with the friend or teacher aspect... or even being away from home. I was just so bored. I went to the university to study graphic design (one of those jobs I shadowed and ADORED). Three years later, I graduated with bachelor degrees in Graphic Design, Film Photography, Nursing, 3D Animation, and Philosophy... over 200 hours spent volunteering... a great group of friends... even better connection with my teachers... and the pride of my Mom.
She worked through every academic hardship I had throughout my years at home. Heck, when I was 12 (remember that little girl that was planning out her high school years?) I used to downpour with tears over writing more than a paragraph ("Three sentences, right Mom? Please don't make me write more... please, mom..."). But she helped me through that little phase and slowly, but certainly I grew into becoming a writer.
So, to all you moms out there that are just starting or have been at it for several years- kudos. I have absolute respect for every homeschooling family out there- both to the children and to the mothers and fathers. It's hard work and sometimes it can seem like the problems will never get better. I'm here to tell you that they will! I know I would never be the same if my mother didn't have faith in me and I hadn't had home schooled. Even though I didn't show her much appreciation throughout the years, now I know how wonderful that time was and how I wouldn't trade it for any other type of education. Just imagine your little kiddos being in their 20s and thanking you immensely for what you are doing now- I'm sure they will!!!