“Oooh, Mothering Magazine!”I had no idea how it arrived at my home nor could I have guessed how it would change the course of my family’s life. Later I found out that a friend had ordered the magazine for me as a congratulatory gift after I’d given birth to our first baby. Our baby was now 6 months old and I was more in love with him than ever. Like a hungry infant, I devoured the articles contained in the magazine. Then I came across the one that started it all. It was an article about the benefits of homeschooling. As I read about how homeschooling fosters a love of learning, family bonding and is easy to adapt to different learning styles, I was completely sold. I read the extensive list of resources and immediately said “I’m going to homeschool my son!”
Two things were totally wrong with this statement:
1) I had NO experience with children.
2) I am a high school drop out.
I wasn’t one of those sweet girls who played with baby dolls and dreamt of getting married and having babies. And being the youngest in my family, I never had any opportunities to play with or babysit younger kids. Therefore I was never a “kid person”. Kids annoyed me. Especially in restaurants (eye roll) and kind of scared me in that they have no filter. I never knew what they were gonna say. Kids could be mean and that terrified self-conscious me. I also didn’t know how to talk to them. (Could you even have a convo with a kid?) The very thought of them looking at me scared me. They always seemed to notice EVERYTHING, as if they had magnifiers for eyes.
I dropped out of school my junior year, if you can call it that. I had the credits of a failing freshman. Steady boyfriend, breakup, heartache, cutting class, smoking…. I was just absent. Needless to say high school was a disaster. While my immigrant parents (of very humble beginnings) tried their very best to help me achieve success, they didn’t have the knowledge or tools I badly needed. My parents paid an enormous amount of money to send me to a private Catholic school and sent me to the high school on the “other” (read “affluent”) side of the freeway. They talked to school counselors and psychologists. They escorted me to class (embarrassing!) Other than that my parents completely depended on the schools to do their part to educate me. Unfortunately, according to the district, my zip code chose my curricular path. The classes chosen for me were the so called “dumb dumb” classes for kids from my socio-economic status. I was bored, had a cute boyfriend and open campus beckoning me every dull moment that ticked by. I failed school and the schools failed me.
God put his hand in the face of impossibility and said
To begin with, my husband instantly jumped onboard the homeschool idea. He shared that his school years had also been negatively tinged in many ways. He couldn’t think of a single reason to disagree with homeschooling our child and future children. Whenever my husband and I can agree on a life changing decision so easily I believe it is a Godly confirmation to proceed! (Amen?)
More endorsements were to come from outside literature, my husband and myself. When I shared our idea to homeschool our child with my parents I thought they’d be hesitant. They had paid a heavy price for my education to no avail. But, they were nothing but supportive. During that time I found out that my coworker, who happens to be christian, had homeschooled her 3 sons successfully. She generously invited me to brunch to share her experience and resources. Little did I know that one day I’d be homeschooling 3 sons too! Soon after this encounter, my family started attending a home bible study group a few blocks from our home. One night, I happened to share that we were praying for God to open the doors for us to homeschool our son and future children. They joyfully shared that they were hoping to do the same! 11 years later this family is still an enormous blessing to us, sharing resources and knowledge, encouragement and love.
The final seal of approval came from our pediatrician when our son was 5 years old. We shared with him that we planned to hold our son back a year going into kindergarten and then hoped to continue homeschooling beyond kindergarten. We believed that our son was not ready for the classroom environment and suspected that attention and sensory disorders were affecting him. Our pediatrician not only confirmed what we suspected, but with tears in his eyes he emphatically encouraged us! As he spoke with us further, I knew in my heart that homeschooling was absolutely a God lead pursuit.
From the writers of that one magazine article to our pediatrician and everyone in between, had God not placed the right people in my life at the right time, I would not be writing this testimony today. Each person, each meeting nudged us a little further on our path to fulfill God’s calling. We have not been left alone to fend for ourselves as a homeschool family. Along with the amazing people, God has placed at our hands massive amounts of resources via books, internet sites, a charter school and a homeschool group, most of these christian. God’s got us covered from head to toe!
Now I know that dropouts are God’s specialty.
At one point Moses ran away from where God was calling him. In a zealous attempt to save a fellow hebrew from the hand of an Egyptian slave driver, Moses murdered him. Wow! At this, Pharaoh put a hit on Moses. So Moses fled to the desert. He dropped out of the familial position he had in Pharaoh’s home (Exodus 2). Then surprise! God called him back by burning bush (no smartphones yet). Moses wasn’t prepared either. When God called Moses to minister to the Israelites in order to lead them out of Egypt:
“Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10 NIV
Even though God was slightly annoyed at this response (mmhhhmm) he graciously gave Moses the gift of Aaron to support him….AND delivered him and the Israelites with an “outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment”. (Exodus 6:6 NIV)
God has shown me that he can truly do anything. He can redeem a high school drop out and turn a child averse woman into a dedicated homeschooling mom.
What’s sticking out to you lately? Is there an extraordinary calling tugging at your heart strings? Whatever it is, follow the plans of God, he’s got your back!