We’re Homeschooling. Here’s Why.

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When I wrote about “the call of God” back in December, I had no idea that He was going to call our family to a new adventure quite so soon. Funny, how He softens our hearts so specifically sometimes.

This particular call didn’t come in the form of a burning bush. No blinding light from the heavens dropped us to our knees and took away our sight. Rather, it was more like a thousand tiny flickers, guiding our path over the past few years. This call came in the form of innumerable consultations and meetings, therapy sessions and observations. Lots of trial and error. Regular reading and research, and plenty of prayer. All culminating in one life-changing conversation in the kitchen.

One evening in mid-January I was washing the dinner dishes and Peter was putting them away when I, once again, expressed my concern about the status quo.

“This isn’t working. Something has to change. Something big.”

Peter knew exactly what “this” was.

For almost four years we have been working with occupational therapists to address our seven-year-old son’s sensory needs. These therapists have created a special sensory diet just for Daryl. We have worked on his sleep habits and eating choices. We have purchased weighted blankets and fidget toys and squishy seats and chewy necklaces and noise-canceling headphones. We have tried so many tricks and techniques that I often wonder—are we doing more harm than good? But such is the way with Sensory Processing Disorder.

For all of those four years, Daryl has been attending a wonderful Christian school in a nearby town. The faculty and staff at the school have bent over backwards to help us and to help him. But despite their hard work and gracious accommodations, it was becoming increasingly clear that the traditional classroom setting just isn’t a place where Daryl can learn well right now.

Peter’s response to me that January night betrayed his own feelings of frustration. He looked at me and said, “All right then. We’ll spend spring break getting our house ready to sell. We’ll move into the city and find a little apartment near Moody (where we both teach). And we’ll homeschool.”

As drastic as these ideas sound, they weren’t new. We’d talked hypothetically about them many times. But in that moment Peter was finally ready to make a move. I was too.

(I’ll write more about the decision to sell our house and move into Chicago in a future post. That part is complicated, and we’re still working it out.)

But the decision to homeschool was surprisingly simple in the end. It came down to one word really.

Integration.

Both sensory and Biblical.

At home we can provide Daryl with the sensory input he needs throughout the day. We can activate his core with pushing and pulling before we sit down to work. We can eliminate visual stimulus when it seems to distract him and take him off task. Or we can find a field and hunt for grasshoppers in our suspenders and bow tie if we feel so inclined. We can go at his pace—which varies from day to day. When he’s regulated, we can soar through the subjects. When he’s dysregulated, we can stop and start again.

At home we can also help Daryl construct a Biblical worldview through every subject we teach. When we teach science, we can examine God’s incredible creation. When we study math, we can marvel at the God of order. When we read and write, we can worship our communicative Lord. And so on. We believe that this sort of foundation is one of the most important gifts we can give our kids, so it had to be a priority.

As of today, we’ve been a homeschooling family for one whole month.

Certainly, we have a lot to learn. We have good days and difficult days, but—by the grace of God, so far—absolutely no regrets.

Categories: Parenting, The Kiddos

14 Comments »

  1. Congratulations! Sounds so familiar to my story. Both my children had(have) SID and homeschooling them through 7th and 4th grades, then transitioning over to WCA was the best decision of my life. Now my niece is facing the same decision for her 6th grade son, who is on the spectrum but high functioning, being bullied and failing math and language arts. I will keep you all in my prayers; looking forward to journey! I don’t believe you will regret it.

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  2. good for you! i respect your care for your children so much. i was homeschooled for most of 12 years, and I really loved it for the most part. You and Peter will be such amazing homeschool parents too! #jealous One of the things that I loved the most about homeschooling was how my strengths were optimized and my personal interests encouraged. The pursuit of learning is beautiful when children can take partial lead of it! so cool to watch it happen and experience learning this way…I think that’s what got me interested in becoming a teacher myself. My brothers each had their own learning needs and idiosyncracies, and it always amazes me that they turned out to be so smart (one is an architect, and the other is almost finished with a physics/chemical engineering degree). lol! It may seem like such a big decision at the time, but it is also the most natural thing to want what’s best for your family.

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  3. Thank you for writing this. I have been blessed by you in past years as my professor, and now continue to grow as I read your blog about life. I’m forever grateful.

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  4. Wow – very cool to read your insights. I love seeing people have a passion for how kids learn because I’m a total nerd about that too! Praying for you guys and that cool second grader of yours 🙂

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  5. My husband was reading an article about homeschooling to me as we ate lunch. It was from a professor at COD. He stated that the homeschooler always was on time, sat in the front row and excelled in the class. It made his class worthwhile teaching even if the rest of the class didn’t pay attention. It caused the rest of the class to do better because they were having to pay better attention to things. It sounds like you have the right idea and I will be praying for you.

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  6. Wow, one month already! Congratulations! It was a joy to read this update. You’ve been on my mind often this last month. I know God will bless this step of faith, and I’m praying he will bring a buyer for your house!

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  7. Hi. I’m Viv’s friend Bonnie who has the martial arts school. Though sad that you’re moving, Viv said that it was a possibility. I totally get what you’re doing. I’ve owned my martial arts school for 20 years now. I’ve had many home school kids in the years. I have a lot of great kids, but, the home school kids seem to be so well adjusted, sweet, have it all together kids. Very smart too. Most have been Christian, but I’m not sure of one of the families. Great families. I was also told by an accountant that the martial arts can be taken off on taxes, because it replaces gym class.
    I’m looking forward to your talk at The Chapel for the Thursday morning woman’s group. My husband and I had to take a break from reading your wonderful book because we decided to read A Case for Easter, and then we’ll get back to it. God bless, Bonnie Thiel

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  8. My wife and I came to the same conclusion in regards to what our daughter would learn, and how she would learn it. Drawing on both of our memories and struggles from early education, and observing how she learned, we knew the factory approach to education was not going to work with her. It’s a continual learning process to find out what is effective and what is ineffective in getting her to comprehend what is being taught, but the best part is that we have options, and she’s learning about the many facets of God in every subject. It’s not cheating to use a prepared curriculum, though every child is different so do what works best for you and your son. I’ll pray with you as well as you make this transition.

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  9. Wow! Big changes for you guys. I will be praying with you – but I love the way you are so attune to your kids’ needs, and so willing to do whatever it takes. They are so blessed to have you. Each child is different. Each day, month, year can present new challenges and new opportunities. Love to you all as you walk day by day through this journey.

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    • Thanks, Jamie! Prayer is so appreciated. We’re taking a day at a time. I’m thankful to be married to a former 5th grade teacher/academic dean. With him at the helm, I think we’ll find our way. 🙂 We’re already seeing many benefits. But we have a lot to sort out still.

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