Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guest Post: Our Family's Homeschool Adventure

Thank you to my friend and veteran homeschooler, Donna, for today's post!

Many times I have been asked why we chose to homeschool when there other educational opportunities available. Our story is perhaps unusual in some ways, but very typical in other ways.

Just for background sake, let me introduce my sons to you and perhaps you will understand what influenced our family to follow God’s leadings to homeschool all the way to the finish line!

Samuel is my firstborn son, happy-go-lucky, cheerful, bubbly, curious, and never has been still for a minute in his entire life! He is extremely intelligent and asked the kazillions of questions every day. He has the memory of an elephant and is known in college as a walking encyclopedia! When he turned 5 we enrolled him in a Christian Day School…for about a month! His teacher told us that he was going to fail kindergarten because he simply would not sit in his seat and write numbers and letters all day like the others in his class! We could not accept that! Yes, at home he was a strong-willed, manipulative little creature, but to be a failure so early in his life….not after all he had been through. His teacher simply did not understand what we understood. After all we were his parents and knew how he learned best…even if it meant standing on his head or flopping over the steps upside down! We discovered that he was a kinesthetic learner—they learn by accident on the run from one adventure to another!

He was born with a congenital heart defect that added to the challenges of homeschooling with his dysgraphia, ADHD and a few other things added in for good measure. But he is being changed by the power of God! Today, he is in Bible College and will graduate next year with a degree in pastoral ministries. He also has an awesome talent for photography and producing slide shows for special events.

Bradley is my youngest son and so different than his brother. He was cuddly, lovable, sensitive and compliant, yet a rough and tumble boy… and it took a long time to figure out how to relate to him. I understood how to manage his wiggly brother, but he wasn’t his brother! He was a unique creation of God with his own talents and as his mother, I needed to speak his language. It took 6 years of frustration on my part to finally understand what made him tick. One day, we got an old upright piano. Like most young children he was curious about the piano. He wasn’t like his brother when he “played the piano”. He would hit one note, then two, then three, placing the sounds together. Finally, he began to make the discordant sounds to change to chords and melodies! He was a musically gifted child and today plays the piano very well! That day, while he spent his time plunking out different sounds on that old piano, I knew how to relate to him. He was an auditory learner, responding to sounds of music! I understood his annoying habit of humming when he was doing school or whatever else he was doing. He was hearing music in his head and it helped him to concentrate and think better. It was the key I was looking for. I chose his curriculum to match his style of learning and it worked!!!

Bradley’s life is taking a different path than that of his older brother. His education was geared differently and he had some absolutely overwhelming odds to overcome in his learning, but he has succeeded! He is enrolled in Liberty University online as a psychology major and enjoys his music (except opera and I can’t say that I blame him on that one!) His future plans are to work with troubled youth.

So, to bring this puppy in for a landing, we chose to homeschool because God led us to do so. I had other plans. I wanted to drop the kids off at school and spend my days working part time at something that I wanted to do. After all, wasn’t that the normal thing to do? Not for me!

Homeschooling was a real challenge, yet was so rewarding! We spent days of happiness and enjoying learning. Other days did not have happiness in its job description! Sometimes the house looked like an F-4 tornado went through it. The dishes were piled up and “somebody did something wrong was the day’s theme song” so to speak, but we survived…and we can look back now and see the real blessings of God because our family homeschooled.

Donna McHugh is married to David for 22 ½ years.
Her sons are 20 and 18 years old.
Now that homeschooling is done, she spends her
spare time writing special programs for churches, hosting
traveling missionary families, and entertaining friends,
hungry college students and others. When she is really bored,
she likes to do crostics and other word puzzles.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to leave a note saying I got your question. I loved your post and it really helped me out yesterday, so I wanted others to read it too! I am doing a Grocery Store NEO post that I hope will be up sometime today/tonight. I hope it answers your question, if not, feel free to ask! Blessings!