Back in the early 1990's, when I started homeschooling, it was easy to spot a homeschooling family. They had eighteen children between the ages of 2 and 10 who could all speak fluently in seven languages, plus a nursing baby. Mom, of course, was pregnant, drove a minivan or Suburban, and dressed in jean jumpers.
Nowadays, it's harder to spot a homeschooling mom. She still drives a minivan, but she dresses differently. She might have ten children or only two. So, how do you spot her?
Sneak into her house. She has bookshelves in every room jam-packed with books. There are even bookshelves lining her hallway, making it challenging to navigate your way in the dark.
If you ask her a question, she tells you to go look it up.
At holidays, while everyone else is decorating and baking, she is researching the origins of the holiday, how the holiday was celebrated in Colonial America, and turning her family celebration into a unit study.
Even though she never took Latin in school, she thinks all children should take at least one year.
At election time, she asks, "Where does the candidate stand on homeschooling?"
Sneak back into her house. There are burn marks on the kitchen ceiling (chemistry experiments!), stains on her counters (art projects!), rips in her carpeting (sewing class!), and stains on the tablecloth (biology dissections!).
Buying a pet becomes a unit study.
She doesn't have time to read a novel or magazine, but spends hours pouring over homeschooling curriculum catalogs.
When she goes on vacation, she might forget to pack her shoes or her child's clothing, but she remembers to pack an extra-large suitcase full of classic literature for the kids to read when they tire of swimming, sight-seeing, playing games, and relaxing. She also wants to visit museums on vacation. She is convinced that everyone else in the family loves museums. Or, at least they should.
Her overdue library book fine equals the National Debt.
Her children have sung at nursing homes, made volcanoes that actually explode, passed out food at soup kitchens, dissected turkey legs, dressed up as George Washington, interviewed the family dentist, hatched tadpole eggs, and learned the hula.
She considers every activity outside the home a field trip. This includes dental exams, doctor visits, birthday parties, vacations, concerts, Sunday school, days at the beach, shopping trips, playground afternoons, and amusement parks.
She takes photographs of her children reading books, writing papers, and painting pictures.
If she lets her teenagers get a facebook account, she gets one too, adding all their friends!
She considers her son chasing her daughter around the house P.E.
She tells you how she wishes that she lived back in the 1800s when literature was wholesome and values more godly, but she could not lives without her laptop.
She wishes that she could buy some land, chickens, and goats so that the family could live off the land. She buys "back-to-natural-eating" cookbooks with healthy recipes that have only organic ingredients. However, her car is filled with fast food bags and her freezer with microwave dinners.
She sees the value of including videos and movies into homeschooling so the family watches Gone With the Wind when studying the Civil War, The Sound of Music and Operation Petticoat when they study World War II, and Gidget Goes Hawaiian for their Hawaii unit study. Her sons warm up to the idea and want to watch The Patriot when studying the Revolutionary War and Terminator for a look at modern history.
She makes up little songs about multiplication tables, grammar rules, polite behavior, and the periodic table elements. Her children think that it's a normal thing that moms do!
She drives an old minivan that needs repairs and is filled with crumbled papers. When a schoolbook is "lost" it is sometimes found inside this minivan, often under a seat with the dog's teeth marks in it.
She pinches pennies, clips coupons, makes her own yogurt, shops at thrifts stores, hosts garage sales, sell her used curriculum, and watches for sales so that she can buy that perfect curriculum--the one that will match her son's learning style or be the very best way the family can learn a new subject.
She thinks that giving up extra money, tennis lessons, lunch out with the girls, a more expensive wardrobe, and free time is all worth it so that she can stay home and homeschool her precious gifts from God.
She is as unique and individual as a star in the night sky, shining brightly, but uniquely different from every other star. She is quirky, funny, bright, confident sometimes and fearful other times, but always ready and willing to do whatever it takes to give her children the very best possible education so that they can walk in the call of God on their lives.
Homeschooling Mom, you are a blessing to your family and your ministry is pleasing to the Lord. Stay the course! You are a champion!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)