From Refugee to Settler...

A while back a friend of mine shared an article by Chris Davis regarding the Homeschool movement. In it, he described the families as falling in to one of three categories: pioneers, settlers, or refugees. As I read through it I realized how our journey took us from refugee to settlers. So I thought I would share our reasons for homeschooling today. To be honest, this is a great time of year to revisit those reasons as the February Funk or March Madness occurs (While working at a homeschool bookstore, my friend and I coined the phrase to describe how we were all feeling during these months).

All three of our children were in public school. I served on the PTA board, helped out at the school, and attended as many functions as possible. We were involved in our children's education. Our oldest son, in middle school at the time, struggled desperately and when we reached out to the school system we were sent round and round. From severe bullying to a general struggle with keeping up (long story), we tirelessly tried to help him. At the end of the school year, he completed 8th grade and our daughters completed 5th grade and 1st grade respectively. We continued to keep our oldest son in school because he had Asperger's and quite honestly I did not think I was equipped to teach him. I believed the school system knew his needs better than I. But my husband asked me to bring our oldest daughter home fearing the choice of middle school and desiring to protect her innocence, he asked much of me.

I can remember sitting in church service one Wednesday night and vaguely registering what our lesson was on. I just kept pleading with God to release me from this incredible responsibility. I am so unworthy of such a task. He would not release me and after much prayer our family agreed that she would school with me...for her middle school years. I called friends who homeschooled and read anything I could get my hands on. We were refugees fleeing to a new land. Excited and scared at the same time.

We knew we were asking a lot of her as well and tried our best to plan for the adjustment. Sovereignly she had been reading a book series and don't you know the main character was going to be homeschooled in the next book which just happened to be the book we would be starting. :-) Love when that happens!

Settling in a new land

Our days were an adjustment. That first year we went on all kinds of field trips and struggled with what school looked like in our home. I must have cried a thousand times, "I quit! I give up!" and yet He would never release me from this great calling. That year I became intimate with my daughter's education and my daughter. I knew her deepest struggles, her greatest triumphs, and all the in betweens. She had insecurities about the fact that certain subjects didn't come naturally for her. She had silently carried the burden around feeling like she was the only one. How could this be? How could I have missed this?

As the year progressed, I realized that this is the land I wanted to settle in. I knew she would stay home for the rest of her years but I also knew that just as the Lord had showed me, He would do the same for her, in His time! Like any settler relishing in this new frontier, I sent for more of our family to come and settle with us in the land of homeschooling. My husband and I agreed we would bring home our other daughter. We chose to allow our oldest son to stay in school since he was in high school and knew this would be asking a lot of him. But God had other plans for him and I will share his story with you in another post.

Revisiting our reasons can give us a renewed focus on our journey. It can help us muddle through these final days of winter as we long to reaquaint ourselves with the sunshine and the great outdoors. It can help us evaluate our progress and put in to view our goals as we conclude our year. What are your reasons?


Kelly said...

Great post, Shelley, thank you. I am definitely in March Madness. I am ready to throw in the towel for the year already...this is a very bad thing since February was basically lost for us.

michelle said...

Shelly, as one who shared those "involved in the school system" days with you and sat on the PTA with you and watched as our children's self esteem was destroyed brick by brick I love this post. Bringing Meghan home for the two years I schooled her and then seeing her blossom and grow under your careful tutelage I can only attribute God for bringing me back to you and how I treasure your friendship and your careful stewardship of Meghan. Your friendship and care are more appreciated that you will even know. Thank you for all that you do.

Jennie said...

Wonderful post, Shelley. We too were refugees, not settlers! I appreciate all yo've done to help us on our journey! Perfect timing for such a great reflection as you prepare to launch another fledging!

Woodpile Mom said...

Dearest Shelley,
We have had many conversations about this article since you shared it a while ago. And I want to thank you for offering all your wisdom so freely. We too are reaching the settling stage as i am owning my beliefs more. Great post

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