I’m so excited to welcome Kal-le Schrader to the Homeschool Compass to share her story of stepping off the mainstream path and embracing homeschooling for her family. Kal-le is a homemaker and homeschool mama living in the hills of Southeastern Ohio where she and her family enjoy the peaceful beauty of country living. She strives to give her children not only a beautiful and rich education, but an education where God and the Bible are woven into every subject. Kal-le writes for Radiantly Brave and shares her life on Instagram at @mama_schrader. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kal-le!
Two summers ago, I felt the desire stirring in my heart to homeschool our boys. That spring my husband and I had made the decision to do preschool at home with our 4 year old, but when it came to our oldest son, we just weren’t sure if homeschooling was possible.
Like so many people, my husband and I both attended public school growing up and for the most part, we loved it. When we envisioned our children’s education, homeschooling wasn’t even on our radar. It was completely foreign to us, and not something the people we knew typically did.
Trying to Make Public School Work
In our oldest son’s first grade year our thinking began to change. While my son enjoyed school in the sense that he liked playing with his friends and doing the fun extra activities like holiday parties and field days, he struggled with reading and spelling. Traditional spelling tests were anxiety-inducing. Any sort of creative writing made him feel like a failure. Reading often left him in tears. Though he excelled in math and science, in the school’s eyes he was balancing delicately on the line between behind and right on grade level.
We studied hard each evening after school. We played games in an attempt to establish some sort of retention. We tried positive reinforcement by giving him candy or treats. These things were only a temporary solution and never addressed the real issues. By the time our son felt comfortable with his spelling words, a new list was introduced and the one old was tossed aside. Because he could read relatively well, any concerns we presented were glazed over.
Class size was a major issue as well. There were 25 kids in his first grade class. While this is the norm for many schools, it simply wasn’t working for our son. He needed more one-on-one time with his teacher. He needed those extra 5-10 minutes to finish up a reading lesson or to reintroduce phonics foundations. The fact was, a class size that large was not beneficial to him.
Can We Really Homeschool?
We knew public school wasn’t working for our son and quite possibly wouldn’t work for our younger son either someday. We had bought into the usual homeschool myths. Would I be capable as their teacher? How would they socialize without being with other kids everyday? Would shouldering all the work of their education be too overwhelming? Could we afford the additional expense?
Even with all these concerns, our desire to homeschool continued to grow. I truly felt the Lord was calling us to withdraw our oldest son from public school and take the leap into homeschooling. But my husband and I were still on the fence. I knew if I wanted to homeschool both of our boys, I would have to do some research and prove to my husband, and myself, that it was possible.
I created a few fun, hands-on unit studies to do with my boys. We learned about insects and built a model beehive. We studied earth worms in our garden and discovered how important they were to the soil. We jumped into a pond study where we witnessed tadpoles and a fish begin new life. It was a beautiful summer.
Meanwhile, my husband and I prayed about this decision. A lot. We watched videos, read many articles, and chatted with the few homeschool families we knew.
Taking the Leap
Finally we decided that we would homeschool and use a Charlotte Mason style of learning. Our first year I found myself adding extra things here and there to fill out our curriculum. I now know I did so not because our homeschool was lacking, but because my family had always been used to a certain style of learning. We thought we had to replicate the public school way at home in order to be successful. We were missing the point of homeschooling and forgetting that we walked away from public school because that system wasn’t working. Once we let go of trying to make homeschool look like public school, that was when things began to flourish.
We thought we had to replicate the public school way at home in order to be successful. Once we let go of trying to make homeschool look like public school, that was when things began to flourish.
My husband, my son, and I all discovered that learning doesn’t just take place inside the pages of textbooks or by completing worksheets. The world was our classroom, and each day we found new ways of learning in what we might otherwise see as normal, day-to-day activities.
You Can Thrive with Homeschooling!
To all the mamas contemplating homeschool, it is possible. It takes time, prayer, and careful consideration, but it’s much more doable than you think. You are qualified to teach your children. If you can’t see it yet, think about all of the things you’ve already taught them!
Children don’t need to be around other children every single day to be socialized. Youth sports, church, and co-ops offer many opportunities for children to play and learn socially.
And homeschooling doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. We homeschool on a budget by utilizing curriculum sales, Facebook groups, the internet, our local library , and other local organizations.
For us, the biggest motivating factor in homeschooling was that we could not only raise our boys but teach them in a Christian atmosphere. We have time and space to read the Bible and pray with our boys every day. We have the opportunity to study science from a biblical perspective. We get to teach our boys about church history which is incredibly important to us and something they would never learn about in the public school.
So if you’re contemplating homeschooling, please reach out! I would love to talk with you and point you in the direction of some wonderful resources that helped my husband and I and making this decision. I would also love to pray for you in this decision.
“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” – Charlotte Mason
Wondering if you can make homeschooling work in your family? We invite you to check out The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment for advice and encouragement as you consider homeschooling.
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