Below is the first draft of an article scheduled for publication on www.latter-dayhomeschooling.com It is important enough to me to reprint here. For those of you who read both blogs, I apologize for the duplication.
We all have different reasons for homeschooling our children. I’ve known people who’ve homeschooled for religious reasons, for academic reasons, for morality reasons, for children who were special needs, for children who weren’t “special needs”, but didn’t learn quite the same as the rest of us. I’ve even known people who didn’t want to homeschool, but felt the Spirit tell them clearly that is what He wanted for their family. I probably homeschool for almost all of those reasons and more. The Lord put it into my heart to homeschool even before I was married. I don’t know why, but He did. And I didn’t waste time either. I began researching curriculum before I was even pregnant with my first child. If I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right.
Schooling my children is my biggest joy. I won’t lie. Our days aren’t perfect. There are days my 10 year old throws down her math sheet in frustration and says there is nothing I can say to make her do it-and she means it. There are days my 14 year old, who is probably one of the most intellectually gifted children I’ve known, will turn in an essay that a third grader could have written. There are days we are all grumpy and tired, and I look around at a messy house, and all I want to do is crawl into bed and pretend my life is different. But, I know my children. I mean really know them. I know how they learn. I know what enthralls them. I know where they are selfish, and where they are remarkably righteous. I also get to open up the universe to them. I get to see light bulbs go on when something finally comes together in their head. I get to help them make connections and sense of all they are learning. The best part of all is we get to discuss all of that in the context of who our God is and how much He loves us. Homeschooling is like breathing to me. I couldn’t live without it.
Many of you know our lives turned upside down two years ago. For those of you who don’t know the story, it is too long to account here. You can go to my personal blog: http://www.annmarieathome.blogspot.com/ to read it. On the top right are some links entitled How I Became Mormon. I made a commitment to my children the night we told them about our divorce that I would always do everything in my power to continue to homeschool them. I love my children more than my own life. At my lowest moments it is thoughts of them that keep me alive. Keep me pressing on. I don’t get much child support. As a matter of fact, I get less for four children, than every other divorced person I know gets for 1 child. At first it worked out, I found ways to generate income at home. But, little by little the Mormon thing kept getting brought up and I began losing all my sources of income. The most honest of them said it was because I was Mormon. Others, who weren’t as honest, suddenly didn’t have any new contracts for me, or decided that I needed a degree for the work I’d been doing for years and let me go.
I’m starting from scratch again, and I’m scared. We need a miracle. I’m not sitting around just waiting for one. I’m working for a recording studio, continuing my freelance writing, tutoring in math, and teaching myself graphic and web design. The latter seems to hold the most potential for real income. But, it takes time to learn several computer languages and five software programs. I’m exhausted. Between, raising four children alone (one still in diapers), working, homeschooling, keeping up with household responsibilities, and trying to do a four year degree on my own, without an instructor, you can probably understand why I’m exhausted. I’m not giving up. There is too much at stake, but I’m at the point where I need to enlist some support.
While reading my scriptures today my heart was struck by a series of events. In 1 Samuel 7 the Israelites were being attacked…again. I know how they feel. Verse 7 of that chapter says, “When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid…” Of course they were. Wouldn’t you be? While I was reading my heart kept saying, “so am I”. The next verse shows the Israelite’s wise response. “And the children of Israel said to Samuel, ‘Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us’…” That is what I am asking of you, my homeschooling community. Will you cease not to cry unto the Lord on our behalf? I love my children. I KNOW homeschooling is the right thing for us. I KNOW being their mother and here to raise them is what I am called to do. I just need a miracle to enable it to continue. I’m not telling you what to pray. I’ll let the Spirit lead you in that, but I am asking you to pray on our behalf. I face a lot of questions regarding my decision to continue homeschooling. I went from being in a church where almost everyone homeschooled and valued it, to being in a church where hardly anyone does, and its value is not completely understood. And I feel alone.
I do have one thing going for me. My patriarchal blessing promised that a way would open up for me to care for my children the way I wanted to. D&C promises that when we obey the Lord, He is bound by what He says. But, when we obey not, we have no promise. I am doing my absolute best to obey Him in every way possible, all while working hard. Now, I am waiting on the fulfillment of the promise.
So, what happened to the Israelites? Verse 9 says, “Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him.” The Israelites were delivered. It is my hope that the Lord will hear us as well.
Homeschooling is that important to me. I’m ready for my miracle.