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Why I homeschool.

In 2009, when I recieved my Masters in Education from Lynchburg College, I was looking forward to getting my first "real job."

My husband and I had just gotten married the year before and we were enjoying married life.

I had already gotten my teaching license for the state of VA, and I was ready to start filling out applications to find a school.

I was licensed in k-12, English, History and Spanish, with special emphasis in Middle and High School Grades.

I had my whole life planned out- become a teacher, working until 35 or so when I could "settle down." After that, become an administrator or even get my doctorate. I was going places.

(Me and the first breath of my little girl, in 2010).

Then I got pregnant. At 25, I didn't know what I was going to do next.

My husband and I had contacts in Maryland to work at a non-profit. There was a opening for a elementary program director and a teen director. We took it. Even though the pay was terrible. But it was a Christian environment and the staff was awesome.

They even had a day care connected to the Church that we were using. So Win-Win?

After 8 months or so, I had to decide what I was going to do with my little daughter.

I was fortunate that there was a policy in place for allowing a mother to work with their child until they were 9 months or so. But after that, I was looking into doing the day care. Even with our 50% discount- it was going to be over 700 a month for my little one to be 300 feet from my office down the hall.

I went to visit the day care. Even though the ladies were wonderful Christian people, I just saw a room of babies, toys and cribs.

My heart ached.

I was going to be spending over $700 a month to have someone spend time and raise my daughter. This was nearly 1/2 my paycheck.

NO WAY.

(above, is a early pictures of me and my daughter before I got my first DSLR camera)

So I decided to stay home. It was the best and the hardest decision of my life.

First, there was the lonliness, the alienation and the withdrawl of a busy work/social environment to a quiet home that was filled with the soft snoring of a quiet baby every two hours.

We were living in a tiny one bedroom basement apartment. My husband was still working for peanuts and now, I wasn't "working." It honestly killed me inside to know that I wasn't contributing finacially to the family anymore.

I had to do things like change poopy diapers, clean, vacuum, clean up throw-up. I was running on NO sleep, and most importantly, I was running low on what makes me feel alive- being creative.

That's why I starting working from home. I figured, that if I was going to take pictures of my daughter's life and my family's life, I might as well learn how to take pictures for other people and make a business out of it. Oh, how much that I have learned since then.

(Above is one of the first pictures that I ever took on my first DSLR cameras while I was visiting my grandmother. My daughter was only 10 months old.)

So what does this have to do with homeschooling. I'm getting there don't worry. My husband accepted his current youth pastor position at church in 2013. After he made his work schedule, he found out that Fridays he would be off and most Wednesday mornings. About one Saturday a month he would be traveling with his teens to different events. Most nights and weekends he's gone for meetings at the church. With my daughter then almost three, we had to make a decision about what we wanted to do for schooling. With my husband sporadic schedule in my background in education, we decided that homeschooling would be the best way to have lots of family time and see daddy when most people would be in school. I have a masters in Education. You would think that homeschooling would be a piece of cake. Ha! I might as well throw everything that I've learned in teacher school out the window! Between running a business, being a pastor's wife, and being involved with a lot of other projects and family needs, I just can't sit down and make these Pinterest- perfect lessons.

Homeschool for us involves being outside, getting messy and just just lots of discussions in the car or on walks. It involves going to the library weekly for over 50 new books that we read every day! But most importantly, homeschooling is a way for us to spend the greatest, most important element of a strong family- time. We are free to go to the beach on a Tuesday afternoon. We can go to the pool on Wednesdays, we can go hiking on Friday mornings- we don't have to wait until spring break for a vacation- we can just go! It's about seeing my children grow Day by day. It's about having breakfast and dinner as a family- sitting down to eat a home-cooked meal. It's about snuggling everyday in the bed and not rushing to get on a bus by 6AM.

So homeschooling for me has been a shift in lifestyle- a shift in thinking. My kids don't just learn from 9-2 everyday Monday through Friday- they are learning all day, everyday. We don't take a "break" we just learn differently wherever we travel to- whether it be a museum to learn History or just the supermarket to learn healthy eating choices. All of life and it's experiences form a person's connection to learning and the love of learning. Homeschooling is our greatest adventure. It's our greatest learning curve and our greatest challenge. But at least we are all in it together.

If you are interested to learn more about homeschooling, you can visit the Home-Educators Association of Virginia here: www.heav.org

Christal

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