Homeschooling has been a transformative journey.
When I was working a full time job, I used to wake up and rush through my mornings trying to get everyone dressed and off to school. The girls and I would spend an average of 10 hours apart every day, while they were at school and I was at work. When I got off from work, I would pick them up from daycare or after-school program and again juggled my way through the evening, managing to spend around 2 hours of “quick quality time” while making dinner and helping them through homework. We would have dinner, talk for a bit and then off to bed. This was our routine for years. And just writing it makes me exhausted.
I remember sitting at my desk, looking at pictures of their beautiful faces while feeling so guilty for not being able to spend more time with them. I did feel that I should be proud of myself because I was providing a great life and doing an excellent job at raising them. And I was; but something inside my heart was changing. It was like my soul was calling me to live a different life. I consulted with those close to me and with priests from the local church and that’s when I became keenly aware that I was in the midst of spiritual transformation. I don’t think anyone could’ve prepared me for the changes we were going to experience.
At the beginning of 2014, we found out that we were expecting and we were over the moon with joy! But as the pregnancy progressed, I had to leave my job because of the health issues that I was experiencing. As you can imagine, supporting a family of 7, with one income, is tough. After the birth of our son, things got a bit worse. I battled with Post-Partum Depression and anxiety, our baby was hospitalized and diagnosed with Epilepsy and our family suffered a great loss; my beautiful and loving mother in law, Margie, passed away. I am sure that we had angels watching over us and guiding us through everything. We wouldn’t have made it otherwise. We were experiencing so much sadness and pain, but somehow, we had faith that after the storm calmed, we would see the sunshine again. In one way I felt that my life was crumbling all around me, but behind the scenes, beautiful things were lining up too, even if we couldn’t see them at the time.
The girls themselves were going through a lot of issues at school and would constantly ask if I could homeschool them. Between the bullying issues and pushy perfectionist teachers, my girls were feeling like their best was no longer enough. I noticed their self esteem going downhill. Their once bubbly and bright personalities, started to turn grey. In 2015, my youngest daughter started having anxiety, panic attacks and digestive issues that wouldn’t go away. After many weeks of doctor’s visits and tests, her doctor said “There is absolutely nothing medically wrong with her. I believe it is stress”. Hearing those words just tore me down to pieces. How did I let things get so bad for her? Why didn’t I see this sooner? My heart was broken for my little girl. I again felt like a failure. I had to do something to turn this around for them. That’s when I seriously started to contemplate the possibility of homeschooling.
I tried my best to put all my sadness and pain aside and started researching about homeschooling methods and curriculum options. Let me tell you, there is so much out there to read! The more I read, the more I doubted myself and wondered if I would be able to do it. I love my girls and want the best for them and certainly, I did not want to screw up their education. But if you know one thing about me, let it be this- I do not coward away from a challenge. Even with fear knocking at my door, I still try my best and jump on board with whatever it is.
After a couple of months of researching I decided to ask around to see what was the experience of others in my area. Thankfully, a super nice lady that I met through a cloth diapering Facebook group, told me about the umbrella school, Florida Unschoolers. What a life saver! I immediately went to their website and enrolled my children. I love that we can report attendance through them and have the flexibility to chose the curriculum and activities that we want.
So you see, in the past couple of years, my family has gone through tremendous challenges; but homeschooling has been a blessing. It has pulled us out of a state of sadness and grief and has given us something wonderful to focus on. It certainly has renewed my sense of purpose. My daughter thankfully no longer has anxiety, panic attacks or digestive issues. We have only been homeschooling for 7 months and we know that we have lots to learn, but the future looks bright. I couldn’t be more humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be with the kids all day and to watch them develop and grow. I get to witness and participate in every accomplishment that they have and that makes my heart sing. Many would think that girls their age would hate being home with their mom and little brother all day; but that is not the case. The girls are so happy and relaxed. I can see the light in their eyes returning and they absolutely love being homeschooled.
This is how homeschooling has been a transformative journey for us. We are now living a life that we only dreamed of. Things are not perfect and we miss Margie with all our hearts, but slowly we feel the sun is shinning bright in our hearts again. We know that she is watching over us and is proud of us as a family. Now I know that life can take some painful and unexpected turns, but these turns can lead us into experiencing and living beautiful possibilities if we only surrender and flow with the changes.
My blessings to all, Michelle