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Our Graduation Story Part 1

Senior Picture
Senior Picture
©Tonya Vander 2010

I really wondered if the day would come where I would be able to tell you our story about homeschooling. It’s something along the lines of a before and after story. Except ours is isn’t about weight loss, but rather crossing the finish line of homeschooling. In just a little over a week, our oldest daughter will graduate high school with honors. You might be wondering why I would be so excited to share our story, lots of young adults graduate each year.  Yet each family has unique situations to overcome. We can only hope you find hope and courage for your own journey.

When we started this experiment called homeschooling we had no idea what it was going be like from the start, continuing year after year, and then finishing. I am sure that if my husband and I did realize all the work and dedication, we would have run the other way screaming. Perseverance is definitely one of the greatest attributes for any homeschooling family. Taking on your child’s education in a society that expects the majority of families to put their children in preschool through high school can cause a stir in the neighborhood and pressure at home.

Our family had plenty of opposition at the start, from family members and acquaintances who felt it was necessary to point out that I didn’t finish high school. How could I really expect to teach my children at home? Surely, I would get some sense and send them to school where they belonged. Then there were those who knew of my background as a child and feared that I would repeat the same abuse that I suffered in my early years. And to be fair, most of these people really thought that they were helping us. They weren’t mean spirited in their comments. In most cases these parents were right- I didn’t finish high school, in fact I went to over 30 different schools as a child. Six in one year thanks to a particular district here in Colorado. I did grow up with domestic violence and many other types of abuse throughout my childhood. By the time I was fourteen I had my first apartment. At sixteen I found my biological father and lived with him for a short time. In my seventeenth year I was emancipated by my father for less than stellar reasons. So you could argue that I wasn’t the best candidate for homeschooling.

Yet, we felt called to home school. As a mom, I stayed on my knees seeking counsel and guidance. I asked many seasoned home school parents what worked for them. I developed an addiction to curriculum that I have never been able to overcome, even today. I fretted and worried every year that what others said would come true. However, every year that we tested our children we found that they far exceeded the norm. I wish I could say that after a few years I relaxed, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t get over the words that were spoken over me and my children. This is why I am writing this post. So that all the moms and dads, maybe even grandparents out there who aren’t sure if they can home school and wonder if their kids will turn out alright will hopefully glean some hope and confidence from our story.

Stop by tomorrow as I share the struggles and triumphs we encountered along way.