So there we were, the last Wednesday in August 2017, up bright and early to get our first born son ready for his first day of kindergarten. Everything went smoothly that day, my husband and I got him ready in time, drove him to the school, met his teachers, the principal and additional staff who all seemed lovely. Our son spent a half day at school with the other kindergartners before school would officially start as they wanted the kids to get acquainted with their new environment.
On the surface, it all seemed fine, but deep inside, I had a knot in my stomach because this didn’t feel right to me. And on that day as we picked him up from his first day of school, we asked him how his day was. When he went through the timeline of what he did in his first, and only few hours of school, we knew instantly that we made a mistake.
The following day, he wasn’t required to attend school because they were only open to the second group of kindergartners and then on the Friday when all the children would be welcomed back for their first full day of school, my little guy came down with a cold. For those 2 days, my husband and I had the chance to go over our thoughts, convictions and apprehensions. I felt like this must have been a divine intervention!
You see, a few years prior to our eldest son being school aged, my husband and I made the choice to homeschool our children. We truly believe as followers of Christ, it is our responsibility and mandate to raise our children which INCLUDES educating them. The word of God says to train up a child in the way he SHOULD go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. We knew that there was no way to obey and fully understand the word of God if we were to drop our kids on the doorstep of the public school system and leave it to total strangers to influence our kids 7-8 hours a day. In order to ensure their upstanding character remains in tact, and their beliefs in our God would be solidified, we knew we couldn’t let our kids be away from us for such an extended amount of time on a daily basis when they’re at the stage of life where they are so easily influenced. We know that not everyone agrees with our convictions and that is perfectly fine with us. But in our spirit, we knew this was exactly what the Most High wanted for our children.
Additionally, we knew there are so many children who are failed by the education system because they didn’t happen to fit in the general box that society created for us. Speaking from personal experience, they cannot possibly give you the individual attention you need and if you don’t meet their standards then you must have a learning disability or must be plain dumb. Children who require additional assistance tend to fall further and further behind, and children who are advanced don’t always get challenged to reach their full potential. I have had some amazing teachers in my school days, and I know there are thousands of great teachers out there right now, as we speak, inspiring their students daily. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are handling dozens of children at a time and will never be SOLELY focused on the success of your child, know the ins and outs about how your child works, how they think, what they like and dislike, what special attention they may need. They won’t be able to instill the values that you believe your child should hold, they can’t possibly be equipped to comfort them when they’re discouraged and nurture them when they’re sick and allow them to fully pursue their own personal interests and learn about a particular subject that is not part of the government issued curriculum. Only a parent can do ALL of those things for their children and I love my babies so much that I want to offer them the best chance in life to be the men and woman that God created then to be.
When the time came, we knew that meant a lot would have to change in order to allow me to stay at home and focus on the kids. Although we never publicly put it out there, that was the main reason we left Toronto and moved to Montreal. We knew that if we wanted to homeschool, it would be more feasible if our cost of living was reduced drastically, and Montreal offered us that option.
Back in 2016, As we got closer and closer to our moving day and I started looking at the homeschooling laws in Quebec, discouragement began to grow in me because the regulations were more strict than in Ontario. I started to think, is it even worth it to deal with the Quebec government and all of their antics just to be able to keep my son home and teach him in the way that we think is best? As the months rolled by and we would come closer and closer to the 2017-2018 school year, I would tell myself more and more that “I can’t homeschool him, who am I kidding? I went to public school and I turned out alright, so did my husband!” I eventually began expressing my concerns to my husband who tried to encourage me but also didn’t want to force me into it as I would be the one who was primarily responsible for their education. And he and I then agreed to give up on our original plan and place our son in the public school system. But God had different plans.
Before the next school day would arrive, I emailed the school and notified them that I would be pulling Imanuel out of school. I’m not sure what the laws and regulations are in other parts of the world, but in Quebec, Canada, kindergarten is optional. Once a child turns 6 years old, they are required by law to be in the first grade and may only be exempt from attending school if they are receiving an adequate education at home and the same must be reported to the Ministry of Education. Because of that, it wasn’t really a big deal that my son wouldn’t be attending school and no protest was made.
With the issue of dealing with the Ministry of Education out of the way since it was just kindergarten, it allowed us to have a stress free year of learning, bonding, fun, and growth. Although my son didn’t fully understand at the time why he wasn’t going back to public school, he was happy to be home with me and as we now enter our third year of homeschooling, he’s excited, proud, confident and secure in our homeschool environment. My two younger sons are also enjoying the homeschooling they receive and soon my baby girl will join the bunch!
I purposely made the choice to not go out of my way to publicly announce to social media or even some friends and family that we were officially a homeschool family because quite frankly, I was dreading having to explain myself and hear all the typical questions that most homeschool families get… “why would you take them out of school?”, “are you even qualified to teach your children”, “what about socialization? “, “what’s wrong with public school?” , “does that mean you think i’m a bad person for sending my kid to school?”… I was already starting out my homeschooling journey not feeling as confident as I could have felt and the last thing I wanted was any potential negativity. Bit by bit, in passing conversations here and there, our friends and family would find out about our choice to homeschool. Questions would follow, I would answer them, and to my surprise, I wasn’t overwhelmed by a wave of negativity!
Although there may be still some who don’t agree with our choice, we mostly got positive feedback and well wishes. They may not all have understood or agreed with our decision but thankfully they did respect it! And for those who were very vocal about their disappointment in our choice… those conversations quickly got shut down because I refused to let anyone deter me from doing what we know is the right thing to do.
DISCLAIMER: I know that there are Christ following parents out there who want to homeschool but essentially don’t have the luxury to do so. Some may not be able to afford one parent staying home, some may be single and don’t have adequate support, some may have a spouse that doesn’t agree with homeschooling. Some may have a sick child or family member that takes all of their time and attention. In those cases, I believe God has grace and mercy in those situations and if you pray about it, he will open doors and create opportunities for things to work out so that you can eventually have your kids with you. Have faith that he will keep your kids safe in the harsh and cutthroat environment that school can be for many many kids and you can still make every effort to be the main influencer in your children’s lives. A lot of the bad things I did in my life stemmed from the things I learned in the school environment and despite that, God kept his hand on me, protected me and transformed my life for the better.
SECOND DISCLAIMER: I also know there are a lot of parents who totally disagree with homeschooling and that’s okay with me. As harsh as it may sound. I’m not concerned with the success and outcome of their children’s lives. I wish the best for all kids, but my mandate is to serve my family, and my kids are our number one concern.
I finally decided to share this part of our life with you because I don’t want to mislead anyone as the main purpose of this blog is to share what my life is like as a stay at home mom. Homeschooling is a HUGE part of that! I hope to encourage other families who may be considering homeschooling as well. Please go listen to Pastor Voddie Baucham on youtube and search for his homeschooling vids. He is such an inspiration and an honourable man of God. He gives such a clear understanding of why it is important for ALL christian families to homeschool if they’re able to.
I will definitely be sharing more and more about our homeschool journey and how I manage our busy household. I’ll share personal tips and give you updates on the kids experiences. I’ll share how I organize our homeschool schedule, what our workspace looks like, fun activities and outings and much more! You will probably see youtube videos coming your way to give you an even more up close view into our life! You’re welcome to follow me on instagram as well @lillyathome for the latest updates!
Stay tuned, you won’t want to miss it!
Hugs and Love ❤ Lilly at Home