Today I am welcoming my friend Terri Camp Stevenson over as an honored guest blogger. She is a mom and homeschooler that I am privileged to know and even more privileged to have learned from. I know you’ll enjoy her thoughts on homeschooling too!
One of the biggest reasons I chose to homeschool my kids was because I didn’t want them to have to deal with a huge amount of peer pressure to perform a certain way. Another huge reason was that I believe to the very core of my being that God created our children with particular talents and gifts that He wants to have them use for His glory and I absolutely did not want that squashed out of my children.
When I first began homeschooling, I looked to others who had gone before me. The first mom I talked with did a complete Abeka program with her kids. I bought the Abeka program, complete with an autoharp to teach music to my 5 year-old and her three younger siblings. Yea. So that didn’t work out so well. Notice, I had four children five and under. That simply didn’t work.
Then I bought a denim jumper and quit letting my kids watch Disney movies. This was not out of conviction, but because of the peers I was hanging around. Other homeschool moms were my peers. And even though I didn’t want it for my kids, I succumbed to peer pressure of a different kind. They weren’t really pressuring me. Although one mom did tell me that her kids couldn’t be babysat at my house because we watched 101 Dalmatians. And because she seemed to really have it altogether and I totally wanted my kids to be like her kids, we put away Disney, all TV, and the girls in my house started wearing dresses.
The awakening happened when I read an article by the Davis family about education not being the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire. I began to look at my children and not at the children of other people. I saw the servant heart of the oldest child. She would do anything to please me, even at the expense of her own desires. I saw a second child who was active and loved to draw. I saw a third child who spent more time making cookies and picking up after others than anyone I had ever seen. I saw a fourth child who spent hours and hours building with Legos. By this time, two more children had been added to my family. Eventually eight kids would fill my home in under twelve years.
I shed the denim jumper, the desks around the house, the boxed curriculum, and the schedule. Oh wait – not the schedule! I love the schedule! Okay, I don’t love the schedule at all, but it makes me feel like I’m being a real homeschool mom to have a real schedule. Yes, I threw it away too! But that was a tough one for me. I had to lay it down. I opted for a routine, because that fit my family much better. The routine was simple and allowed for life to flow through our homeschooling. Because what I discovered was that life is truly educational. Life!
It is sometimes more difficult homeschooling the way I do. I have to keep my eyes wide open and my heart open to a whisper of God to send my child in a certain direction. When my oldest was twelve, she had taken over my bread making business, making on average 60 loaves of bread a week. She did this because she desperately wanted to buy a horse. I didn’t know anything about horses. I didn’t even want to learn about horses. But God had a plan for Ashley, and I was not going to stand in His way. She bought her first horse, built her first barn, fenced her first yard, and delivered her first foal before she was fourteen. She dreamed a dream. What if I hadn’t listened? What if I hadn’t been willing to allow? What if I was stuck to my schedule and books? Then she wouldn’t be where she is today. At age 27, she now has several horses, has bought her own 9 acre ranch, and has given me two amazing grandchildren.
What if I didn’t listen to God when He told me to let Tina draw? What if I hadn’t spent curriculum money on a graphic arts program for our computer? Perhaps Tina wouldn’t be where she is today, working at Neiman Marcus in their graphic design department.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned homeschooling these eight amazing kids (this is my 22nd year) is that God has a plan. My job is to listen and be a conduit to help give my kids the tools and resources they need to do and be who He wants them to be.
Terri Camp Stevenson is a single mom to eight great kids. Six of them are now adults and a couple are married with children of their own. Terri works beyond full time as a serial entrepreneur. She is a full-time REALTOR® in Dallas Fort Worth, and continues to speak and write as time allows her to pursue this passion. She is the author of three published books and hundreds of articles in magazines and online. You can find out more about Terri at https://terricamp.com
Check out Terri’s books!