I often ask fellow homeschoolers what made them decide to homeschool their children and how it was that they first came to hear of the homeschooling option. When people ask me those questions (usually asked by the non-homeschooling community) I always responded with “I’ve always wanted to homeschool my child…since the day he was born.” But the truth is, it just seemed like I had always wanted to homeschool my child (who is now seven). I could never really put my finger on that one pivotal moment that turned my ear toward the word “homeschooling”. I just felt like it was something I had always wanted to do. But that’s just silly because the word “homeschooling” surely didn’t fall out of the sky and into my brain one day. Yet, I just couldn’t make the connection. Old-Timers, maybe?
Now, I’m in my second year of homeschooling and loving it…plugged into a great homeschool support group and loving that. I’m becoming more involved with the group during my second year, organizing field trips, volunteering to be their webmaster, forming relationships, making friends. One of the ladies I made fast friends with is one of the assistant leaders of the support group…and had actually attended my church about five years earlier but I barely made her acquaintance at the time (it’s a big church). To protect her privacy, I’ll refer to her as “Really Likeable” or “RL” for short. I vaguely remember hearing and seeing RL’s family names in church announcements and prayer requests and such…but never really put the name to the face. Never really had a need to. Then one night, just over 5 years ago, I served as a volunteer in our church’s nursery and was paired up with RL. I remember she was very well dressed, beautifully coiffed & made up and had a smile on her face despite the fact that she was very pregnant! This made a really big impression on me as I had never mastered the art of looking my best during my non-pregnant years much less while I was pregnant. I had learned from our 90 minute discussion in the nursery together that she was 45 years old and had three other children…and I remember feeling very encouraged as I was 39 at the time and my first born was almost two and I knew I wanted to have at least one more child. If this woman could do it at 45, there was still hope for me at 39!
THEN…the pivotal moment came. I remember it now as clearly as if it had happened yesterday but for some reason it did not reveal itself to me until a few months ago: RL told me she homeschooled her kids. Whoa! You can do that?!?!? From that moment forward, I googled and subscribed and read every conceivable book, article or discussion group about homeschooling. The more I learned about it…the more I wanted to know. This is it! This is my calling, too! And so starteth my journey into the wonderful world of homeschooling.
Sadly, I didn’t cross paths with RL again after that. At some point her family switched churches, then I fell out of church attendance for about two years after getting pregnant with my second child (which was a wretched high-risk pregnancy fraught with every concievable pregnancy-related affliction followed by a year of being clinicially sleep-deprived).
So a few months ago, after this moment of clarity had finally revealed itself to me, I couldn’t wait to share it with RL…who I was very quickly getting to know in our homeschool support group and who I revered highly. The more I learned about her…the more I wanted to know. I met her for ice cream one night to brainstorm on some support group issues and I decided to share my story with her. She apologized to me for not having recollected anything about that particular night (probably the only thing on her mind was to get that baby out of her!)…and was surprised to learn the wake of influence she left behind (of which she had no way of knowing). But she did understand it as she, too, had a pivotal moment in her life that led her to her calling to homeschool…and she subsequently shared her story with me.
How unaware we are at times of how influential our words and our actions can be! For RL, it was just an ordinary night of nursery duty. For me, it was a defining “A-ha!” moment, a life-altering night for me, my children, my family. I don’t believe it was a coincidence, either. I very much believe that God uses people to help direct His paths for each of us. Thank you, God, for sending RL into my life at that time…and for bringing her back into my life a full 5 years later. And thank you, RL, for taking a fledgling homeschooler under your wing (like it or not)…and for being my friend (and dessert buddy).
BTW – now at the magical age of 50 (sorry RL!) and homeschooling 4 children, she continues to impress me with her smart clothes, perfect hair and makeup…and always with a smile on her face! I just hate standing next to her in my cargos and sneakers. She really, really makes me look bad! Or…could it be that I make her look even better…????? Hmmm…have to give that one some more thought.