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My "Call to Africa" (aka, Homeschooling), Part I

I’m not sure if you went to church youth camp growing up, but this was usually how my experience went, both summer and winter. I’d have tons of fun with friends (staying up way too late), sing lots of great songs, then a passionate leader would get the mic and ask all of us teenagers to consider both, what God was asking us to do in life, and, being willing to say yes.

Students would flood the front near the stage, symbolizing their “yes”, each saying their own surrendered prayers. Most of the girls would be weepy, me included. This was usually my prayer, “Lord, I’m willing!” Then came an immediate muffled, follow-up request, “But please don’t send me to Africa!” (Not quite sure why we all thought He would ask this.)

Fast forward about fifteen, twenty years, when I was a mom of “littles” who were approaching school age, I began hearing of this thing called “homeschooling”. I’d even inquired further about it with a homeschooling Mentor Mom. Yikes! It sounded scary! Teaching your kids academics? No way, Jose’! I found myself once again silently saying, “Lord, please don’t ask me to do that!”

Well, after a series of unfortunate events, I felt the Lord hinting at “homeschooling” several times. I wrestled, but it soon become undeniable. He was in fact calling me to “Go to Africa”, aka, homeschool! Dun-dun-duhhhh!

But was I willing to say, yes?

I did say, "Yeah". The need was clear, but I wasn't committing long term. I said I’d “try it” for one school year. I spent the summer interviewing every homeschooler I could locate. Along with reading all the resources they recommended, including discovering each of our “learning styles”. (This was particularly helpful as a beginner, and I’d highly recommend it to all parents and teachers!)

We then rehearsed what days might look like, tried to get organized, and so forth. By September, I felt a smidge of confidence to go forward with the plan, including teaching my five year-old to read. Gulp! (But I took a literacy course that was awesome and gave me tons of pointers! Whew!)

There were lots and lots of good that looong school year! (Including our move to Oregon.) I adored having LOTS of margin to cuddle up and read, play outside, sing, bake, and go on field trips! But if I'm honest, there was also, lots and lots of HARD! When I say “hard”, I mostly mean stressful, because both my kids have strong-willed streaks. And my oldest and I butt heads pretty much every day (mostly when math is at hand). Though our learning styles where the same - “visual” - our personalities clashed, big time. I decided, for our relationship's sake, I’d much rather put the kids in private school and pay someone else to teach them the hard stuff, like math and science and such. So, that’s what I did!

Kids' first day of private school. 1st and 3rd grades.

Whew! We survived! But little did I know, that wouldn't be the end of it! Stay tuned for

Part 2 to hear the rest of the story on how I said yes, again, to "Africa"!

Do you feel your heart being pulled to “Go to Africa”, (aka, Go Somewhere Hard)?

Maybe even homeschool?!

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