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The Imperfect Homeschooler

(or, how we raised pretty great kids despite our bunglings)

We fell into homeschooling because there was NO WAY we'd send our kids to California public schools and there was NO WAY we could afford to send them to private schools.

I had run into homeschoolers in the 90s, having created educational outreach programs for kids and for some reason a good number of them turned out to be homeschooled. I even lived next door to a homeschooling family at one point and they seemed to have a pretty great life. Coming home after work they'd seek me out to describe their day in the garden or at the beach collecting shells, studying the tides; about the day's progress helping their dad fix their boat; about the Olders writing stories and acting them out for the Littles. They were also the only kids who could carry on a decent conversation, looking me straight in the eye and having the confidence to express their thoughts. They left an impression.

'Well heck, I can do that.'

So, when it came time to start thinking about our first born and school, we decided to try a Charter. That lasted a couple of weeks before I told my husband, "Well heck, I can do that." And he said, "Well alright, then." And after that first year, we did.

There wasn’t much in the way of Catholic homeschooling material then (late 90s/early 2000s) that was accessible by internet searches or anywhere easily found, so I cobbled together a collection from Rainbow Resource, Barnes & Noble, the library, and of course, from our and my parents' home libraries. It was just fine. Our boys were the second generation to learn to read via a book my Mom bought for $1.00 way back in the 60s. We moved from rental to rental (to rental, to rental) and each time our sofa became the primary location for our learning. When my Dad got sick, our car became “school,” driving hours each way every week to visit my parents. When I spent months at the chiropractor, the floor behind the front desk became “school” and the staff loved seeing the boys and their books. We couldn't afford a complete curriculum package and didn't have a spare room dedicated to school. Yet, today, our oldest is a college grad and accomplished writer; our middle a stunning actor and musician; and our youngest an amazing athlete with aspirations of becoming a marine biologist.

I guess my point is that those of us without the seemingly "perfect" physical conditions can still be competent parents and teachers in raising and teaching our kids.

We obviously did something right....and I do know that that "right" is that we did it for Our Lord, with Our Blessed Mother as our guide. They are the most perfect and only condition we need.

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