Why Homeschooling911?

Some have asked: “Why Homeschooling911?”  What exactly does it mean?  Does it mean that there have been incidents of curriculum spontaneously combusting in home-schooler’s homes?  Does it mean that a mass exodus of children from the public schools has resulted in gangs of home-schoolers roaming the streets mowing their neighbor’s lawns while they’re not home?

Actually no.  The original concept for Homeschooling911 was, in fact, a book that I began writing about 10 years ago.  It didn’t get very far because I became pregnant with my fourth child and my life kind of screeched to a halt for awhile.  The title of the book was going to be: Homeschooling911 – Help for Homeschooling through Life’s Big (and Small) Emergencies.

GONE WITH THE WIND

To explain how and why I came up with the idea for the book I have to take you back to August 1992.  I had just started my third year of home-schooling my daughter when a little thing called “Hurricane Andrew” came along and flattened the southern half of Dade County – which was exactly where we lived.  Just like that, we had no safe place to live, and I had to pack up and take my kids to my parents’ home in Central Florida.  My husband stayed in Homestead and took shelter with family and friends…anyone that would offer him a bed…or who needed help protecting their home from looters!

After about a month, my children and I, along with my husband, moved in with my sister who was in Miami.  We were making arrangements to rent a teeny, tiny little condo in the area when the opportunity came to purchase a damaged house not far from where we had been living before the hurricane.  Granted, it needed a new roof, several ceilings, flooring…but it was a house!  And we could have it on the cheap because of the damage.  We bought it and moved in, with all of us sleeping in the only bedroom that had a ceiling.

It took us approximately eighteen months to completely repair the house, all while we lived in it.  During that time, in addition to rebuilding the house, I was home-schooling two of my children and my husband became self-employed.  And I became pregnant with our third child.  It was a difficult pregnancy and recovery, with a lot of time spent in bed.  I felt stressed so much of the time during this period, and even began questioning my decision to home-school.  But after attending a small home-school conference (put on by home-school pioneers Gregg Harris, Michael Farris, and Cathy Duffy) I felt re-energized and ready to tackle anything!  Well, sort of. 🙂

MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE…SORT OF

In 1995, feeling that we needed to find some place less expensive to raise our growing family, we decided to relocate to Tallahassee.  A few months later we found a lot where we would build our new home, and about a year after that we started building it.  You know how people will say they are “building a house” when what they really mean is they hired a contractor (like my husband) to build their house while they made a trip out to the site once a week to check on progress and choose paint, tile, and carpet colors?

Well, that’s not what we did.  We actually BUILT our house. We cleared the lot (of dozens of 60 to 80 ft. trees) and my husband excavated, formed, and poured the foundation.  We paid a framing crew to do some of the framing – and did some of it ourselves (I even hammered in some of the hurricane straps!)  We paid subs to do the A/C, plumbing, and electrical work and then did… everything else!

We moved into the house on May 31, 1997 – with the house almost finished – by which I mean – we still had a good portion of the flooring to put in and it would be ten years before the outside of the house was completely painted.  But we were in, and that was all that mattered.

The tasks that still needed to be completed inside the house caused our home-school schedule to get pushed back a little.  Until then, I had always started our school year sometime in August.  This year I was planning to start on September 29.  But it would be the middle of October before we commenced home-schooling that year.

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD

On September 27, at 6:00 a.m., our phone rang.  I distinctly remember thinking that it was either a wrong number or bad news, because no one purposely calls at six a.m. unless it’s bad news.  It was my father calling with the news that my brother had been killed by a drunk driver early that morning.

If you have never received that kind of tragic news, there is no way I can describe to you the devastation that it causes…and if you have gotten a call like that, I don’t need to tell you that it changes your life forever.

A few hours later I was on a plane to my parents’ home; my husband and children would drive down the next day.  I spent a lot of time with my parents over the next year.  One blessing that came out of that incredibly difficult time in my life was the realization that the commitment I had made to home-school my children was already bearing fruit: during the times I was away from home visiting my parents my daughter – who was 13 at the time – was not only supervising her younger brothers but also doing the cooking and laundry.  I believe home-schooling is the superior academic choice, but it is also a means to prepare your children for life in ways that no other educational model can.

Less than three years after my brother died, the emotional stress resulted in my developing a chronic illness.  While I was still struggling to cope with that illness, I became pregnant with our fourth child – I was 40 years old when our precious bundle came into the world!

As you can gather from this brief review of what was approximately a decade of my life, despite facing numerous challenges – including a devastating tragedy – I managed (by the grace of God, to be sure) to continue home-schooling.  And that is what Homeschooling911 is all about.

I want to be a resource to not only encourage parents to home-school their children, but also to encourage them to continue home-schooling their children, even when the challenges of life intervene (as they surely will).  I am no super-mom; I am simply a mom, like many home-schooling moms, who “stuck it out” regardless.  And if I can do it, you can do it too.

THE CONVERSATION

So talk to me.  Are you facing challenges that make you wonder what in the world you are doing home-schooling your children?  Do you need encouragement?  Share your challenges, encouragement, or random thoughts in the comments.  Or if you want some personalized encouragement, go to my contact page and talk to me there.  I will talk back.

Print This Post Print This Post
  • I was thinking that *homeschooling411* might be a better title – less alarmist if you know what I mean.

    But I checked last week and someone (you?) has already registered the domain.

    Not for anything, but I just had a heck of a time trying to find a new domain name for my new site. Everything is taken!

    • Anonymous

      I do know what you mean and had thought of that myself (and no, I do not own that domain name) – but the domain name seems to get attention and that’s all part of getting noticed and frankly, read! I can pour myself into my posts (which I do) but if no one’s reading, it doesn’t seem to make much sense.

      I can understand your frustration about finding a good home-school domain name. We’ve talked before about how you are accelerating your children’s education. Is there a domain name with the word(s) accelerate/accelerated/acceleration? Am I even spelling accelerate right?! 😉

      • I did find something and I’ll send the link to you when its presentable.

  • Ann

    You mentioned something here that I feel many miss out on. It is amazing how home school conventions make such a difference. I get so excited each year to attend the GHEA Convention the first weekend of May. By that time, we are fighting spring fever and it re-energizes us. I highly recommend attending a convention, even if it is a tiny one. They are fun for the whole family and build excitement for the coming year.

    • I was just thinking the other day how much I would like to attend a homeschooling conference. Just meeting a few local homeschoolers here and there (or online) is such a pleasant experience. So I can imagine a whole conference would be absolutely terrific.

      • Anonymous

        I used to go to the state-wide Florida conference (which is humongous) almost every year. Haven’t been since 2006 when my oldest son attended the high school graduation ceremony they put on every year. One of the great things about the conferences, besides the camaraderie, is the opportunity to preview curriculum. When we went in 2006 I didn’t attend any workshops, but I did take a list of products I wanted to look at, to see if they were something I might want to use.

        As it turned out, some weren’t what I had expected, and others were perfect. But if I hadn’t been able to peruse them before-hand I might have ordered something that I would have not used. I encourage home-schoolers to go to conferences if only for that reason: it is a great way to get a hands-on look at resources you might want to use.

  • Anonymous

    Rambling’s good… 😉

    I am so gratified to know this has helped. I think the best thing to do is to say to yourself, “This too shall pass, this too shall pass!” Even if you go around saying it to yourself so that everyone thinks you are muttering at them or you’re crazy, that’s okay! 🙂

    Whatever you do be good to yourself and your kids and take some breaks to just do some fun things. It will help you deal with the difficulties until your situation improves.

  • Don’t you just love that you can have a bad day and fellow mom/blogger/homeschooler/heroes make it feel better 🙂
    Glad to have found you – we too are in FL
    here from the hop!

    • Anonymous

      Glad you found me too. I’m in Tallahassee. Maybe you’re close enough we could have our own mini-conference! 🙂 Shoot me an e-mail if you get a chance: anne@homeschooling911.com

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for stopping by! You’re a great Twitter friend and it’s always great to hear from you.

    Gotta love the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  • Hmc3898

    Visiting you from Hip Homeschool Hop. I shed a tear reading this post. We lost my father-in-law suddenly and too early almost 3 years ago. It was very difficult having the kids around to “witness” every emotion from us and those around us, but I feel that these life lessons are just as important as the “book” lessons.

    • Anonymous

      I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your father-in-law. In my family we have experienced sudden tragedy (such as the loss of my brother and also my 19-year old niece) and also the death of my father, who battled cancer for six years.

      Both losses are difficult in their own ways. The sudden death of a loved one though really does a number on you, not only emotionally but mentally and physically as well.

      I agree that our children can learn a lot from these situations, by how we deal with them, and also, if they are old enough, by picking up some of the slack as my daughter did.

      Thank you for taking the time to visit. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  • Dave

    Anne, goodness you have faced and overcome some real challenges! what a testament to your character. I fear I might not had coped so well had I faced your circumstances.

    I don’t homeschool but I can see that for those who do, you would be a huge inspiration!

    I just came over to say ‘Hi’ really and thank you for supporting me on Twitter and elsewhere.

    Dave 🙂

  • I think home schooling has its ups and downs but if you have a parent or parents that are fully capable, then why not? Some of the best things I learned in life was from good old mom and dad!

  • Anonymous

    Everything in life has ups and downs, but who loves our kids more than we do? And if we can teach our children everything from: you don’t talk with your mouth full to tying their shoes to their ABC’s, why not to read or do subtraction or label a map?

    It comes down to commitment, and finding the resources to assist you where needed – which I hope my website is doing!

    I really appreciate you stopping by and leaving your comment. It reminds me of the saying about how, once we become adults ourselves, the more our parents seem to know! 🙂

    P.S. If you are subscribed to comments and have received this same comment like, a gajillion times, I apologize. I am having a leetle issue with Disqus at the moment. 🙂

  • Harter

    I also happened on your post through the Hip Homeschool Hop, and my challenge is that neither of my boys view me as a teacher. They have been in public school until now, and they just don’t believe that I am a “teacher” or qualified to teach them… They ask to go back to public school and with my twin daughters who are still 2 it’s hard to deal with the stress of it all. I want to homeschool, but lately I have been wondering why I am doing this…

    • Anonymous

      Without sounding too simplistic, my recommendation would be to not let your sons set the agenda. They are children and do not know what is best.

      Sometimes when parents pull their kids out of school, it takes some time to re-establish the parent/child relationship in a way that makes it conducive to home-schooling. You may want to focus less on the academics and more on relationship and establishing discipline and order.

      Also, getting them involved in some activities with home-schooled kids, say in a co-op or a group class/activity, may go a long towards getting them enthused about home-schooling themselves.

      If you have any specific questions you’d like to discuss you can always e-mail me at: anne@homeschooling911.com. I would love to be of assistance!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for this. It felt like a warm hug 🙂

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome! And thanks for stopping by and sharing. Glad that I could offer a hug.

  • What a story, Anne. You are amazing!

    • Anonymous

      Well thank you! Most days I don’t feel very amazing but when you take the long view, I can see that I have accomplished a lot. My children are my “magnum opus” – they are truly a treasure.

  • Elizabeth

    I need to homeschool my 10 year old son with ADHD and a small learning disability. He is NOT doing well in school but the school refuses to hold him back. He doesn’t even pass the FCAT but they move him on. What I need is some advice on how to financially afford staying home to homeschool. Help!!