By Rosanna Ward
My adventure with homeschooling began in 1984. I was spending the summer in Beaumont, Texas with cousins. About halfway through the summer my dad called and asked me how I would feel if they took me out of school and taught me at home.
I had just completed my seventh grade year, and it was rough, socially speaking. I am an introvert at heart, and my quietness somehow made me the brunt of typical pre-adolescent teasing. I was in the gifted program and made mostly A’s, but I hated the whole school atmosphere. I had never heard of such a thing as homeschooling, but I immediately loved the idea. I loved the idea of studying at my own pace and not having to deal with mean kids at school every day.
I enjoyed being homeschooled. We used Alpha Omega workbooks, and I enjoyed going through them as fast as I wanted to, learning at my own pace. In addition, my dad liked to “lecture” us on History, Religion, Philosophy, German, and a few other subjects. As a somewhat typical teenager, I didn’t appreciate the length of his lectures, but I gained a very broad education. I also was able to spend as much time as I wanted reading on my own and learning things that interested me. Along the way, I discovered I had a real love of learning.
At the age of 16, I started taking college classes at Oral Roberts University (ORU), and I had no problem becoming a full-time university student by the spring of 1988. I enjoyed college, but my interests were so varied at the time that I found it difficult to settle on a major. In the end, I graduated with a B.S. in Recreation Administration, but I have since discovered that my real passion is History and Genealogy.
My homeschool experience was a positive one. I also knew it was something I wanted to do when I became a parent, because I wanted my children to develop the same love of learning that I had discovered. Seventeen years later, I was finally able to start fulfilling that dream.
It was 2005: Our daughters Hannah and Virginia were 12 and 10, and our son Joel was born that year. I was planning to stay home with him, so it was the perfect time to begin homeschooling the girls. It was definitely an answer to prayer.
The first year was rough. Hannah wasn’t at all convinced she wanted me to teach her, and it took some adjustment for the whole family. But it was what we saw happening with Hannah in the school environment in particular that led us to take the leap into the homeschool world.
Both girls had been exemplary students in school, had received good grades, and their teachers loved them. But we had noticed that during Hannah’s fifth grade year, she began to pull away from the family — and even her sister, whom she had always been close to. Suddenly it was all about what her friends thought, not what her family thought. School itself had become boring to her — she wasn’t allowed to advance in her studies beyond the classroom pace. And we were beginning to notice some wrong attitudes developing in both girls. We knew it was time.
One of the greatest things about our homeschooling experience during these past six years has been the flexibility and family togetherness it has given us. We own a donut shop, and my husband, Jason, works early morning hours. With a typical school schedule, he wouldn’t get to spend very much time with the kids, but because we homeschool, he is able to be around them much more. The girls are back to being the best of friends, and they even enjoy helping out with their younger brothers. Joel is starting first grade this year, and about a year ago, Leif was born into the family.
Having God at the center of our family — and our individual lives — is the No. 1 priority in our family. Discipleship and training is the responsibility of the parents. In order to do that successfully, you have to be there, you have to invest the necessary time. Some days this feels like a real sacrifice, but the rewards are so great!
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, “You shall love the Lord our God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Along the way we have discovered many other reasons why we love the homeschooling lifestyle: Creativity, travel, field trips, spending more time on the subjects we love, finishing early, no early buses to catch, no homework (it’s all “home work”), fun craft days, movie days, science experiments, history projects, taking “fun” days instead of snow days, and being able to participate in the family business are just a few of many amazing experiences we share.
— Rosanna Ward is a devoted wife of almost 19 years and mother of four children, two of which are currently homeschooled. Her oldest daughter has graduated, and her youngest son is a toddler. She is a homeschool graduate and has been homeschooling for six years. Rosanna loves to study History and Genealogy, and currently resides in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.