Not long ago, Kristy Horner joined the HSLDA family as a special needs consultant. Kristy and her husband Chris reside in Gerrardstown, WV, where they homeschool their twins, Gabriella and Griffin. She has over 10 years of teaching experience within her local public school system—in both a traditional and nontraditional classroom—to include typically developing students, struggling learners, and those with intellectual disabilities. Kristy has contagious joy and enthusiasm. Her passion for homeschooling and bringing Christian education to other families has made advocating for home education a priority. She also enjoys reading, participating in the Jefferson County Christian Homeschool Co-Op, writing, and spending time with her family. Please enjoy her reflections as they began their homeschool adventure this last fall, 2015. -Krisa Winn
Today, I felt sad and guilty that we homeschool for the first time ever. Staring at my coffee cup, I ponder what just happened. It is one day before the big yellow bus will appear in our small rural housing development, and all of the kids will be climbing aboard in new shoes, with backpacks crammed full of fresh school supplies and their nervous smiles. We here at the Windy Hill Academy are creating our homeschool t-shirts and enjoying our own kind of back to homeschool celebration, including doing a happy dance that all of our favorite places won’t be crowded. My son is laughing as he tells me how much he can’t wait to start cursive handwriting in 2nd grade. A dream come true! I knew this homeschooling adventure would rock their world!
I look to my daughter and wait for her always animated explanation of what she’s excited about, and she has tears streaming down her face. I’m instantly confused. The words are still echoing in my head: “Mommy, why do we have to be homeschooled? I want to go to school.” She couldn’t even look at me. What did she just say? How did this happen? Wasn’t it fun? Doesn’t she like sleeping in and setting her own schedule? What about all of those amazing field trips? I have always loved that my kids love homeschooling, so exactly how did we, of all people, get here?
I took a deep breath. I’ve heard these stories and deep down wondered if one day it would happen to us. It only took a few minutes for her to confess why she wanted to go to public school. Her big brown eyes with all sincerity said to me, “I love homeschooling, but I want to put my things in a backpack and pack my lunch.” My jaw dropped as I felt a shield of relief encompass my entire being. I tried not to chuckle … a backpack and a lunchbox? Of course! And so we shall, we shall buy a hot pink and black backpack with matching lunchbox, and off we go!
That was my journal entry exactly one year ago today. (And before I get too far ahead, know that we bought the best backpack ever and she proudly packed it full and toted it every single day to our kitchen table with a smile. Crisis averted.) I felt sad and guilty when she uttered those words “I want to go to school”, mostly because I felt like I’d failed her already. I made a vow to not let that happen. The more I thought about it, I wondered how something so small and seemingly insignificant could impact her homeschool experience. I guess the little things really do matter in the scheme of things.
It occurred to me that each child needs a backpack on their journey. Day by day, it may not seem like you’re making a difference, but every skill and experience you pack in that backpack will take them further in life, even the ones that seem insignificant.
So add in a lunchbox of family meal times together, a pencil pouch full of bedtime stories, a few notebooks of adventure and knowledge, and the one Book that matters. Let their thermos overflow with confidence, cram it in, and hope that backpack zips. For one day when they are little fish in a big, big pond, they’re going to need to reach inside and pull out their survival gear. It will be then that they are able to reflect on all those small important things and moments and realize exactly how much they matter. They can put it all together to make a difference. They will understand what is bigger and what is important. So, the question is…what are you putting in your child’s backpack?
Photo Credit: Graphic Design by Charity Klicka.