Our oldest son is now 22. We homeschooled him through his whole life. He never stepped foot in a school building.
I taught him phonics, reading, basic math and read lots of library books to him when he was young. We did some little workbooks when he was little.
As he grew I started reading long chapter books to him. One of the first chapter books I read to him was Tarzan. As he listened to the story, he began to realize that he could picture the characters and action in his mind, and he really enjoyed it. At that point, he realized that reading is fun, and he decided he wanted to do more of it for himself.
But I still kept reading aloud to him, too. We both enjoyed sharing the experience of a good story together.
As he got older, we continued reading together and the discussions that came with it. We hardly ever interrupted a story because we both wanted to know what would happen next. We almost always read more than one chapter. Then Shawn would usually have lots of ideas and opinions to expound upon. We had some great discussions. He was making connections and building vocabulary and expressing his thoughts clearly and organizing and clarifying his thoughts, exploring concepts, making the knowledge his own, and developing his own philosophy and understanding of life and relationships and lots of other important concepts.
The other children joined in on our read-aloud time as they got older, and they would hear Shawn’s discourses and our discussions, so he became my “assistant teacher”.
He became a really good speaker. And later on, he became a good writer. He was a good thinker all along.
He took on the responsibility of making his younger siblings do their chores each day. He held them accountable to do the chores that they were assigned each day. He learned how to encourage them to do things they didn’t want to do first and then they would have free time to do what they wanted.
Through all of this we continued our read-aloud time. We kept a close bond through this.
As a family we went through some confounding, bewildering, disturbing changes as my husband lost his job after 9/11 and we went through a time of living totally by faith, since God told him not to try to find another job. We started praying together as a family every day. Shawn put together a list of scriptures and prayed them every day. He did this so much he memorized them and didn’t need the paper anymore. He became a strong spiritual support for the whole family.
God sustained us supernaturally for 4 years, but then He allowed us to lose our home even though we tried to sell it and did all we knew to do in the natural and prayed for wisdom through the whole experience. We had prayed dangerous prayers for a baptism of fire and that the Lord would change us to be fit for the ministry with signs and wonders following. The baptism of fire consisted of being homeless, having very little money, leaving the place we had always lived, driving to Arizona only to discover that wasn’t really the land of our dreams after all, finally settling in a place that none of us really liked for 3 years in a state of poverty, finally being released from poverty but still not being settled in one place, moving 5 times in 5 years, and more.
Shawn learned that God is our source, He will take care of us even when we are rejected by everyone else, God wants us to get to know Him and His ways, His word is our guide, we need to consult Him about everything, we are in a battle with an enemy that hates us and is relentless, and much more.
He taught his siblings. He taught me. He read from Hebrew writings and learned about deeper things in the scriptures than any of us had ever been taught. He shared with us the things that he learned.
He read books that I wouldn’t even attempt and really enjoyed them. He read the works of Shakespeare, Dante and Chesterton because he wanted to.
He helped with each new baby that came along. He held them, played with them, talked to them, and even changed a few diapers (just the wet ones).
We bumped heads when he was really young, and I tried to make him sit at the table and do workbook pages. But when we changed to mostly me reading good books to him and then having books available that he knew he was expected to finish by the end of the year or so, our days became more pleasant. When he was about 10 years old, he made the decision to just get his school work done and then he could have the rest of the day to do what he wanted. From then on, that’s what he did, and we got along just fine.
We had a difficult time finding a math curriculum that worked for him for Geometry. He did pretty well with the other books I had chosen for him up until we reached Geometry. He never loved math, but he did okay in it.
He couldn’t get past the obstacle of Geometry and stopped studying math for quite a while.
Then one day, he discovered that he enjoyed learning about financial matters and investment.
He started studying these things on his own. He learned a lot and came to the point where he was ready to invest. I got a little inheritance and gave it to him to invest. We set up an investment account for him, he chose the companies he wanted to invest in, and his investments have been doing very well.
He met a man who had developed a system for trading, and now they are working together on stock market trading. Shawn does the research and finds the trade opportunities.
All along we have prayed that God would show Shawn what He wants him to do as a job or career and guide him. I prayed that God would show us hidden gifts and talents.
When Shawn discovered this love of studying finances, I was shocked. Math was never my strong suit and never his favorite subject, but God answered our prayer and revealed a hidden gift in Shawn.
And recently, a friend at church told us about a job that Shawn might be interested in. Shawn pursued it and they asked him to come to see the place, which he did. Then about a month later, they called and asked him to come and work for them. I didn’t even make a diploma or a transcript for him. Gary did help him put together a resume and a T letter, matching his skills with their requirements. Shawn had never had an official job before, he had no work experience, but he got a job that paid $15/hr!
The fact that he was homeschooled worked in his favor because the man that he works with homeschools his children with his wife.
Now he’s a working man. He works full-time. He is learning lots of machine shop skills, and getting paid while he learns them. He is learning how to wire things for electricity. He’s learning the things he never had a chance to learn because of the nomadic lifestyle we have lived during most of his life. These are skills that will transfer to real life and prepare him to have his own home and take care of his own family.
So even though he didn’t go to college (he never considered it), he is getting paid a pretty good wage and learning on the job and still doing the trading and investing while making money so that he can invest more. And he owes no debt. And he didn’t have to go through the corrupt system or endure the false teaching and immorality that fills the colleges and universities.
This is the way that God led Shawn. We give God all the glory.
I tell this story to encourage homeschoolers that we don’t have to do things the world’s way.
Especially now, as Common Core is spreading its tentacles through the whole educational system of America, I want to offer hope that God can take your children by a different way and lead them into a career or business without having to pass tests or jump through hoops or go through the world’s system at all.