This year will be my 8th year as a homeschooler, which I find amazing as I still feel like I am a newbie. I started out in California in a Homeschooling Charter School for a few years. That was a good experience, because I had support and learned that it wasn’t as hard as it sounded. We made the move to a much smaller town in Colorado and I found myself on my own. I was thrilled because I didn’t have to submit any more paperwork to “prove” that my kids were learning, but I also felt like my support network had been pulled out from under me.
I found out about an all-inclusive group that met weekly and started attending just so my kids would have some other kids to play with. When they said all-inclusive they meant exactly that. Through the years we have become friends with people from a variety of faiths including Catholic, Buddhist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lakota, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Mother Earth. We became the Mormons on the list.
In addition, our friends run the gamut of careers from Cowboys, Indians, and Pastors, to CNN reporters, Newspaper Publishers, Librarians, Trash Men, Gardeners and City Managers. I never cease to marvel at all the interesting people there are in the world. We have been exposed to abandoned kittens watched over by a family who run their own non-profit animal shelter, bison on a ranch managed by another family, and silver-smithing by a Catholic family in the basement of a Catholic church.
When we started this homeschooling journey, I lived in a protected little LDS world, which I loved and was a wonderful life. On the path that we have travelled since, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone into a new and wonderfully broadening world.
The lesson that started out as explaining to my boys why that boy has long hair and an earring as a part of his culture, deepened into such a strong friendship that we travelled 11 hours to South Dakota and the Crazy Horse Monument with friends who were related to him to learn from their experiences. This was after we visited them in Utah and discussed how visiting the This is the Place Monument had inspired them to move back to their roots.
My kids have played with friends who have such faith in the Lord that when their daughter was born without legs or arms, they have found joy in the journey of discovering what she is able to do with a foot that has three toes. They are a lesson to us every time we are with them.
We have had the discussion many times that other people don’t believe the way that we do, and so don’t always live our standards, but they are still are brothers and sisters and great people. It’s taught us to look beyond tattoos to see the good hearts but still hold to our own rods that we’ve been blessed to be given.
Our homeschooling journey is filled with textbooks and computer programs, but as I look back over the years, I see we have had another kind of learning. I hope to keep having new lessons for the next 8 years.
Larissa has homeschooled her children Brandon-12, Andrew-10, Connor-8, Nicole-5, and Danielle-5 months, from the very beginning. She has recently entered the world of blogging and enjoys the creative outlet. Her blog The Responsible Woman includes blogs on all her interests including art, music, reading, cooking and learning. She enjoys having a learning home most of the time, despite more than a few rough days.