Faithful Family Friday //The Mulders// 9-14-18

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Rachael James Mulder

@peachjams

I have never been one who just goes with the mainstream flow. I used to roll glitter all over my entire face from a mint chocolate chip Bath and Body Works glitter stick and wear my hair in buns all over my head so I could stand out a little bit in my uniform-wearing middle school. Luckily I’ve stopped doing that, but when I had kids my passion and questioning of the “norm” amplified by about 1,000. It didn't take long before I knew I wanted to homeschool. I’m not crafty, organized, or particularly patient and my attempts to start teaching my oldest son during his preschool years crashed and burned. Now a few years later, I have four boys ages 6, 4, and 2-year old twins. The first two years of my twins life, even though my oldest son was “kindergarten” age, school did not happen. As his “kindergarten year” rolled on and the “homeschooling” stood still, I started to question everything. Could I really do this? There were a few dark months where I cried daily, overwhelmed with doubt. I researched all the schools around and called the public schools and nothing ever felt right. As I kept putting one feeble, weak step in front of the other, things began to improve and now, with my oldest son just starting first grade and my younger son in preschool, our daily devotional and school are my favorite parts of the day (besides my bath and chocolate reserves at the end of the night, of course😀). It has been difficult to try to overcome feelings of failure, comparison, and doubt, but the further I deepen my “why” of homeschooling, the more passionate about it I become and honestly the easier it becomes. I’m not homeschooling because of what public school is not; I homeschool because of what homeschooling IS. The Spirit has testified to me many times to keep going and has gently guided me along the way, providing each next step for me as I blindly move forward. We have a daily morning and as we start our day with our foundation on Jesus Christ, those tender moments carry us throughout the day. I feel strongly that the devotional is the most important part of our day as we focus on Christ. I love the freedom homeschool brings. I love the time it gives us to deepen our relationships as a family. I love how we can go on spontaneous adventures and spend the whole day outside if we’d like. I believe that side by side with Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost we are POWERFUL and can bring up our children in truth and light, and when we truly believe that, we have nothing to fear. 

Faithful Family Friday //The Jeffs// 8-31-18

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Melissa Jeffs

@seethejeffslearn

I think we can all agree that the world is changing. It has become a little scarier than it was when I went to school - or maybe that's because I have a Mama's heart now. It wasn't until about six months ago that I had this urge to educate my little guy at home. It wasn't out of fear, but a feeling of necessity. (I hear you Holy Ghost!) And although my guy is a fresh little Kindergartner, we do have some traditional schooling under our belt. We enrolled him in the local Christian preschool to give him a good religious foundation to his schooling. But, little by little, I learned the different principles he was being taught from what I truly wanted him to know. When I was prompted to educate my son at home, this quote taught by Harold B. Lee from his BYU Speech titled "Be Loyal to the Royal Within You," replayed in my mind: “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.” I realized that I didn't have to give up the reigns to teach and mold my son if I didn't want to. That doesn't have to stop just because school starts. Of course I have feelings of inadequacy and fear, but I once heard somewhere that the opposite of light is fear. So I'm holding onto the light and letting Heavenly Father guide me. Even if there's only one thing my son learns from me, I want him to learn this: I want him to know who he is and who his Heavenly Father is. I want him to know love. 

Faithful Family Friday //The De Araujos// 6-22-18

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Kaycee De Araujo

@redbrickschoolhouse


“When we started our family, living in a neighborhood zoned for highly rated schools was of utmost priority to us. My husband and I had every intention on sending our children to public schools. The year my daughter started preschool we were house hunting and I received a strong impression that the schools would not matter and not to make that a high priority on our search for a home. At the time I didn’t directly equate that impression to mean we would homeschool but it was the first time homeschooling came to my mind as a possible option. I started researching curricula and asking loaded questions to homeschooling moms but I had so many fears about it and we ended up sending our daughter to a private Montessori preschool. When the time for Kindergarten arrived I was still apprehensive to homeschool and we enrolled our daughter into a public school. In many ways public school was good. She was learning, she enjoyed school, and she had a wonderful nurturing teaching but she was getting burned out and was too exhausted most days to talk to us about her day. I was tired too. One day I even crumpled up the reading chart her teacher had given me and threw it the garbage. I knew how important reading was but I was tired of seeing an empty reading chart month after month. My daughter was spending nearly 40 hours each week in public school and I was trying to cook dinner, help her with homework, shuffle extracurricular activities, church callings, and the needs of both her and her younger siblings into just a few hours a day and I just couldn’t realistically read to her like I wanted to. We also struggled to find time for regular teachings of Christ in our home. During rare occasions our daughter would talk to us about events from school and my husband and I realized that the world was teaching her the ways of the world faster than we could teach her the ways of the Lord and we had to find a way to slow down that influence. We wanted to establish our home as a house of learning and strengthen our family relationships. In order to accomplish these things, my husband and I determined that we would have to “forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” -Dallin H. Oaks. Through much research, contemplation, and prayer we determined that sending our daughter to public school was “good” sending her to a charter school was “better” but homeschooling her was the “best” option for us at this season in life. We decided to pull her out of public school in the middle of her Kindergarten year and what a blessing this journey has been. Homeschooling has not been without challenges but it has enabled us time to have a Christ-centered home, read to our kids, and has helped us strengthen our family relationships and communication and so much more. I was afraid to homeschool and now I pray everyday that Heavenly Father allows me to continue this lifestyle for many years to come.”

Faithful Family Friday //The Dotsons// 6-15-18

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Katie Dotson

@dotsonlove


I never even considered homeschooling my children until my oldest was in second grade. We were having a rough time with him at school and it was causing so much pain & stress on him. It was so hard to see my curious, creative, bright boy turn into someone else. Someone who doubted himself & his abilities. It broke my heart. For a few weeks I would get these little thoughts about homeschooling but I would dismiss them right away. “Homeschooling? Me? I can’t teach my kids what they need!!!” But after a while the promptings became stronger & stronger until I couldn’t push them aside any longer. I began praying about what to do. And after finally opening up to what Heavenly Father had been trying to tell me for so long, I knew that homeschool was what we were supposed to do. I remember the evening I decided to bring it up to my husband & tell him what I was feeling. I brought up homeschooling & he got this look on his face. He said that he happened upon a radio show that day while at work that was all about homeschooling & had listened to the whole thing. He had had his own prompting that homeschooling could be Tge answer to our worries with our son’s schooling. I was so overwhelmed with this amazing feeling of peace & knew right then that homeschool was the path for our family.

I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father has faith in me to teach His children the things they need to know to succeed in not just this life but also the next. This is my calling as their mother. He need me to teach & nurture His children. I love each day I get to spend learning & growing with my children.

Faithful Family Friday //The Nelsons// 6-1-18

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Katie Nelson

@nelsoncrewadventures

Fear is an interesting thing; it creeps in and makes you believe you aren’t capable or the responsibility is too big, so why try. Faith is the opposite; it is full of hope, willingness, and optimism to move forward. When I started getting promptings to homeschool our children I was full of fear. I talked with the Lord daily about all the reasons it wouldn’t be a good idea for our family, yet the promptings kept coming. One day while I was curling my hair and having another prayer conversation with the Lord, I listed all the cons of homeschooling. Suddenly, I heard Him say, “But if I asked you, would you?” My instant reply, “Yes.” I can never deny the reality of that clear question and the way it made me feel. I didn’t understand all the reasons but I knew that He knew, and He would guide me throughout this experience. 

I’m happy to report that my biggest fears have become some of my greatest JOYS! Many of the things I feared never became a reality. 

Our family’s new reality focuses more on the Savior, good books, slowing down, togetherness, more memories, and of course academics. 

He is guiding our family, no doubt. I am striving to move forward with faith. 

Faithful Family Friday //The Evans Family// 5-18-18

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Tessa Evans

@tessalevans

Before we had children of our own I was a preschool teacher and I loved it.  So when our babies came, it seemed natural to preschool them at home but for some reason the idea of homeschooling our children after preschool was not even on our radar.  There were always little things I didn't necessarily agree with or love about public education, but overall we loved our neighborhood elementary and the administration and teachers there and our children were all doing well, so we never really questioned that path.  But three years ago, a small, seemingly insignificant family conversation on a car ride sparked the idea that maybe we wanted something different, something more for our children's education.  We had a high school freshman, a 7th grader, 4th grader, 1st grader a kindergartner and an infant and absolutely no idea where to begin!  We felt like our two oldest would not be open to the idea and were already settled and doing well so we kept them in public school and pulled the middle three.  As we started to navigate this new world that had opened up to us, our older girls started seeing the things we were learning and began asking if they should have learned these things already.  They then decided that they'd like to try part time homeschool and by the time the next school year rolled around, they had decided to homeschool full time.  At first, we thought we were simply changing the methods and location where our children learned but along the way we discovered a whole new way of life, a life full of curiosity and freedom and a desire to seek for knowledge from the world around us.  Suddenly it wasn't just about our children's education but ours as well and it was like our eyes were opened to so much we had missed before.  We have adopted the word SEEK as our motto, using the scriptures as our guide in how and what to seek.  We have also loved the way this lifestyle has given us more opportunity to connect God and his plan to everything else we are learning.  Scripture, song and prayer are a daily part of our education and spiritual discussion blends seamlessly with every topic (on the good days anyway!).   It has been a hard, joyful and liberating journey so far and we are continually amazed at the way that little car ride conversation has changed our lives.  It's not always wonderful and I'm constantly trying to tweek one thing or another, but we love it and are so thankful to be spending this time learning, exploring and discovering alongside our children.

Faithful Family Friday //The Pembertons// 5-25-18

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Rachel Pemberton

@mudnroses

Even since before having kids, I had thoughts of homeschooling when the time came. God was working on my heart even then! When our oldest started kindergarten, we decided to homeschool, but I didn’t have a homeschool community to learn from and was going in pretty blindly. It went fine, but I constantly worried about my abilities and if I was doing enough for my son. Halfway through the year, we moved to my hometown. Because we knew many people at the elementary school, we decided to put him in public school for the rest of kindergarten. My oldest deals with some anxieties, and every day became a fight to get him there.  He would be tears almost every day as I left him. It was hard on him and on my heart. We were blessed with his amazing teacher, but I still could not get homeschool out of my mind. My husband and I had many late night talks, and I prayed and studied a lot. We decided that homeschooling was the right choice for our family at this time. With 4 boys under 7, including a new baby, I have relied a lot on my Heavenly Father to help me know what to teach, how to go about it, and to keep my chin up on tough days. Our days are crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not the kind of crazy where we are constantly running out the door and in the car all day. It is a sweet kind of crazy that comes with a houseful is energetic little boys, smiles, laughs, and plenty of tears and arguments. We are learning as we go, and I still doubt myself often. But, I am leaning to let go of the idea that I am not good enough to teach my children, to stop comparing and to be guided through prayer. I love the quote, “every day may not be good, but there is good in every day.” That applies so well to homeschool life. There is nothing like seeing your child’s face light up when something clicks, watching them discover and learn and grow. Sure, there are lots of hard moments, when I want to throw in the towel and wonder what we are doing. But the good and the beautiful far outweighs the hard. This time with small children can seem so tiring and heavy at times to us moms, but they are only small for such a short time. I won’t always be the one he comes to for kisses when he gets hurt, he won’t always want me to lay by him, and soon he will be taller than me. I have only been a mother for 7 years, but I already know it goes by all too quickly. I love how homeschool gives me the chance to be absolutely present in the lives of my children and to cherish these years when they are small.

Faithful Family Friday //The Burtons// 5-11-18

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Catalina Burton

@raisingbilingualchildren

"As a bilingual, military family we were a little worried about our children’s future. Moving every three years or so,  it is exciting as it is also hard for so many families and children in the military (leaving friends, families, home, schools, etc… behind). And sometimes you have to say good bye to Daddy for 9 months or more. Finding the right schools for our children was one of many reasons for our family to homeschool, as is also finding as much time to spend together as a FAMILY. I have to also add that we really, really wanted to maintain their Spanish language with our children.  For these reasons we decided to homeschool.  I’m from Chile and my husband is from Washington D.C. area, he served a mission in Spain and when we met our first date was completely in Spanish. Til this day, we have never stopped speaking Spanish and now with our two children.  One is 4 1/2  and 15 months old, they are 100% bilingual and following two different curriculums for Homeschooling (sometimes I’m not sure how I do this?). It isn’t always easy to find a lot of resources to teach in Spanish, but I have been lucky enough to find what our children need and been able to teach in two languages.  My oldest just finished Preschool,  it was a LOT of work and dedication each day for her school lessons as well as extra activities outside the house. It was also a great year to know my children more than ever before, learning together, enjoying each other’s company and focus on what really matters for our family.  I know we are doing Gods work and I can feel it when we are able to sit down every day together to snuggle and read a book, especially the scriptures with my children and talks about Heavenly Father and praying together.  It isn’t like this every single day, some days are harder than others, but mostly the days are rewarding and our family feels closer than ever before." 

Faithful Family Friday //The Jones Family// 5-4-18

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Maren Jones

@j9homestead

When we first started on this homeschool journey, I would get a little nervous about that inevitable question from friends, family & surprisingly-even strangers:  "So, what made you decide to homeschool?"  I would get nervous, because in the beginning I was so unsure of myself & I had several answers floating around in my mind.  Some not so politically correct answers.  I would usually answer something a little vague & move on.  But the more I thought about it, a very clear answer came to me.  I am homeschooling because that is what my Heavenly Father wants for our family in this season of our lives.  I find so much peace & strength in that knowledge, it buoys me up on those really hard days.  They are few & far between, but we have them just like everyone else.  Knowing that this is what my Heavenly Fathers wants me to do & focus on right now, gives me the peace of mind to know that not only will He help me through it & do it everyday, but that He will make up the difference in ALL the ways I am found lacking. And oh boy- there are a lot!  I am fully aware that I can't teach my children everything, and that's okay.  I know that if I focus on loving my children as He would, leading them to their own testimonies of Him & our Savior Jesus Christ, building our eternal relationships, teaching & modeling service & charity...that everything will workout in the end.  The grace of God is a mighty powerful tool that I have on my side...something I am thankful for everyday. 

Faithful Family Friday //The Gardners// 4-20-18

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Kristie Gardner

@pebbles38gmailcom

 The Lord must know it takes me a long time to figure things out, because I started to have thoughts of homeschool when my first was only about 2 years old. My husband and I had talks about it, but nothing serious cause it seemed so far in the future. The promptings continued and were stronger and stronger. I knew I needed to pray and get my answer. It wasn't that hard to follow my answer to homeschool my oldest. He had not loved kindergarten and was excited to homeschool. Although I was nervous, I felt calm and at peace with it. My husband, at the time, was not necessarily for homeschool.  He didn't feel he had gotten an answer either way, and gave me totally trust that I had received the answer to try it out. 

Fast forward a few years and the promptings started again strong to pull my daughter out. She is special needs and had attended a school for that for 3 years and then had attended public school for 2 years. I was scared. Scared of the unknown, scared to mess up, scared of rejection. I was honestly  scared whether I could teach her and give her the help she needed, So many worries and reasons I shouldn't would run through my head. I felt the devil on my shoulder was doing his best to shout as loud as he could all the reasons and insecurities I had. Was I patient enough? Was I smart enough?  Would my children be okay socially? Would they fall behind? On and on...The biggest lie that I felt Satan was yelling at me was that somehow others would be better able to teach, help, and love her, and my other children, better than their own mother could?!  I wrestled with this for a few months. When I came to the decision to homeschool her and told her SPED teacher my plan, what peace filled me. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. So many tears were shed but as I made my decision, I felt the Spirit strengthen me.  This does not mean it has been easy. My insecurities still creep in, frustrations come and go, moments of wanting to throw in the towel with homeschool happen. But, as I humble myself and turn to the Lord for guidance and strength, He ALWAYS answers. Some come through a friend, a stranger, an Insta post. But most often as I take time to listen, to be still long enough to let the Spirit talk, I am given ideas and thoughts of what to do or not do. I have such a strong testimony that God has total faith in us to do HIs will. He has such faith in our abilities and will help us to recognize them and strengthen them as we turn to Him for help. "The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and the privilege of life" David O McKay

This journey has been one of reaching and refining for me and my family. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to have my children close, to teach them the good and the beautiful of all things. I am grateful for the me being reminded of all the good and beautiful. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who has trust in me to allow me to not only raise His children, but to teach them  each day. 

Faithful Family Friday //The Jenks// 4-13-18

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Ashlee Jenks

@4boysandamum

The day that I felt the spirit plant the idea of homeschooling in my heart was lifechanging. Trying to figure out this ride has been arduous for me, but extremely rewarding and fulfilling. This quote by Elder Packer pretty much sums it up for me, “No teaching is equal, more spiritually rewarding, or more exalting than that of a mother teaching her children.” I have felt inadequate a lot, and can’t seem to get it right at times, but I have learned that it’s not about getting it all right. It’s about the journey. As we invite the spirit through prayer, and include the gospel into our daily homeschool activities, discussions, and studies, I can see and feel how the Lord is working in each of us, especially me as the mother. I fall to my knees every morning asking for my Heavenly Father’s help, guidance, and direction. He is refining me and helping me see in a higher way than I ever have before. He is building, and even mending, deficient relationships. He is creating something I NEVER could have created with my children had I ignored the spirit’s direction. He is helping me learn how to warm my children’s hearts to prepare them for their life’s mission, because in all of this I have learned that any success in life doesn’t mean much if we don’t know how to see with spiritual eyes. Trust me when I say that I was once that person who said she could NEVER homeschool. The spirit completely changed my heart. That’s what homeschooling is about—changing hearts. He has taught me that I CAN do this with His help, and that He will fill in all the places where I severely lack. This journey isn’t about making my kids book smart.  It’s about learning His ways, and instilling that in my children, because His way is the only way to find real meaningful success in any endeavor.