Monthly Archives: April 2006

Our Homeschooling Story

I was awarded the honor of being named Texas Homeschool Coalition Leader of the Year, 2006.  They asked me to write a story about our family.  This is what I sent in to be published in the August issue.  You can go to www.THSC.org for more info on them.

Dana

 

Isn’t it funny how many times the plans we make for our lives are so different than the plans that God has for us?  When the idea of homeschooling came to us I came up with my fair share of excuses of as to why I could not and would not do it.  I can’t homeschool!  I hated school.  How can I teach my kids when I can’t remember learning anything myself?  No, my kids deserve a good education; it wouldn’t be fair to them to keep them away from their friends.  They need that socialization.  Everyone will think we are weird.  People who homeschool live out in the country by themselves, have tons of kids, grow their own food & bake their own bread.  That is not me!!   

My name is Dana Bailey and my family is a member of the Frisco HIS homeschool group.  My husband Scott & I have been married for 16 years and we live in McKinney.  Our children are Ashley(15), Sarah(13), Josh(12), Morgan(11), Collin(10), Austin(8), Benjamin(6), Zachary(4), Gracie(1 ½) and Samuel Addison is due early September ’06.

 

When Scott & I were first married, we discussed having 5 or 6 kids, but we never discussed homeschooling.  That was done by those who were legalist radicals.  God had other plans for us & had a lot to teach us about what true homeschooling is.  God placed 2 families in our path over the years that would help to spark the idea of educating our kids.  One of those was a lady I met at my garage sale back in 1994.  We immediately struck up a friendship.  Then I found out she home schooled.  I couldn’t believe it!  She was so normal.  Then I met her family & they were normal too!  When Scott began talking about us homeschooling I still didn’t think I could do it.  I had every excuse in the book for why I couldn’t do that.  Then when it was time to put our first child in kindergarten I just couldn’t do it.  Something deep in my heart said she was not ready.  We later found out that she is gifted with dyslexia and ADD.  That first year, while I’m struggling to teach Ashley to read, my second child, Sarah, learned to read.  I was hooked at that point.  Not only did I enjoy the time spent with my kids, but I loved being the one who saw the light come on in their eyes when they learned something new.  It was priceless.

 

This 05/06 school year marked our 10th year of homeschooling and I can’t tell you how blessed our family has been by it.  I have learned that I was right in the beginning; I can’t homeschool, at least not in my own strength.  Homeschooling has taught my husband & I what it really means to totally depend on God for strength, wisdom and patience. When I am frustrated & ready to put them all on the school bus (that drives by every morning) Scott is always there to remind me that God has called us into this & he will bring us through.  In other words; they are not getting on that bus! Now here we are, 10 years later, and we live in the country, we have tons of kids, we tried to grow our food & I enjoy baking my own bread & milling my own flour.  I would not change a thing.  I never imagined I could have so many children and love it as much as I do.

 I have served in leadership for Frisco HIS (Home Is School) since 2000.  I first began as Field Trip Coordinator.  Then I helped to lead a Smoothing the Way group.  I really loved that.  We saw such a great need in our group to minister to the new homeschoolers coming into our area.  Kim Neve, Debbie Lindstrom & I decided to write a curriculum that would be more of a custom fit for those homeschooling in our area.  We called it “Connections” and it has really blossomed into a mighty ministry.  In 2004 I became the New Homeschool Director and Director of Connections.  This has been a true delight for me as I not only get to share with other moms why I love to homeschool but I also get to help them with the struggles they face, whether it be unsupportive family members, a child who struggles to learn or just trying to find time for themselves amidst the chaos of motherhood. I don’t think I could have homeschooled as long as I have if I hadn’t have had the unwavering support & encouragement of my husband.  His role in our home school is crucial to me.  I hear from so many mothers who want and need the support of their husbands but don’t have it.  I am so blessed!  Being in leadership has really shown me how deep a desire I have to minister to moms. God has placed a burden on my heart for the mom who is struggling to be everything to everyone.  Being a mother is hard enough in today’s society and then adding homeschooling on top of that makes life look impossible for some.  I love encouraging them and letting them know that you can find joy in sticky floors, dirty diapers, & long school days. Then when I am having a bad day some of those same moms I encouraged are able to encourage me.  That is what it is all about!  2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.”  In February, I had the pleasure if working with several other moms to bring a one day conference to the homeschooling moms in our area.  What a blessing it was to know that we were ministering & encouraging the hearts and spirits of these wonderful women in their walk with Christ.  It was a great day! 

I’m so thankful for the privilege to serve through Frisco HIS.  (www.friscohis.org)  It is an awesome group that really minister to the whole family in so many ways.  I’ve never been a part of another support group so I don’t know how they function, I just know that Frisco HIS has ministered to my family & really helped to encourage me in my role as a homeschooling wife and mother. What an honor it is to be selected as THSC Leader of the Year and be able to represent one of the greatest Homeschool Support Groups in Texas!

A Real Day

My day begins early. 

 I rise at 5:30 feeling refreshed and ready for my day.  I head to the kitchen and turn on the coffee pot, then go to my bathroom to get dressed for my morning walk.  After I am dressed I sit down for my prayer & devotions and a cup of coffee. 

 By 6:30 I am out the door for my morning walk with my husband.  We discuss our goals for the day.  After we walk I head to the shower while my husband gets the baby up.  She is her usually happy self as Scott gets her dressed for the day.  He begins waking up the rest of the kids and gets them started on morning chores. 

While I get dressed & put on my make-up I practice reciting the book of Leviticus.  I go into the kitchen & find my family busy about their chores.  They are all dressed and ready for the day.  My girls are busy cooking breakfast while the boys are feeding the dogs & cats.  Scott hands me Gracie who is ready to nurse and he heads to the shower.  By the time Gracie is done breakfast is ready and we all sit down for breakfast.  The girls have prepared fresh OJ, fruit salad, muffins and oatmeal. 

After breakfast we all have Bible and then Scott leaves for work. The kids get all their school work out and without me reminding them, they get busy. 

All of a sudden I hear a baby crying.  I look down at Gracie and it’s not her.  The crying gets louder and louder and I can’t figure out where it is coming from. 

 Finally it is so loud that …I wake up!!! It was all a dream. 

I can still hear a baby crying and realize that it’s Gracie on the moniter.  I roll over & look at the clock..6:30 a.m.  I stumble out of bed and through the house to get Gracie who is very hungry.  Instead of sitting in the living room to nurse I take her back to bed.  Maybe I can get a little more sleep while she nurses.  By 7:00 she is done & I have to get up now because she is crawling all over me & is ready for a clean diaper. 

By 7:30 I am dressed, had some coffee and done a few morning chores.  The kids are waking up by now and making their way into the kitchen for some breakfast.  This morning we are having watermelon and blueberry muffins. They are supposed to get dressed, do chores & then come in to breakfast by 8:00, but not today.   After breakfast we scramble to get Bible started, but wait until after Dad leaves for work.  Dad leaves and I announce that we are starting Bible. 

A bit of commotion is stirring in the Living Room so I go to check it out. I find my cute little students are conducting an experiment in gravity & aero dynamics.  The two oldest boys, Josh & Collin, are swinging the 5 year old, Ben by his arms & legs & throwing him onto the couch.  “Wow! He really went high that time!” I hear Josh cry out.  “O.k. guys that’s enough!  Put Ben down.”  

By the time I get everyone in the room for Bible Gracie is ready to nurse.  She nurses while we discuss our verses and prayer requests. While I am explaining our scriptures  it happened, total chaos finally occurred. Actually I was surprised that it took this long. 

All of a sudden Ben began screaming!  I looked over to find Austin and Ben rolling around on the floor fighting over a truck. 

 “Austin! Ben!  Stop it right now!” I yell. 

 I pick up Ben with his arms and legs still flying and put him on the couch.

  “Austin, give Ben the truck back & you go find another one”

 He brings back the truck except he throws it and hits Ben.  Ben throws it back at Austin but he misses and hits Zachary. Now he is crying.   Ben & Austin are fighting again and now Josh and Collin are wrestling and roll into Ashley which makes her yell at them.  I have had it by now & my top is about to blow.

[ 3..2..1..]”Stop it now!!!  I have had it!  We can’t even have a simple little bible lesson with out you guys spoiling it.(I’m yelling by now)  Do you really think this make Jesus happy?

(still yelling)

  Do you think that you are acting wisely?” 

 “Mom?”  I hear Collin ask from underneath Josh. 

“What Collin?”  I’m still fuming & don’t want any of his silly questions. 

“What do you want Collin?” 

“I was wondering if Jesus can hear you yelling right now?” 

 I take a deep breath, get down off of the fire place hearth and sit down.  “Can we finish our story?” I calmly say even though my heart is still racing. 

Finally, by around 11:00 we finish Bible, pray and go to the table and start their lessons. Finally, I re-gather everyone and we pray & go to the table for book work. Everything is going smoothly.  I put Gracie down for a nap and call Austin in for reading.  Just about the time I begin to think, maybe we will get everything done today,  Ben and Collin begin to fight over colored pencils, Josh disappears, Morgan gets stuck on her math page, Zachary wants a book read to him by Sarah “RIGHT NOW!” and Ashley is ready to run away because of the noise. 

 I get them all satisfied & calmed down & realize that I don’t see Zachary.  I find him in my closet eating my secret chocolate stash.  I guess it’s not a secret.  I give up & sit down to eat chocolate with him. 

Believe it or not, everyone got their school work done and chores finished with a smile on their face.  It is now time to sit for a moment.  I get up ready to start working on dinner & my chores and there stands my husband in the doorway of my room, home early for the first time in weeks. 

“What have you been doing today?” he asks with a big grin.  

I answer “Oh, not much, how about you?”  “Me either” He answers.