Our oldest son was born in 1991, and by 1993 he had been diagnosed with a serious peanut allergy. We dealt with it vigilantly, carrying an Epipen Jr. with us and Benadryl liquid to administer immediately upon exposure. His reaction began rapidly escalating to anaphylaxis quickly. Taking his allergy seriously has saved his life. I recall the exact words of the pediatric allergist, “the hardest thing will be when you send him to school”…and I replying…”then maybe we won’t send him”!! not really knowing we would take the route of home schooling at the time. The doctor then commented, he had many patients’ families that home schooled….Wow, where was this coming from?! I contacted the local grade school with my concerns on how my son’s allergy would be managed and wasn’t at all confident when I heard the difficulties they faced, just in order to administer a life saving shot, which in my son’s case would have to happen quick. ….Rewind to a few months before the allergy struck….
….my husband returned home from work one day when our oldest son was just around 19 months old, with a flyer on “home schooling” and some seminar we could attend, as well as the time and date of a radio show featuring home schooling. My comment: “WHAT is home schooling?? And why are people doing that???”
To make my husband happy we attended the seminar and it was there I met a particular friend whom I’ve remained in friendship still to this day. That was at least 20+ years ago now. I made a good friend and made the decision to consider home schooling more seriously in my heart as our life plan of education. When the peanut allergy struck and the pediatric allergist mentioned home schooling and we had attended a seminar to learn about it….God’s plan for us suddenly became very clear. I had to home school. It was a YES to God’s plan for this family. It was not MY WILL, but HIS WILL. I think this is one reason why we have been able to successfully truly home school because God is in the lead and the graces and wisdom ad resources, even finances we have needed to do so, have remarkably showered down on us.
Later, another couple began to come to our parish and they were home schooling their young family. Soon, I began to become surrounded by Catholic home schooling families in our own parish, up to seven families and we formed a small mother’s nurture group. I can not tell you how much that group formed me in the ways of authentic femininity and authentic Catholic home schooling, both complimenting and supporting each ideology nicely as a stay at home mother, busy with God (parish activities) and family (now including home education). To this day, I come across the group agendas and materials we discussed, tapes we listened to, edifying material that truly embedded in me a foundation that has sustained me through all these years of home schooling and well into the college years with my older children, and continues to urge my heart forward when I feel weary or old on this path. Something encouraging and refreshing comes my way with the mere memory of womanly support of Godly women that surrounded me and held me up all those years, meeting after meeting.
In later years, we’ve faced two special needs children in their own unique ways, my two youngest sons; one with OCD which was very difficult to manage in the beginning, but has made great progress in the last couple years, and our son with high functioning autism, who can be very tricky to manage but with lots of one on one academic and social care, is progressing nicely as well. Putting these children’s needs first has been paramount to their success and recovery. Sometimes closing out the rest of the world for a while and staying put, staying home, is needed as the prescription to benefit them. I am grateful to all the information available on spectrum disorders and a curriculum that is still forming these special children in their awesome Catholic faith, while educating them for their futures as well.
As I ponder our humble beginnings in home schooling, and how I was totally ignorant of what home schooling even was….and am in AWE of how God spoke to us, how we opened our hearts to him and he led us on this path. As difficult as it was in the beginning with our son’s peanut allergy, I ponder the fact that maybe God wasn’t only saving His life, by leading us to this path, but saving his soul, and the souls of his family.
“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live..” Deut. 30:19