…Homeschooling Chose Me
by: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
We seriously thought homeschooling was strange. I had no concept of homeschooling. I could not comprehend why anyone would want to “force” their children to stay home all day!
Well, there we were nearly eight years ago when our son, Jaden, was five. He was in a preschool not far from our house and it was time to look into kindergarten.
We were living in California at the time. Our public school option was not a great option for us. But that was okay. We lived right next door to a thriving charter school that everyone wanted their children to be in. Living right next door was a no-brainer for us to be accepted by the school, right?
Me and my husband Omar went through the necessary paperwork. We went on the tour and confidently waited to learn that Jaden would be attending kindergarten next door to our home.
A few months had gone by when we received a letter stating that Jaden was number 187 on their waiting list!
“Um, you’re kidding right!?”
We felt dejected by this news. Several months of waiting we had concluded in our minds that Jaden would be attending that charter school. We hadn’t looked into any other options. And we had missed the deadline to apply for a permit to attend a different public school.
“Now what?“, we wondered.
Well, we let that idea go and we figured we would simply enroll Jaden into private school. We couldn’t afford private school – at all, but we were hopeful something would work out.
I applied to a small Christian school not far from the church we were attending. They set up an interview and had Jaden take a kindergarten entry test.
A few weeks later we received news that Jaden would not be accepted into their school. According to the school, Jaden was testing just below their “approved” level for communication.
“What!” I couldn’t believe it.
Let’s back up a bit. We had started the kindergarten process with the charter school in November while Jaden was in his final year of preschool. Waiting for the “187” wait list letter, and being denied by this particular Christian school, missing the cutoff date to apply for a different public school, it was now late April. We were slowly running out of options.
We then decided to try a different Christian school.
The more I thought about it anyway, the kindergarten teacher, who would have been Jaden’s teacher at this first Christian school, seemed rude and not very patient during the kindergarten entry test. I was sure that was the “real” reason Jaden did not get accepted.
So we brushed it off and we went through another application process with a different Christian school.
We waited to receive a tour and test day.
Jaden met his “future” kindergarten teacher. She was so very kind and sweet. She had a gentle tone to her voice. I knew Jaden would enjoy being in her classroom. She gave Jaden his kindergarten entry test and we were full of confidence.
A few weeks later we heard back from the school. The principal called. She was a very pleasant sounding woman. She informed me that Jaden would not be accepted into their school because he tested just below their “approved” level for communication.
I couldn’t believe my ears.
The principal was very sweet as she tried to console me.
I was crying.
She ended the call by praying with me. She told me she knew God had great plans for Jaden.
It was now June!
I sat in my bedroom crying.
Jaden had just spent two years in a preschool setting. He attended Sunday school and other church related classes on a regular basis. We were aware that Jaden would transpose some of his words which would cause him to articulate his sentences a little awkward, but we didn’t think it was that serious! I mean, he was five years old!
Me and Omar were obviously very upset. We didn’t know what to do. Where would Jaden attend school? How would we help him with his communication?
We prayed and asked God to give us guidance – and He did.
We had come to the conclusion that even though we knew absolutely, positively, nothing about homeschooling, and even though we were totally unprepared, had no idea how homeschooling would help Jaden’s communication, and thought homeschooling was weird – that is where God was leading our family!
I trusted God that it would be the best option for Jaden.
Although I knew homeschooling would be the best option for Jaden, I had no confidence in my ability to homeschool at all! I didn’t like school when I was a child. I wasn’t sure how I could teach my children to have a love for learning. I was terrified that I would “ruin” their lives!
Meeting Our Needs
It’s so hard to forget that God will provide in every area of our lives. We think God will lead us down a path without the right provisions.
Remember when Jesus told his disciples to take nothing with them on their journey? Jesus told them not to take anything except a staff. No bread, no water, or money. (Mark 6:8) Why did Jesus tell them that? Was Jesus being mean? No. Jesus was teaching them to trust God. The disciples were on a mission for God, therefore, God would provide for their needs.
That same God will provide our needs- your needs.
Our first year of homeschooling Jaden was able to receive speech therapy through the public school system. By the end of that first year, Jaden’s speech had greatly improved.
That first year of homeschooling, we did schoolwork for a few hours every day. Then me and the kids, Jaden along with his sisters, went to the park, museums, the zoo, had picnics outside, and met up with other homeschool friends on a regular basis. We had out-of-town- field trips. We had so much fun!
Here we are eight years later. As I write this Jaden will enter eight grade in August.
I cannot believe it!
I cannot believe that day I was in my bedroom crying, wondering how to help Jaden. Now I sit back and see how God has guided our homeschool journey.
(Jaden right before kindergarten)
Jaden still has some communication issues that he continues to work through. However, he is very smart in many areas. He has an outstanding memory. He is in a wonderful homeschool program called Classical Conversations which is perfect for his strong memory. He won state superior Bible drill two years in a row. He’s in his church middle school choir. Jaden wakes up three days a week at 6a.m. to run three miles. He loves NASCAR. He loves to play sports. He’s one of the most accurate pitchers on his baseball team. He loves to study interstate maps and commercial airplanes.
He’s a great kid!
(Jaden at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, TN)
We were terrified to homeschool eight years ago. I still doubt myself at times. But we have never considered any other option since we began homeschooling. We love the opportunity to learn with our children. We love the time we get to spend with them. We love to see how God continues to meet the needs of our children when we seek Him.
If you’re wondering about your ability to homeschool – trust God. If you’re wondering how you’re going to help your children in areas that far exceed your expertise – trust God. If you’re wondering if you are going to “ruin” your children – trust God.
You cannot ruin anything that you put in the hands of God!
— Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
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