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I never set out to be a real homeschooler. That is, not a “lifer“. It took four years to muster the courage to homeschool for a season, for a reason. That reason: Little Man. With hope of fostering true attachment after adopting him from China, we pulled our girls from traditional school to bond as a family of five.

That was nearly three years ago, and somewhere in the process I fell in love… this temporary gig became something more. I love teaching my kids. I generally love having them at home spending all-day, everyday together. Still, I constantly battle fear and doubt: I don’t have a teaching degree. I’m not an expert in every subject. Are they learning enough? Are they socializing enough?? Am I royally screwing them up and all chances for their happy, healthy, and productive futures???

The struggle is real, and it is not unique to me. It takes tremendous courage to pull the trigger and embark upon a homeschool journey, but I find it requires just as much gumption to keep at it for the long haul. Enter Durenda Wilson: Seasoned homeschool mama to EIGHT, actively educating her children for over two decades. It’s nothing short of providential that God placed her in my path. Not to misrepresent– I don’t actually know her, though because of her new book I feel as though I do… 

Have you ever read a book and found it so near to autobiographical that you suspect Dom Deluise is waiting to pop out from behind a curtain, shouting, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”? Durenda is in my head: She understands the universal homeschool struggle, and in response generously shares 20+ years of hindsight in an effort to encourage her fellow comrades, the next generation in homeschooling moms.

I’ve shared previously of the lure to over-complicate homeschool, to over-schedule by tacking on every wonderful activity, to stress and rush and subsequently yank hair out in frustration along the way. Our very deliberate decision to pull back from much of that this semester is much of what Durenda champions. She gives license to let go of arbitrary, unrealistic expectations, accept strengths –not conforming to the patterns of the world– and calmly, cooly, and collectively plug away at a gentle, unhurried approach to teaching.

In her own words:

“Will children have gaps in their learning? Yes. There isn’t a way to teach our children everything about everything. The public schools can’t do it and neither can we, which is why it is so important for parents to pay attention to their kids’ curiosities.” 

“I am not proposing another method of homeschooling but encouraging you to allow your homeschooling to fit the design of your family.” 

“As parents, we need to keep the big picture in mind because when everything is said and done, what matters is that we raise people who love the Lord and are givers, not takers. We want them to find their passions, and fulfill the purposes for which they were made.”

Durenda’s book has given me pause and caused much introspection; it’s one that I will keep handy and continue to frequently refer to, for both encouragement and insight. Whether you are curious about and considering a leap into home-education, or actively in the trenches already– this book is for you. It is mercifully concise and affordable on Amazon.  Go get it.

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