I had never heard about homeschooling until my mom decided almost three years ago that it was the best thing for me. Who goes to school at home, anyway? No friends, no fun, not fair! Life as I knew it was over, and things were not looking so good for my sisters and me. I have to admit: I thought this might mean staying in bed longer and watching more TV, which wasn’t so bad, in my book—but who knew? I would have to wait and see. I didn’t have any friends who had been homeschooled, and no one could tell me what it was like.
My mom said that Jesus was homeschooled, so it must not be too bad. I can now say that after having the experience myself, she was right!
The schedule we use for homeschool is very different from the one we had before. At 6:00 a.m., without fail, Mom comes to our room to turn the light on. It is her way of waking us gently for our personal devotion time. I use the Bible or my Sabbath school quarterly at this time—when I manage to stay awake. By 7:15 family worship is over and chores begin. A chore chart hangs in our classroom, but we have our daily chores memorized. My little sister, J’Nya, has nothing to memorize. She is only 5, so dusting and organizing our shoes are her only chores. My favorite chore is cleaning the bathrooms. I clean them twice a week. My sister Jae-el and I really enjoy tidying our room, mostly because it is purple and pink, which are our favorite colors.
At 9:00 a.m. our classes begin. For about three hours we cover core subjects such as Bible, math, language, social studies, and science. In math we have learned how to calculate tithe, offering, savings, and spending money from our allowance. I love reading class too, but I have to admit that my favorite part of homeschooling begins after 12:00 noon.
Afternoons are full of fun and excitement! On some Mondays we visit some of the home-bound members of our church. They love to hear our songs and all the verses we have memorized. We even planted a garden of tomatoes and sweet peppers in Ms. Louis’ yard. It has been a year, and she is still talking about it. She must have really appreciated it. Once, we cleaned up one of the beaches here on our Bahaman island and then went for a swim.
Gardening is very important to our family. My parents say it is important to know how to grow our own food. It helps us to be healthier, and it helps us save money for college. My sisters and I each have our own gardens plots. We are responsible for weeding, tilling, planting, and maintaining our gardens. Jae-el and I have grown enormous cabbages and tomatoes. J’Nya has done well at growing squash, although we don’t plan to grow any more (we don’t like squash, no matter how it is prepared).
Gardening does so much more than provide a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It teaches patience, and it is a live illustration of how God works in us to make us like Him. I have learned many lessons in the garden, and I often think of Jesus’ parable of the sower as I prepare the ground for planting. Gardening also gives us a chance to go to our neighbors’ houses to share what we have grown, and it teaches us to be responsible. Two years ago we sold collard greens and were able to go on a trip to Jamaica to visit our grandparents. Now, if that is not a reason to garden, I don’t know what is.
Jae-el is responsible for preparing lunch on Wednesdays. She is almost 12, and she is an awesome cook. We have been learning to bake bread, but we already know how to bake cookies and banana muffins on our own. I baked my first cake this week with Daddy’s help, and Jae-el bakes cookies almost every week. Her cookies never last more than a day.
In the afternoons we also learn to play the piano. Piano lessons are new for us, but I already know I am going to love it for life. I have taught myself several songs. Jae-el learned to play “Silent Night” last month, and we both earned a trip to visit our grandparents, aunts, and cousins for Christmas. During that time we rode a horse and saw peacocks and crested chickens.
Although we didn’t know what to expect at first, my sisters and I love homeschooling because we spend so much time doing things we love. I don’t get to sleep late, and I only get to watch TV on the weekend, but all our learning is hands-on and so much fun. How many children can say they get to feed fish and turtles in a pond while their mom does read-aloud lessons with their sister a few feet away? How many get to raise a frog in their room? Not many, I think. I wouldn’t trade it. But maybe I’ll feel differently when it is time for high school. Who knows?
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