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CBD: What factors led you to homeschool your children? When you left your career as a trial lawyer to educate your children at home, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make?

CF: I had never even heard of homeschooling before becoming a stay- at-home mom. As I read more about it, it sounded like a good idea, but still not something I would actually want to do! As my oldest daughter approached kindergarten, the thought kept returning and I became captivated. Clearly it was the Lord working on my heart. We sent Clare to kindergarten for four months while I wrestled with my indecision. At Christmas that year we pulled her out and haven’t looked back. There simply is no better way to disciple and educate children while preserving family values and unity.

Leaving the practice of law (or laying down the law!) was a hard decision for my heavily invested ego. I went from being called “Counselor” to sweeping up Cheerios under the table. The Lord had to tear down my false securities in order for me to rebuild my identity as His child. I am schooled daily at His feet while I teach my children.

CBD: Three of your four children are adopted. What guidance can you give to parents who are considering adoption? Have your children faced any special challenges either inside or outside your homeschool as a result of adoption?

CF: Adoption is a phenomenal picture of God’s grace. He took the dilemma of birthmothers and transformed it into joy for us! I believe that Christian parents should adopt. It’s the way to extend God’s grace to those we welcome into our forever families here on earth, while we are blessed by His grace with the privilege of parenting.

Adopted children will always deal with that early loss on some level all their lives. Our hope, as Christian parents, is that that void will be filled with the love of God. The world can be cruel and thoughtless to adopted children, especially those who do not look like their parents. By filling them with our love and acceptance and showing them the love of God, we pray they will be equipped for life.

CBD: In your book Help for the Harried Homeschooler, you say “teaching children of different ages is a juggling act that requires patience, grace, and creativity.” Your comment no doubt resonates with many home educators. How have you dealt with teaching kids of different ages, abilities, and learning styles?

CF: I’ve learned to delight in the differences! I used to make myself crazy trying to stuff the children into the mold I had created for “proper homeschooled children.” Then I experienced the fruit of this method: burned-out kids who didn’t love learning and who weren’t that crazy about family life, either!

I came so close to alienating these precious children by my own idolatry! I asked the Lord to help me focus on their strengths and learn to work with their weaknesses. This approach has breathed fresh life into our home—not just our school. They are each flourishing in their own way.

It also really helped me to make a serious study of a Scope and Sequence chart. So much is repeated over the course of grades K–12. If you don’t get around to a particular study this year, another opportunity is right around the corner.

CBD: In the same book, you mention that one of your children has a slight speech delay and another has mild Attention Deficit Disorder. As a homeschool mom, how have you coped with these challenges? What advice can you give to other home educators who are facing a similar situation?

CF: My son’s speech delay is resolving. We used some exercises from a speech therapist as well as the Straight Talk program from NATHHAN, and he is doing fine.

Almost three years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability as well as ADHD, inattentive aspect. Learning to help her and work with her has been a major challenge. When we first noticed something wasn’t right, we blamed it on a character defect. Believing her to be lacking in discipline, we tried to train it out of her. After spanking and praying, spanking and praying, we realized we were dealing with something out of her control. We consulted with a psychologist and had her evaluated at our local school for learning disabilities. The diagnoses they gave were surprising, severe, and shocking. When we picked ourselves off the floor, we knew we had work to do. We have taken the advice of trusted counselors and gotten help, while learning strategies to work with her in our homeschool. My advice to parents facing a similar situation is to trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone else. You know when to wait for readiness and when to seek help. Be observant and prayerful, and educate yourself.

CBD: Homeschooling is a joyous calling but can often be stressful. When you become discouraged, how do you “recharge”? What books or activities have you found most encouraging and nurturing?

CF: The feel of my pen sliding across the paper or the clicking of the keys on the computer is soothing to me. The Lord has graciously allowed me the time, the brain energy, and often the forum to share my writing. In the process, I do so pray that it encourages others because it nourishes me.

My husband knows that solitude recharges me, so he makes sure I have time alone to write, read, study, and pray. His practical contributions to running a household afford me the time to do a Bible study at my church, have devotional time most mornings, and make an occasional trip to a retreat house near my home for a weekend. Our shared commitment to serving God, our family, and one another means we give each other the time and space we need to grow. I recharge in those moments of solitude by remembering why God has put us here and what we should be doing. The day-to-day busyness of homeschooling can cloud our vision. In the stillness, I ask God to redirect that vision—to Him and to my home. I am so blessed!


 

 Books by Christine Field

Homeschooling 101: The Essential Handbook
Homeschooling 101: The Essential Handbook
Mark & Christine Field

Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life
Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life
Christine Field

Homeschooling the Challenging Child: A Practical Guide
Homeschooling the Challenging Child: A Practical Guide
Christine M. Field

Life Skills for Kids
Life Skills for Kids
Christine M. Field


 

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