Growing up, I can’t even tell you if I knew one person who was homeschooled. It wasn’t common where I lived. And while I didn’t personally know anyone who was, I was always quick to talk about how homeschooled kids were so “weird,” if it came up with my friends. I also really loved school, I loved academics and I was close to OCD about my assignments, grades, and extracurricular activities. So, needless to say, it wasn’t the path I saw myself taking when I had children of my own.
When I moved to Dubai, I had no idea how much my life would change or that I would be raising kids there. After nannying for some of my friends, I became a preschool teacher and quickly realized how important school was in Dubai. At that time, people would place their children on waiting lists to get them into the school they wanted, even before birth… When we were pregnant with our oldest son, many people asked us where we had registered him for school, but we couldn’t have registered him because we didn’t even know what gender he was until he was born. As we time went on, it became less intense. More international schools opened up, and it was no longer a scary, “what if my kid can’t get into the school we want because of a waiting list?” situation. But it was a situation for us because every school charged tuition and it became apparent that school was just to expensive for us.
Thankfully the Lord had started working on my heart even before we started our family, during my time teaching preschool. I started to realize how much the parents were missing who were dropping their kids off at our school everyday. Even then, I had thoughts of, “if I were able to stay home with our child, then…” And so slowly the idea of homeschooling came into view. I was also aware that homeschooling might not be an option for us if I needed to continue working, and so we were always in between deciding. The deciding time came when we realized that financially if we sent our son to school, I would have to work to help with the school costs. My whole paycheck would go to his and then his sisters’ schooling. I could either teach other kids or I could teach our own while we scaled back on other expenses as a household. And so, we became homeschoolers.
Now, this is my 4th year homeschooling, and my 3rd year formally homeschooling, meaning my oldest son is now in 2nd grade. And I have to tell you, I’ve never learned so much in my life. I have definitely had days where it was hard to get up out of bed, but more and more, my days are these little treasures in which I get to learn with my kids. And I’m so grateful that this unlikely homeschooler became one. Because the time I am given to know and grow with my kids is absolutely irreplaceable. So more on homeschooling soon, but for now- that is the beginning of our story, or a small part of it.