Website Journey and my Homeschooling Journey

Watching this site grow is like watching my children and I grow in our homeschool journey. I had the idea to create this site many years ago and it took some time to make it happen. I found out about homeschooling when my son was a baby. I would have never have imagined it would be a journey that I would take. I also never imagined that going back to work outside the home when he was 3 months old would be so challenging.

I spent my school years in Ohio and Pennsylvania and after my son was born, I would joke about sending him to PA to go to school. I heard so many different things about the schools in the area both positive and negative. One big difference being the countywide school system structure in NC in comparison to the township run schools where I grew up. I also remember taking walks with my infant son in the stroller seeing the school buses speed down the streets and I could not imagine putting him on one of those yellow, no seat belts, flying machines. At that point, I had no idea of all the educational challenges that occurred once the students arrived safely at the school.
The first person I met who homeschooled her kids was someone I met at a LLL meeting. Her boys were bright and had great manners. I was impressed with her kids and never realized that educated people in urban areas were choosing to homeschool over sending their kids to school. I remember wanting to visit her house during the week and see what their day looked like. I envisioned desks lined up in her living room and wanted to know how she created school at home. I knew from talking to her that she used the curriculum and had a structured schedule with her kids. Over time, I met others who homeschooled including relaxed homeschoolers and unschoolers. I remember being intrigued by the idea of unschooling but thinking, “I could never do that.” Funny, I have said that about several things on my parenting journey- now I say that I am always open to new ideas and never know what our future will look like. When I started my homeschool journey, I would say that I was going to do it for as long as it worked. I still hold this belief which helps me stay focused on the present.

I have enjoyed reading the profiles of those who are joining this site as it grows. I love the variety of words used to describe each person’s journey of homeschooling. Like families in general, no two homeschools look-alike. The most common thread is the ability to tailor the homeschooling method to meet each family’s needs and the ability to adapt and change over time.

I see this site as evolving over time as well. My first vision for it was a homeschool information section as part of a parenting website. Over the years of becoming immersed in the homeschool community, I wondered why there was not an easy way to find out about all the area homeschool groups. Over the years, I have read numerous books on homeschooling and am surprised each time I find a magazine or book that I did not know about and feel the need to share these resources with others.

In addition to my thirst for information and reading material on homeschooling and new ideas to use with my children, I was nurturing my long time love of writing. Life has a funny way of pushing us along in our dreams. Although I have been writing regularly for the past 3 years, my goal of submitting an article per month to a homeschool or parent magazine lasted for one month. The children’s book I started stalled despite being part of a children’s writing critique group for a year.

Then my husband’s sudden change in employment with a regular paycheck thrust me back into pursuing work outside the home as an Occupational Therapist, something I had continued to do with less frequency until he had sold his business and taken the full-time job last summer (July 2007). The reality of life circumstances brought me out of my procrastination to make all these ideas I had…happen. After all, I would never earn income as a writer, if I did not start somewhere.

And so here I am surprising myself with how much I have been able to grow the site despite all the things going on in my life. I give credit to my pregnancy for part of my motivation to make this site happen as I know my time for it will be reduced when the baby arrives. I also give much credit to Karen Davis who shared my vision of having a resource for area homeschool information and who provided me with the names of the area groups that she had gathered.

I am grateful for my husband’s experience with website building and for telling me about “Ning” sites. I found out how user friendly it is to create a site with Ning after watching my son build his own site and then help me start mine. Thank you to my son and my husband who continues to help me. I am excited to say that after my husband indexed my website, I googled “charlotte homeschooling” and found my site at number 4 on the list. This means that the site will be found by people seeking out information about homeschooling especially those moving to or new to the area and those thinking about homeschooling.

My vision for the website having information about homeschooling in the Charlotte area has grown to also mean having a community-building site for homeschoolers to network and share information and experiences. I enjoy creating this resource for others and am eager to get more information on the site. I now believe that the possibilities for the site are even beyond my imagination. I welcome all ideas for the site as I welcome all ideas for homeschooling my children. I enjoy reading about other homeschool journeys which in turn nurtures my own journey as well as fuels my creativity to write about homeschooling and my ambition to research and read more on homeschooling.

Thank you to all of you who have joined my site and embarked on this journey with me- my website- and the homeschool journey. Each of us has our individual and unique experiences and I believe we can all gain insight from each other no matter how great our differences appear. There is no one right way to homeschool. Jump in on the site where you feel most called whether that is making a suggestion, writing a blog post, participating in a forum, or starting your own group. I respect our differences and see how sharing our journey with others can expand the possibilities for others and for ourselves.