Schooling: Take Two...

by Doreen Blanding

One of the joys of homeschooling that I experience every day is I get an education too or is that two. I thought I was done with school when I left college, but I was wrong. Homeschooling my children gave me the opportunity to go "back to school." Some of the education I have partaken of has been life changing, some eye opening and some has just been plain fun. I love the education I have gained by homeschooling my children. 

My homeschooling education has been life changing and happened in a way I least expected. I set out to show by my example how to study the scriptures.  Along the way I have gained a stronger testimony of the scriptures. I took up the study of the Bible and the words of our modern prophets and my knowledge of places, events and people has grown.  I found the words of Isaiah (gasp) weren't so hard to understand. I found I could follow the lives of the ancient prophets and their teachings with better clarity.  I came to understand the history of the Lord's chosen people. As I study the General Conference talks from our modern day prophets, I have found answers to some of my daily struggles. My desire to do the Lord's will has increased. The problems of each day have scriptural and spiritual answers which are found in the words of our prophets both ancient and present.  This education has been totally life changing. I look to the Lord's word first and not rely on "the arm of the flesh." I truly didn't expect my life to change all because I set out to be an example to my children. My studying the scriptures not only set the example of how to study but helped my own testimony grow.

My homeschooling education has been eye opening.  When I was in school a long time ago, I was sitting in my tenth grade geography class when the teacher said, "During World War two…" I didn't hear the rest of the sentence because I sat there dumbfounded! There was a World War TWO? I know that says volumes about the education system of my youth, but all of us have missing pieces to our education no matter where we received it. In my home we never talked about war except to say "the war."  I knew what war that was; the war my uncles were involved in and the one my parents lived through.  The only other wars I knew about were the Revolutionary and Civil. I have now come to know that America has been involved in many wars, The French and Indian War (and it wasn't the French versus the Indians), the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American war, the Mexican-American War and so on.  I know this because my children and I have sat around our school table and talked about them in great detail.   What an eye opener this education has been to me and to think I might have missed one of the world's wars.

My homeschooling education has been fun. Learning can just be downright fun! When I was a little girl our family was too poor to afford swimming lessons so I never learned to swim. There was much I missed out on as a young girl and I didn’t want that to happen for my children. I also wanted them to be safe around water, especially since we live by so much water. We could afford swimming lessons so I enrolled my children in swimming lessons.  I don't know how many swimming lessons I have sat through over the past 14 years of taking kids to my neighbor's pool as she taught my kids to swim, but I'm sure that number is pretty high.  One summer I worked up the courage to ask her to teach me to swim.  I met her very early one cold summer morning. Are you kidding, I would rather freeze my little toes than let the children see a 40 year old chicken flounder in the water.  But I guess all that time sitting at the water’s edge, cheering my children on and listening to the instructions, paid off because 45 minutes later she told me I was a swimmer and, that if I just practiced my strokes, I wouldn't need to take any more lessons.  I had mastered the four strokes. As the rest of the summer passed, I was able to join my children in their fun.  During the fall as we attend our local gym, I am no longer sitting on the edge of the pool in a plastic pool chair watching the fun. No way! I'm joining in the splashing, jumping, and the pure fun of swimming. Other fun things I've learned while homeschooling my children are baking, cooking, the weather, knots, photography and the list goes one. Learning can just be downright fun.

Homeschooling is so rewarding. I always get a new education, sometimes it is life changing, sometimes it is eye opening and sometimes it is just downright fun. I'm so glad I'm homeschooling my children because I sure would hate to miss this education I'm getting the second time around.  As I tell my friends who ask why I homeschool, "I'm learning too and loving it." After all, President Gordon B. Hinckley told us all to "Be smart."