Is Home Schooling For Us? (A.K.A. – Leah’s First Day In School) (A.K.A. – I Don’t Churn Butter)

How is home schooling going?

Well, that depends on the day.

As would my answer if you asked me how my children are doing, or how I am feeling, or if I have showered.

I have said in the past that my children would always attend private school. It was the only way for me. My children were not going to attend a public school (gasp) and I was not going to be one of those moms. (You know….the ones who home school. And cook everything from scratch. And garden. And churn their own butter.)

I also said that our family was complete after 2 children.

I also said “Fine, God. I will adopt ONE child UNDER the age of 5!”

God has a way of changing our plans.

Quite honestly, home schooling has been perfect for our family at this point. It has provided us that thing that we need the most – time together. I am so thankful that I decided to do this! We get to sleep in late, hang out in our pajamas, take field trips together, and pause for MANY recess activities. Just today our schooling was interrupted for rides on our neighbor’s tractor and experiencing the majesty of a hail storm. (And as of yet, I have not started churning my own butter.)

Not everything about home schooling is fun. It has been a challenge to balance the curriculum and needs of 6 children. Especially when 4 of those children require so much help understanding and following the most basic of instructions. I oftentimes find myself having Hannah and Joel complete their “studies” by reading the chapter and answering the questions while I focus on the other four.

But overall, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Except…..I am.

Today Leah started school.

Public school. (gasp)

Several weeks ago a counselor suggested that we put Leah in school. There are many reasons for this, most of which I will not detail here. But, we are hopeful that this opportunity will provide her a chance to be a 4th-grade-girl, surrounded by her peers, learning English and Math and how exactly to be a child again.

This has been a very hard decision for us to make. We thought about this and prayed about this for the past 6 weeks.

And I realized a few things.

First of all, this is the right decision for Leah for right now.

And secondly, I care too much about what other people think.

As we struggled through making our decision, I found myself too often wondering about the response I would get. What about the adoptive community? Are they going to say that I did wrong by not providing enough bonding time with my new daughter? What about the home school community? Are they going to say that I gave up too easily? What about my friends? Maybe they won’t think I’m as “super” of a supermom because I will only be home schooling 5 children!

And if I am being brutally honest, nothing has changed. I still care too much about what other people think! Maybe I always will. But I know that I desire to care more about what God thinks. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

And I owe an apology to any of my friends who I ever “gasped” at when you told me your children went to public school. That was wrong of me. I am sorry.

God is using this adoption journey to mold me and change me in so many ways. The further we get into it, the more I hope that my heart changes to be more like His. I pray the same for my children.

Leah, if you one day read these words, all the many stories surrounding your home coming that I am sharing in this blog, I hope you can feel the love that supports every sentiment on this page. I pray that right now, be you 15 or 50, you will realize afresh how much we prayed for you and agonized over you. How our hearts were filled with such a combination of concern and hope for your future.

Leah, you are our biggest challenge. Not because of YOU, but because of what you have endured. The challenges that you have faced. It is so hard to show you, a 9-year-old girl who has never known anything other than being a caretaker to your sweet sister and brothers, exactly how to be a child. We are so proud of your attitude! How you are willing to try new things. The way that you show no fear (even when I know you are feeling it inside.) Just look at this picture of you on your first day of school – ready to take on the world!

My Girl

When Leah came home this afternoon, she was full of nothing but excitement and pride over her first day in 4th grade. She chattered on about her new friends and about how the work was “no too hard!”

Only God knows what our future holds. Maybe mine holds more home schooling. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe my kids will be in public school. Maybe they won’t. (I am pretty sure my future does not hold any butter churning, but I can’t be absolutely sure.) I am just going to trust that God will direct our paths as we struggle through this parenting thing.

Lunchbox Notes Are The Best!


Leah’s Teacher


Leah’s ELD Aide




9 thoughts on “Is Home Schooling For Us? (A.K.A. – Leah’s First Day In School) (A.K.A. – I Don’t Churn Butter)

  1. Heather Griffith

    I know Candice and she is such a wonderful Christian mom, friend, and wife. God blessed Leah and you guys with with her as a teacher!!

  2. Dawn Kicklighter

    I am soooooooooooooooo proud of you. I love you all. You are a great mom, Natalie! Tell Leah we are proud of her, too, and know she will do great in school. 🙂

  3. Summer

    You’re a great mom! I’m so glad she had a great day. I wished we lived close. My sweet Ash is a 4th grader & they could become amazing friends. Ash has a heart for anything and anyone from Africa. & we are big supporters of the public school system (I’ve heard many gasps)! Praying she continues to do well!!! Can’t wait to continue to watch God to develop and mold her!

  4. Sue Peterson

    As her mom, you know what is best for her! Be it public/private school, co-sleeping/single beds, organic foods/Pizza Hut, to each their own! I know my own kids are so very different and their needs are best met in a way that suits them. People like to “suggest” and “recommend” their own methods, but it’s hard to fight that intuition and instinct as a mom! Keep doing what you are doing! 🙂

  5. Debbie Jackman

    Natalie and Scott,
    I love your vulnerability and honesty. I am in awe at what God is doing in you and through you. Thanks for sharing your journey. Your kids are all so fortunate and blessed to have you as parents..

  6. Erin

    If it makes you feel better, I’m SO excited she’s in public school! 🙂 Ok, I know I work in one but I know how great they are!! I’m SO glad to hear she loved it! I’m thankful I have a sister who is willing to obey the Lord even when it contradicts prior mind sets!

  7. Mom

    My heart is warrmed and I smile every time I read your blog wonderful daughter. When you reach the ‘over 50’ crowd you won’t care what other people think!!!

  8. Jackie

    Bravo Mamacita! your courage, strength, and resolve leave me deeply encouraged! I am so proud of you! Love you, miss you! Praying for you always.

  9. Janet

    It sounds like you made just the right decision–for what it’s worth, I think you’re doing great!

    One warning I gave to a boy I tutored who went to PRIVATE school: “If the kids tell you to say something to the teacher, don’t.” “You mean vulgaridades [dirty words]?” “Exactly.” It must be irresistible.

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