We Can’t Afford Priceless

Our children have had many caregivers in their lives – birth parents, various relatives, some friends, two different orphanages, and countless nannies. And now us. We knew we would have an uphill battle convincing our children that we are here to stay. We are permanent. We are not leaving. We are a family. They are resistant to bonding because experience has proven that everyone they love will eventually leave.

We needed to provide every opportunity for our children to form that bond with us. We needed to prove that we are worthy of their trust. We needed to show them that we are their caregivers – now and forever.

So before we even left for Africa, we decided that we would home school. Not only would this help with language learning, developing a sense of security in this new country, and establishing the routine of being a part of a family, home schooling would also provide hours and hours to build the bond that was lacking.

Now, as the finish line is in site for our first year of home schooling, we realize that we made the right decision for our family. Home schooling our children has been the perfect choice for us. It has been so rewarding to be a part of placing the puzzle pieces that lead to reading. To see the light in their eyes as they feel proud of a new accomplishment. To watch them master a new skill.

It has also been hard.

To balance the needs and different learning styles of my children has been challenging. To find enough time in my day to teach, and grade, and fill out paperwork for state requirements all amidst the chaos of our daily lives has been overwhelming at times. To complete everything on my check list while maintaining a joyful countenance has been almost beyond my capabilities.

I hesitate to write those words because I know of many moms who not only survive home schooling, but they thrive in it! They teach the basics and they add in fun extras like science experiments and nature walks. I am sure I could learn many good lessons from these amazing mothers. Lessons like patience, and relaxing my standards, and spending more time on my children and less on other distractions. I admire these mothers. I really and truly do. And, honestly, I have struggled with guilt that I am not as “good” as these mothers.

Don’t we all do this sometimes? Compare ourselves to others and focus on the areas that we find lacking? I have been trying to focus on comparing myself only to the standards that God has called ME to. What has God asked for ME to do – in my home, for my children, with their schooling?

As Scott and I sat down and discussed our school plan for next year, his words sounded something like…..

“Home schooling next year is not an option for us. It is making you crazy. Really and truly crazy. And not the fun kind of crazy, either. But rather the kind of crazy that makes me afraid.”

(I may be paraphrasing just a bit.)

And I agree. Fun crazy has left the building and scary crazy is ready to move in.

So what IS an option, then?

Public school, for one. We live in an area that has many fantastic public schools to choose from. They provide a great education and many of the teachers at these schools sacrifice and love on the children in their classrooms above and beyond what is required by their job.

However, because of many issues – most of them specific to adoption and to one of our littles in particular – public school is simply not an option for our family. At least, not for now.

Another option? Private school.

Joel and Hannah had attended Redding Christian School since Pre-Kindergarten. In fact, before I had kids, I was a teacher there. We love the school and everything it stands for. The teachers and staff are amazing, the education is exemplary, and the opportunity to have God in our children’s classrooms is priceless.

But, we can’t afford priceless anymore.

We managed to pay for 2 children’s private education for 6 years. And we never once felt as though the sacrifice in our budget was not worth it. But now, here we are, with twice as many people in our family – and the exact same budget. Everything is more expensive now. Groceries? Check. Medical bills? Check. Monthly electric/waste/gas bills? Check.

Although our greatest desire was to be able to send our children back to Redding Christian School, our budget simply did not allow for it. Can you imagine the monthly bill for private school tuition times 6? Let me tell you, the number was unattainable.

We did not qualify for a scholarship (of which RCS offers many) because the process involves information and W-2s from the previous calendar year, in this case, 2012. In 2012 (gosh, that seems like a lifetime ago), we only had 4 people in our family.

So we wrote a letter to the board asking for grace. I won’t go into all the details, but the process pretty much boils down to us asking for a discount, and then listening to Joel pray every night that the board would say yes.

The board said yes.


Our children will be enrolled at Redding Christian School for the 2013-2014 school year!

Only God knows the future for my children’s education. We do not know if we will end up home schooling again, choosing one of the excellent public schools in our area, or watching our children graduate from Redding Christian. I have learned to take this journey one day at a time. God always comes through with something amazing!

Oh, how He loves us. He always provides. Always. It may not be in the way that we think, it may not look the way we expected, but our God always provides.

Thank you, Redding Christian School board members. Thank you. Thank you for showing grace and favor to my family.

My children thank you for being a part of their answered prayers.

My husband thanks you for removing the scary crazy from his wife.

My sanity thanks you for not severing the last thread holding me to reality.


Thank you.




4 thoughts on “We Can’t Afford Priceless

  1. Liesje Beverly Blank

    That’s so wonderful Natalie. I was too chicken to suggest you transition to regular schooling next year. Sounds like you were once again blessed. Having a not so crazy Mom and wife will mean so much to all eight of you. Congratulations!

  2. Amanda

    Well…it won’t remove ALL the crazy will it? Cuz I like my friends a little on the crazy side:) Love you all!

  3. jamieweilhealthcoach

    This is SO exciting! Exciting for everybody. Having homeschooled for–um…3 days–I am so amazed at your year. You are most def one of those moms! And…next year, the kids will thrive, you will thrive, and your husband will thrive. This is good. Congrats!

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