Today I have the pleasure of introducing a friend of mine, Amy Puetz. We met through Home School Enrichment Magazine, and we have collaborated on other writing projects together over the past year. Our emails regarding homeschooling and articles soon branched out into great books, history, health matters, and prayer requests. I soon discovered a great friend and encourager in Amy and now count her “closer than a brother.” Be sure to read to the end of the article to find out how you can get a FREE download, too!
“Where do you go to school?” our new minister’s wife asked as she tried to acquaint herself with the congregation.
“I’m homeschooled,” I answered with a little pride.
Her face fell, and it was obvious that she didn’t like homeschoolers as she asked with a little coldness, “Then you don’t know what grade you are in?”
“Actually, I do; I’m in the eighth grade,” came the quick response, although I felt confused by her negative reaction. She seemed somewhat relieved but still leery of homeschooling.
This conversation took place not long after my family began homeschooling. It was the first time I had run across someone who thought homeschooling was weird. She was not against homeschooling; she just didn’t know anything about it, and like most people she shied away from something she didn’t know. Most people who are thinking about homeschooling have lots of questions. Does it work? Will my kids turn out ok? Is it a lot of work? To answer some of these questions I will tell you my story. The exciting thing about homeschooling is that every story is different. They all have similar features, but every family has a unique experience.
The first seven years of my schooling took place in Christian schools. My parents wanted to make sure my sisters and I received a Christian education,and that is why they helped start a Christian school in Newcastle, Wyoming. Even though it was a Christian atmosphere, I was teased often by the other kids. With a name like Puetz (pronounced Pitts) of course kids made fun of me.
By the eighth grade, I was a hard teenager who kept people at arm’s length because I didn’t want to be hurt. The eighth grade teacher thought I was a stupid kid, and he didn’t believe my dyslexia was a real issue. So my parents brought me home! My older sister was already being homeschooled, and by Christmas my younger sister had joined us at home. For the first time in my life I felt free to be myself and liberated to find out who I really was. I felt like I had always been kept in a cage, a cage of other peoples ideas, and now I was free. The world was beautiful and there were so many new things to discover.
My family began growing closer together. Until then my sisters and I had fought a lot, but once we spent all our time together we started getting along better and actually became best friends. We still had disagreements, but our home was more peaceful.
Perhaps the greatest gift I received from homeschooling was the love of learning. In most circles school is supposed to be “boring,” but I discovered that learning and school are two different things. Learning new things is fun but doing school work is not always enjoyable. There were days when I would make my mother’s life crazy because I didn’t want to do school. Sorry, Mom! If you are a homeschool mom, please know that someday your children will thank you for all your unnoticed work. Children do not have the ability to see how hard it is to be a mom. Hang in there! I would like to tell you “thanks.” You are doing a good job!
Homeschooling took on a whole new dimension in our family when I began experiencing health problems at the age of 15. After a surgery I never was the same. I began experiencing severe fatigue and a cloudy brain. These problems made my best subject, math, my worst enemy. Simple equations that I knew were impossible for me to process. I became very frustrated with myself because I couldn’t think clearly. Eventually I was diagnoses with Mono, then Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and finally Fibromyalgia. When I was too tired to study I could go rest. The flexibility of homeschooling allowed me to work at my own pace and although it took me an extra year to complete my high school studies, I felt so grateful that the Lord brought my parents down the path that led us to be educated at home.
Homeschooling helped equip me for doing something unique with my life. After graduating in 2000, I pursued a degree as a computer graphic designer through a correspondence school. My health was still very frail, and I wanted to have something I could do from home. I finished the correspondence class the next year and began working on my first book, a historical costume book. It’s so exciting to see how God directs our paths. I wanted to get some extra exposure without spending a lot of money on advertizing, so I began writing historical articles for Home School Enrichment. From there God has opened up doors for me to write several other books and start my own publishing company, Golden Prairie Press. Every other month I send out an e-zine called Heroines of the Past that shares stories about historical ladies. You may learn more about my business at my website.
Homeschooling prepared me for life. I learned how to get along with people of different ages, how to be self motivated, and how to love learning. True, there are several downsides to homeschooling, and I would like to address a few of them. Many homeschoolers have a “better than thou” attitude that turns people off. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this before, but we need to try to remember that God brings us to this place to be a light to others and not to condemn them. Another difficulty in homeschooling is the huge pressure that it puts on the mom. She has the complete responsibly of educating and caring for the children all day. Since I’m still single, I can’t even imagine what a huge weight this is, but God knows, and He is the only one who can give strength. Where God guides, He provides. As I look back over the years of service my mom gave to me, I’m so grateful. Her sacrifice gave me the advantages of learning about God from a virtuous lady. She blessed me in so many ways and in return “her children have arisen and called her blessed” (Proverbs 31:28). Someday, Lord willing, I hope to homeschool my own children.
Does homeschooling work? YES! Is it a lot of work? YES! But the blessings far out way the difficulties. May God give you strength to continue on this path that He has called you to!
The lady whom I mentioned in the beginning of this article is now a homeschooling mom of four and a leader in the homeschool community! Through the Lord’s conviction and my parent’s mentorship, she and her husband saw the need to homeschool. It’s amazing to see how God works!
Amy Puetz can be reached at by email , facebook, or twitter. Visit her website to view her complete listing of available history resources. And until the end of the month, download a FREE copy of her latest e-book, Thank you! 20 Homeschool Grads Tip Their Hats to Homeschooling Parents. This encouraging compilation contains uplifting accounts from twenty graduates who share why they are grateful they were homeschooled. Writers include myself, Rachel Starr Thomson, Jonathan Lewis, Amy Puetz, and many others. Hurry to download your copy now, before time runs out!