Not Qualified: What Can’t You Just Be?

Not Qualified: What Can’t You Just Be?

I had just met a woman in ministry when I told her that after I finished my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, I wanted to be a Christian psychologist.

“You can’t just be a Christian psychologist,” she said.

NOT QUALIFIED FB

I tried to listen to what she said after that about qualifications and training, but I was stuck on that sentence. I was annoyed. How did she know? Why couldn’t I be a Christian psychologist if that’s what I wanted to do? What I felt called to do? At the same time, I was scared. When I entered graduate school, my classmates and I were stunned to learn all the requirements we had to fulfill in order to be practicing psychologists. Maybe this woman was right. I would have another whole list of requirements to meet to be a faith-based counselor.

When I finished my internship and graduated, I applied for a job with a Christian practice. I had to complete a questionnaire about my faith as part of my application. When I was interviewed, I worried that it would become apparent that I didn’t have the qualifications. I had earned my degree in a secular university. My father wasn’t a pastor. My family hadn’t even gone to church most of my life. Maybe he would say, “You can’t just be a Christian psychologist.”

To my surprise, he said nothing of the sort. I was hired and given my own office. Then I was scared again. I had never brought my faith into the counseling room. How would I do that? Fortunately, there were books on Christian counseling that I bought and read. I also had a Christian psychologist supervising me for my first year. But many times I found myself at a loss as to what to say or do with a client. I would say, “Let’s pray!” To my surprise, my clients were pleased with that idea.

Not Qualified to Be a Teacher

I was, in fact, able to just be a Christian psychologist. But that lesson didn’t stick with me. I struggled with it when I was hired to teach developmental psychology at the university. I had a Ph.D., but I had never taught students of any age before, let alone college students. I ordered the recommended textbook, did some of the things my professors had done to teach me, and came up with some of my own ideas. I had a good response from the students, ended up loving it, and my supervisor said he would be glad to hire me again. I quit teaching to have a baby, though, and faced a whole new round of qualification issues. I really didn’t think it was wise for the hospital to let me take the baby home. I hadn’t even done much babysitting!

I muddled my way through parenting the same way I had counseling and teaching. But when God called me to homeschool, I worried that I didn’t have the qualifications for that either. I had taught college students, but I had never taught anyone to read. What if I couldn’t do it? I had never taken an elementary education course. Once again, I managed to do it with reading and wisdom from others. I even began to feel qualified to teach my own children. In more than one discussion with people who asked about homeschooling, I was told that it was fine for me with a Ph.D. Other people, though, weren’t qualified to teach their children. I did what I could to educate them. “There are books, curricula, and support groups to help anyone homeschool,” I would say. And I believed it.

But when it came to me, I still believed that woman who said I couldn’t just be something. I had to be qualified. I had to be trained.

Fast, Easy, Fun Language Arts

Not Qualified to Be a Homeschool Publisher

When I had the idea for writing my own language arts curriculum, I started off in the true spirit of homeschooling. I just jumped in and learned as I went along. I started writing the curriculum I’d always wanted to have for my kids. But as I came closer to finishing it, I got stuck. I made excuses. I quit working on it. I didn’t feel qualified.

I then had the opportunity to meet with a small group of homeschool publishers. I figured I could at least say that I was a blogger if I chickened out in admitting that I was writing curriculum. I met Charlene Notgrass, whose history curriculum I had used with my children. She was so warm that I decided to tell her what I was working on. I told her the concept behind it — that I would use story to teach language arts concepts and make them funny and memorable.

I expected her to ask me about my experience in writing fiction and curriculum. I expected her to ask me about my experience in homeschool publishing. I expected her to tell me what I needed to do before I ever thought of trying to publish. I expected her to say, “You can’t just be a homeschool publisher.”

How foolish of me. I recently read the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright in another history curriculum my kids have enjoyed, Mystery of History. The Wright brothers were high school dropouts. Apparently, no one told them that they couldn’t just be engineers, or they couldn’t just be inventors. Because that’s exactly what they were.

The heart of homeschooling is that we can just be our children’s teacher. Not only that, but our children can just be whatever God calls them to be. As the saying goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised when Charlene’s face lit up when I told her about my curriculum. She got her husband’s and others’ attention and told them about it, too. That encouragement gave me the extra confidence I needed to finish Grammar Galaxy. Charlene found me at the homeschool conference where I exhibited it for the first time and hugged me.

Taken the day the books arrived

Taken the day the books arrived

That was just nine months ago. Since that time, many moms who have used Grammar Galaxy with their kids have told me their kids beg to use it every day. They’ve told me it’s changed their homeschools because now their kids love to read. They tell me they are using it to learn grammar themselves because it was not their strong suit.

I will be launching Volume 2 of Grammar Galaxy, specifically designed for 3rd graders or students who have completed Nebula (for beginning readers), on February 6th. I will offer special pricing on it and on bundles of volumes 1 and 2. Sign up to be reminded of the sale date.

I now believe I can just be a homeschool publisher. I also believe you can just be a home educator. I believe you can raise excellent readers and writers, even if you don’t think you can.

What don’t you believe you can just be? Let’s chat about it on Facebook.

NOT QUALIFIED: What can't you "Just be"?

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Why I Wasted My Education to Homeschool

Why I Wasted My Education to Homeschool

Why I wasted my education to homeschool. Encouragement for homeschooling moms.I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, but I don’t see patients and I don’t teach at the university. I gave that up to stay home with my children and homeschool them.

The most stinging criticism I received for that choice was:

“What a waste.”

It wasn’t “what about socialization?” or “how can you possibly teach children at different levels?” or “I would be crazy being home with my kids all day.” It was “Don’t you think you’re wasting your education?” that got to me.

Truth be told, there was a part of me that agreed with those critics. I had accumulated $30,000 in debt for my education. I had also invested ten long, tearful years in school and practice for the privilege of calling myself a clinical psychologist. I could have helped hundreds of people had I continued practicing the past 16 years that I’ve been homeschooling. Yet I chose to pour out my education for the sake of six little people who call me mom and not Dr. Wilson.

I’d like to tell you that I had thoroughly thought through that choice, that I had counted the cost, and that homeschooling was the clear winner in my deliberations, but that isn’t how it happened. Instead I found myself pouring out what I thought was so precious without even fully knowing why. I just knew I had to. I wanted to.

I was like another woman two thousand years ago who was accused of waste.

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Matthew 26:6-9

I wonder if, like me, this woman ever second-guessed herself. Who could she have helped? What else could she have become if she hadn’t chosen to waste what she had? Jesus answered her question and He answered mine.

“Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Matthew 26:10-11

There will always be people in need of counseling. These poor souls will always be with us. But my children won’t be. My oldest has just finished his first year in college and day after day I think, “I wish I would have taught him this, too.”

When I was counseling, the number one pain point for the people I saw was a disconnect with mom or dad. Mom or dad weren’t there to guide, weren’t there to teach, weren’t there to encourage and the hurt of that carried on for decades. It’s true that I have poured out my education–wasted it even–for the sake of six children I love so much. I never wanted them to sit in a therapist’s office saying, “She was never there for me.” In pouring myself out for my kids, I believe I’ve done a beautiful thing for them and for Christ, to whom I was being obedient. Not every mom is called to homeschool, but I was.

As hard as it was to hear how I was wasting my education when I chose to stay home, I was also so encouraged. At the time I was leaving the Christian practice I was in, a dad with his Ph.D. was joining us. When he learned why I was leaving, he said,

“I’m so proud of you.”

I still get misty thinking of that. More than most, this man understood the sacrifice I was making–the sacrifice I am still making, with no regrets.

And so homeschooling mom who has wasted your education to homeschool your children, I want you to know I’m proud of you, too. What a beautiful thing you’re doing.

I would love to get to know you better at Homeschool Sanity on Facebook.

Be sure to read more reasons iHomeschool Network bloggers chose to homeschool.

Why We Chose to Homeschool

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Inspiration From Ultimate Homeschool Show Hosts: What’s Hot in Homeschooling This Week

Inspiration From Ultimate Homeschool Show Hosts: What’s Hot in Homeschooling This Week

ultimate homeschool radio show, homeschool encouragement

This week, in honor of the first episode of the Homeschool Sanity Show on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, I thought I would feature encouraging posts from some of the other hosts. I figured October’s about right for some encouragement! Note that some shows may not begin until later this fall or next year, but it’s a great time to bookmark or subscribe for later!

Hope When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

Hal and Melanie Young host the Making Biblical Family Life Practical podcast. Most homeschooling parents have times like these and the Youngs have some encouragement.

Answering the Call to Homeschool

Reading Wendy Woerner’s story will renew your commitment to homeschooling. Wendy will be hosting the Culinary Cohorts podcast.

Homeschooling Through Seasons of Sleeplessness

Carlie Kercheval provides encouragement and tips for dealing with a fact of life for most homeschool moms. I would have loved this article when I had babies who weren’t sleeping through the night. She and her husband Michael are the hosts of Learning to Speak Life.

Homeschooling Through the Baby Days

Katie Horner, expectant mother and host of a Spanish homeschooling podcast, has put together a fantastic list of posts on homeschooling through every baby stage, including sleeplessness.

Just Put Down the Books

I love Kendra Fletcher’s premise here. There is a certain kind of book that can drive us crazy. Kendra and her husband, Andy, host Homeschooling in Real Life.

A Family Rhythm for Functioning Faithfully

Jen Reyneri, host of Destination: Inspiration, shares her perspective on scheduling and a review of a program that has helped her and her children mange their day.

Raising Great Communicators the Co-op Way

I share Pat Wesolowski’s enthusiasm for teaching kids speaking skills in a co-op setting. Pat is the host of Homeschooling Co-op Style.

If you’d like to keep up with more great articles from these hosts and more, be sure to follow the Homeschool Sanity Show and the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network boards on Pinterest.

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