Homeschooling is "Like Juggling Eggs and Rocks"
Kelly Taylor is a mom with a great sense of humor, no doubt honed while homeschooling her five children, two of whom have special learning needs. She and her husband, Paul, received a Special Needs Children's Fund grant to help with the prohibitive cost of the equipment needed to educate their daughters at home.
Recently, we interviewed Kelly and were delighted by her ability to see the positive in everything. Her enthusiasm for cultivating a loving home that respects and nurtures her children's unique personalities and learning needs inspired us all.
HSF: How did you decide to homeschool?
KELLY: My husband and I decided to homeschool because we wanted to impart our Christian faith to our children in every aspect of their lives. Since God created every subject, we believe that He should be talked about in every subject and given credit for the creation of the subject.
We also really like the idea of being our children’s primary instructors since they were given to us to raise. Teaching them about life just feels natural for us.
HSF: What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
KELLY: Our favorite thing is how mobile homeschooling is! We can school at the park or anywhere we find ourselves. And because of the challenges faced by some of our children, homeschooling provides the perfect environment to protect them from being unnecessarily hard on themselves, or other children bullying them.
HSF: What do your kids most enjoy about being homeschooled?
KELLY: With a resounding “Amen,” our kids like being homeschooled because of their access to snacks, and being able to eat while doing their work. My younger kids also appreciate the freedom in their schedule and being able to pause and play when they need a break. The older ones appreciate not having to get up really early every day and leave the house to go to school.
HSF: While homeschooling is a lot of fun, it can be challenging at times. What have you found challenging about teaching your own children?
KELLY: The most challenging thing for us is simultaneously managing multiple ages (11, 9, 6, 3 and 2) while imparting wisdom and knowledge. It’s a bit like juggling eggs and rocks—at some point they will inevitably collide.
HSF: Love your sense of humor!
KELLY: Maybe we should start practicing juggling cotton balls? The Taylor Circus, we exist to make you feel good about yourself.
HSF: I think your circus might be the next big homeschool hit.
HSF: So how did you find out about HSF?
KELLY: Two of our children were evaluated by an Education Specialist, Marianne Soderholm, who told us that HSLDA had a ministry that helps families struggling financially.
HSF: What circumstances led you to apply for an HSF curriculum grant?
KELLY: We have a very limited budget. And upon discovering two of our children have learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia and both of them 2e - twice exceptional) we knew we needed to do more for them and provide extra things in our home that had not been a part of our homeschool.
HSF: How did the grant specifically bless your family?
KELLY: We used the HSF grant we received to purchase specific educational supplies, perceptual motor therapy tools and curriculum that we could not afford on our own.
HSF: Given your personal experience, we'd love to hear what encouragement you have for other families homeschooling children with special needs. Do you have any advice?
KELLY: Go at the child’s pace. Not the curriculum’s pace. Not your own pace. Not your neighbor’s pace.
Be okay with messes, change, and interruptions. Be okay with dirty dishes sitting all night and not wearing makeup to church every time. Be okay with the car needing more work and all the “overtime” you have to give. Be okay with not being seen as “put-together.’’ Nobody really is anyway--we are still working on all this too!
Don’t focus on what your kid isn’t or what you aren’t, but focus on who God is and what He has done and is doing through you, in your unique homeschool for your unique child. By God’s grace you were given a beautiful child or children. Love them for who they are, love them for their asynchrony, love them for their uniqueness, and most importantly love, love, LOVE playing with them.
HSF: And what role does your faith play when you’re struggling with how to raise your daughters with special needs?
KELLY: Apart from Christ, we think we can do it all: that we can control outcomes if we properly prepare our children for the transition coming; that we can meet every need our family faces if we budget. But Christ wants you to be keenly aware of your need for Him, so the circumstances you find yourself in are for your own heart and soul to mature spiritually.
Our loving Savior lets us cry, even nap, in his compassionate arms. He carries us through the trials we face as we help our kids thrive in spite of their challenges. I’m encouraged when I “think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, excellence and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)
HSF: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
KELLY: To say the least, getting the news that two of our girls have special needs was difficult. However, finding this out was also encouraging, because the diagnoses confirmed that what I had felt for years—that the adage, “I am not doing enough, that’s why they aren’t learning”—was actually not true. Now, we can see God leading us on a more direct and useful path, helping us accomplish more with their understanding and knowledge of His world around them. Thank you for your grant—it helps me personally give my daughters this understanding as I can homeschool them now.
Finally, I’d like to say something to the HSF donors. As you know, teaching a child with learning difficulties is a costly path. So it is INCREDIBLY APPRECIATED to have monetary help! The Lord has provided in many ways for our family: both through the benevolence of individuals and through your generous donations to HSF. We are very grateful and do not take it cavalierly that we were chosen to receive these funds. I pray that the way we chose to spend the funds honors God and helps our children. Thank you so very much!
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