by Kay Chance

Did you hear the great news? The Wiggers have added a new member to their homeschool team! Ruby Grace was born at 12:36 a.m. on July 10, measuring 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long.

So I’m stepping in for Ashley this issue and mixing things up a bit. (You can get away with that when your partner in crime hasn’t slept for a while!) She’s been sharing stories of homeschool graduates this year, but I decided to talk to a homeschool mom who is just getting started: Caroline Boyd.

We’re hoping this encourages you as much as meeting people at the end of their homeschool journey. A strong start isn’t about choosing the “perfect” curriculum, having a dedicated homeschool room, or the countless other things we often get hung up on in the beginning.

The Foundation for Starting Strong — with Caroline Boyd text

Q: Tell us about your family.
We are the Boyd family. My husband and I met in 2007 at Midwestern State University, where I cheered (my mom was a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader before she had us, so it was in my blood) and pursued a degree in psychology. I met my husband, Blake, on my first day of classes, and our paths continued to cross over the next couple years. Eventually, I asked him if I could borrow his dog to take on a walk, and apparently they were a package deal.

We got married in January of 2012, after both graduating in December. Soon after, Blake was offered the opportunity to move into the role of worship leader at our home church in Wichita Falls, Texas.

In mid-2013, we found out we were expecting our first child. Emerson is our daughter, born in 2014, then our sons August and Duke came in 2015 and 2016.

Q: Why did you choose to change from public schooling to homeschooling?
Before our kids were school age, we had rarely thought about which education route we would take. Honestly, I just assumed they would attend public school like I did. Eventually, Emerson entered a local elementary school in the fall of 2019. Then, boom, coronavirus hit in March 2020 and we were thrown into what we thought was “homeschooling.” I, to my joyful surprise, enjoyed having them home, and we were semi able to make our own schedule. However, the hard part was we were still tied to the school “Zoom schedule” every other day. It was so stressful not knowing what she was supposed to be learning or how to guide her there. I remember some homeschool moms trying to tell me that was not real homeschool. All I thought was, if this isn’t “real homeschool,” then I can’t imagine how hard the real thing is.

Family sitting together in front of a home
“When others don’t understand why I would choose this path, I just remember that the Lord did not entrust them to anyone else but Blake & myself.”

Then we attended a Christian family camp in east Texas that summer. We unintentionally signed up for the unofficial “Homeschool Family Week.” I remember telling all the parents how awesome and cool I think they are, but I would and could never homeschool my kids. I believed God just didn’t wire me that way.

Throughout our week at camp, they gave me the freedom to ask them any and every question I had about homeschooling. They were patient with me and answered every question so graciously. Their kids were wonderful and not “awkward.”

Maybe it’s worth looking into. The seed had been planted, but still… There is no way. Never. I won’t do it.

Over the next few weeks, Emerson went back and started first grade at the same school. All the while, I had begun a deep dive in all podcasts, statistics, blogs, articles, and curriculum pertaining to homeschooling. I just wanted to know what all the fuss was about, but I wasn’t going to actually do it.

I casually mentioned things to my husband, then my parents, then I began reaching out to families in our church that I knew either had homeschooled or are currently homeschooling. After seeing the differences in the kids and the family dynamics, I felt the Lord continue nudging me along. I went from curious to convinced this was something the Lord wanted us to try out. Now to get Blake to be as convinced as I was. I gave him all my information I had gathered. He came and sat down with many of the families and heard their hearts about why they chose homeschooling. We prayed about it, and I left it in Blake’s hands. If it was what was best for our family, the Lord would bring us both to the same place. About three months after our initial conversation, he gave it the green light, and we pulled Emerson out at Christmas break 2020.

Q: What has been most difficult about the change?
By far the most difficult part has been the anxiety of knowing I was making the unpopular decision. “Have I just ruined her life?” “What is everyone saying about me?” “What if I fail?”

Other struggles were just daily things. The hardest is keeping her on task and motivated. However, in those moments, I can feel myself digging deeper to get creative and learn right alongside her, and a whole lot of leaning on the Lord.

Q: What benefits have you seen?
Yes, often we have hard moments or even days, but the good days and moments by far outweigh the bad. I had no clue how much my daughter struggled in reading and writing. Or on the other hand, how much she enjoyed math. Now I get to see her love for reading grow daily. I get to see the “a-ha” moments when she learns a new skill or pattern in math. We get to have sweet conversations throughout the day, instead of squeezing them in before bedtime on a school night. She is better rested and ready for a new day. Our days are flexible in so many ways. “What do you want to learn first?” “Where do you want to work today?” “How long do you want to spend on this?” “Let’s get extra done today so we can have a play day tomorrow.”

She has learned time management, waking up earlier so she can get done earlier. She sets goals for herself.

Q: What have YOU learned through the process?
I have learned so much in the short time we have been homeschooling. I have learned, even when you think you’re not cut out for something, the Lord will give you what you need for each and every day. We, as a whole family, have learned to slow down and enjoy the little moments and take advantage of what is in front of you. Also, it’s okay to take a narrow path. They are growing up so fast, that they are worth the hard days and hard decisions.

Q: Did it grow you spiritually in some way?
I have absolutely grown in my relationship with the Lord. I have truly learned how to go to Him in every moment, whether I am giving thanks that my children are understanding and doing what they’re told or in the hard moments. The moments when you’re done. Ready to throw in the towel and give up on the day or everything entirely, I can turn to Him and ask for what only He provides. And He graciously and generously gives freely the peace and energy I need for the moment. I sometimes look back at the day and realize, it was only by His grace that we made it to bedtime.

Q: Did it make you appreciate something you used to take for granted?
I think my personal time is more intentional than it used to be. Before my kids were home all day, I would rush around trying to get every single thing done—from the grocery store to appointments to Target for who knows what. Now, my personal time, when I get it, is less rushed and I take the time to recharge. Even if it is just for fifteen minutes in my room to reset my mind and my attitude. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, so this is something I have to make time for throughout the day.

Q: Have you noticed anything different about your family relationships? Between your kids?
Our family is definitely stronger as a unit. My kids of course fight and argue like every other family, but now they love and miss each other that much more when they aren’t together. They love to play and get creative together. My hope is that their bond grows even into adulthood. That they would call each other when they go off into their adult lives to continue to ask each other for advice and counsel.

Q: What gives you the courage to do something the majority of your friends aren’t doing?
I believe the Lord gave me these children to train up and care for here on earth. Knowing that gives me the courage and the fire to press on even when it’s not the “normal” path. When others don’t understand why I would choose this path, I just remember that the Lord did not entrust them to anyone else but Blake and myself. Also, I am surrounded by a wonderful community of moms and dads that have gone before me or are alongside me. I am not alone in so many ways! God is faithful and He is for me.

We love Caroline’s story. You’ll notice she didn’t talk about curriculum or a dedicated homeschool room. She didn’t share the philosophy she wants to follow or the methods she will use. None of those things are bad, of course, but they aren’t what will set you and your children up for success. A strong start in homeschooling is about knowing your why, learning to trust God in the process, and building strong relationships.

No matter where you are on your journey, going back to those basics will help you homeschool boldly and successfully.

Caroline Boyd headshot

aroline Boyd lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, with her husband Blake, three children, and two pretty lazy, old dogs, Mac and Ringo. Blake is the worship pastor at Grace Church, and Caroline gets to be a stay-at-home mom, work in college ministry, and homeschool their kids. Their new favorite thing to do as a family is attend Pine Cove Family Camp in Tyler, Texas, every summer.

Kay Chance headshot

ay Chance homeschooled her children for fifteen years. While teaching them, she discovered a passion for writing and developing curriculum resources. She loves sharing natural learning methods and creative lesson ideas with other homeschooling parents. Kay is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine and the author of the older extensions for the Trail Guide to Learning series. She makes her home in Texas with her husband Brian.