Article title
The Power of Homeschooling
by Ashley Wiggers
Illustration of a Plant


think being homeschooled is one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me. I’m an introvert and was very shy as a young girl. I was the type of child who didn’t need a lot of disciplining because just a look would pierce through this tender heart, reminding me to obey. I also have a learning disability, a visual perceptual processing disorder that means my eyes and brain don’t work together like most people’s.

Homeschooling enabled this shy heart to be nurtured and loved into a place of confidence. It took time and a safe place to grow. It took the loving care of a mother who helped me see the best about myself.

My disability put me behind educationally. It kept me from feeling comfortable in a class setting until about the time I reached high school. And yet, I loved to learn. Thanks to my parents, I felt smart and successful in my schooling journey. I adored great stories, hands-on projects, and learning as a family! Our time together was precious to me. My mom took great delight in transforming our homeschool into an adventure, not a set of tasks to be completed as quickly as possible. She discovered over the course of the years that home education was much more about the meaningful moments that cannot be tested than it was the results. She led us into a love of learning because she loved to learn. But I think more than anything, we knew how much she loved us and wanted to be with us and that’s what fueled the joy of our time together.

Family laughing
She also took the time to search out what worked best for us. Math was a challenge for me. It was a language I didn’t understand. What helped most was the multi-sensory approach found in Math-U-See. Mr. Demme became a friend throughout the years, and I’m so grateful for his program. If you have a struggling math student, I encourage you to give Math-U-See a try. The manipulatives, easy-to-understand workbook, and video instruction really helped me process the concepts being taught.

What else made a difference? Having a unified approach to learning. Mom eventually created a curriculum out of our experiences and her educational background, called the Trail Guide to Learning series. It combines every subject except for math in a unified manner so subjects relate and connect to each other. We all learn best within context. When subjects connect, it helps us see purpose in what we’re learning about. For someone with a disability, especially, connections make a big difference.

The power of influence we have as parents is enormous. We can influence our children to see education differently than the world around them. It doesn’t have to be drudgery; it’s not just something to get through. It can be enjoyed. My brother was a bit less enthusiastic when it came to “school,” but he too was wooed into a love of learning through my mom’s devotion and creativity. She found ways into his heart and understood he had different needs than me. Such as, he did better a little later in the day—and definitely after food—while I was ready to go first thing in the morning. His interests included trick bikes and baseball, so she incorporated them into his learning.

She showed us just how much she cared about us in the small and quiet moments of life. So don’t discount the little things you do. They will all add up to be a beautiful masterpiece over time. We got to spend the majority of our childhood with a loving mom instead of sitting in a classroom under a teacher who may or may not have liked us. My mom passed away when I was twenty-seven. She sure made the most of the time she had here on earth. I’m so glad she decided to make homeschooling about more than just academics. The schooling we did was done in the light of relationship. We learned together, and we loved it.

Drawing activities
“My mom took great delight in transforming our homeschool into an adventure, not a set of tasks to be completed as quickly as possible.”
Plant Illustration
That’s what homeschooling can be, and it is why I’m writing this. I want you to know the truth! It’s not so much about the lesson plans. It’s about where your heart is coming from and where you really want this decision to take you. If you can set your inner compass to see things from the right perspective, you’ll reach the destination you’re aiming for.

Mom prepared me for my future. She instilled a confidence in me and a love of learning. She made sure my brother and I knew we had something to offer the world and we had better get about doing the things God planned for us, because that’s really all that matters in the end anyway.

How did she do it? She used to say, “while I was homeschooling my children, God was homeschooling me.” Even though she was an educator by trade, she realized there was still a lot to be learned about education and more particularly home education. It is different. You get to be part of an epic journey with your children. It will include ups and downs. It will have obstacles and bumps in the road. It will also be filled with moments of awe and delight. You’ll have the privilege to see the light go off in your child’s eyes when he or she discovers something for the first time. You’ll get to be there to discuss, create, and learn right alongside those kiddos! Don’t miss it because you’re too stressed to find joy. Don’t allow outside influences to steal from this experience.

That’s why boldness matters. It will protect your time together and set your heart on the truth so you don’t give in to fear. You can do this!
Picture of Ashley Wiggers

shley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker, and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled. Currently, Ashley is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine, public relations director for Geography Matters, and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Lutz, FL, with her supportive father, Greg, her loving husband, Alex, and their precious sons, Lincoln and Jackson.