Hello there! My name’s Bailey and this is my story. I was born September 19, 1996 weighing in at a whopping 1 Pound 4 ¼ ounces. I spent the first three months of my life in the NICU. I went home on oxygen and a heart monitor. Miraculously there are absolutely no health issues attributed to being three months early!
I’m from a very close-knit family. Not just with my parents and siblings but with extended family as well. Holidays are always a huge deal around here. There’s always a ton of food, lots of laughs and plenty of wonderful memories to share. Our family may not be right around the block but we are always just a phone call away.
I went to public school from Kindergarten through the 7th grade. My parents then decided to homeschool my siblings and me when I was in the 8th grade (2010-2011 school year). This is where the story really gets interesting, and the reason why I am where I am today. Being homeschooled for five years changed my life in so many wonderful ways. And I can honestly say that I WOULD NOT BE WHERE I AM TODAY IF I WAS NOT HOMESCHOOLED.
I could describe my relationship with homeschooling in four words:
A love –hate relationship. Let me explain further.
When I was told that I would not be going back to public school in the fall I was angry to say the least. (Not that I didn’t see it coming as we attended a rather large homeschool convention the spring break of my 7th grade year.) But I still wasn’t sold on the idea. I was very unsure about what homeschooling actually was and how it worked. I thought that homeschooling consisted of the following,
- Staying up late to watch all the good T.V. shows
- Sleeping in until 9:00 am
- Finishing school at 3:00 pm and therefore having the rest of the evening to do fun stuff
- Having NO socialization (yes, I was one of those people)
And let me tell you: HOMESCHOOLING IS SO, SO, SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!
I was under the impression that my parents were totally ruining my social life and the potential to marry my high school sweetheart. (I wasn’t even dating at the time and didn’t date at all in high school!) I was equally miffed that I’d be missing all those dances such as homecoming and prom.
I falsely convinced myself subconsciously that if I made Mom’s job completely miserable that she’d send me back and then I would have to explain all of this craziness to my “friends”.
Well that didn’t work. At all. All I really succeeded in doing was making myself and everyone else miserable. I didn’t put effort into my work like I had been doing and avoided doing as much as I could. I would sit and talk for hours and hours. I can’t even begin to count the number of conversations that took place solely to avoid working. All that did was stress me out even further. And make me so much more miserable.
I was constantly looking at the negative; what I was missing out on and how my life wasn’t anything like I thought that it would be. I became the classic “Negative Nelly”. And I missed a lot of opportunities along the way. But I have gained SO much. And the truth is I’m still learning SO much about how great homeschooling really and truly is.
Around the same time we started homeschooling Mom and Dad decided that they wanted to find a more Christian friendly radio station. They ended up finding a contemporary Christian station that I still love listening to. Now, I will admit that I wasn’t on the bandwagon immediately. But once I started listening I was hooked.
One of the very first artists that I discovered (and still love to this day) was Steven Curtis Chapman. I was then able to figure out all of the other songs that he had written and the story behind them. I especially loved “Do Everything”. Seriously, sometimes I think that the song was written for me. In the song he talks about doing everything we do for the glory of God and that nothing escapes His eyes. That whether we are in school or on the mission fields all we do is to bring Him glory.
Now the music wasn’t the only thing that helped me to develop a more positive attitude. Mom and Dad also chose a Bible-based curriculum and we did several Bible studies as part of our school work. Our church also encouraged us to read the Bible through in a year. And some of my favorite movies that we watched were faith based and encouraged me to make the most of the circumstances that I was in. These combined with actually realizing that high school was NOT A THING like “High School Musical” also helped.
I began to realize how blessed I truly was. I was able to sleep in and start school at 10:00 am and finish at 4:00 pm and NOT HAVE HOMEWORK. I realized that I didn’t have to worry about all the peer pressure to do and say things that weren’t right. I didn’t have to worry about having a date to that dance on Friday night (my Fridays were and are still spent chilling at home with the family). I didn’t have to worry about being exposed to things that I shouldn’t have seen.
I also realized how nice it was to stick to our own schedule (Don’t worry, we are still socialized). Because we weren’t involved with a co-op I was able to hold a small graduation ceremony in the living room surrounded by family and a couple of close friends. Mom and the family made sure to make it super special. My Mom wrote a speech consisting of mostly song titles that summarized my life and my siblings gave that speech. My Dad was able to give me my diploma and the whole thing was a whole lot more personal than graduating with 300 other people.
I have not yet mastered Paul’s words from Philippians 4:11 to be content in whatever state I am. But I am trying and that’s what counts. Because of Jesus’s death on the cross I now have access to His marvelous grace that covers all my sins. My goal here is to take you along for that journey. To share how I am learning to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. To show you that you can find joy in the mundane and every day; to teach you how to find that joy in your own back yard and local park.
I am not by any means an expert but I’m hoping that you’ll join me on this adventure we call life. As we learn from our mistakes and learn though life’s trials and joys to see the joy in the everyday. To learn to live out Paul’s words to Timothy his “son in the faith”, that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”