McClures: homeschooling was the best option for me

Kaity, Glory and Patty McClure

Two generations share lessons learned from a lifetime of home education

Story by Jordan Ryan

 

Patty McClure chose home education before her daughters, Kaity and Glory, were born. When she first began researching her options, the modern American homeschooling movement was still in its pioneer stage. Patty found a homeschool convention and decided to dive right in.

            “It was held at this little hotel. It kinda freaked me out, to be honest with you. All the ladies were wearing those same denim-jumper-things and I was walking around in shorts and a pirate shirt. I thought, ‘I am really out of my element here.’”

            In an effort to conform to what she thought were good standards, Patty purchased Abeka curriculum for her children. “I bought Kaity every kindergarten Abeka book. By the end of our seventh week, I was in tears. We were overloaded with what somebody else told us we needed to do.”

            “It’s easy for a homeschool mom to get really overwhelmed with the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘have tos’. Before you know it, you’re feeling like you’re just not capable and good enough because that mom over there is building a thermonuclear power plant in her back yard, and you’re just teaching your kids how to write cursive. Once I realized that all those ‘shoulds’ were not for me, and I just needed to seek the Lord and what was best for my kid, it was smooth sailing.”

 

“Don’t allow what other people are doing to make you feel like what you’re doing isn’t okay…”

 

            Patty encourages other homeschooling mothers to avoid the pitfall of comparing education styles, and, even more so, of comparing themselves to other homeschool moms. “We do it all the time, and it’s just not smart.”

            Instead, Patty recommends that home educating parents listen to and learn from everybody. “Then, just get on your knees and pray to the Lord and ask him what your kids need and do it. Don’t allow what other people are doing to make you feel like what you’re doing isn’t okay or make you feel like you should be doing something that you’re not.”

 

The best option

Kaity McClure said, growing up as a homeschooler, she never considered herself an outsider. “I didn’t really have a paradigm of, ‘This isn’t what everybody does”, so it just felt extremely natural. It was like, ‘My mom’s always taught me things, why wouldn’t she continue to teach me things?’”

 

“One of the coolest things…I could figure out how I learn best, and figure out what I believe.”

           

            Both McClure daughters told me that to continue being homeschooled was a conscious choice. Kaity says she would not have had it any other way. “I always knew [homeschooling] was the best option for me. I got the opportunity to travel a lot of different places. I would never have had that if I had to be in classes from this time to this time.”

            Glory McClure agrees. “One of the coolest things about homeschooling, to me, was, after at a certain age, my mom was able to give me my curriculum, and let me teach myself. I could figure out how I learn best and figure out and what I believe.”

            During their journey through homeschooling, the McClure family experimented with several different styles of learning. Virtual education and textbooks stood out as the most influential types of learning for them. Virtual education allowed the family to “school on the go,” as Patty put it, and making their education schedule more flexible.

            “The best textbook I ever purchased was ‘Teaching a Kid How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’. That is my favorite textbook ever.” Patty said.

            Kaity graduated in 2007 and Glory followed in 2012. Both young women said graduation was not a culmination, just another step in a lifelong journey of education. Patty said that mindset was one of her biggest objectives in homeschooling, to teach her children to “learn to love to learn.”

 

Looking beyond graduation 

Patty said she wished parents did not feel like their kids had to go to college right away. “Let them find their way. I think that sometimes there’s that feeling that if your kid doesn’t immediately go to college, then you as a homeschool mom messed up. And that’s not the truth. Our society basically forces [college] on our kids. I would also say, help your kid take every opportunity to intern and to volunteer. Because all of those moments, interning or volunteering help them see behind the curtain of what they really want to do.”

            Glory offered the following advice. “It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do. People treat you through your high school career like, ‘It’s okay, you don’t have to know what you want to do immediately.’ Then you turn eighteen and you graduate and they’re all like, ‘Okay, what do you want to do with your life?’ And it’s really weird and stressful, ’cause you’re like, “I wasn’t supposed to know yesterday. Why do I have to know today?”

            Glory said, from her perspective, education is about figuring out what you want to do. “Just because you have to declare what your major is doesn’t mean you can’t change it and it’s determining everything about your life.”

            Kaity said. “Your goal when you’re in middle school is to get to high school. Your goal when you’re in high school is to get to college…or to get out of high school. After high school, I think that there’s a part of you that stops asking for directions, because you kind of know what the end goal is going to be. I think that it’s really important, especially if you’re senior: if you’re thinking about going to college, if you’re thinking about what you want to do for a career, [make] sure that you’re seeking God in that. So that when you get out, you’re not just like, ‘Oh, my God, I haven’t looked at the map in so long, I don’t even remember how to read it.’ God will definitely give you direction, and He definitely has a purpose for you.”

 

“Homeschool kids…have a really good idea of who they are in themselves, what they are passionate about.”

 

            Kaity said she believes there is a “beautiful brightness” in the majority of homeschool kids. Not only that they’re intelligent, but that there is something emanating out of them. It’s a joy, a love, a passion for something. They have a really good idea of who they are in themselves before they graduate, and they have a really good idea about what they are passionate about before they graduate, they have so much of a better chance of accomplishing their dreams and the plan God has for them.”

 

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Jordan Ryan

Reporter, Jordan Ryan, writes media reviews and news stories for The Brandon Beacon.

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