Julia Gordie was stressing out. Then, at a point when she wondered whether should could actually follow through on homeschooling her children, the St. Augustine resident received a comforting piece of advice from one of her closest friends.
“She told me that I am the only person who will always fight for my children, never give up on them, and hold their education to the highest of priorities and standards,” Julie recalls. “They will never receive that in any school. I try to remember that anytime I don’t feel like things are on track.”
According to Julie, the decision to homeschool was a “God plan.” The Gordies were happy with the private Christian school where their son was enrolled, but they bought a house far away from the school, so Julie “just knew we couldn’t keep doing the carpool shuffle every day. We knew that public school just wasn’t a place where we wanted our children, so there really was no other alternative. I just was so unsure I could do it.”
Her friend’s advice helped inspire Julie for the journey, as has the family’s participation for the past four years in Mandarin Christian Homeschoolers, an FPEA-recognized co-op. “I cannot imagine how I ever would have gotten this far without our co-op,” Julie declares. “It’s so much more than just a meet-and-greet once a week. The friendships my children and I have made are the ‘forever’ kind. The support we receive is amazing, whether it be prayer needs, curriculum ideas or just about anything.”
Julie also draws support from FPEA resources such as publications and the website, explaining that “the [FPEA Florida Homeschool] Convention is my favorite. Each year I am able to take more in, learn something new, be exposed to all types of curriculum and learning materials, and meet some wonderful people.”
Indeed, homeschooling has been a learning process for Julie just as much as for her children. “When we first started I thought we had to do things just like regular school,” she admits. “I quickly learned to unschool myself, use a curriculum that has a flexible schedule, and remember that every day is an opportunity for learning. We run a pretty relaxed schedule, and that’s what works well with my family.”
Along the way, Julie has also picked up a thing or two about how her children learn. “I’ve had to learn that not all children learn at the same pace and not to give up,” she explains. “We have struggles in areas that at first I would beat myself up over, thinking I was doing something wrong. Over time and lots of patience, I’ve learned if one thing doesn’t work, try something different, and it will come — just not necessarily on my time schedule.”
A comforting piece of advice indeed.