Love, Faith, and Resourcefulness is the Key to Homeschooling Success – Meet the Hannah FamilyApr 20th, 2013 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Featured Articles, Student Showcase
We want to introduce you to a family who has been through all of these difficulties, and yet prevailed with love and faith. Meet Kimberly Hannah, and her 12 year old daughter Rachael, along with husband Curtis and young daughters Janae and baby Danaek. They have much to share!
“I have found, without exception, that when I seek God first thing in the morning and then start the school day by praising Jesus in worship and prayer, our day goes as it should – not because there are never difficulties, but because our hearts are focused on Him.
There is a saying that goes something like this: ‘When you have a BIG God, you have little problems, but when you make God LITTLE in your life, then your problems seem to become very big.’ It’s a matter of perspective. It’s a matter of faith.” ~Kimberly Hannah
Kimberly and Curtis Hannah were Canadian by birth, but later moved to the US West Coast over 13 years ago. As working parents, they made the decision to enroll their oldest child Rachael in private Christian school, having heard about the difficulties many children face in traditional schools, and having both been to public schools themselves. It was not an easy undertaking financially. They became even more strained upon moving to Pennsylvania with increased living costs and the addition of two children, Jenae (now 3) and Danaek (4 months). However, the desire for all their children to receive a Christian education was of utmost importance.
For the Hannah family, the transition into homeschooling their children was not easy or smooth, at first.
“Rachael was sad to leave her friends again; we as parents felt guilt over changing her life dramatically once more. It was tough at first. She still misses seeing her friends as much as she used to. I would say the “social” change has been the hardest for her. For me, it was the concern over whether I would fail her. I remembered, years ago, hearing friends of ours say that they homeschooled their kids and I would think, “I could never do that, I’m too impatient” and “I have my nursing career.”
Through the support of her husband Curtis, and her strong faith that God would lead her on this journey, Kimberly found the strength and fortitude to prevail. According to Kim, she has learned to be flexible and to not try to put a square peg in a circle. “If something doesn’t work, quit trying to push it, look for a door to open elsewhere. Maybe the thing we want to do will eventually work out, whether it’s at another time or season in life. This has been another wonderful concept Jesus has taught me this year.”
The Hannah’s were assigned Bridgeway’s Lisa Ott as an advisor. All anxieties about the transition faded with the guidance provided by Lisa, including forms, grading techniques, and tracking records.
“Every question I have had for her, she has graciously and patiently answered. Not once have I felt put down or foolish in front of her. She either already knows the answer, or is quick to find it. I also love the fact that when I was starting and felt overwhelmed, Bridgeway sent the forms and affidavits I would need to send to the school superintendent. Because of the Bridgeway “way” of doing school, my stress level was decreased substantially. I was also thrilled with the fact that they have Christian curriculum options…it was a deciding factor.”
Rachael’s Bridgeway journey started with placement testing and Bridgeway’s Learning Style Assessment Test to help determine Rachael’s preferences and style. Her strengths were discussed and an appropriate curriculum was selected. The Hannah’s had the flexibility to design a curriculum that worked for their daughter. For example, Rachael expressed a love for Zoology, so the Hannah’s incorporated several science courses. Since Rachael lacked confidence in mathematics (even though she scored high for mathematics during placement testing), the Hannah’s decided to take it slow with math and have Rachael do repetitive work.
Biblical Reinforcement and Community
“Each of Rachael’s classes have a Biblical reference, but also talk about what is taught secularly; I love the explanations and examples that are given. It is “in line” with what we as parents are teaching Rachael, so it is a great reinforcement of the things of God.”
Rachael is also very involved at the family’s church, “Rise Up.” She plays the box drum (in the percussion group) with her friend Tim and the worship band. She also loves participating in youth group on Sunday evenings. The group does a variety of sports together, plus there is a “mini” Bible lesson before everyone leaves for home. The youth group has allowed Rachael to be a part of a bigger community of believers in the same faith.
The Hannah’s are no strangers to busy schedules! Rachael has discovered that she loves art, and has aspirations to be an artist or computer animator when she grows up. Unfortunately, when Rachael went to private school, all she was allowed was 30 minutes once per week to pursue her passion. There were many days when she would come home with mounds of homework that left little time for family and the pursuit of her dreams. Now, because the Hannah’s are homeschooling, Rachael goes to art class once per week for 1.5 hours and loves it passionately. She also takes guitar lessons weekly.
The Hannah’s are also active in many different sports through their local YMCA. Why all this activity? Simple. They follow the philosophy that “You can’t know if you don’t like something until you’ve tried it!” Through the YMCA, Rachael has participated in cardio kickboxing, swimming, volleyball, running, and some weight-lifting.
Looking to the Future
Rachael is eager to continue along her homeschool journey. She would like to fast track her studies, and shape them so that she can pursue her art-related career goals. Her mom Kimberly is excited about the future as well since she realizes that her choices and perseverance have taught her more than she could ever have hoped.
“Personally, not only as a mom but as a human being, I am thankful to God for homeschooling; He has used it as His tool of choice to teach me. Not that I have arrived at perfection (by no means!), but He has taught me patience, compassion, understanding, listening with the heart, forgiveness, and what is most valuable in this life. I have never felt more fulfilled since starting this homeschooling journey. I am so thankful for every struggle we have been through, because Jesus has used it to refine me.”
Additional homeschooling posts:
What Do You Do When Your Parents Are Struggling?
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Is the Homeschooling Trend Growing?
Whether or not you believe the public school system is broken - or whether you feel it just isn't for everyone - .