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WC graduate enjoys the challenges of homeschooling

You will never hear Sara (Carl) Sears’ (WC ’00) three children complaining about their teacher at the kitchen table. Eva (11), Isaac (8), and Elizabeth (4) are not only the smartest in their class, but they are also the teacher’s favorite students.

They don’t have a choice in that. For the past six years, Sara Sears has been homeschooling her children.

“I’m grateful to be able to speak truth into their lives,” said Sears, who lives in Westerville with her husband William and their three children. “And that is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.”

Apparently, Sears is not alone. According to ThinkImpact, a federal study states that 3 to 4 percent of the students in the United States are being homeschooled and at least 9 million Americans have been homeschooled at least once in their lives. Keep in mind that those numbers came out in February 2020, a month before the start of the COVID pandemic.

The reasons for the growth in homeschooling, according to ThinkImpact, are varied. Over half of the homeschoolers believe teaching their children provides them with a safer environment. Other reasons include the need to provide their children with individual attention, better discipline, and religious instruction they can’t get in a public school.

Sears said her reason for homeschooling is simple. “It’s just something (the LORD) has put on my heart,” she said.

Sears answered the calling to teach long before she had children. After graduating from Liberty University with degrees in science and public health, she worked with Relationships Under Construction, a non-profit organization that partners with pregnancy decision centers. She taught a five-day curriculum of behavior consequences to sixth through 12-grade students in Franklin and Delaware counties.

“I got a variety of experiences, working in juvenile detention centers and rural, inner-city, and suburban schools,” said Sears, who also works with the children ministries at her church.

One thing Sears enjoys about homeschooling is the autonomy of having their children explore areas they are interested in. Nearly everything their family does can be turned into an educational experience. Earlier this year, a beach trip to North Carolina became a marine biology unit.

“It is an awesome, freeing thing,” she said. “We can go wherever our interests are leading us. And that is great, especially when my children are young.”

However, Sears admitted it isn’t always easy.

“When you’re in the school, you can compartmentalize things,” she said. “You have these students. You’re sitting at a desk. You can say, ‘OK, this is time for this.’

“But when you’re at home, life is happening all around you. Kids can be fighting with each other, someone spilled milk everywhere, and the toilets are clogged.

“The hardest thing for me has been self-doubt. I always worry, ‘Am I making the right choices? Are we doing enough? Are we checking off all the boxes? However, I really value being the person of influence in their lives and having time to build relationships with one another.”

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