Hi, my name is Jenny Westbrook and I am the author of West Brooke Curriculum. We homeschooled for 17 years. My oldest son graduated in 2012 and my youngest graduated in 2017.
My husband and I were both raised in the truth, actually several generations back. And we endeavored to raise our children to serve Jehovah to the best of their ability. Spiritual things came first and then all other things including education wrap around that schedule.
When my oldest son turned 4 we had a decision to make. Would we send him to school? At the time we had just had our second son, and they had never been in day-care. My husband and I both went to public school and we had no experience homeschooling. I started to do research at the library on the topic and each year read a book or two. I found that there are so many methods of home education. There were times when we felt like giving up, but we managed through it. I found in time that when we reached those points in life- burnout, then it was time for a much needed break for both the parents and the kids. I’m not going to say that homeschooling is easy because it isn’t but, it does become a way of life; learning together.
In the beginning, we were pretty much on our own on this venture. I did have one friend that homeschooled as well and we would get together to have the boys learn together, do experiments, and go on field trips. Eventually other witness families joined us and we formed a small group; we wrote newsletters, got together for an occasional co-op, field trips, and park days. Now most of the families homeschool on their own and many have graduated. We have four congregations in our area and some Sundays we all meet up at the park for ball/exercise. There is currently a new homeschool group in our area for the generation younger than us and I'm glad to say they get together regularly.
Throughout the years I have tried all different kinds of curriculum always in search of the elusive “perfect” curriculum. It was nice to have so many options because we found that each child does learn differently. One size does not fit all however- but too many options was confusing and overwhelming. There are many methods of homeschooling as well and we eventually came up with our own method that works for our family. We also eventually fell into a schedule that worked for us; basically, 4 days per week, semi-year-round. We did still take some time off in the summer, but not the whole summer. This gave us the opportunity to take time off when we need it; C.O.’s visits, auxiliary pioneering, a much needed break, or camping trip while the weather is cooler.
We found that our two boys were very different. The older one, Jonathan, loved to experiment with everything from forging, building a hydrogen generator, building rockets, building computers, to robotics and electronics. He enjoyed Wilderness Survival class and continued to experiment with that after graduation. He completed technical training in the Electronics field. My other son has a milder personality, is funny, enjoys drawing & history, and he loves to read. Chandler completed Medical Administrative Specialist at the local Vo-Tech his senior year.
Homeschooling has truly been a joyful experience, we have had the opportunity to watch our children grow and learn. We came to realize that they grow up all too fast; my oldest son, Jonathan turned 21 in 2017! I truly believe that if we had sent them to school they would be completely different people. They would not have the love of learning that they do, they would not do as much experimenting in what they are interested in, or do as much reading as they do. It has been a safe-guard as well; I do not see in my kids the exposure to things they are not ready for, nor the desires that I see taking place in other children. I do realize however, that there are no guarantees; we just tried our best.
We all have a story to tell, what will be yours?
Sadly on March 10, 2018 my oldest son Jonathan died from a motorcycle accident just before he would have turned 22. Our hearts are broken from this tragedy; we fully believe in the resurrection and will see Jonathan soon, each day is difficult though as he was a big part of our lives. I am glad that we had the opportunity to homeschool and that as a mother I got to spend so much time with the boys and have many adventures with them as a family. I am thankful that I got to spend almost 22 years getting to know Jonathan and look forward to greeting him back in the future without the worries of this world.