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Home Schooling: An Unexpected Journey

The pandemic changed many things for a lot of people. I would say that for me, I was reminded how much I enjoy “introverting” and that I’m okay with the fact that I may never look at a buffet the same way again. In all seriousness, our family’s dynamic completely changed as the pandemic was the catalyst for an unexpected home-schooling journey.

My family had a different perspective on taking precautions during the pandemic because our daughter has a congenital heart condition. I would say we were thoughtfully cautious in all that we did. At the time, Ryan and I were not comfortable with her school’s level of safeguards. After much consultation, research, and prayer, we made the decision to pull her out midyear.

My plate was already overflowing with being a mom, wife, full-time employee, and church leader. How on earth was I going to make room for “home-school mom?” I needed a bigger plate. Many people ask how I have managed it. To be honest, it has evolved over time, but here are my top three strategies.

Find Resources

I found that taking the time to find resources helped reduce my stress and anxiety as I embarked on a brand new endeavor. I sought out books, internet groups, and websites that offered ideas to help me along my journey.

Organized Flexibility

I quickly realized that working full time and teaching full time was going to take a lot of planning. I simultaneously needed flexibility for the ebb and flow that comes with the daily load of working and teaching. I had to make peace with the fact that it was OK if each school day looked different. Having a foundation of what to cover was critical but having enough flexibility to tackle it in ways that worked best for my family on a day-to-day basis was also critical for my sanity.


I discovered many local groups and organizations that have been a true support for us. There is a local home school bookstore in Hampton Roads called Moore Expressions. The ladies in the store are helpful in finding curriculum and are a wealth of knowledge. Another helpful resource has been an organization called HEAV, which stands for Homeschool Education Association of Virginia. The organization has so much information on how to interpret home-schooling laws in the state of Virginia, curriculum information, and even provides ways to connect with other home schoolers. I also joined various online groups to help get my daughter connected with other home-schooled kids.

Despite the sacrifices we have made, the opportunity to educate our child at home has been worth every moment. If you’re thinking about home schooling but feel overwhelmed, keep in mind my three suggestions: find resources, maintain flexibility, and connect with your community.

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 17 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs with the Department of Education. Both enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for over a decade. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy teen. The Walden's have a passion for working with children and married couples.