Beth Carey, home-schooling mother of five

What's it like raising five children? Any time left for yourself?

I always had a desire to have a large family. I grew up knowing several large families, and coming from a family of just two children, those bigger families seemed to always be having so much fun. I was right about that. I guess I just never knew how much work was involved behind the scenes. I didn't know I would be in an on-going, never-ending laundry session. The times when the whole family is ill—those are some of the most challenging times. I have learned more about vomit than I ever wanted to know. There seems to always be someone in the restroom.

In fact, as far as time alone, the things I never imagined would be a community event are now just that—taking a shower, going to the bathroom—I seem to have company wherever I go. Someone is in need, or in want, at all times. This is what parenting is all about, right? Becoming selfless, if you will. It's no longer about what I want. It's not about my goals and my desires for the future for myself. There may come a time when my children are grown that I focus on these things. For now, my passion is to raise great men and women of God. That takes all that I have, all the time, except for those precious moments on a date with my husband, when all else gets put on hold.

Why did you decide to home-school your kids?

It was simple. We, as parents, wanted to be the ones to raise our children. We wanted more than just the few hours of the evening being consumed with homework, dinner, baths, and bed. We wanted a chance to ground our children in our beliefs, to build them up, to prepare them to better handle the pressures of the world. We are thankful for the choice to do so. We are also thankful for the choice of sending them to school, when the time comes.

Are you part of a network of other home-schooling families?

Yes. In fact, this is major factor in the well-being of our home-schooling. A support system is crucial. We interact with several other home-schooling families on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. Together we do field trips, play dates, co-ops, overnighters, projects, you name it. Our children interact with many other children. They have the chance to learn healthy relationships, work through disagreements and disappointments. It is awesome.