By Caitlyn Watson.

Meet Dwight and Kristen Habermehl and their five children: Caleb (18), Esther (16), Rachel (13), Anna (11), and Josiah (9). Dwight and Kristen met and married in Ontario, but they raised their family in Nova Scotia, and as Kristen said, “We feel Nova Scotian through and through!”

Dwight and Kristen have homeschooled their family from the beginning because of an encounter Kristen had as a teenager. When she was sixteen, close family friends began homeschooling their oldest son. Kristen was intrigued by their homeschooling journey, and she began watching them and other homeschooling families. “I identified things I saw in their home that I knew I wanted too someday,” said Kristen. “I was intrigued by the depth of relationship and camaraderie I observed over and over between the parents and children. There was a free-flow of conversation, as well as confidence in the children’s eyes when they engaged in discussion with anyone and everyone.”

The family enjoys studying a variety of subjects together, such as history, languages, politics, and the three R’s, of course; but homeschooling has also allowed each child to focus on his or her unique interests. Caleb’s passion is technology, and he has spent many hours recording and editing video and gaining valuable experience. He is excited about beginning a Screen Arts program this fall! Nursing is Esther’s dream, and her extra-curricular activities, as well as some of her courses, are allowing her to explore this option more fully. Rachel is an aspiring artist, and several of her paintings have been featured in a nearby shop. Anna has a love for the outdoors and for animals, and Josiah enjoys Lego more than anything. Who knows: we may be looking at the next veterinarian or engineer! Each child’s calling is different, but homeschooling allows the family to work together and to lay a strong foundation for each one’s future. In Dwight and Kristen’s words, “We firmly believe that one of the greatest gifts we are given as homeschooling parents is the opportunity to study our children closely as they grow and develop. By the time decisions need to be made, we have grown with them; we are able to help them discover their strengths and develop a sense of where the future might take them.”

Years ago, the family made the decision to become HSLDA members. At the time, they joined simply because they agreed with the organization’s mission. But now, as they see HSLDA defending homeschooling worldwide, they realize that their membership means so much more. “We all want the freedom to homeschool, but it can’t be only a few paying and fighting for that right we all must stand as one to truly impact and make a difference on the homeschooling front,” said Dwight and Kristen. “No longer can we take the freedom to homeschool for granted.”

This freedom to homeschool also affords the Habermehls the opportunity to learn and grow together as a family. “We can’t think of a better investment of our time as parents — in our short lives — than strengthening and deepening our impact and relationships with our precious children,” concluded Dwight and Kristen. “If you’re thinking about homeschooling, know that it may be the hardest thing you have ever done, and then go for it! There is so much joy in sharing every good, bad, challenging and wonderful day together.”