|Audrey McCormick pictured with her husband and sons.|
“The dirty dishes are holding my wrinkled cape hostage in the kitchen,” she recently posted on a homeschooling forum. “They said I had to wash them in order to get the cape back. They scream it every time I walk in there this morning. I think it’s best I just stay out of the kitchen today.”
Audrey homeschools her two boys, ages 4 and 6, in Northwest Louisiana. She is also the foster mom to a busy 2-year-old boy. She’s a pastor’s wife, which, as only pastor wives know, comes with its own set of expectations. She’s also the founder and driving force behind David’s Gift, a non-profit charity that pays for funeral expenses for children.
“I didn’t intend to do all this at once!” she said.
Audrey began homeschooling in the fall of 2011, after the reality of the local Montessori school’s tuition bill set it.
“It was go back to work to pay for two kids or homeschool,” she said. “Public was not an option for our family.”
By the end of 2011, Audrey also started working on David’s Gift. She and her husband, Gabe, lost their son David to SIDS in 2004. For years, Audrey sought a way to help grieving families.
In December 2011, her community lost a young girl to a tragic accident. An account was setup for donations and Audrey wanted to help.
“A friend suggested I start a non-profit; that it wasn’t that hard,” she said. “I decided to go for it.”
To date, David’s Gift has paid for nine funerals. After a successful fundraiser, the organization is also in-progress of getting its 501(c)3 status, so donations will soon be tax-deductible.
Audrey felt busy enough with the boys schooling and David’s Gift, but she soon found herself in the position to add to her family. A family at her church was overcapacity for their foster children two and younger, and one of their foster kids would soon be off to new foster home. Audrey was attached to the family’s 2-year-old foster son, who had been attending church with the family.
“He needed a home, and we had plenty of rooms,” she said. “He looks like my kids and acts like my kids! It wasn’t anything we really planned.”
Audrey’s family was able to foster the child immediately through a non-certified placement, since they were already familiar with the child and well-acquainted with his current foster family. But she and her husband must still attend seven weeks of foster parenting classes.
When asked how she balanced it all, Audrey said, “When I figure it out, I’ll be sure to let you know!”
She laughs and looks around the play area to account for all three boys.
“To be honest, I don’t sleep,” she said. “I’m up till at least 12:30 every night. A lot of times, I feel like everyone’s getting a little bit, but no one is getting enough.”
Adjusting her wrinkled Super Mom cape, Audrey admits that she sometimes has days where she wants to send the boys back to school, but she reminds herself why she does all she does.
“I think boys, especially, get labeled quickly because they won’t sit still,” Audrey said. “Also, some of the stuff kids are exposed to – I want to shelter my kids a little more.”
Audrey practices a Montessori-approach in her children’s homeschool environment.
“There are lots of hand-on games, and I’m getting more into an unschooling-approach,” she said, “We do some workbooks, but a lot of the stuff in our classroom looks like toys.”