As I write this month, I have a lot on my mind and heart regarding this calling of homeschooling. I am reluctant to share some of it, because anytime we share from our gut, we are made vulnerable. I never like that feeling. : ) Yet, I am compelled to share a few things.
I have been praying and thinking about this journey. What is my passion, regarding homeschooling? What are my concerns? Joys? Successes? Failures? What are yours? I realize and respect that the “vision” may be different for each family. Your homeschool journey may look different from mine. You may have different definitions, goals, etc. The circumstances that led you to homeschool may be entirely different from mine. With that understanding, I will share a little of our story. Most who know me well, know that I am passionate about independent homeschooling, K-12. It is my calling. And on days when I don’t “feel” the calling, it is my conviction. So I look to resources that will inspire me and help to equip me for that long journey all the way through high school, help remind me of the costs… both of home schooling and NOT homeschooling my children.
Sometimes the stresses of life and the attack of the enemy wear us down, until we are weary and vulnerable to choosing other options for educating our children… options we really are not comfortable with, never thought we would consider. For me, educating my children is a form of discipling my children. So, there is no other option. I am committed. A little like marriage.
My husband and I feel that homeschooling is “sacred”, in the way that family is sacred. To us, homeschooling is a means of “home-discipling“ our children, and it has helped us to think of homeschooling in this way. Like marriage (which we just celebrated 25 years of! ), our commitment to homeschool is not based on how easy or difficult the season is, or how we feel, or how successful it seems, or how limited our resources are, or how tired we are, or how appealing another option looks to us, etc. But rather, our commitment to homeschooling is based on a conviction that this is what the Bible tells us to do. My prayer is that I will always choose what I believe to be the right thing, even if it is the harder thing. As the years tick by on this journey (I am finishing year 15), we often end up feeling alone and we lose confidence and clarity. We lose our vision. So I struggle at times to remind myself of why we chose to homeschool in the first place, what Biblical principles led us here, to catch that vision again. Oh yes… I remember… I look back to our little “Mission Statement” that we wrote up so many years ago. I am so glad I took the time to write down our thoughts, as they now encourage me and help direct our steps, influence our choices, bring clarity to our vision for our family and our children. Here is a portion of it: “… We consider homeschooling a means to an end… the end being a family that loves and serves the Lord, and a Country that can continue to be free to do these things. We are practicing Biblical homeschooling rather than Government homeschooling, because we believe that the government schools do not share our vision for our family or our country. We are deliberate about choosing to disciple and train up our children without any interference or “help” from the public schools. We believe that God commands us to train up our children and disciple them in the ways of the Lord and to protect and shelter them, understanding that we are the “gate-keepers” for our family…. “ Thankfully, there are so MANY incredible resources that God has made available to help equip us for finishing the task He has called us to. With the internet, we now have easy access to great minds and hearts that have gone before us on this journey, that have finished this race. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips to help us keep on course, and go the distance. I appreciate their willingness to serve, to share their stories, and be an example of God’s faithfulness. My conviction and vision for my family is renewed. I am not alone. My yoke seems light again, as I read and listen to the wisdom and insight of those the Lord has taken through the deserts and the valleys, and I see how they have persevered and been faithful, in spite of it all.
As a Christian homeschooler, I find that I often need the encouragement of others to fulfill my calling as wife, mother, homemaker, and teacher. There have been many days… no seasons… when the distractions of life swoop in and derail my efforts, rob my joy, blur my “vision”. Sometimes it is something I can’t help, like illness or a move. But other times it is a condition of my own heart. Truth is, some days I would rather do something else besides serve my family through healthy meals, a clean house, or teaching the kids. I would rather go shopping, call a friend, surf the web, scrapbook! And sometimes I do. But the Lord is always faithful to whisper to my heart, and call me back to my role, renew my strength, set me back on course, clarify my vision. So, while I struggle with faithfulness throughout this journey, He is always faithful, and again, I am grateful for those servants who have made it their ministry to strengthen the homeschool family, and keep me focused on the finish line.
Springtime is full of new life… renewed life! Maybe you also need some encouragement to finish this task, renew your vision for home-discipling your children. Maybe you need a “mission statement” for your family and homeschool? Whatever that looks like for you, whether it is actually written down, or is bouncing around in your head and heart, I encourage you to be true to it, and embrace the journey God has put on your heart, for your family. Of course, the Bible is our ultimate compass, a light to our path. Seek the Lord, look to His Word, and take advantage of the many people God uses to encourage us in our calling.