I’ve cried more times than I want to admit about this whole homeschooling thing. We’ve been doing it for ten years and each year has different tears, different fears, different joys.
It’s not easy. It’s not always fun. It challenges me and bothers me.
There have been years I’ve gotten so close to chunking the whole idea and sending them to school so mama can get a break.
I’ve never done it.
The guilt bag would be too heavy.
But, I can pack a guilt bag for anything. Not teaching them enough. They aren’t getting all they need. They won’t have the great memories I do. I’m a slacker. My schedule doesn’t look like hers. They aren’t going to be smart! They’ll never read!!
Ten years of wondering if I’m doing the right thing, while knowing I am. For our family, this is the right choice.
Ten years of looking at them in pajamas working on English and Math.
Ten years of taking long winter breaks and stopping school on a crisp, spring day to go play outside.
Funny thing is, I have twelve more years of this. And it will be my joy.
Then, last night, at Perspectives, a young mother of two comes up and with anticipation and some fear in her eyes, she starts asking me about homeschooling. I want to stop her right there and say, “Oh honey. Your babies are two and 7 months. Come back to me in three years.” But the look on her face said “Help!”
She shared with me her own education and how long she was in school to get a doctorate for a job she now hates. I could sense she didn’t want that for her kids. Also, there is a growing chance that she and her husband might pack up their little family and move to a foreign country to take the Gospel of Jesus out to the nations. That country won’t have class parties and PTA boards. They will have to do it.
This is where her wide eyes spoke to me saying, “I don’t think I can do it! How will they learn? I’m not able to teach them!”
I assured her an email was coming full of encouragement, links, and resources to start helping her bring her heart rate down and sigh some deeps sighs of relief. She hugged me and already seems to be relaxing.
Then it struck me…
All these years, all these years of tears and joy, anger and bliss, frustration and victory, I never once thought that my choice to teach my kids at home might be a catalyst of peace for families who are considering leaving the States.
If you grew up in the public school system, it gives you the sense, because we know no other way, that if you don’t put your kids in the system, they will miss out on something or they will lack in something.
This simply isn’t true.
If you choose to not use the public system of education, then you have a wide open field of choices as to how you will educate your child. The resources available to you are so plentiful, it can actually be overwhelming. The support around the nation, and I’m sure, in your own community, is important and prevalent.
If you choose to uproot your family and leave the States, the choice to come out of the public school system is now no longer a choice. You’re leaving. Maybe where you’re going has it’s own system, but what about the language? What about the actual system? What about the environment? What if they don’t have a school system? What if you’re going remote?
Home education can trigger a whole new level of panic.
Home education outside of the States for missionaries can trigger not only a panic, but a burden that seems overwhelming.
This should not be.
I realized that my ten years of doing what I though was just for my family might be of some comfort to those leaving. That sweet mom at my class last night was reaching out to someone a decade ahead of her for confidence and assurance.
And I was able to give it to her. I was able to look at her and say, “You two can do it. You’re more than able and there is so much support out there.”
I was able to look at someone and give her assurance that her children will be just fine and she is more than capable of educating them. More than that, she and her husband are more than able to look beyond an American definition of education and give their children lives full of a Spiritual education that only they, as their parents, can give them.
I never dreamed that my years at home would one day be the confidence a young mom would need to take one more step to becoming a missionary.
Never think that what you do isn’t for His glory or someone else’s benefit.
What an honor to serve His servants this way.