When James and I were dating he mentioned he would like his children to be homeschooled. By this point we were already planning our wedding, so I knew he meant he wanted me to homeschool our children. I laughed.
I am a public school teacher! I loved my high school years. Why would I homeschool?!?! They would miss out on so many important things like prom, sports, theater, graduation, etc. etc. etc. Besides… those people are generally weird, unsocial, awkward around people, etc. etc. etc.
My husband was homeschooled :). Obviously he was the exception to this rule.
James is amazing and knew he needed to just let the issue go! We didn’t fight about it. He didn’t judge me. He just said ok and supported me in my decision. Something he does so well and in so many ways in our marriage!
I feel certain he must have prayed about it often because God began changing my heart. While many people, over the years, have assumed that my in-laws have “changed me,” they are wrong.
God. Changed. Me.
He spoke to me. He gave me a love for my children and being home with them. He laid on my heart their education and how I should raise them to serve and love Him.
Not to mention… I was a PUBLIC SCHOOL teacher! I saw what was happening in that system. I saw how the teachers were being treated, and in turn how the students were being treated. I DID NOT want my children in that system. *If you choose to send your kids to public school, that is your choice. I would recommend being involved and knowing what your kids are learning, but I will NOT tell you what to do with your children… in turn…
please don’t tell me what to do with mine :-).
Moving along… Once I made the decision to homeschool my children you can imagine I got plenty of advice ;-). Mostly unsolicited, as most advice is, but I smiled, took what I felt God wanted me to, and moved on.
I had a friend tell me about the year she tried homeschooling. She was fed up with the public school system, and heartbroken at the things other kids were teaching her children.
You know? They weren’t sheltered and that’s a good thing right? Ok! I will try to keep my snide remarks to a minimum haha! That is for a whole other discussion. Anyways, she began to homeschool.
It. was. Hard!
She was frustrated. Overwhelmed. Crying. She surrounded herself with co-op groups. And guess what happened… She was told God made us to homeschool. All moms should homeschool and that is how we are created.
Think about it (especially you homeschool moms… me included), she was frustrated, overwhelmed, and crying. She thought, “There is NO WAY I can do this.” And she was “encouraged” with… you were made to do this. Naturally, this came across that she was a failure. If she “couldn’t” do this, but God created her to do this, then something must be wrong with her. So she quit.
I cannot help but wonder, what if she had been nurtured instead? What if she had been loved where she was and encouraged to seek out how to make homeschooling work for her? What if someone had said, “It was hard for me at first too. I still have hard days. But we are here for each other. We can work together.”
Last year I attended a homeschool convention that offered classes and a book fair. I LOVED it! So many people with so many ways to “do” homeschooling. I have TONS of options to “do” homeschooling the way that works for ME and MY FAMILY and how God leads us!
You know what else I found, people who think their way it the only way to homeschool.
I see this as a lose lose situation. If we encourage people to choose to homeschool over other school options, we need to be helping them find the way that works for them. Does that mean every homeschool option is good. NO WAY! But does that mean if it isn’t done the way you do then it is wrong? Absolutely not either!
And so it begins. People are already upset and judging me on my homeschool ways. I expected this and I know it will continue to happen.
Some think the earlier you start the better. Some think the least amount of planning the better. Some plan to the tee. Everything should be done at home with only your family. You need to join a co-op. Schools that work with homeschooling so they have a little of both. And on and on and on and on. Did I mention how you do it in YOUR OWN HOME matters to some? Where you sit to teach and learn. It is just silly!
To the homeschool mom: No matter how long you have been homeschooling, encourage one another. Support one another. Help each other. Let’s put aside our opinions over trivial things and instead praise God for how He is going to move through the process. Maybe we think certain methods are best… and maybe they are… for OUR family… but each family is different. God may need to show someone else something that He didn’t need to show you. I am sure you are trying to help. Aren’t we all? But you never know how difficult the homeschool idea is to one person. Whether it is a confused mom taking her kids out of the public school, or the mom who taught public school and is doing what she does best, or the mom who was homeschooled herself and thinks she cannot live up to the expectations set before her, we all have different journeys. I am enjoying the journey God has put me on and I must focus on Him and what he wants for me and MY family. You should do the same.
*Obviously if someone ASKS for your opinion on the best curriculum or homeschool method or whatever, then they asked for it. I would still encourage you to offer it in a kind way and try to avoid a judgmental tone. Or write your own blog post :-).
To the non-homeschool mom: This post was not written for you. So do not take it as a personal attack at you for not homeschooling. That is on you. I have to do what I know I need to do for my family and what God has called me to do. Maybe you can find something else through this post. Or even learn to judge the homeschool mom less. Pray God would show you what to take from it. That’s what I like to do.
God, thank You so much for the ways you have changed me over the years. I am not the person I was. I am becoming the person You want me to be. Thank You for providing for our family and giving me the strength to trust You when I quit my job to stay home. Thank You for a husband who supports me and also lovingly lets me make my own choices while praying the Holy Spirit guides me the way I should go.
Forgive me for also showing judgment on others. Oftentimes I do not even realize it. Holy Spirit, put me in check when I begin to let MY opinions and advice get in the way of things You are doing in someone. Forgive me for not always showing love the way You show love.
God, I ask You to give me wisdom in my words. That they would be Your words not mine. When people come to me for help and guidance, that I would always point them to You. That I would always seek You to speak through and to me in all situations. Lead me in the right direction as I begin to prepare my home for our homeschooling years. Put people in my life who will encourage me to find the way best for me and my family, while still encompassed by Your love and direction.
I surrender my homeschool years to You. I offer up my children to You. I yield before You that it may not be about me but about You in everything I do. I love You and praise You for all You have done and are going to do.
I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.