2015 brought a radical change for us.
I entered my first public school as a student in 1980. I am old. My education began at Hilltop Elementary School. From Hilltop Elementary, I went on to Alderwood Middle School, to Lynnwood High School, to Western Washington University, to eventually receiving my teaching degree so that I could continue my time at school.
The September to June cycle was how my life was organized. It’s all I had ever known. Spend August getting ready for school to start, the excitement of school starting in September, school pictures in the fall, celebrating holidays at school, field trips with classrooms, collecting box tops, school fundraisers, the anticipation of school ending for the year in June, and finally summer break. This was my life for 35 years.
This trend of leaving home to attend school continued all the way through until 2015, when God said, “STOP, there is a different way”.
I had never considered homeschooling. In all honesty, I didn’t understand homeschooling. There are perfectly good schools designed to teach my children. I learned at those perfectly good schools.
It began when I met my friend, Stephanie and her daughter, Katie. I was in my 15th year of teaching; my own children were in the thick of public school: common core, fundraisers, school drama, stress. Stephanie had been a teacher in California and had left the classroom to teach her daughter in their home.
At first, Stephanie simply told me about her experience homeschooling. No judgment. No pressure.
As the Lord began opening up my mind and heart to the idea of homeschool, Stephanie began sharing statements such as:
“No one else will teach your kids like you. No one else loves your kids like you do.”
“God gave you your kids. He will show you how to teach them.”
“It’s a lie from the enemy that your kids need to be away from home all day, 5 days a week..that each family member needs to be doing their separate thing.”
Is this you, Lord? Could I do this? Should I leave the familiarity of the school setting? Could I handle all day every day with my children? Do I have the patience? Do I have the energy? Will we be able to pay the bills on one income? Will my kids miss their peers at school? Will my strong-willed child do what I ask her?
Each of these questions is giving me an opportunity to trust the Lord and deepen my dependency on Him.
God keeps sending me the message that if my life is comfortable, something is wrong.
Homeschooling has been an opportunity for my weakness to shine and His strength to reign, my need to grow and His power to be utilized.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Over the last several months, so many moms have said to me, I could never homeschool my kids. Reasons include: “my child is too strong-willed”, “we can’t even do homework together”, “I have to work”, “my child is too social”, and “I always struggled in math”.
I am here to tell you that I can honestly say that each of those statements fit for me and my family, too. If God is calling you to homeschool, if you even feel He may be gently telling you to homeschool, calling your attention to the possibility, He will equip you. In fact, He already has. If you are a child of God, with the Holy Spirit residing in you, then you have, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. It’s not always what I feel like doing each day. But, it is most definitely what God has called me to. And, He has most definitely been faithful in giving us what we need each day.
When I was too strict with our schedule and routine, He was faithful to reveal a new way to structure our day. When I was trying to recreate “school” at home, He showed me my children’s unique styles and what would work best for them. In fact, here’s a run down of what the Lord has shown me during quiet time with Him:
- Setting alarm clocks, starting early, finishing early, allowing for a lot of creative learning time in the afternoons.
- Beginning the day with exercise.
- Checklists for completing tasks.
- Doing most tasks in the order each child chooses.
- Working at their level in each academic area.
- Having two days a week of learning outside of the home.
- Having a “no screen time” rule during the school week.
- Audio books in the car.
- Weekly trips to the library.
- Playing instrumental music in the background all day.
- Above all else, having a goal of learning to love the Lord with our whole hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Academic learning is a side benefit.
Is God calling you away from the traditional school setting? Are you scared like I was? Are you willing to get uncomfortable and follow where the Lord leads?
One thing to be sure of, keeping your eyes on Him, you and your kids will learn and grow as He desires.
You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 11:19.