Sunday, July 18, 2010

Homeschooling for a Lifetime

So, I still don’t know how twelve years goes by so fast. It seems like yesterday that I ordered my first box of A Beka books and Saxon Math. We were so excited to be teaching our daughter first grade and our son four year Pre-K. Everyone wanted to know how long we were going to do this thing called homeschooling. You know, we’re strange for doing such a thing, right? I mean, really, aren’t we taking our kids’ lives in our own hands? Quite the contrary. We were taking our kids’ lives out of the government’s hands and placing them into God’s hands.
After the first year, things got tougher. Teaching the curriculum wasn’t so bad, but dealing with attitudes and selfishness and budding personalities challenged me as a teacher. I was quite unprepared for having the kids home all day and having to play teacher. That’s the free spirit in me. I’d rather sit around and read or write or talk or watch movies than have to work. So, I have tried very hard throughout the last twelve years to make work as fun as it can be. Life is too short to be a stiff neck.
Of course, as we got into high school in our teaching phase, I realized that many things needed to be stepped up a bit. I have often felt inadequate and like I was leaving something out where it came to the kids and their education. But I’ve had many homeschooling mentors along the way encourage me to continue to teach and guide the kids to follow their hearts while chasing after God’s dream for their lives.
The reasons I began homeschooling seem to have faded as time has gone on, replaced with newer, more urgent reasons. At first, I wanted to protect my children from the influence of the world. Later, I wanted to make sure they received an education worthy of having. Now, that the first leg of my journey is complete and I am finished teaching my daughter her high school work, I see that there is so much more to teach this budding young woman to prepare her for the future God has in store for her. I see that my role in her life as homeschool teacher of math and english and science and history may be finished, but a teacher I will remain for as long as I live and as long as she is willing to listen. With only a few years left to homeschool my son, I see that there is so much more to teach; so much more to learn. And I fear that it cannot be done in three years. Even after he has walked down the aisle of homeschool graduation, real or hypothetical, he will still need to be guided by his dad and by me.
Even when we’re faced with an empty nest, I seriously doubt that it will remain unvisited by our two. For you see, investing twelve years of your life in a child’s education and maturation, spending every day together, yields rewards that will be seen and heard and felt for many generations to come. Every time I start to think that my kids may have missed out on something like the prom, or being socialized, or being in AP classes, or being class President, I am reminded by a non-homeschooling friend that my kids are pretty great, by nothing more than a casual compliment of how special they are. So, while my kids may have missed out on some of the above, they have been spared from repeated broken hearts, the need to fight for the attentions of the opposite sex, compromised values, bodies soiled by drugs and alcohol, and so much more.
Homeschooling becomes about more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. It becomes about life skills, matters of the heart, discernment, teaching kids to be leaders for the Lord regardless of the rewards or penalties, and so much more. I see that while we do have to get them prepared for the “real world” or working and surviving, etc., our main goal should be preparing them for their life’s call. Although knowing how to solve a trigonometry problem by using the law of cosines is important in trig class, it probably won’t be used much later in life by the average person. Knowing how to diagram sentences will help us all to be better communicators, but if we’re not communicating the message of Christ to the lost and to our wayward friends, then it doesn’t matter how well our words are spoken.
It hasn’t always been easy, but looking back, I can see that it was totally worth it.

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