(Image courtesy of Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
I have been incredibly blessed to be a part of the upward moving trend of homeschooling the last few years. For 3 years now, I have been homeschooling my oldest child. Granted, the first two years were "preschool" and this year is kindergarten, so you might say my experience is not really credible. However, I will say that it has been a wonderful, worthwhile, but trying experience. We may be in the primary years, but they have certainly not been without their challenges! Ah, such is parenting. That being said, I hope I can offer some of you who are just starting out or maybe questioning whether homeschooling is right for your family a few words of wisdom and give you a place to start. (This is my first blog post series, so please bear with me!)
Here is my number one tip to get you started on your journey:
If you're thinking about homeschooling, if it's even on your radar, the most important advice I can give you is pray, pray, PRAY! And then, when you think you've reached your decision, pray some more. I don't say this to scare you, but in all seriousness & sincerity homeschooling is a BIG decision -- one that will affect you, your spouse, your children (both schooled & unschooled), your family, and virtually everyone else your life touches. Please do not take it lightly! Many people have worked arduously to obtain the homeschool freedoms, resources, and community that are now available to us, so let's do them a solid and treat this field with the respect it deserves.
Not only that, but guess what? Homeschooling is not for everyone! *gasp* What? You mean it's not every mother's duty to stay home with her kids and teach them Pre-K through 12th grade, insuring graduations with honors, biomedical engineering degrees, and lifelong success (financial & social) for each and every child? Blasphemy! Seriously though, I know there are some moms out there who feel this pressure, as ridiculous as it sounds. The reasons for these feelings are many, but let me put your mind at ease... Maybe homeschooling is not for you! And that's okay. Here's why...
Homeschooling is a calling. That's right, it's a God-given calling to train your children in all areas of life -- academically, financially, physically, socially, and spiritually. Now, don't get me wrong, every parent should be involved in the education of their children, whether homeschooled or not. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." The word "train" doesn't have any stipulations attached. You're not off the hook in any given area because of any certain circumstances, abilities, traits, or other *ahem* excuses. It's commanded that parents are to train up their children. Period. End of story. However, this will look different for every family, every parent, every child. This why it is so crucial as parents to seek The Lord when it comes to our children's education. We're commanded to train. Part of training is educating. So does that mean we should do what everybody else is doing because you don't know any better, or it's the easiest, or you've been guilted into it? Absolutely not! Just the opposite. We should carefully handle this decision with focused intentionality, diligent thought, humble discussion, and fervent prayer. I promise that if you are faithful to lay it before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), God will hear you and answer you.
I'm praying for you as you begin your journey! My next post will look at a couple more tips to get you started, but you're not allowed to read it until you've prayed over your children's education first! :)
For more on prayer, check out this fantastic sermon by Charles Spurgeon.