I met someone new last week and as we were talking I mentioned that I home school my children. As with many people, I got the response, "Oh, I could never do that!" I know that everyone does not agree that homeschooling is a viable, desirable option but no one has ever been rude to me (at least not to my face!) when I mention that's what we do. Almost always people bestow compliments on me. I try not to let this go to my head because I happen to know that I am nothing special.
Yes, I have four children and their ages sometimes make things challenging. Although I have a natural creative bent and love learning, I didn't exactly plan that I'd be homeschooling a teenager, a preschooler, a curious two-year old, and a mama-lovin' toddler. It's hard juggling geometry and diapers! I like to think of myself as an innately patient person (when it comes to dealing with people) and that helps, but that is not my secret.
Over and over I hear people say, "I could never teach my own children. I'm too <insert character flaw here>." They usually go on to explain to me something to the effect that they are impatient with their children. It's not the educating part of home schooling that frightens them; it's the idea of having to interact with their children all day long, everyday. One lady actually told me that after a time of helping her publicly-schooled daughter with homework, her child turned to her and said, "I'm glad you don't home school me." She didn't take it as an offense even though I think she should have.
It's different. You have to not only push yourself outside of your comfort zone but you have to live outside of it and that is not something you can do on your own. And that, in my humble opinion, is THE worst excuse not to home school your children if you are a Christian.
If you are a Christian, then you have the HOLY SPIRIT--God's very essence--living inside of you. We all love Jesus and spend a lot of time talking about Him, but Jesus said that it was better for us that He went away so that this Helper could come and walk with us! Why do we live as if this is not so? As if we must do all these good things that either are expected of us or we feel compelled/called to do by our own power? Maybe it's wrong of me to do so but sometimes I doubt that people even know Jesus because they don't seem to have the Spirit working in their lives. I'm thinking of the "fruits of the Spirit" verse.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
I did not love. I had not joy or peace. My patience only stretched so far. My kindness and goodness was shallow and aimed at getting the greatest return for myself. I did not understand faith. I lacked gentleness, especially in speech. And don't even get me started on self-control! This was me until I submitted to the lordship of Christ and agreed to at least listen to the counsel of the Holy Spirit. That's a hard, hard thing-- dying to self day after day (or minute by minute) but I decided to do it because I believed my God loved me and wanted what was best for me. I definitely have not arrived, but I can honestly say now that I undoubtedly know the power of the Holy Spirit in my everyday life. It's not just for preachers on Sunday. It's not just for missionaries in foreign countries. It's for you and me in every moment of every day.
I do things that most of you don't understand, things you wouldn't want to attempt. I have committed my life to bringing up four children into adults and would gladly welcome more children into our family. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes the children are trying and difficult. But you know what? The times when things go wrong are not when they are acting up--no, not even on their worst days. When things go south, you can be sure it's because I've turned away from my source of power and strength. I don't want that. I don't want to waste this precious, precious gift the Lord has given us of Himself. I want to love--really love. I want to know joy instead of chasing the ever-elusive element of happiness. I want peace deep down in my soul. I want to be patient and kind and good. I want be be found faithful. I'm tired of harsh words and tones escaping my mouth; I want to be gentle! And, perhaps above all else, I want to be able to control myself and put myself under the constant control of God because that just makes sense.
I don't think home schooling is the right avenue for everyone. Actually I'd love to convince you all to do it but I have friends who have been specifically lead of the Spirit to place their children in "regular" schools and by that I know God must not want it for each of us. But I do think our hearts should be open to it. We should pray about all the ways to educate our children and not simply take the path of least resistance. Why? Because we can trust that God knows best and that He has equipped us to handle anything. That's a scary word: anything. Those absolute words in the Bible have tripped me up before. Surely You don't mean ALL things, Lord?! I've actually considered researching whether or not there's any wiggle room in the meaning of "nothing" for some verses, ha ha! But God means what He says and when He says we can do all things through Him, we can take Him at His word. Even if that thing is home schooling!