And so the journey has gone....
But before Jesus had my heart, I couldn't imagine myself homeschooling my kids. Too many preconceived ideas raced through my mind about what homeschooling meant. I thought of strange, relationally/socially slow children who wore prairie dresses, with long braids, and sang "Kum-ba-yah". And on top of it, I thought of those controlling, homeschool mothers who dressed similarly and thought their children were the most brilliant of all as they stuck up their noses at public schooled children. Yuck. That not only turned me off of to the idea, it made me think sarcastically about those who did homeschool. Sure, there were special miracle cases of homeschoolers who came out as relationally and socially normal young adults, but I didn't want to risk it. My kids were going to public school.
OBVIOUSLY, I've had a change of heart. His Spirit has done a number on my ways of thinking, renewing my mind and flushing out many ideas that somehow got lodged in my brain during my first 24 years of life.
So, why do I homeschool?
1) Because God has given me this opportunity and I don't want to miss out.
2) God has given me a desire to teach my children all that He has taught me.
3) I want to take this time, when my children still think I have all the answers, to teach them who they are, in Christ, without so many peer and worldly distractions.
4) Before I send them out into the world, I hope they would have enough confidence in #3 that they could be a light, rather than risk getting their light snuffed out by the world. I must disciple my children before I send them out to the pack of wolves. Isn't that what Jesus did?
5) I want to really know my kids and enjoy them while they are still young.
6) I want Andy and I to be the primary influence in their lives at this time.
My utmost concern for homeschool is not academics. As a follower of Christ, my concern is to teach my children who God is and lead them into what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, into His Kingdom. Yes, academics is definitely part of school. They have math, reading, writing, some science and some history. As of now, academics is pretty basic anyways (Kindergarten and 1st grade), so I keep it simple.
My approach to homeschool is focused on the positives, not what I want to keep them from. Of course it scares me to send my children out to school on their own, but what mother isn't? But it isn't why I keep them at home. My job is not to keep my kids in a bubble of protection from the world, it is to teach them what is right and good, pray with/for them, and encourage them in who God made them so that they can enter the world confidently.
My previous thoughts and ideas of what homeschool meant were obliterated when I entered into the Kingdom of God. As I keep my eyes on Jesus, all the things of this world fade away and I have begun to see what is True. I do falter and look to the right and left at times. We do have days when I wonder if I have said one kind word to my kids all day. There are days when I am totally distracted. There are many days when I feel so inadequate for this job. And there have been many, many times when I have had to ask my kids forgiveness for forgetting how to treat them and love them how Jesus would.This is a hard job. Not a job that is humanly possible. My strength and abilities to love and teach my kids all depends on if I let His Spirit work through me and love through me. I cannot do this without Jesus, my Father and the Holy Spirit.
"With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26God is not forcing me to do this. He is giving me this opportunity. And if I cannot do this with joy, there is no reason to continue. Finding joy in the midst of mothering, homeschool, chores and marriage is the best Teacher.
So, every morning, Jesus asks me, "Will you let me teach you Joy today?" And as I learn from Him, I unknowingly teach my kids the most important lesson of all.
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," Romans 14:17I hope my kids can see, through my life, that there is another way to live. I want them to see that there is another Kingdom set apart just for those who decide to give their lives to Jesus and rely on His Spirit to guide them. And ultimately that this way of life blesses us with pure joy, peace and righteousness.
So, to teach this, I must be willing to learn and grow. And with wisdom and discernment, I must allow them to see the good and the bad in me.