When I first started homeschooling my sons, I was not a Christian. I was very anti-Christian as a matter of fact. I wanted to homeschool my children from the time my first son was a baby, but my life was pure chaos. I was in an abusive marriage and there was no stability in my life at all.
By the time my second son was born, I was in the middle of a divorce and living once again with my parents. I was a single mom who needed to find a way to earn income for a newborn and toddler. In the midst of my pain and depression I found myself in yet another abuse relationship. Homeschool was still not an option. I did however, spend a lot of time reading to my sons, and teaching them the basics of the alphabet and numbers.
I loved spending time teaching my little boys. I wanted with all my heart to be at home with them. It wasn’t until my sons were 6 & 8 that I was able to go back to being a full time stay at home mom. This time I had more stability in my life, and a new husband who had a heart of gold. I started to consider homeschool again, but life through me another curve ball and I had to put it on the back burner for another two years.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
Finally, when my oldest sons were about 8 & 11, and my two youngest sons were newborn and 2, I started to homeschool. I was so excited, and yet nervous about being a mom and a teacher. I never went to college, and I never did very well in school. Yet, with the help of a charter school, I got the curriculum and a little guidance on where to start. Even though I had a newborn and a toddler, I felt like we were finally doing what was right for my family.
I have struggled many times over the past 9 years we have been homeschooling. I have had good days and bad, like every other mom. I have gotten lost in the pressure of living up to undue expectations and found my groove, over and over again, and what I have found is everyone has to have a ‘why’ for their homeschooling. For me, my why is Jesus, even though I started homeschooling before I was ever saved.
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that Jesus is enough. I have had so much bondage as I struggled to conform to ideals of what I should look like as a mother or a teacher, or what my homeschool or kids should look like. At the end of the day, I could give my kids the best education, slaving for hours to prepare and teach and taking them to extra curricular activities, but if they don’t have Jesus in their heart, I have strived in vain.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Adam and Eve decided in the Garden that knowledge trumped a personal relationship with God. Look where that got them. If God can create an entire Universe, them we must trust Him to take up rearing our children where we fail. We cannot do it all, and we were not meant to. Our #1 priority is to train them up to know and love the Lord, otherwise, the next generation will be wandering in the dessert and missing out on the Promised Land.
I grew up in a home where God was a punishment and not the prize. I turned away from Jesus and it took me 36 long years of hell to return. We must not use God or Scripture as a form of punishment, but as a guide to teach our children the love, compassion and wisdom of our Father. It can be so easy to turn down the wrong path when it comes to homeschool. We can get so caught up in what everyone else doing around us, but we must faithfully submit every act and every decision over to Jesus.
Homeschool isn’t a way of life, it’s an act of humility and submission to our God. We are commanded to teach our children in the ways of the Lord, so that they too will love Him with all of their heart, all of their soul, and all of their strength. It is not an easy thing to do, to teach a child to love the Lord. It is fraught with difficulities at every turn. There are no shortages of people to tell you that your doing it all wrong.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
However, the only wrong way to raise a child is to raise them without teaching them the Truth: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross to give us the free gift of salvation. That Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father, and He is our mediator between us and heaven. Without these truths, we will all continue to struggle unnecessarily through our day to day life. I know this is true, because without Jesus in my life, I was a miserable mess.
I have spent countless hours pouring over curriculum trying to decide what to teach. I have pushed my children to do more work, and do it better. I have been merciless while trying to set a schedule or a pace that neither myself or my child could adhere to. What I came to realize is that, our culture worships knowledge and sees it as power. Our society has moved far away from God, and instead is trying to be life God.
One by one we have all walked over to the Tree of Knowledge and taken a bite, and now we are carelessly leading our children in the same direction. If we covet knowledge instead of knowledge of God, then what kind of world are we leaving to our children. All the knowledge in the world will never gain us the things that we truly desire in our hearts. Love, acceptance, peace, stability, joy. Those are all things that only come from the Lord.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Each parent, whether homeschooling or not needs to start by rooting and grounding themselves in the Word of God. We must see how far astray God’s people have fallen by trying to be like gods instead of giving themselves humbly to God. Generation after generation has stumbled and fallen into a relationship with idolatry and sin, because parents failed to make God the priority of their lives.
God is not mad at our failures. He is quick to forgive, and wants to help us in preparing and training up our children. As long as we live in repentance with submissive hearts, Jesus can help heal the rest . No one is perfect and we were never meant to be perfect. We will make mistakes with our children and won’t be everything we think we should be. The most important thing is what we do in the face of our mistakes, not the mistakes themselves.
Be gentle on yourself in this homeschool journey and readjust priorities where it is needed. Our children need loving parents who shows them the heart of a loving God. Everything else is secondary.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.