I must confess that I’ve been more emotional lately. Having completed his freshman year of college, I recently sent my son back to school thinking, “Okay, I think I’m finally getting used to him being a thousand miles away. Whew…now maybe life can settle back down to normal and I can be done with that adjustment.” Well, the promise of that thought was short lived as my daughter walked into the room and asked, “When are we planning on having my high school senior pictures taken?” And so begins another adjustment!
I want to say upfront that I have looked forward to this season, often counting down the years. However, I had a blind side….I didn’t realize just how much God had answered my prayer to knit our hearts together. At this point my heart may be more knit to theirs, than theirs to mine. There is a natural pulling away that is necessary as they move toward all their hopes and dreams. Never the less, the seams are pretty tight.
You see, we were together. A lot. Soon fifteen years of homeschooling will be behind me and I wonder, was it worth it? Was all that time together worth it? It might be a little soon to answer this question fully, but for now I say yes and here are five reasons why:
1. God used homeschooling to knit our hearts together. Homeschooling is not the only way this can happen in a family. But our decision to homeschool allowed us to spend a lot of time together in many life situations. I remember hearing a young adult woman speak years ago regarding her mother’s untimely death. She explained that the years growing up with her mother were multiplied because of the sheer essence of time together homeschooling.
2. Much like filling out adoption papers caused us to wrestle with why we wanted children, homeschooling forced us to be intentional about what we wanted to teach our children. The early years allow for great opportunities to teach as you go. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) Kids test and question. Therefore there is a need for a foundation to be laid during the early years upon which to have those hard, and sometimes even fun, conversations about the hot topics of their generation. I always told my children that it wasn’t wrong to question because we aren’t afraid of the truth. While my blood pressure might go up during some discussions, it is healthy for them to flesh out their beliefs with us. I often start out at the front end of these conversations and thankfully my husband usually has more endurance to finish them!
3. Schooling at home allowed us to persistently hunt for each child’s area of greatest potential. In other words, the way God designed them to go (Proverbs 22:6). With the goals of being warm, responsive, and setting an example, we tried to provide an environment that encouraged constructive work, play and service to others, as well as learning how to think. All the while we were looking for the skills and abilities God put into them and the best way to sharpen those abilities.
4. Homeschooling afforded us the opportunity to teach our children how to learn and how to love learning. We believed, with the appropriate tools and the ability to learn independently, they would be able to gain information when they needed it. It was a lot of fun exploring and learning with them.
5. Finally, we wanted to appeal to them often to choose Jesus as their Savior and to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, as well as loving others as they love themselves. Doing this in the context of homeschooling usually resulted in trying to incorporate a biblical perspective into all of life and serving together. We believed it important to be very strategic in making this training a priority.
Yes, as I look back, I believe all that time together was worth it! And as I look forward to life after homeschooling… I’ll just think about all the good that is to come.