I'm a homeschooling mom now.
Shortly before Thanksgiving last year Ken and I both began to feel called to homeschooling. Or, as I said to a few friends, we felt the hand of God pressing down on us (MIGHTILY) to get what He wanted us to do, and get it sooner rather than later. Let's just call it a vision-clarifying session. Six short weeks later and many long prayer miles counted on our knees and we were clear about God's desire for our family.
Now, I can't say I get these kinds of things right all the time or as quickly as I did this time, but bless Him, He made a way. We were obedient before we even knew the "why." We've been moving through a series of testing for our boys at the National Naval Medical Center. We've got some really bright kids, but none of them learn the same way, nor in the typical way the average student does. Long story short - AFTER we had decided to homeschool, AFTER we had taken care of legalities, AFTER we had been doing it for two weeks - we found that the doctors at NNMC think homeschooling our boys is the best opportunity for them. Well, that's about as good of an affirmation as any.
Of course, we didn't need affirmation from them, but it was nice. How and where they learn is not as important to us as what and Who they learn about. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." Proverbs 1:7
Shortly after we moved here, in the fast-paced race of each day, we stopped as a family to assess where our time was disappearing. We sat at the table and made a list of everything the two younger boys did each day from the time they got up until they went to bed. Then we asked them how much time they would like to have for each item on the list. Their day started at 7:00 and ended at 8:30/9:00. What we found was that their schedule, at 2nd and 5th grade, had little to no time for play. And that we were having to choose one or two things from the list of family essentials and let the others go. Here's my short list for daily essentials -
* Share our evening meal, gathering to reflect on the day, discuss issues in the world, laugh and enjoy the company
* Read the Bible, do a devotional, and pray
* Read a story aloud for the enjoyment of the family
(We would easily add playing games, sharing the meal preparation, etc., but these didn't make the essentials list.)
Along with our daily schedule difficulties, we found we had no time to add other learning opportunities, like the study of early American history and excursions to all the wonderful places to visit here in the D.C. area. Seeing as I'm a total history geek (really) and the two younger boys show signs of my genetic tendencies it was disappointing to live 10 miles from Mt. Vernon and think we might not get there before we move!
Beyond the logistics of our day, and in spite of great teachers, school environment, and new friends, the one thing that convicted us the most is this - we want our children to know and love God. As children. As teenagers. As adults. Forever. Our best opportunity for this is an environment of learning that promotes a Biblical worldview.
Okay, I said it.
And I said it as a personal statement, one that I would never suggest to another to have to follow. But we've wrestled with Scripture and come to this place.
Jesus said, "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
The boys and I have been starting each day with the Shemah - the prayers that have been recited since Moses' time. Jesus, being a Jew, said these each morning and evening. Something about that resonates in me in a very deep place. That my God who loves me so much came, wrapped in the flesh of His creation, submitting to the care or neglect of humans, spent so much time nurturing, honoring, depending on the daily practices of prayer to His Father. "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is One. And 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 in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deut. 6:4-9
I asked the boys today to think of trying to do everything today without using their hands. Pretty unimaginable, especially since at that time they were practically walking on theirs! God said for us to think about his commands every time we use our hands - All day long. Keep them in the forefront and center of our vision. We've not been able to walk both sides of the fence for some time now. When we understand something we can't pretend we don't. So when Ken and I understood that this whole thing called life is only real and alive in a relationship with God and that He not only gave us the privilege of children, but the responsibility of disciplining them - "And you shall teach them diligently to your children..." became something we realized we had to do, and 15 minutes daily of a quick Bible lesson and pre-made devotional book wasn't going to do it for us.
So, I'm a homeschooling mom.
And I've had to face head on the principle that every "yes" you say has an equal "no!" I don't let the thoughts stay in my head, like - "will I not have the freedom to go hang out with a girlfriend on a Wednesday morning at 10:00 for the NEXT TEN YEARS of my life!?"
I love what my pastor said last Sunday. "We may not know where we are sent to, but we know Who we are called to."
I pray that you are finding your way to His calling and enjoying His great company every step of the way!
We are the Favored Ones.