A new stage of life looms; an era is ending—I am being forced into retirement. My last semester of homeschooling has just commenced. In 1984 I began this task. Twenty-eight years is a really long time to stay at home and educate your children! When I began, I had no idea I was signing up for nearly three decades of service. We only had three children then; eventually the number doubled.
My husband and I knew—KNEW!—this was God’s will for our particular family. We wanted our children to have a Christ-centered education and to learn to think for themselves, free of peer pressure. We hoped they would develop close relationships with one another that were long-lived and significant. All of that occurred. They are all doing very well.
What I didn’t recognize when we began was how thoroughly flawed I am and how God would use the process of educating them for my sanctification and for theirs. A sinner teaching (or parenting) a group of sinners is bound to make mistakes. Rough edges were worn down; conflict, resolution, difficulties, and error often resulted. I am grateful that my children are forgiving people. When you educate your own children, your parenting is all wrapped up in their schooling. There is no line that divides.
All parents need to be forgiven much. Every one of us is imperfect.
Along the way, because the task is such a heavy one, I sometimes lost sight of the joy. I wish I’d comprehended earlier that I could only complete this responsibility with the power of His grace, rather than through my own self-reliant effort. My own strength is limited. I needed God’s grace.
Homeschooling parents have to devote nearly every waking moment to the endeavor. We have to organize most activities, manage them, plan them, train for them, and equip them, hauling in all the props and equipment: debate team, theater club, homeschool co-op, science laboratories, tutoring, sports teams, you name it. It’s labor and money intensive—no salary, no retirement benefits, only blessings accrued to the eternal account. We have used up all of my husband’s hard-earned money. I am eternally grateful that he recognized that this was God’s will for us and was willing to finance the effort.
All of that considered, homeschooling my children has been the greatest blessing of my life! I know these six people thoroughly, and I love them entirely. They have been the most all-encompassing joy and miracle of my life, the best gift God has given me on this earth, apart from Christ Himself. I have invested in them as much as I possibly can—where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. They have my heart. Everything rides on them.
But I don’t believe everyone should teach their own children at home. It’s too hard!
- If God calls you to the task: Do it! You’ll never regret it! He will enable you.
- However, if He has not placed this on your heart: Do not do it! I repeat, do not do it!
Homeschooling is too difficult to undertake, unless you are absolutely certain that this is God’s will for your family. The most loving thing you can do for your children is to educate them in the manner in which God calls you to do it, whatever it is. He has a particular plan for each family.
As for me, I’m glad He appointed me to this duty, overjoyed that I could fulfill it with His enablement. Educating and loving my six children has been God’s greatest tool in my spiritual growth—I’ve been sanctified and purified through childbearing, childrearing, and all of its requirements within my particular family (1 Timothy 2:15). It has taught me about unconditional, committed love and has caused me to grow in faith and holiness.
I will miss this!