A Grad Offers Encouragement
- Betsy St. Amant Contributing Writer
- 2004 13 Oct
If you are the mother of a home-schooled student, I have three words for you – "Don't give up!" If your children are anything like I was when I home schooled, you'll be temped on more than one occasion to throw in the towel!
I began home schooling in the fourth grade. A major dispute between my mother and my elementary school principal was enough to convince my parents to get the ball rolling. I continued on this path happily until my eighth grade year. I spent the majority of that year begging my parents to let me go to a "real" school. After much prayer and consideration on both of our parts, my parents somewhat reluctantly granted my wish and I began public high school. It didn't take long before I realized that I yearned to come back home to what I quickly concluded was truly "real".
I learned a lot during the year and a half that I was in the public high school system. However, the knowledge that I obtained was not so much academic as it was an education in life lessons. I learned very quickly that everything I had wanted for my life could be found in my own home. I had no desire to become aware of things through the twisted, worldly viewpoints that I found suddenly surrounding me.
The things that I learned in high school were absolute conflicts with what my parents had instilled in me throughout my life. I rapidly found that everything I had thought important and held dear in my heart was considered insignificant, or, even worse when you're a teenager, "uncool."
I learned how to become part of a click and make others feel left out. I learned how to use words to tear somebody down while making others laugh. I learned how to stab friends in the back with cutting remarks and how to cuss to make others think I was part of them. I saw first hand the way to dress if you wanted a boy to like you or if you wanted the male teachers to favor you. I watched teenagers pairing off into couples at a young age and listened as they talked about things that I thought only married couples could do.
The more I soaked in the information floating daily around me, the more confused I got. Was I the one in the wrong? Were the things that these kids around me were saying true, and I was the one that was confused? I found myself constantly in the middle of a debate. I realize now that it was a war for my very soul.
I went to school every day and absorbed the trash around me while remembering at the same time what I had heard and been taught at the youth group service the Wednesday night before. The conflict of interests tore at my heart. Every Sunday I would go to church and soak in the lessons taught there and feel my spirit become refreshed. Monday morning, however, I would find myself once again on trial for what I believed.
Halfway through my sophomore year, I decided that enough was enough. I remember vividly the day my life's course was altered. I was heading out the door one morning on my way to school when I suddenly burst into uncontrollable tears and fell to the floor sobbing. "Please don't make me go back," was my desperate plea. "Please don't make me go back."
Without a single "I told you so", my parents simply picked up where we left off and I never had to go back. I understood that there would be certain aspects of high school that I would miss. I had made some special friends during that time, but I knew that those relationships could continue with a little effort from both sides. I would also miss the more social atmosphere of pep rallies, football games and beauty pageants.
Nevertheless, I was convinced deep in my heart that in order to grow into the person that I felt God wanted me to be, I would have to get out of that environment. I knew that if I spent another two years in that world, I would not come out unscathed. I wanted to continue my education safely tucked inside the values of my home, my family, and my God. I longed to grow into a woman of virtue with standards and morals. I wanted to be different from the teenagers I saw around me.
I graduated from home school in the year 2002, and after a little indecision, happily began pursuing a degree in Christian Communications at Louisiana Baptist University. Looking back, at this time, I have no regrets. I am thankful for the experience and would not change a single moment. God brought me through those trying times with lessons learned and memories that will assist me in my ministry for Him.
Parents, there will be times when your children are driving you completely crazy, just as I often did to my own mother (especially when I heard the dreaded words "its time for math!"). There will be days when you wonder if you are accomplishing anything worthwhile. There will definitely be occasions when you think the time and money spent is not worth the headache and the immense effort. However, I advise you to hang in there, because just as surely there will be a day when you hear two precious, heartfelt words – "Thank you".
Betsy St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her newly wed husband, Brandon. She is currently attending Louisiana Baptist University with a major in Christian Communications and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. You can contact her at [email protected].