2 Timothy 4:7 – "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."

I'm often asked, "Just how long are you going to homeschool your kids, anyway?" And then, of course, when I tell them that I plan on going all the way through their high school years I get "that look." You know…the one that says, "YOU are such an odd-ball. How can you stand to be with your kids so much?" That's when I have to say a quick prayer for help and forgiveness all-in-one!

When people don't understand us, they automatically label us. This was especially true of the pioneer homeschoolers who revived this blessed educational option in the early '80s. Don't forget…we were much the same way. What did you think when you first heard of homeschooling? Weren't "those people" a little odd to you? Didn't you wonder how they could teach their kids all they needed without that magic, all-powerful teacher's certificate?

It takes a strong person to stand up to the crowd (or the NEA-led public school community). It takes a strong person to say, "The Emperor has not clothes!" It takes a strong person to show grace in a sticky situation…such as when a doubting relative casually edges up to your child with a book in hand to see if the child really knows how to read; or asks your third grader to answer a question about something they didn't even study until their Junior year of high school. Oh yes…it takes a strong person to fight the good fight…with grace.

My oldest daughter is in her high school years of homeschool. I had considered graduating her early, but have decided that I won't. I'm convinced that there are other things besides academics that need to be studied before she heads out into the world…such as life skills. Not only will she need readied for the SATs but she'll also need to grow in maturity. There is something to be said for good household skills. Even though she wants to be an author, she will still need to be a good housekeeper, cook, mommy, nurse, delegate, banker…Sometimes, there is more to finishing the course than finishing the course work.

The most important part of home education in our house is encouraging their desire and willingness to love and serve the Lord. I can truly say the "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth" (3 John 4). I have kept my children home to serve them by giving them a godly education and to nurture and prune them as tender plants until they are strong and mature enough to be transplanted into the soil of the world. The most important part of their education has been training and study in the Word of God. Even if a family member is sick…they can at least read a daily Proverb or a family member may read it to them. If we have a day that's going to be devoted to a field trip...Bible study my be done. Our children must start the day prepared to look at the world through eyes of faith tinted by God's Word. How will they be able to keep the faith if they don't know what that faith consists of or where it comes from?

I have a card hanging by my desk that reads, "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." The Lord has chosen me to teach and influence my children. He has His reasons. And I know that even though I may be odd in the eyes of the world, justification of my educational choice just isn't necessary. I can't make skeptics understand fully why I homeschool…the Lord needs to fight that fight. I can't open up my children's heads and pour in knowledge (although, there are times when I wish I could!)…the Lord needs to run that course with them. Even though I can teach my children Biblical concepts they do still have their own free will…only the Lord can create that mustard seed of faith that grows and blossoms within them.

We live in a world where, as Christians, we seem to constantly be swimming up stream. But God IS with us and has promised to always be there. When my life comes to an end, I want to be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." Not only I, but my children as well.

Copyright, 2004. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com

Kim Wolf has been married for 20 years and has homeschooled for 12 years. She is the Miami County, Ohio homeschool coordinator as well as a staff writer for The Old Schoolhouse magazine. You may contact her at Ohio1@TOSmag.com