Homeschool your Family with Confidence in God
- Michelle Painter Contributing Writer
- 2007 21 May
Can you remember when you first decided to home school? When I think back to my beginnings as a home educator I quickly realize that, although my husband and I had researched, questioned, read, and prayed, we, in all actuality, had absolutely no idea of what this God-led journey would entail... nor do we still fully understand even today years later.
I can remember thinking that if we chose the right curriculum, then our children would be intelligent, God-loving, well-behaved blessings. I remember thinking that if we chose the right schedule, then our days would be picture perfect Norman Rockwell times filled with eager children sitting happily at the feet of their peacefully smiling mother. I remember thinking that our evenings would be cheerful reminiscences of a faultless home school day being enthusiastically shared with an adoring husband and devoted father. Oh, do I remember!
You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 (NIV)
One reality that has become unmistakably obvious is that there is no perfect curriculum, no perfect schedule, and no perfect husband. Please allow me to continue... there is also no perfect classroom organizational method, no perfect teaching method, no perfect discipline method, no perfect children, and, to be certain, no perfect mother! No single approach to home education is ever absolutely effective all the time, except focusing wholeheartedly on God.
Wow, when this realization hit, I was completely disheartened about my ability to homeschool anyone or anything... including our cat! It was (and is still) not especially easy for me to always stay God-focused.
After all, I thrived on my being well prepared, well informed, and well organized, and yet still home schooling cannot be something I can control and set in stone? Well... let me just say a huge thanks to God for being so patient with me... and to my husband, children, and friends as well.
Homeschooling is not like Hamburger Helper... to my knowledge there is not any homeschool kit in a box where you just add a cup of water, a dash of salt, and your family for a quick and healthy educational meal. The reality is that homeschooling is an exciting, exhausting, ever evolving God-led journey filled with undreamt of blessings.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Proverbs 31: 25-29 (NIV)
Exciting? Yes... I do enjoy those rare days when, with my awe-inspiring Proverbs 31, she-woman cape securely fastened in place, I skillfully conquer the mounds of smelly boy laundry, effortlessly surmount stacks of 3-day-old appallingly dirty dishes, lovingly educate diligent students, expertly prepare a delicious gourmet dinner, tenderly tuck in admiring children, affectionately fulfill my husband’s desires, and slip off to a peaceful night’s sleep all while a newborn contentedly nurses oblivious to my immense greatness. Indeed, days of great accomplishment are exciting days. However, most days are filled with a different, but a much more precious excitement. Excitement of counting to 10, of reading a first book, of finding the area of a trapezoid, of watching 9 Chinook helicopters fly overhead, of spotting a migrating Blue Heron, of learning to cook oatmeal, of helping sort laundry, of turning a somersault, and on and on and on... these are the kinds of everyday excitements from which cherished memories are made.
But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. 1 John 2:5 (NIV)
So encourage each other and give each other strength. Thessalonians 5:11 (NCV)
You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)
Exhausting? Yes... new babies, new jobs, new houses, new curricula, new schedules, new illnesses, new friends, new pets, new churches, new responsibilities... not to mention old babies, old jobs, old houses, old curricula, old schedules, old illnesses, old friends, old pets, old churches, and old responsibilities, all of which can, at times, completely batter us leaving us utterly worn out! During those times it is vital that we focus on God’s guidance, devour scripture, and surround ourselves with others who can replenish us. I stand in awe of moms who, in spite of great hardships, lovingly continue to grow extraordinary children. I stand in awe of moms who can keep themselves and their children God-focused even when all those around them incessantly suck the very breath from their ever-encouraging lungs. I stand in awe of my remarkable Titus friends who, despite every appalling twist life throws their way; remain obediently, confidently, and constantly trusting Him. I stand in awe that God would allow me, one who continually struggles with a waxing and waning focus, the privilege to know, love, and sharpen steel with these inspiring fellow home educators. And I always stand in humble awe of God’s grace and mercy that allows me the honor of being a home schooling mom.
Then they said to him, "Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful." The priest answered them, "Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval." Judges 18:5-6 (NIV)
Ever-evolving? Yes... evolution to accommodate fluctuating family dynamics, evolution to compensate learning disabilities, evolution to inspire insecure learners, and evolution to encourage new vision and focus. These course corrections are just a few of the relentlessly shifting and insistently indistinguishable roads which we must daily discern to once again locate the God-chosen path of our home school journey. Home educators must constantly reevaluate teaching methods, discipline methods, organization, and so much et cetera that we can end up in an overwhelmed whirl of uncertainty if our focus strays away from Him. We must continually keep faith that God will guide us to reveal His best for our children.
1 "Now if you faithfully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the LORD your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the LORD your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4 Your descendants will be blessed, and your soil's produce, and the offspring of your livestock, including the young of your herds and the newborn of your flocks.
5 Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 "The LORD will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. They will march out against you from one direction but flee from you in seven directions.
8 The LORD will grant you a blessing on your storehouses and on everything you do; He will bless you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
9 The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He swore to you, if you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the LORD's name, and they will stand in awe of you.
Deuteronomy 28:1-10 (NLT)
Undreamt of blessings? Ah, yes... undreamt of blessings are my favorite. Blessings of teaching, learning, sharing, laughing, crying, building, cleaning, and focusing... all of which would have been missed if we had chosen the wider, yellow bus laden path. Could we have ever, before embarking on the journey of home schooling, imagined the inexplicable joy we experience when God begins to daily reveal His fingerprints on our children? Those precious Holy fingerprints which the world desires only to smear or to remove completely leaving our children totally void of any evidence that He was ever a part of their creation. There is no greater delight than to know with a God-confidence that we, as home educators, are daily placing more and more of His prints so indelibly all over our children, and by doing so, developing their steadfast foundations and testimonies. Because of our devotion to Him in training them, those same prints become so permanent that when our children venture out into the spiritually confused, theologically persuasive, Christian exterminating world, all attempts to “shake-and-erase” their trust in Jesus through constantly Etch-a-Sketching lines of tangled God-doubt fall away like dust leaving all humanity no alternative but to witness His undeniable light in the unshakable God-centered lives of our children. Now, that last one is my absolute favorite, scripture-guaranteed blessing!
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3 (NLT)
So, when those days of doubt and uncertainty come... and they will always come... take courage in knowing that from the moment He gave us each of our children, God already had full confidence in our perfect ability to instruct and guide these gifts which He so graciously rewarded us with if we only...Trust in HIM with "all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Michelle Painter is a wife and best friend to Bobby, a mother to 3 wonderful sons, and a former Texas public school teacher called by God to home school. She considers home schooling a challenge, a privilege, and an undreamt of blessing. She prays that others may glean encouragement, empowerment, and blessings from what she writes. She would love to hear from you at [email protected].