The reason for the stirring was that four years earlier I had met a family who were homeschooling their children. The boys were well mannered and polite. This impressed me. Well, we met with the family at our local church. They took us under their wing, and the rest is history.

Our oldest son now has a career in the military, having served in Iraq for one year. He serves with the 82nd Airborne. He boasts that having a personal relationship with Christ was the one thing that mattered while he was in Iraq. Our second son is studying piano and music composition in the School of Music at our state college. Our first daughter is also in college studying to become a research biologist. This year we will be graduating our fourth child from homeschool. She is an accomplished pianist and a strong advocate for family issues. She will continue studying at home. I am still homeschooling my 10-year-old daughter, Victoria. You see, we were very involved in our children's education, not just in their "school life." I am taking my time with Victoria and enjoying it!

The blessings of homeschooling run deep and the roots stretch far. It's more than academics. It's virtue. It's victory. I am not pretending that homeschooling removes all ills, but I must admit that the problems are minor. I will boldly say that if parents truly turn their hearts toward their children in every way, in every circumstance, in all activities, and in all affections, the hearts of the children will be turned toward the parents.

I knew that the odds were against me, but because of that I strongly knew that God was not against me. He was for me. Even my husband doubted but came along as a willing supporter. We knew that our family and friends would not support us. Many of the families in the support group were anything but friendly, but this did not offend me, because I was not looking for friends. I needed information and counsel. The seasonal loneliness did not compare to what I wanted to give my children--a strong relationship with each one and a fine education. This meant more to me than the need to be accepted or supported.

I have taught my children this principle of "standing alone." Because we were African Americans who had chosen the narrow path, we knew that our road was to be one less traveled by. We are pioneers on a new frontier, and every area of our lives is affected by this truth. God raised our family to be the biblical Joseph, first for ourselves and then for our people. My children needed to be strong and confirmed in their Godly reality. Our older children see this even more now. We do not regret our decision to homeschool nor our commitment to the kingdom building of our family. My husband and I are now advocates for home education and whole family life.

My younger children are learning excellently, and my adult children still ask for our counsel. We encourage them to remember the importance of listening to their spirits and deeply seeking God. They still consider us a part of their developing structure. The influence that we have in their lives is priceless. I encourage parents to live the good life before their children. Walk more and talk less. Children see what we do not say and will tend to perform it more than when we preach. Let your children see you loving, learning, and loving each other. I know that the best gift I can give my children is for them to see that I love and adore my husband. This sustained me when times were slim and pickings were small. Daily and openly love God. Worship Him and praise Him before your children at home.

Give your developing young sons your essence and your beautiful young daughters your passion. Sons need your essence because, as they develop into men and life gets tough, they sometimes can't open their mouths, or they do not know what to say. But if they can feel or sense the strong, wooing presence of Godliness on the inside, it will carry them over until God provides an escape. Young daughters need your Godly passion and fiery spirit because they tend to grab anything firmly and run with it. But they will remember the one thing that mattered greatly to you--your passionate love and unquenchable fire for your Father. Remember, our children will do as we live. Make sure it is consistently Godly and positive. It is a good thing!

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Joyce Burges and her husband, Eric, have homeschooled their five children for 16 years. They founded the National Black Home Educators resource network in July 2000 in order to encourage, support, and offer fellowship to families exploring the benefits of home education. For more information, see their website at http://www.nbhe.net.

Copyright 2006. Originally appeared in Summer 2006. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Right now, 19 free gifts when you subscribe. www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com