Sometimes we see it coming. Other times it crops up out of nowhere, catching us off guard and unprepared. It's the big question "So, what made you decide to homeschool?" Whether this query stirs up anxiety or excitement, most homeschool parents have heard it more times than they can recall. Let's face it--homeschooling families, while finding themselves in growing company each year, are still part of a group considered to be, well, different. Many people who ask about our decision to home educate are merely curious about this unconventional approach. Others may even be window-shopping for their own family's educational options. Homeschoolers often find themselves in the position of explaining their choice, but how many of us have walked away from a homeschool evangelism opportunity after giving a wimpy answer? I know I have.

What do I mean by "wimpy answer"? Let me share one of my own conversations years ago with a young mom at my church who had made the choice to send her children to daycare and public schools from infancy on:

Friend: So, why did you choose to homeschool?
Me: Oh, we met other families who did and thought it was a great idea. We love it.
Friend: Uh-huh. What sold you on the idea?
Me: Wellll... I guess it just looked like a really neat lifestyle that we wanted for our family. We really love it.
Friend: (nods) I suppose you're really cut out for that, being a former teacher and all.
Me: Actually, it's a lot different than classroom teaching. Ummm ...I love it.
Friend:Hmm. I'm glad you guys love it.

Well now, that was politically correct, wasn't it? My timid responses were kept on the surface, I didn't have to worry about possibly offending my friend, and as a result, I weaseled out of an opportunity to strike up some really thought-provoking conversation about our real reasons, our BIG reasons for choosing to homeschool. I missed the chance to plant seeds that might have sprouted into another family's decision to take the biblically sound path of training up their children at home.

As I reflect on our pre-homeschooling days over eight years ago when I was the one asking the same questions of a veteran homeschooler, I realize that the reasons she shared in favor of homeschooling were much more solid. Jane, this mother of five who had been one of those pioneers in the modern homeschool movement, didn't beat around the bush. She answered my questions with grace and wisdom, using the Bible as her source of inspiration. Her straightforwardness inspired me to think seriously about our children's future. I was convicted. God's Word does that. And my husband and I realized that homeschooling isn't just a "nice thing" for some families, it's a calling that Christian parents must take seriously.

I wish I could recall Jane's words verbatim. One of our conversations may have sounded something like this:

Me: So, what made you decide to homeschool?
Jane: Well, Kim, as Christian parents, my husband and I realized that public schools didn't line up with our vision for raising our children according to God's plan.
Me: Well, what about Christian schools? (Our oldest daughter, then a kindergartener, was enrolled in a Christian school at that time.)
Jane: They're a better alternative to public education, but there are still many advantages of homeschooling that outweigh that of the traditional classroom setting.
Me: Like what?
Jane: Academically, socially, and spiritually, the Christian family is better equipped to train up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. More and more today, we are seeing how schools, public and private, are falling short in these areas. And God is truly blessing the homeschool movement with many strong families whose children are firmly rooted in the faith.
Me: Wow. You've really given me something to think about.
Jane: Would you like to pray? (And that's what we did.)