I gripped the steering wheel as a wave of panic washing over me. Had we ruined Amber's chances to go to college? Did she face a bleak future, unable to contribute to society because her parents insisted on teaching her themselves? Had we made a mistake in feeling God had called us to home school?

The doubt crept in during discussions with other parents at church a few days earlier. The topic had started out on shared feelings of stress and busyness but quickly moved into a defense of extra curricular activities, even though they consumed so much family time. "My child needs to be involved in the chess club, soccer team, band and newspaper staff to show his/her versatility on the college applications," was the consensus.

We began home schooling when our oldest daughter, Amber, was in third grade; she was now a high school freshman.

I recalled the conversation while driving my daughters to piano lessons and began to second-guess myself. Would Amber get into college? Would Taryn be a designer? How would we handle standardized testing and the SAT's? Were we raising social misfits, unable to fit with their peer groups? Then God spoke to my heart.

Who loves Amber and Taryn even more than you do? Who has plans for their lives? Who is able to accomplish those plans whether or not they participate in chess club? And aren't you just as busy and frazzled running from co-op science class, to piano lessons, to Scouting, to softball practice?

From that day on, I never doubted God's call to our family. My husband, David, never doubted. At the beginning, he was of the "if it's something you want to do, it's okay with me," camp. Over the first few months, as he witnessed Amber's transformation from unhappy and defiant to carefree and compliant, he became more involved. Although the bulk of the teaching remained mine, we made decisions jointly. He was head of our home and administrator of our school.

Now that we're "done" with home schooling, in the eyes of the state anyway, I have some hindsight about things we did right and lessons learned. I call them the Four C's of Home Schooling:

First, be sure of the call. Our family chose home education when the local public school became unacceptable to us, both academically and socially. When we moved to a different district, we considered enrolling both girls in school. The issues that influenced our original decision didn't apply anymore, so it must be time to go to school again, right? Wrong. We realized that God had called us away from public schools, and we'd be disobedient to ignore that calling.

Being sure of the call freed us from second-guessing the decision. We focused on doing our parts and we let God do His. I handled curriculum choice, lesson plans, and extra-curricular activities; David was in charge of physical education and accountability; God had all college entrance and future vocation issues. We believed Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

The second thing we did was to nurture and cultivate their dreams. Starting in sixth grade, Amber was adamant about going to Michigan State University. An excellent school, but a long way from our California home. We never did learn just what its appeal was; I presume the distance from Mom and Dad was a powerful lure.

We could have discouraged her for many reasons. But we made a conscious decision to let her dream. We believe it's better to have your own goal to achieve rather than one someone else chose for you.