The mention of the word can stir up different responses in the hearts of those who hear it. Some feel contempt for the very idea that a parent could actually educate their own children. Others feel a sense of freedom and empowerment, knowing that they are the only person called to oversee the education of their child. Sometimes the word stirs up feelings of hope, excitement, and adventure. And for some, it creates a mixed bag of conviction and flat out dread.
Maybe that last one is you.
You feel an overwhelming sense that God is calling you to homeschool your children, yet the very thought makes your stomach hurt with worry.
Can I do this?
How do I do this?
Where do I start?
Oh God, are you sure?
The thought is so overwhelming that you may have even tried to run away from it. But God finds you wherever you hide, and he whispers again, “Yes, my beloved, I’m sure.”
First, let me say I’m proud of you for being willing to explore the idea. It would be very easy to just pretend you didn’t hear, or believe you must have misunderstood. Now that we’ve established that you’re not going to run… let’s calm your fears about homeschooling, so you can move on into excitement!
Here are some thoughts that might help:
- God will equip you. Does that mean he will make it all a breeze, and every day a joy? Not likely. (Just keepin’ it real.) But he will see to it that he equips you for the job he has called you to.
- You’re already doing the biggest part of homeschooling. It’s called parenting. Think about all the things you’ve taught your child so far. If you can teach them to use the toilet, you can teach them anything.
- There is help! Actually, you may need help navigating all of your choices for help! (And it’s available). Between “open and go” curriculum, to homeschool co-ops and tutorials, and helpful blogs and facebook groups, you are certainly not alone.
- Decide what your biggest reason is for homeschooling and put it above all else. Because there is so much help available, it’s also a big risk that you’ll get overwhelmed with the wonderful advice you find. Don’t try to adopt everyone else’s priorities. A case can be made for many “important things” in educating your child, but you can’t do them all and do any of them well. Ask God what he wants most for your family and focus on that.
- Don’t be hasty in trying to live up to someone else’s ideal. Or even your ideal. Just do what you can do. Everyone is different, you have to give yourself grace to make it work for your family. Keep in mind also that someone else’s ideal is not necessarily what they have attained either. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, especially someone who’s life you only see part of.
- Be protective of your decision. Follow God’s lead and be in agreement with your spouse. Nobody else gets a vote. (But encouragement is always welcome.)
- Chances are, God is calling you to this for relational reasons and not academic reasons. Don’t make homeschooling or education a god. It’s a tool, designed to bring you and yours closer to the only God.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to do every subject every year. Even among homeschoolers there is a huge tendency toward conformity. Please, before you require something of your child, ask God if it is necessary or if it’s just “what we’ve always done.”
- Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Don’t get so tangled up in the details of today that you miss the big picture. Rome wasn’t built in a day, slow and steady wins the race. Your kids have plenty of time to learn everything they will need. Really. They do.
- You don’t have to get it all right the first year! You’ll learn as you go. You don’t have to find a plan and stick to it. Seasons change and you can change with them. Sometimes you’ll do lots of hands-on, sometimes you’ll do lots of textbooks. Sometimes you won’t do much at all and it’s OK.
Homeschooling can be a scary new venture. Most of us weren’t educated that way so we have no pattern to follow. That’s where faith in God’s leading and community with others on the same path come in. I believe that if God is calling you to this, then there is nothing that can stop you. Let’s not let fear get a foot in the door.
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