Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Many, many years ago Jeff and I were traveling I-20 from Mississippi to Texas on our way to visit Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to determine whether or not Jeff would continue his music and ministerial training there. As we were traveling we listened to Christian radio and heard Marlin Maddox interview Raymond and Dorothy Moore. They were discussing homeschooling that day. Jeff and I already had one child at this point and we were intrigued with the idea of homeschooling. Jeff asked me to write down the Moore's name and we decided then that if it were ever possible for us that we would like to homeschool. At that time, however, it didn't seem probable as Jeff would soon be enrolling as a full- time seminary student. In the next couple of years, I completed my master's degree in music education and we added a second child to our family. When baby number two was just 6 weeks old we packed up and moved to Ft. Worth, TX.
Prior to moving to Texas I made various phone calls and sent letters and applications to the school systems in and surrounding the Ft. Worth, TX area. Apparently, no one needed a newly graduated master's level music teacher who was certified K-12. After arriving in Ft. Worth, we began searching more thoroughly. We also remembered that interview with the Moore's that we had heard two years earlier. The desire had never really left our hearts, so we prayed that IF the Lord wanted us to begin homeschooling our four year old that He would close all the doors of employment for me. And He did! I had two opportunities open up for me. One was teaching music in a K-2 day school. The other was teaching in a day care. Having heard and read the financial teachings of Larry Burkett, we knew to carefully consider the costs of mom being away from home. After crunching the numbers we quickly realized that child care, a teaching wardrobe, travel, and convenience foods would demand all of the income and more. What a blessing to see God's hand revealed! Thus, we began our homeschooling journey. Jeff did continue his full-time seminary training and, at times, worked 3-4 jobs as well. He did well in his studies and even received a few honors along the way.
God provided all we needed and so much more in those early years and I can say the same for today. There have been days that have been extremely frustrating as I have tried to teach my children and there have been days that have been extremely rewarding as well. There has only been one period in our homeschooling life that I have felt so discouraged that I could have sent the children off to school, but thankfully, I can see now that it was during a season of post-partum depression and God somehow sustained us all through that. Homeschooling is never easy. I really am convinced that you MUST take the command in Deuteronomy 6 to heart if you are to succeed. Diligently teaching God's Word as you sit in your house, as you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up seems to be a 24 hour a day job. Yes, it can be exhausting but God has a precious promise for us in Galatians 6: 9. "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Being with your children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week has to be one of the most humbling and sanctifying positions to be in. My children see me for what I am....and I have to admit on some days what I am is not pretty. The faults that I try to correct in my children are faults that they have learned from me. How can I correct them when I continue to fail in the same areas? Yes, God uses homeschooling to sanctify parents and especially moms who spend so much of their days working with and teaching their children.
Our homeschooling days are not always those days that bring tears of joy to my eyes as a child finally grasps a new concept or we have an extra special moment sharing the wonder of God's Creation. There are many days that tears of frustration come as personalities clash, attitudes must be dealt with or a concept just seems too hard to learn. There are times that LIFE gets so busy that the books need to be put aside for a time so that the life lessons can be learned. Educating our children is definitely not limited to what we study from a book. Some of the most important lessons come from what God is teaching us as we learn to live together.
Why do we home educate our children? Because we truly feel that God called us to do so 23 years ago and unless He tells us otherwise we will continue on this course for another 17 years. Why am I sharing this today? I think it is because I needed to be reminded! It is so very easy for me to get frustrated when LIFE prevents me from spending time working on MY lesson plans. I need to remember that God's plans are always more important than anything I can plan. Learning to graciously handle interruptions and little twists in our day will, in the long run, be much more helpful to my children than learning the details of the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Courthouse, the greenhouse effect or unit multipliers. And, I share because I hope to encourage someone else out there who might be struggling today as well.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.