Story Saturday: Why Our Family Homeschools

4 years ago, my husband, our  almost kindergarten aged son and I excitedly walked the two blocks from our house to the local Elementary School for the kindergarten open house. We dropped Ethan off with the other kids so they could do their little craft and my husband and I went and sat in the little tiny chairs getting our paperwork to register our son.

We walked home that night with a cute little butterfly craft and a folder full of paperwork to complete. We were fully intending to enroll Ethan in the local public school.

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There were a couple of things that hung me up though. The first was that we were too close to use the bus and I was going to have to walk or drive my son to and from school (I wasn’t ready for my boy to walk by himself) and that meant I would need to haul along our 4 year old and our baby as well. The second thing was that it was a half day and when I say “half day”, I mean the school day really only lasted a couple of hours. I think I did the math and realized that he was only going to be “doing school” for a little over 2 hours a day. The third, and most important thing that was holding me back was that I had always, in the back of my mind, wanted to homeschool.

So, what was holding me back from homeschooling? Fear.

I wasn’t afraid that I couldn’t teach Ethan well. I wasn’t afraid that it would be a bad decision for Ethan. I was afraid of what my family would think. I was afraid they would think I was not doing the best thing for him.

About a month later, as I sat having lunch with a friend, I told her about my “secret desire” to homeschool and I told her how I was afraid of what family and friends might think. She was so encouraging to me. She shared her story of homeschooling her children from kindergarten through high school. And then she said something that has rang in my ears and heart ever since:

“One of the best gifts of homeschooling in the early years is that your son will not have a bunch of kindergartners telling him who he is in life.”

As I thought through the process, there were two really big things that swayed us toward homeschooling: 1) Being able to separate  academics from the social, developmental and and relational angst, and 2) Being able to focus on mastery and not worry about a particular timeline. So, we made the leap. We’ve questioned it at times. The way homeschooling looks in our family has changed throughout the last 4 years. We’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I still get questioned by friends and family sometimes, but Nathan and I are in agreement that this is what is best for this season for our family.

I think there is a misperception that the decision to homeschool is usually one that is based on a desire to “protect” kids from the public school. In our case, the decision was based on the fact that we really believed we could create a better learning environment at home.

 

Motherhood Isn’t Your Highest Calling

I used to think motherhood was my highest calling. I don’t anymore.

I know people say it with great respect for the role of being a mom. I appreciate that. But I’ve spent many years struggling with what it means to be a “good mom” and often felt like I was in a position where I was failing at my calling. I felt like I had looked forward to being a mom my whole life, but when I actually became one, I found out I was really bad at it. How does it feel to carry the weight of failing at the highest calling a woman can have? Not good.

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For many years, I wore my calling like a heavy weight around my neck. I felt guilty that I felt restless in this “highest calling”.

I read something a few years ago that made me evaluate my picture of my calling and how that fits with being a mom. The back cover of Max Lucado’s “Cure For The Common Life” says this “God made only one version of you. He custom designed you for a one of a kind assignment. Cure for the Common Life helps you discover how your ability unveils your destiny. . . and how to find your uncommon call to an uncommon life.”

I started to realize that my highest calling wasn’t to succeed at my stereotype of a “good mom”.

Do you think it’s possible that we’ve painted a masterpiece of expectations that’s not at all what God intended and excludes things He never asked us to exclude?

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He didn’t say, “Stop doing all the things that brought you joy before and concentrate on housework and changing diapers.”

I was acting like He did.

Author, Bob Goff, says it perfectly:

I think God’s hope and plan for us is pretty easy to figure out. For those of you who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions and your interests together with what God said he wants us to be about, and that is your answer. – ” Love Does”

Some seasons of parenting require  great personal sacrifice, but the calling of motherhood doesn’t have to mean giving up your gifts and passions. Have you discovered this? Yes, motherhood is a high calling, but the highest calling? You’ll find that where your life circumstances and your passions meet.