I am not going to change your mind. I’m not even going to try. I am about to broach a hot-topic, and I’m ok with that. So please hear my heart on this: I have absolutely no desire to persuade you to pull your children out of their public schools. I simply intend to write about God’s movement in my heart, and hopefully in doing so, to speak to your own heart.
Over the past couple of years, God has been teaching me this thing about the vast importance of being real. Honest. Even in my ugliness. So here it is: the real truth is that I have spent many years believing that homeschooling is for those who are fearful. Those who couldn’t bear to send their beloved children into the “lion’s den” of the world.
Sigh. Since when do we, as Mommas, need one more thing to feel judged and insecure about? Such a messy heart of mine, black with judgment.
That was the state of my heart this past July when I found myself extremely uneasy over the thought of my oldest two children going back to school. The summer was progressing quickly. I did not want to fight for yet another year to attempt to see my daughter challenged in her classroom. Our Will learns so differently than other kids; I was well aware that it would take a special person to figure out how he “fires” and help him keep that love for learning. Perhaps most importantly, I had experienced how disconnected my Sophie-girl had become throughout the past school year after spending hours at school away from us each day. It took a summer to reconnect and I deeply yearned for more of that time to train their hearts!
I simply felt… stuck.
Then I heard the Lord's whisper. “You don’t have to be stuck, Child. Walk with me.” Hours of discussions and many prayers later, we knew what God was asking our family to do.
When He placed this plan to homeschool on our hearts, God immediately supplied us with peace over our decision. But to better explain to you the work of God in me, we need to get a few things straight very quickly. #1: I am neither a teacher nor naturally patient. It only took me one college internship to realize I could NEVER work with tiny, squirming bodies in mass quantities ever again. #2: I am not a crafty person. If you ever wonder whether I made something cute I am wearing, please save yourself the breath of asking. I have my craft mafia, and I pay them well. #3: I am not overly intelligent. I began college in the remedial math class and cried all the way through Dr. Newell’s Psych Stats class (full of thanks for an engineering boyfriend). I knew that my name would not end up next to “homeschooling guru” in the dictionary. However, I have seen the Lord supply what I need in many situations. I had full confidence that He would prove faithful to carry my weaknesses yet again.
So… yeah. Remember that honesty thing? Here’s the embarrassing part. Even while I had full confidence in what God was asking of us, and even though I knew that He would supply what I needed, I was still full of anxiety. This fear inside me had nothing to do with the logistics of performing school.
I was afraid of what others would think.
Seems pretty silly, huh? It made me feel like I was standing outside of my new school on the first day of 7th grade with a large zit on my nose and hand-me-downs from my cousin Bertha. But in reality I was a 34-yr-old mother of 3 and supposed to be past all of that peer-pressure stuff.
When it is hard to do things that make us seem different from others, this a problem. A problem that begins with a heart discontent in God’s plan. As if I know better than HE, the creator of my very soul and the One who allowed me to awaken yet again today.
You and I, we were never meant to be just like each other. God created us to be different. Since the very beginning of His creation, he’s been doing this thing called different. For me, fear always sets in when I fester on the thinking that I should be more like HER, and that other gal should be more like ME. When exactly did this become Motherhood – this clawing at each other in the midst of our insecurities, allowing Satan to lead us to believe that we each are not doing what is best for our beloved children? These differences are the very tools that God intends to use for His purposes - to mold and shape our children into who He desires – yet we are too scared to step onto His new path. And so we work desperately to keep our feet right where they are, holding our children tightly within our grasp, teaching them to be cookie-cutter children. The only problem is, cookie-cutters can’t point a hurting world to a God who creates beauty and heals big hurts.
Father, He is reminding me of this daily. Only I know my children. Only you know yours. My husband and I, we fall to our knees and cry out for His help. We tip-toe into sleepy rooms and utter desperate prayers for wisdom with tear-streaked faces. We scold little hands when they hurt others so we can point them toward Love. I know you do the same. We really aren’t different, you and I. We love our children fierce. And you and I, WE CAN DO NOTHING as parents. On my own, I will fail to measure up to some other Mom - every single time.
But the beauty of the Father is, He says it is NOT about me vs. you. It is not about whose kids know their math facts best, who spends more time outdoors, or what year our houses were built. It never was about those things. It is about HIM. I seek HIS call for MY family, and I follow. You seek His different call for YOUR family, and you obey. And that is success. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I cannot tell you how many times in my years as a Momma I actually said the words, “I could NEVER homeschool.” (Open mouth, insert foot.) Even so, 12 weeks into our school year, I am deeply in love with Heartwaves Academy. It thrills my soul to be in this place with my precious ones – watching them learn and laugh, teaching academics, training small hearts in life to the fullest, preparing soldiers for future battle. Heartwaves has robbed me of my time and replaced it with gifts unexpected, eye-opening, beautiful. Doesn’t He promise that if we trust Him, He will knock our socks off in ways we never even imagined? He means every single word.
And you, my friend? You encounter the Father in your own walk in other ways. Your children see the Lord when you serve their teacher and when you love on that over-active child in their classroom. Or when you pick up your sweet ones from school and take them first to deliver food to your elderly neighbor.
When we invest in our children just as He asks, we allow Him to pave the road for them He intended. A perfect path just for them, to lead others to Him.
I can’t tell you what next school year will bring for the Tyson family. In this house, we will seek the Lord. As for you, I hope I have not convinced you to homeschool – I honestly have no idea what you should do. But He knows. Seek Him with all of your heart. Ignore the impulse to listen to your own understanding – follow HIS. Then HE will set out your path. It will be different. But it will be straight. Full of peace. Infused with joy.